God, Please Don’t Exist –Stephen Hawking
The apparent teaser on Hawking’s coming Discovery Channel interview:
On “Is There A Creator?,” Hawking notes that on the sub-atomic scale, particles are seen in experiments to appear from nowhere. And since the Big-Bang started out smaller than an atom, similarly the universe likely “popped into existence without violating the known laws of Nature,” he says. Nothing created the universe, so in his view there was no need for a creator. That is his explanation for “why there is something rather than nothing.”
Except that, before those particles that were “smaller than atoms” popped themselves into existence and got the big-bang going –which is an event that is by itself a contentious topic among physicists because not only does it clearly violate our modal intuitions, it does also the law of conservation of energy– “known laws of nature” already existed and likewise had to be inviolable. So, Even if we grant Hawking the premise that particles can pop themselves into existence out of absolutely nothing –a pretty galactic concession, mind you– that still leaves the tiny matter of the “known laws of nature” (some law concerning gravity perhaps?) which need to be left inviolable for anything to be able to pop itself into existence.
This isn’t a God of the gaps argument, it’s a common sense one: anything that begins to exist needs a cause for it’s existence; something cannot come from nothing.
What’s the escape?
Why, redefine the word “nothing” would be one way!
Hawking’s definition of the word “nothing” is like nothing you’ve ever heard of, since it isn’t actually defined the way we would normally understand the word to mean; his “nothing” actually contains an ocean of fluctuating quantum energy, from which particles can get “popped into existence”.
Doesn’t that seem like a really surreptitious way of redefining the word ‘nothing’ so that it definitionally means ‘something’, or is it just me? The fact that the word ‘nothing’, in how it is originally defined, would seem the polar opposite of how Hawking would use the word in his book is just downright bizarre.
This is an example of someone who is scientifically bright, but philosophically dense.