Monday, May 16, 2011

Stephen Hawking is a Computer

At least, I am deluded, according to Stephen Hawking. If you are interested in a philosophical discussion of existence and purpose, you should go and read this brief interview of the renowned physicist, Stephen Hawking. I want to look at a few quotes in that article as food for thought, to see if people really want to go down the road that Hawking goes down.

In 2010, Hawking said, in essence, that science will win out over religion because science works. Ponder that for a moment. First, it is clear that Hawking believes that science and religion in general are at odds with one another. What is the conflict that he perceives? That religion cannot cure cancer or diabetes? That religion cannot explain the origins of life as well as science? The problem, as I see it, is Hawking is trying to do with science what it cannot possibly do, and that is science cannot lay the foundation for its own work.

Here is what I mean by that. Why do we have medicine? Medicine is a science. New medications are made by meticulous scientific research and study. Surely, there is hardly anything religious about studying protein chains, control groups, and chemical reactions at the cellular level, is there? Christianity cannot possibly hope to help us with how it is that the drug in Nexium might help with H. pylori bacteria that cause peptic ulcers, can it?

It certainly can and does. The reason that people study medicine is because they see an intrinsic value in life. Christians stayed behind to tend to plague victims because they believed that man's dignity rested in his being made in God's image. So Christians founded hospitals and began to research treatments because they believed in God. Religion was the foundation for the science of medical study.

It cannot be denied that much research in science is now motivated, perhaps, by greed over the concern for the sick. That is, the dollar drives science, not a benevolence born from the belief that God's image resides in man. I will grant that. However, if you want to say that pursuing medical cures for greedy gain is bad, then you are right back into religion again, aren't you? Consider another quote from Hawking,
I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.

The human being, in Hawking's man, is a product of chance. If human beings are really only like computers, then how can we accuse men of greed? Do you think that your computer is greedy? Isn't "greed" just a survival concept made up by the weak to keep the strong from getting their stuff?

Consider this quote, I think it is the most mind-boggling of anything that Hawking says, "Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to ... set the Universe going.", the eternal law of gravity existed when there was nothing? Does that sound like science to you? How can something come from absolutely nothing? What was making the gravity in "space"? Isn't space something rather than nothing? Is this any more believable than invoking God?

This is precisely why Hawking thinks that science and religion are in conflict. Science is Hawking's religion. It is his god. Hawking sounds like a television, flim-flam evangelist trying to get us to align ourselves with his personal religion. He says, "There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." See! The reason that people are religious is because they are afraid of the dark! If we were brave, we would embrace the nihilism that consumes everything.

The problem is that we don't embrace religion just because we are afraid of the dark. We embrace Jesus Christ because darkness exists. Evil is real. The fact that there is a God and a judgment does not make us cowards. It can, however, give us a reason to be a scientist, something that Hawking's religion utterly fails to do.


Mike Cook said...

It seems to me that you are saying that unless you are a Christian, that you can not have empathy for your fellow man.

That if you are not a Christian, you can not care for, love, respect or want to help anyone.

I find that rather insulting.

Brad Williams said...

What I'm saying is that if Hawking is correct, they are merely randomized chemical processes that have no real meaning other than you personal survival and the propagation of the species. Even your offense here is merely a survival reaction. He's saying that you, my friend, are a randomized act with no real meaning.

I find that rather insulting. ;)

Brad Williams said...

"They" being your feelings of love and care for your fellow man.

Brad Williams said...

Also, I want to say that if Christianity is correct, it is correct regardless of whether or not one is a Christian. That is, if Christianity teaches that love, kindness, and empathy are godly trait inherited from God Himself, then you certainly have these traits in abundance even if you don't believe that is where they came from. I'm telling you that your deeply held moral convictions are not a mere by-product of universal chance and that you do not go into the void of the abyss when you die.

Keith said...

I love reading your stuff...very thought inspiring.

Alvin said...

To any real scientist, religion is irrelevant. I don't understand the need to believe that everything good in people is derived from a belief in God. Pretty much every society everywhere, Christian, non-Christian, or even pre-Christian has come to similar conclusions about morality. It doesn't mean the soul that's living inside our shells of randomized chemicals is whispering in our ears, it means similar shapes of identically-randomized chemicals are going to think similarly, no matter how distant or distinct.

Brad Williams said...


I'm not saying that everything good in people is derived from a belief in God. Belief, in this case, is irrelevant. I'm saying that anything God in people comes from the fact that they are made by God. Morality, if it is to have any real meaning or be absolute, must be based on something other than randomized chemicals. If you realize that morality is only the product of chemicals, then immorality is also only a product of chemicals. This means good and evil actions are essentially the same and cannot be categorized by the traditional language of good verses evil. Rather, actions can only be measured by what particular chemical make-up someone has, and there is simply no way to judge which action is more desirable than another, since all failure and progress is based on the random.

Anonymous said...

I quote : “ "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark,"
I think there is basic flaw in his reasoning. What is the most important element of any computer? The software or the hardware.?
Backups do create an afterlife for the main function of any computer, its software.