Hawking Is a Great Mind but Not a Master of Debate

The Evening Standard (London, England), September 3, 2010 | Go to article overview

Hawking Is a Great Mind but Not a Master of Debate


Byline: John Cornwell

EVER since publication of his Brief History of Time in 1988, Professor Stephen Hawking has been a brilliant purveyor of hyperbolic sound-bites. He argued in that fantastic best-seller that the future goal of physics was to discover a formula that would explain how the Universe began. He called it a "Theory of Everything". It would even enable us "to know the mind of God". He was being sarcastic, of course.

Now, in advance of a new Hawking co-authored book, we have the soundbite to end all scientific and theological sound-bites: "God did not create the Universe."

His reasoning? "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 ... It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going."

It was one thing for him to make that earth-shattering promise about the quest for God's mind. But does Hawking's new claim cut the mustard? He actually talks vaguely about clusters of Theories of Everything and lards his claim with conditionals. Even worse, there is a whopping hole in his logic -- comparable to the Black Hole that he famously discovered. And you don't have to believe in God to see it.

If the law of gravity "caused" the Universe to come into existence, it is nonsense to say that the Universe came from "nothing". Surely the law of gravity counts as "something"? Hawking has not explained why something came from nothing.

He boldly goes on to say that "philosophy is now dead" and physics has all the answers. Yet that logical slip exposes him as philosophically naive. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Hawking Is a Great Mind but Not a Master of Debate
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.