Hawking: God Not Needed for Universe to be Created

Physicist Stephen Hawking has written a new book called “The Grand Design.” While the title might seem like Hawking could be delving more into the “mind of God” that he alluded to in his earlier book, “A Brief History of Time,” Hawking actually says that the universe’s beginnings – or the “Big Bang” was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics and that God wasn’t needed to “light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

Co-authored with US physicist Leonard Mlodinow, in “The Grand Design” Hawking says a new series of theories made a creator of the universe redundant. The Times of London newspaper published excerpts from the book today. The book goes on sale on Sept. 9.

The laws of gravity rather than the intervention of a divine being set the Universe in motion, Hawking wrote, and he contests Sir Isaac Newton’s belief that the universe must have been designed by God as it could not have created out of chaos.

“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,” Hawking wrote.

He said the first blow to Newton’s contention was the observation in 1992 of a planet orbiting a star other than our Sun. “That makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions – the single sun, the lucky combination of Earth-sun distance and solar mass – far less remarkable, and far less compelling as evidence that the earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings,” he wrote.

For decades, Hawking has been at the forefront of looking for a ‘theory of everything,’ and in “A Brief History of Time” he wrote, “If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we should know the mind of God.”

Hawking, has a neuro-muscular dystrophy that is related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a condition that has left him almost completely paralyzed. He is only able to speak through a computer-generated voice synthesizer, and in the video above he discusses related issues with British biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins.

Read more reviews and commentary on the book at Cosmic Log, The Guardian, The Times of London (subscription required) and Reuters.

48 Replies to “Hawking: God Not Needed for Universe to be Created”

  1. Unable to view the video reporting that I’m in the wrong country(Channel 4 content) even though I’m located in the UK!

  2. I already preordered this book on amazon. It’s going to be amazing!

    Also, that Dawkins-Hawking interview involved probably my two favorite people. Good find!

    Dawkins and Hawking understand that even if we don’t understand the beginning of the universe, “God” is no better of an answer than “we do not know”, since neither make testable, scientific predictions or expand the knowledge of humanity.

  3. Nothingness is a perquisite for things that occur randomly, like a blank canvas, a blank sheet of paper, a leveled cemented foundation, a blackboard, a boiling pot of water, an empty stage, a formless mound of clay, a computer monitor, etc. These things slowly take shape, evolve and transform through random thoughts of the mind.

    Every musical composition, work of art, architectural design, movie, novel, sculpture, etc., were once “objectives” that became finalized through a process of random, creative thinking. Each of these came into to being with a the use of some kind of tool, be it a piano, a brush, a pen, a shovel, etc., they were utilized as elements for bringing the “objective” about.

    When an archer shoots an arrow at a bulls-eye, he doesn’t need to ride on top of it to ensure it gets to it’s target, he simply aims, releases his grasp and allows the forces that be carry it to it’s destination. 🙂

  4. Hawking’s more outspoken stance will have interesting consequences, the Catholic church to this day is “in agreement” with Hawking as per an old cosmological conference.

    One can do one better and have symmetries and symmetry breaking (laws and parameters) from spontaneous emergence, see Vic Stenger’s models. But perhaps Hawking is alluding to something very close, as gravity is a singular effective theory as per Einstein.

    Oops, so now I have may have to buy that book. As if by design, Mr Hawking!

  5. I think Hawking is hitting the nail on the head here. Perhaps my understanding is limited but if, for a moment we take God out of the equation we are left with Nature and it’s governance through the laws which dictate that the universe was created because nature conspired through the appropriate conditions to bring it into form. To ring God back into the equation we are left with the Nature of God created the universe. Was it deliberate through the intent or thought of a supreme being or was it inevitable and a function of nature to create it. God being far removed from the intention of nature but every bit of nature being a function of God.

  6. Let’s back up a sec: We’re certain there was a ‘beginning’ to the universe?

    Even Hawking can’t solve these riddles. The human mind is incapable of even visualizing all the paradoxes. Even the obvious ones like what’s on the *outside* of the (or a) universe? We are limited to think in terms of boundaries, like containers. We need beginnings and ends.

    I think an understanding is too unreachable to even ponder – for us – for Hawking.

  7. “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.”

    A law such as gravity does not prove or disprove the possibility that something arises from nothing.

  8. So god is not needed to initiate the big bang because the laws of physics make it inevitable… Isn’t God also the one that created said “laws” of physics? Granted I am no bible thumper, or religious person by any means, but I can’t help but see God in everything, including how the universe got here, how things work, etc etc etc.

    God is such an infinite idea, there is no way at all the individual would ever “get it” and understand all that is God w/o being God themselves. If God could be comprehended at such a infinitely small size as ourselves, what’s the point in having some “big huge version” of that?

    No, science to me feeds my spirituality greatly, but to say God has been dis-proven here is really taking it far, and if anything just gives another layer of God to understand.

  9. @prajna he does not say god is disproven, he says god is not needed to have a universe just like this. Or in other words, it is a very lazy god since he had nothing to do because it is all automatic. He might have pressed a button once.

    It also means no intelligence is required to create this universe. Put the lever to stand 5 and press the button. A child could do it.

  10. Hawking and James Hartle demonstrated a quantum wave function which pertains to a spacetime can quantum transition into another spacetime. This lead to their famous vacuum to cosmology quantum tunneling result called the “no boundary rule.” This is the reason for Hawking’s statement about trying to go south of the South Pole. I can’t go into the details extensively, for this is a rather complicated theory. They published this in Physical Review D in December 1983. The problem is that this is not really a proof that something came out of nothing. It also turns out that in a fuller quantum picture, or in string theory, the classical notion of time might end, but there can still be a sort of quantum time. Further, the matter of something coming out of nothing is less of a mystery than one might think. The vacuum energy density of the universe rho is associated with a negative pressure p, which when multiplied by the speed of light is an negative energy density that cancels out the rho. Also for matter, the net gravity particles have is a negative energy which also cancels out the positive mass-energy of these particles. In effect the net sum over everything is zero “sum(ALL) = 0.” So there really is none of this mystery about things being created from nothing, for what we call something is just due to various stochastic fluctuations away from nothingness that have been in a sense “frozen.”

    Science can’t really disprove the existence of God, at least not God in the most abstract notion we might have of God. Science may demonstrate certain narratives about God are not correct, such as evolution displacing the idea of 6 day creation. It is certainly easier I think intellectual to conduct scientific thought in the absence of religion. Religion forces one to compartmentalize one’s mind in a way which is difficult to uphold. In particular religion has elements of supernatural ideas or events which presumably took place, whether that is the creation of the universe, life, man or the whole Judeo-Hellenic revisionism of Dionysius’ birth in the Jesus narrative – which got kluged in with the Judaic texts and made into a religion by Paul. In science if there are some unexplained events observed, then this becomes a matter of research. In religion such events, or narratives about such events in the past, are cause for mysticism.

    I have funny issues with the whole “New Atheism” movement these days, for it seems to me that science should not be in the business of espousing an atheistic world view. I say this in spite of the fact I don’t think devoting mental energy to theological matters is worth much. The problem is that science really is not about proving anything. We can only disprove theories or hypotheses, but even the best of theories is only supported by a growing weight of data — never proven. It is also maybe a bit of a bad PR move to tie science to an atheistic Weltanschauung. This is particularly true with young people, for it is better to wow them with cool stuff about quantum quarks, big bangs, black holes, exploding stars, space probes and robots on Mars and so forth than to attack what might be a family or personal matter head on.


  11. This reminds me of a quote from “Hagakure” by Yamamoto Tsunetomo

    “Our bodies are given life from the midst of nothingness. Existing where there is nothing is the meaning of the phrase, ‘form is emptiness.’ That all things are provided for by nothingness is the meaning of the phrase, ’emptiness is form.’ One should not think that these are two separate things.”

  12. It is sort of a Taoist notion. The successful theory of quantum cosmology is the best vessel possible which can hold nothing.


  13. Interesting that this immediately developed into theology instead of physics.

    We’re certain there was a ‘beginning’ to the universe? Even Hawking can’t solve these riddles.

    As LBC notes, precisely Hawkings have solved such riddles. There are now many alternate pathways, but all of them must end where our current observations starts, with the end of inflation. In some pathways, this (or the period immediately before) was the beginning.

    As we now have started to test different theories of inflation, people are in fact looking back before the beginning of our observable universe. That train has left already, a few years back. There is a therefore good chance that we eventually can tell how it all started.

    And it has nothing to do with “ponder” but of observation and theory, as everything else science.

    A law such as gravity does not prove or disprove the possibility that something arises from nothing.

    “something arises from nothing” is a religious concept, not suited for the system description.

    See LBC comment on one pathway that may be correct. Depending on how constrained gravity is, the universe must follow. In string theory, which I believe Hawking is looking at, gravity will be a result. So, since we exist, it all goes back to fundamental existence. According to this pathway we are, therefore we are. Where we are not, we are not.

    In Hawking’s pathway there was explicitly nothing before the universe (LBC comment), which means once again theology is wrong. Well, actually it puts the wrong questions, “it isn’t even wrong”. But we knew that already.

  14. @ Prajna:

    God is such an infinite idea, there is no way at all the individual would ever “get it”

    But you are discussing something else, and ill-defined by your own words. In the process at hand, there is no such problem, the process is as Hawking points out entirely natural.

    @ LBC:

    Science can’t really disprove the existence of God, at least not God in the most abstract

    I believe this is wrong. Consider: all what we need to test naturalism to the usual certainty, is to gather enough test on natural systems that we can see that they are connected by interaction. (Is a philosophical “monism”, as opposed to the various dualisms of theology.)

    To do that it is enough, at current rate of science paper production, with ~ 5 years of successful tests for a 3 sigma binomial test.

    Now we should actually go through all data, but since no one ever found that a dualist model predicts data better than a naturalist model, we can safely say that nature is naturalist. Conversely we have conveniently rejected dualisms like souls or gods.

    So yes, today we can safely note: science, therefore no gods. I haven’t looked at the data breakpoint, but the exponential increase in papers would probably have put it in the last decades of last century. At that time we killed the gods for good.

    Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market-place, and cried incessantly: “I am looking for God! I am looking for God!”
    As many of those who did not believe in God were standing together there, he excited considerable laughter. Have you lost him, then? said one. Did he lose his way like a child? said another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? or emigrated? Thus they shouted and laughed. The madman sprang into their midst and pierced them with his glances.

    “Where has God gone?” he cried. “I shall tell you. We have killed him – you and I. We are his murderers. But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained the earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not perpetually falling? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is it not more and more night coming on all the time? Must not lanterns be lit in the morning? Do we not hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not smell anything yet of God’s decomposition? Gods too decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves? That which was the holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we purify ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we need to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to be worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whosoever shall be born after us – for the sake of this deed he shall be part of a higher history than all history hitherto.”

    Here the madman fell silent and again regarded his listeners; and they too were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern to the ground, and it broke and went out. “I have come too early,” he said then; “my time has not come yet. The tremendous event is still on its way, still travelling – it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time, the light of the stars requires time, deeds require time even after they are done, before they can be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than the distant stars – and yet they have done it themselves.”

    It has been further related that on that same day the madman entered divers churches and there sang a requiem. Led out and quietened, he is said to have retorted each time: “what are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchres of God?” [Nietsche, “Gay Science”.]

    Why would anyone have reasonably expected differently? Gods are after all old make belief and superstition, with no influence over what is seen by empirical methods.

  15. “It is also maybe a bit of a bad PR move to tie science to an atheistic Weltanschauung. This is particularly true with young people, for it is better to wow them with cool stuff…”

    LC, we are all not so shallow. I grew up in a very Catholic conservative household and my religious views are best expressed by Carl Sagan’s own:

    “An atheist has to know a lot more than I know.” In reply to a question in 1996 about his religious beliefs, Sagan answered, “I’m agnostic.” Sagan maintained that the idea of a creator of the universe was difficult to prove or disprove.”

    I only wish that all people who do not follow any particular belief system would have the courtesy to respect others. Push someone and it is human nature to push back. Some people do not want to let go of their ideas as it gives them comfort.

    You have to admit, It really does take a fair degree of self control and maturity to realize our lives are finite – and there is no evidence to suspect anything beyond death exists.

  16. Actually there seem to be a satisfying account of Hawking’s book @ Cosmic Variance by fellow cosmologist Sean Carroll.

    It is a self-contained description, but goes back to quantum mechanics of many worlds (or long time) instead of string theory. It is a more basic variant, that relies on that the energy of the universes is zero so they can tunnel into existence.

    I note that Carroll adds a pathway along the lines I described: “The universe can simply exist, end of story.”

  17. Also, I missed this (I’m visited by a cold, so rushed at the time):

    I have funny issues with the whole “New Atheism” movement these days, for it seems to me that science should not be in the business of espousing an atheistic world view.

    We should, must as empiricists, go wherever the facts leads us. Theology (naturalism as “an atheistic world view”) isn’t relevant in as much that we can’t use it for getting to facts.

    “New Accommodationism” is such a religious movement, look at how AAAS et cetera support certain beliefs instead of being neutral. In general special pleading (what is so special with religion, anyway; it certainly can’t tell us) is harmful for society and specifically for science should it be allowed its effect. I would claim that it is anti-science.

    It is also maybe a bit of a bad PR move to tie science to an atheistic Weltanschauung. This is particularly true with young people, for it is better to wow them with cool stuff about quantum quarks, big bangs, black holes, exploding stars, space probes and robots on Mars and so forth than to attack what might be a family or personal matter head on.

    If anything religious claims like agnosticism (“we don’t know either way” , or worse “we can’t know”) are generally shallow. How could they not be, as they don’t connect with the real world in any given sense? Certainly shallow here, where we explicitly discuss facts.

    There is no data on how framing is a helpful “PR move” in this area. I don’t see how it can be, since people, especially young people, will see that the purveyors of such a frame will mis-characterize the subject. See Hawking’s book, for example, he says that “God is not needed” (and therefore is a stupid proposal). To get listeners and influence we need to be up front with the science all over the line.

    OTOH there is a lot of data on how education moves religious to agnosticism and agnostics to atheism. (PEW data I believe, I seem to remember genetic blogger Razib going through them a while back.) So the realization that naturalism works and doesn’t need gods seem to do alright by itself, without being promoted as such.

    [In fact I read psychological research on cases and arguments, which suggest that if you have a strong argument (“science works and it makes gods unnecessary and even unlikely”) you should push that first. Then describe what you personally think and does about it. I’m sure I can find it again.]

    Finally, if it isn’t a cool fact that gods isn’t needed to get universes and everything (and as I suggest above that materialism theory can be tested) I don’t know what a cool fact is!

    Certainly such results must be fairly dealt with, perhaps even elevated, as they answer questions that laymen and scientists alike has wondered over a very long time.

  18. It’s funny how Hawking says that you “can’t” ask what was before or outside without saying something more. How are we supposed to ask when discussing multiverse?

    Let’s have a fun with the word NOTHING. I say that we are something, therefore nothing doesn’t exist. “Nothing” is something that cancels itself out, as LBC says it’s mathematically zero, therefore we should start calling it cancellation.

    I think that science will find out if god exists or not. I don’t know what to think about Torbjorn’s statement that if science exists, then there is no god. Actually, it sounds like Newton’s infinite past. :d

    Let’s have a fun with the topic title:

  19. Hawking states that the law of gravity exists, and is causing spontaneous creation, which is why the universe is “something” rather then “nothing”. Large-scale cosmological events take long eons of time to form structures, like the Sloan Great Wall, and can hardly be called spontaneous creation. Hawking can’t doesn’t even try to explain what causes Gravity to exist. what happened to utter nothing of nothing of nothing? could infinite beings all be nothing each unable to explain why every individual is so ignorant compared to the universe itself of ultimate nothing?

  20. As I am both versed in science and theology I would like to point out that while Stephen Hawking makes for a great theoretical physicist he is a lousy theologian. He doesn’t seem to understand what the concept of “divine creation” refers to. It’s not the popular mass media version with some old guy waving his hand and BOOM! the Earth comes into being. It’s about what or who makes the laws of physics and then maintains and enforces them. What Stephen Hawking does is a little bit like contending that behavior of the cars in the streets proves there is no Department of Motor Vehicles because the drivers follow a set of consistent rules all by themselves. There is simply *no* way you can understand God (if there is one) with the tools provided by physics. You need philosophy and theology for that. Not theoretical physics.

    Kind regards,

  21. The beginning of the universe as we understand it may be parochial in some sense. It may only pertain to a local region in a grand superspace where there is an onset of symmetry breaking or compactification of 6 of the 10 dimensions in the superspace. This means the universe is a far grander system than just our 4-dimensional spacetime, and our 4-D spacetime is just a region of symmetry breaking with a particular arrow of time. There exists a vast number of such spacetime cosmologies (large scale regions where 6 dimensions are compactified) within this grand space which can have + or – directions in time. It is similar in a funny way to the Ising chain in statistical mechanics. So while this local compactification of dimensions frames the arrow of time and “origin” of our observable universe, this really is a sort of illusion in a way within a timeless universe that has no preferred direction of time. Other cosmologies may have opposite directed arrows of time from ours, and the total system of such spacetime cosmologies might be compared to a chain of spins in an Ising system.

    As for disproving the existence God in a grand sense, there is something I have found a bit curious. I am interested primarily in what underlies string theory. Strings are similar to hadrons in a way, and indeed were derived from hadronic physics beginning with the Veneziano amplitude. Strings on a Dp-brane act to valence chaotic fluctuations. The string as it moves defines sheets or tubes, which cover these chaotic rips. I think that on a fine scale, such as with the analogue of there being something like quarks and gluons, but which make up the string, there is a substratum of structure closer to the Planck scale. This tames these chaotic rifts some as by countering them with topological numbers. However, there is still chaos as one approaches the Planck scale. At the Planck scale it appears that everything may just to total chaos, indeed possibly self-referential chaos. Underneath things on this ultimate scale may consist of states of some sort that are self-referential codes of each other,

    I mention this for Douglas Hofstadter thinks that consciousness involves some approximation or physical mirror of Godel’s theorem with self-reference. If this is so then if underneath physical existence there is this self-referential chaos then it is at least tempting to ponder whether this is, well for lack of a better word God. It could also be argued to be a sort of Tao as well. So what has happened here is that the concept of God, and it is best to think of the concept of God more than God, has re-emerged in another form. The Upanishads makes similar references to the role of consciousness in the universe, where our conscious existence is just some illusion from the entire wholeness of things.

    Absolutely killing God, in contrast to killing a certain deity or some theological narrative, is a much more slippery matter than one might presume. Of course in this setting God becomes almost wraith-like or something more similar to the Tao. As the Buddhists say, maybe God is so ultimate that God is unconcerned with God’s own existence.


  22. I agree with LC on most points. This whole evangelical atheism is really obnoxious, and it is becoming a distraction from real science.

    If a person wants to believe in a higher deity, or a creator of the universe, then they will. No amount of “disproving” will stop them. I tend to think that humans are naturally religious in some way, possibly a result of self awareness, and the awareness of our own mortality. For many people, the thought of God and heaven, or similar concepts is a comforting one, and validates their existence. Why should we take that away from them, even if we believe it is for their own good? It is a part of our culture, and until we accept that, we will never be able to coexist with other cultures.

    In a way, we are all salespeople. A good salesman isn’t going to come up to you in a car lot and say, “you are an idiot…but I’d like you to take a look at this new model…” That would offend the customer, and they would lose the sale. Scientist will never win over minds with these tactics. The best we can do is present the idea, and let people chose to accept it, knowing full well that the idea itself may be flawed, and replaced with a better idea in the future.

  23. The so called new atheists is nothing more than an allergic reaction on the push of creationists trying to force their religion onto them. Most atheists including my girlfriend have no interest in science whatsoever. And live without any basis of religion.

    LBC, your definition and even hydrazine is so unlike the gods in all religious texts. I would call the Universe = god. But that does not mean that it had intelligence. I could also have used the scientific way call it the Force-X.

    We do not know if there is a god or now, but we do know that there is no experimental evidences or measurable evidences showing that god exists so rendering any god basically useless for this universe.

  24. I like the following bit by George Carlin on the 10 Commandments


    In the audio version he has an introduction about how this was ll set up to keep people in line.

    Eastern religions have somewhat deeper ideas about these things, wheras Abrahamist religions tend to be set up more as narratives and polemics meant to establish political systems of control.


  25. Gravity God created the dark energy devil of deception illusion? If Gravity is a law of the universe, then why is it weakening by dark energy expansion since the last 2 billion years? I don’t buy Hawkings Gravity Universe of Nothing idea. Spontaneous annihilation of everything is equally applicable to spontaneous creation. Perhaps the Universe is fractal size-scaled by the CMB as a bose-einstein condensate. When space expands cools to absolute zero, it condenses into one huge black hole like the big-bang, or mini-black holes heat evaporating constantly would be fractal size-scaling. space would simulaneously exist and vanish during condensation into a black hole. Dark energy constantly cools more space and forms more larger black holes.

  26. black and white holes spontaneously annihilate and create everything, at all fractal size-scales from mini to monster CMB. The big-bang could have been a huge chunk piece of space a bose-einstein condensate that formed at absolute zero by dark energy expansion condensation cooling. this could explain the coma cluster galaxy observations being older then the big-bang CMB age. Condensates imploding like the big-bang 14.6 BY ago, would not disturb pre-existing galaxies like the coma cluster !

  27. The structures the SDSS has found is similar in structure to the fractal structure of the anisotropy of the CMB. There is this problem of so called fine tuning. Yet I suspect that there is some renormalization of structure that preserves a Hausdroff dimension. These structures are signatures of some type of scaling principle that as yet is not known.


  28. Hydrazine wrote ideas similar to mine (http://BHA-in-LA-CA.Spaces.Live.com/default.aspx). Her analogy surpasses in clarity anything I conceived, though I would substitute “legislature, police and courts” for the DMV.

    Lawrence B. Crowell (September 2nd, 2010 at 2:43 pm) clarified some of the issues which I posed in my earlier opinion at that URL.

    Olaf writes agreeably too.

    Thank you all.

    Unless UniverseToday censors the URL, efficiency demands that I not copy here the text I posted there (quod vide).

    BHA (my initials)

  29. As we can see over the course of history that scientists give a theory and after a while change their statements. Theories keeps changing and its not a new thing in Hawking’s case. He might switch back to God if he didn’t like his new “discovery”
    He says the science laws can be called a God but not a living being. Rules are also made by someone and they do not create themselves.

  30. @astroquest09

    Rules are also made by someone and they do not create themselves.

    How come you to this conclusion that something must create it?
    And please, don’t use the mantra: “because it is logical”, or “I have a hunch”
    What scientific measurable data do you have that it must be created by someone?

    When you dig deeper into the mathematics then you pretty fast that no one with logical thinking could ever deduce these types or rules in the universe. The speed of light only is one such example. The speed of light and moving of light is so crazy that it is impossible to even come to this conclusion by logical thinking only. But it is there, it is measurable, and you can measure it by yourself at home just having a laser and a bit of optics right there at your kitchen table.

    The reason why you come to the conclusion that something must have created it is because your human mind simply cannot grasp what the maths mean and somehow tries to make a human representable out of it to get some oversimplified grasp of reality. This oversimplification induces artefacts like assuming that something intelligent must have created it.
    This same oversimplification assumes that electrons orbits an atom just like a mini planetary system. It is a model, a very oversimplified model, but the model is useful to do chemical and electronics calculations with it.

  31. I really think there is a need for many to simplify reality and assume some fatherly figure made the laws of physics. We tend to think understanding of our world can be had by “deducing” and “thinking” rather than testing. Take Hydrazine’s comments on understanding God through theology. We create these demons and angels in our minds to represent our own problems and virtues. These ideas are written down and passed down through the ages and become theology. Knowledge of “God” is a fine philosophical endeavor – but it doesn’t mean in reality, a God actually exists.

    Gods exists in our heads.

  32. Maybe I need to correct myself. Gods exist: they are the civilizations that have survived their technological adolescence. Few and far between as they may be.

  33. @Uncle Fred

    An alien is not exactly what I would call a god what most people believe.
    Even if you have listening devices and recording devices in every human implanted you still cannot process the data having a private god alien that is always near you unless you crate a planet sized call centre of a billion aliens looking at the monitors? .

  34. Paul Davies & John Webb say new evidence from two telescopes from quasar light beacons, reveals the fine-structure constant alpha 1/137 value has weakened and strengthened in opposite directions in space and time. This means Newton’s Grav Constant would vary, as we know light speed does vary c traveling slower thru liquid water. The laws of physics believed the same everywhere in the universe would change too ! They will be publishing a new update later this year with far better data then in 2002. If proved true, then the atoms in our body are unique to our visible universe, and cannot exist when these otherwise believed irrefutable mathematical constants have even slight changes. Black holes have incredible constants proportional relationships that could instead be near approximations that change over time. Anything GOES including E=mc2 if the fine-structure constant changes, or perhaps just a minor velocity factor would be added to Einstein’s relativity equation to fit the measurements?

  35. Lol OLAF.

    Very true. Yet maybe the idea that civilization can be made successful in the long term IS something worth believing in?

    Besides, given a few million years of development, they’d likely be Gods to us anyway (=

  36. I agree with Stephen Hawking. The whole concept of God along with the thousands of Gods that we have created, have all been intelligently designed by man, not the other way around. As time on earth goes on and older generations of people pass each younger generation will have ever increasing access to the growing mountains of scientific evidence that disproves our god delusions and opens humanity’s eyes to the natural beauty and complexity of the universe. The supernatural is purely superstition. Eventually our species will grow out of our superstitions as we mature in our evolution as an intelligent species, and science is the reason we will do this.

  37. As for who made the so called laws of physics, it could be argued we did. The laws of physics are mathematical axiomatic systems which derive regular patterns or occurrences observed in nature. There are various schools of thought, but it might be considered that there are really no laws as such, but that we humans impose them on nature based on what we observe. This is the thesis of Victor Stenger. Others would argue that the regular patterns observed must point to some mathematical regularity, where quantum mechanics could further be argued as the fundamental “logic” underlying everything. There is one guy (Polis as I recall his last name), who I don’t agree with particularly, who says there must be a meta-conservation law which keeps a law working. Of course this requires a meta-meta-law and infinitely up the chain, which results in his argument for the necessity of a God to hold the laws of the universe together. I am not interested in these hierarchical arguments that have the laws of nature stove-piped this way.


  38. LBC I never thought about it. The physic laws, also time is an invention by humans. Simplifications in order to understand reality.

  39. Science (the word human created for a vast of knowledge) creates Life (one of it as human being), Human creates Religions (many of it and numbers keep increasing as long as it has followers), Religions claims it creates both Science & Life.

    I don’t think there will be an answer that can satisfy we all; Instead of keeping discussing pro & con, why not we “registered” another new religion called SCIENCE, with series/volumes of bible named “Journals of _____”.

    Now we all have the religion we believed, no more issue about God(s) exist or not.

    P/s: I think most of us when mentioned “God”, we mean Jesus. But ever think others religion found in different countries – Japan, India, China, Malaysia etc? there all claims is theirs God who creates the universe. Therefore, even the argument has proved that God does exist, the question never end following by whose God is among the Real or God of Gods?

    Human…always love troubling their mind haha, Cheers! =D

  40. @clament ,

    you cannot register science as a religion. Science lacks believe because it bases itself on real testable and measurable data.Believe is not required.

    Maybe science cannot measure it right now for example the Higs boson. But there science gives ways to test the Higs boson and actually built the LHC to check if it is really out there.

    If religion would be the same as science than that religion would now have covered Earth with tons of sensors, camera’s, recording equipment build huge machines just to get a glimpse of this so called god. They would probably have used the latest DNA techniques to find the Jesus by reverse tracing the DNA. Archaeology would be used to trace back the bibles locations to separate the fiction that got into the religious texts with real facts.

  41. @ Olaf

    Thanks for reading my words, no offensive are intended, just wish peoples stop pulling Sc & art & God knowledge together, whether believe it or not, as if the existing of ghost, nothing much will gain from this topic. I believed prof. Hawking not really meant to eliminate the existing of any Gods, just the process doesn’t necessary involves Him to be occurred.

  42. Dear readers of this ” The Grand Design” of Steven Hawking,

    I completely agreed that we are living in Amazing world, its nature whether underwater, in the sky and on the ground. But I am not agreed at all the fact God not needed for the universe to be created. Why? because you Amaze how beautiful is this Universe but not accepted the Creator? How much more amazing be the Creator of this wonderful world we live.
    You use the wrong tools to discover who is Higher, Higher, then human being.
    If the Universe is not created by God, who creates this Universe any quotation? Or were there another Universes existed by itself proofed in historicity? Or will there be another Universe has to be created in the future?
    To discover religious fact required religious tools, based on science will always result within Scientific framework.

    We do not need Science to pray/ approach to God.
    We do not need technical knowledge to fellowship with God.
    We do not need to educate to pray to God.
    Prayer with humble heart find God.

  43. By the way, who created God?? spontaneously appear? simple & short answer thank you. I will read no more than two lines.

  44. @Jeffrey

    You used the typical mantra “who created the universe then” indicating you do not know enough of science because you oversimplify the science and invent some human like figure to explain it.
    If you dig into the science (= maths) behind it then you pretty fast discover that no intelligence is required to create this universe.
    And recent papers also suggest you require very minimal energy to start all this. similar like the tiny explosive to start a nuclear reaction in an atomic bomb.

  45. @JEFFREY,

    What I would like to know is: if ‘God’ created the Universe, then ‘He’ must have got the “Build Your Own Universe” kit from some celestial A.C.M.E. depot — so who the bloody hell created that?

  46. I beg to differ with Stephen Hawking about his recent announcement that God did not have a hand in cration of the universe. My disagreement with the learned scientist’s claim is substantiated by the fact that given any number of combinations of the basic building blocks of life viz., amino acids, nucleotides, sugar,and phosphate,etc., life has never been created in any of the laboratories the worldover. Science just remains clueless about how life first developed on our mother planet and elsewhere in the universe. Life has never emerged from non-life. This is suggestive of the evolution of life having bearing on the existence of some supernatural force, whom we rever as ‘Almighty’ or as ‘God’. Readers may like to refer to the review article “Origin of Life” published in the peer-reviewed European journal, ‘Astrophysics & Space Science’ (2008, Volume 317, Issue 3-4, pp. 267-278), e-print of which is freely available on internet at the website: http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0907/0907.3552.pdf for the current status of scientific research in the inter-disciplinary field of ‘origin of life’.

    Moreover, Hawking wrongly refers to the ‘Big Bang Model’ as the viable explanation for origin of the universe.The said model is highly controversial with number of inconsistencies (the redshift controversy being the most hotly debated controversy) brought to the notice of the scientific community by leading researchers in the field from time to time. It is ironic that the mainstream cosmologists have remained indifferent to accept the cosmological realities despite several loopholes with the said model. The prominent shortcomings with the Big Bang model have been detailed in the article titled “Big Bang Model? A Critical Review” published in the ‘Journal of Cosmology’ (2010, Vol.6, pp. 1533-1547), e-print of which is freely available for international viewership
    at the website: http://vixra.org/pdf/1005.0051v8.pdf .

    Ashwini Kumar Lal, New Delhi

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