Home » Intellectual freedom » Does world famous cosmologist Stephen Hawking believe in intellectual freedom?

Does world famous cosmologist Stephen Hawking believe in intellectual freedom?

Maybe not.

Columnist Mona Charen notes here:

Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned physicist and celebrity, has cancelled a planned trip to Israel to participate in a conference sponsored by Israeli President Shimon Peres. His explanation: “I have received a number of emails from Palestinian academics. They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott. In view of this, I must withdraw from the conference.”

It’s an odd world isn’t it? By what inverted moral calculus does someone of Hawking’s stature find it morally problematic to set foot on the soil of the region’s only democracy? One wonders how many other nations has Hawking declined to visit in order to express his disapproval of their policies?

A glance at his CV reveals that Hawking visited the Soviet Union in 1973. Russia is no human rights picnic today (it is one of two chief sponsors of the Assad regime in Syria, for example), but those were the bad old days of Brezhnev, when uprisings for freedom in Hungary and Czechoslovakia were ruthlessly suppressed, the KGB inspired terror and scientists who displeased the regime were packed off to the Gulag.

The incredibly well traveled Hawking also visited Iran in 2007 for the International Physics Olympiad. His conscience was apparently untroubled by the stoning of adulteresses, imprisonment without trial, torture and the persecution of religious and ethnic minorities — to say nothing of arming terrorists and threatening to wipe countries off the map.

No, because anything that encourages the idea that humans are just meat puppets is good right? Oh, by the way, while we are here anyway:

Here’s John Lennox critiquing Stephen Hawking’s cosmology.

And this. Materialist atheists don’t care about violations of human rights because humans are just animals anyway, right?

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12 Responses to Does world famous cosmologist Stephen Hawking believe in intellectual freedom?

  1. OT: Physics team entangles photons that never coexisted in time – May 28, 2013
    Excerpt: Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have succeeded in causing entanglement swapping between photons that never coexisted in time.
    The idea seems not just counterintuitive, but impossible—that photons could be entangled that never existed at the same time,,,
    In this new effort, the team in Israel,, has proven it’s possible by actually doing it.
    Entanglement is, of course, where the quantum states of two particles are linked—what happens to one happens to the other regardless of the distance between them. This new work shows that they can be linked via time as well.
    To prove it, the researchers first used a laser to cause entanglement between a pair of photons, P1, P2. They then measured the polarization of P1, which was immediately followed by the entangling of another pair of photons, P3, P4. This was followed by measuring P2 and P3 simultaneously and causing them to become entangled with one another—a process known as projective measurement. Then, P4 was measured. Measuring P1 caused its demise of course—before P4 was born—but the measurement of P4 showed that it had become entangled with P1 nevertheless, if only for a very short period of time.
    The researchers suggest that the outcome of their experiment shows that entanglement is not a truly physical property, at least not in a tangible sense. To say that two photons are entangled, they write, doesn’t mean they have to exist at the same time. It shows that quantum events don’t always have a parallel in the observable world.
    http://phys.org/news/2013-05-p.....isted.html

    Hmmm, entanglement being able to transcend not only space but now time as well, but aren’t events that transcend time and space suppose to be impossible in the materialistic worldview?

  2. 2

    The incredibly well traveled Hawking also visited Iran in 2007 for the International Physics Olympiad. His conscience was apparently untroubled by the stoning of adulteresses, imprisonment without trial, torture and the persecution of religious and ethnic minorities — to say nothing of arming terrorists and threatening to wipe countries off the map.

    Iran is just a small fish. He visited Barack Hussein Obama, the president of the U, S and A, in 2009. Was he troubled then?

  3. What does this have to do with evolution or ID? Please consider that Darwin skeptical readers might occupy positions other than Zionist/neocon on the political spectrum. I don’t see much point in alienating them, do you?

  4. Would you believe in God if you were like Hawking?

  5. ‘Would you believe in God if you were like Hawking?’

    No Arms, No Legs… No Problem!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XB7r-1t9_RY

  6. 6

    I’m glad he’s boycotting. Im YEC and very right wing.
    Israel receives heaps of billions of yankee money just because of identity as Jews.
    Its a evil thing to take ones peoples money and give it to another without cause except to enrich them. Better to give to the hurting part of mankind if Americans are not to keep it for their happiness.
    Israel IS a third world country and has a third world morality as I see it.
    They are the bad guys along with other bad guys.
    if Israel is a “democracy” then a higher standard should be employed.
    Anyways Israel is not a part of modern scientific accomplishment unless its from immigrants and paid by Christian Yanks.

    I admire Hawkings for prevailing over his disease and being a voice for intellectual thought however I don;’t see why he’s presented as accomplished in science. Wiki says he just did a few things.
    I don’t see him as intellectually a achiever in science. What did he patent??
    I think its about books or the general mistake of exalting well degree-ed people.
    Nevertheless this time he got it right. Lord heal him and bless him.

  7. Robert Byers@6:

    I don’t see him as intellectually a achiever in science. What did he patent??

    *facepalm*

    He explained how the universe came into being. He, along with Roger Penrose, wrote papers explaining the mechanics of black holes. “Patenting” something has nothing to do with achievements in science. Mendelev didn’t patent anything, and neither did Nels Bohr or Max Planck or Sir Isaac Newton.

  8. Barb, while I agree with you that Hawking has done impressive work, explaining “how” the universe came into being is not one of his impressive works. Indeed Hawking’s most impressive work was accomplished, in conjunction with Ellis and Penrose around 1970, in which they extended Einstein’s space-time theorems to show that not only did matter-energy have an absolute beginning but that space-time itself must have n absolute beginning. Thus his most impressive work did not show ‘how’ the universe came into being but merely that it did come into being.

    Big Bang Theory – An Overview of the main evidence
    Excerpt: Steven Hawking, George Ellis, and Roger Penrose turned their attention to the Theory of Relativity and its implications regarding our notions of time. In 1968 and 1970, they published papers in which they extended Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity to include measurements of time and space.1, 2 According to their calculations, time and space had a finite beginning that corresponded to the origin of matter and energy.”3
    Steven W. Hawking, George F.R. Ellis, “The Cosmic Black-Body Radiation and the Existence of Singularities in our Universe,” Astrophysical Journal, 152, (1968) pp. 25-36.
    Steven W. Hawking, Roger Penrose, “The Singularities of Gravitational Collapse and Cosmology,” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, series A, 314 (1970) pp. 529-548.
    http://www.big-bang-theory.com/

    Of note:

    “When this paper was published (referring to the circa 1970 Hawking, Penrose paper) we could only prove General Relativity’s reliability to 1% precision, today we can prove it to 15 places of decimal.”
    Hugh Ross PhD. Astrophysics – quote taken from 8:40 mark of the following link
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF1xSErF_f4

    As to Hawking’s subsequent work after 1970, the last that I’ve heard, the Hawking radiation of blackholes has yet to be measured and moreover his book ‘The Grand Design’, in which he does try to explain ‘how’ the universe came into being, is nothing of the sort. This following quote, in critique of Hawking’s book, is from Roger Penrose, who once worked closely with Stephen Hawking in the 1970′s and 80′s during his most productive years:

    ‘What is referred to as M-theory isn’t even a theory. It’s a collection of ideas, hopes, aspirations. It’s not even a theory and I think the book is a bit misleading in that respect. It gives you the impression that here is this new theory which is going to explain everything. It is nothing of the sort. It is not even a theory and certainly has no observational (evidence),,, I think the book suffers rather more strongly than many (other books). It’s not a uncommon thing in popular descriptions of science to latch onto some idea, particularly things to do with string theory, which have absolutely no support from observations.,,, They are very far from any kind of observational (testability). Yes, they (the ideas of M-theory) are hardly science.”
    – Roger Penrose – former close colleague of Stephen Hawking – in critique of Hawking’s new book ‘The Grand Design’ the exact quote in the following video clip:

    Roger Penrose Debunks Stephen Hawking’s New Book ‘The Grand Design’ – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5278793/

    Hawking stated in his book, ‘The Grand Design’:

    “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.The universe didn’t need a God to begin; it was quite capable of launching its existence on its own,”
    Stephen Hawking
    http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_.....wking.html

    John Lennox and others took severe issue with Hawking’s claim:

    Stephen Hawking is wrong – 2010
    “But contrary to what Hawking claims, physical laws can never provide a complete explanation of the universe. Laws themselves do not create anything, they are merely a description of what happens under certain conditions.
    What Hawking appears to have done is to confuse law with agency.
    – John Lennox
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/deb.....e-God.html

    Confusing law with agency is a profoundly deep logical error on Hawking’s part:

    “Universes do not “spontaneously create” on the basis of abstract mathematical descriptions, nor does the fantasy of a limitless multiverse trump the explanatory power of transcendent intelligent design. What Mr. Hawking’s contrary assertions show is that mathematical savants can sometimes be metaphysical simpletons. Caveat emptor.”
    Bruce Gordon – Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010

    of related note, even though Hawking’s most impressive work was to show that space and time must also, in conjunction with matter-energy, have a absolute beginning, he ignored his own work and drifted into ‘mathematical fantasy’ with M-Theory to imagine a multiverse with no beginning. Cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin poured cold water on Hawking’s mathematical fantasy here:

    Cosmologists Forced to “In the Beginning” – January 2011
    Excerpt: In New Scientist today, Lisa Grossman reported on ideas presented at a conference entitled “State of the Universe” convened last week in honor of Stephen Hawking’s 70th birthday. Some birthday; he got “the worst presents ever,” she said: “two bold proposals posed serious threats to our existing understanding of the cosmos.” Of the two, the latter is most serious: a presentation showing reasons why “the universe is not eternal, resurrecting the thorny question of how to kick-start the cosmos without the hand of a supernatural creator.” It is well-known that Hawking has preferred a self-existing universe. Grossman quotes him saying, “‘A point of creation would be a place where science broke down. One would have to appeal to religion and the hand of God,’ Hawking told the meeting, at the University of Cambridge, in a pre-recorded speech.”
    http://crev.info/2012/01/cosmo.....beginning/

  9. BA77@8: You’re probably right. I remember reading that he’d done some esoteric mathematics to show a “singularity” which represented the Big Bang, thus showing that the universe had a beginning and wasn’t simply eternal. However, he used “imaginary numbers” (??) and refused to convert them to real integers, which would have definitely shown the singularity, rather than having space-time curve around (as it did using the imaginary numbers).

    Just typing that up, I wonder: if a self-described Christian attempted to prove the universe’s beginning using imaginary numbers, how long before people in academia began ripping the theory to shreds? Seriously, imaginary numbers? Am I supposed to believe that intellectuals use imaginary numbers in real life, or something?

  10. 10

    I understand Hawkings has contributed to ideas about black holes or whatever. Yet this is minor stuff. Thousands of researchers have done at least this much in their fields.
    I don’t see Hawkings as having made a “patent” like newton or anybody that gets famous in science.
    What is It??
    i think its just he’s been givin a status because of acclaim in science circles.
    Then he’s written books and so on. I see this a lot. This sAgan guy and many more who get famous from the media but don’t actually contribute anything that will be remembered a century from now.
    I once saw Hawkings on a episode of Star trek, the series I never watched but noticed in passing, sitting with Einstein and newton.
    Oh no. hawkings has not done anything to get in that club.
    In fact I don’t understand what he’s accomplished except for being famous.
    What? Why shoul;d I esteem him as a science achiever?
    Wiki couldn’t tell me.

  11. Robert Byers@10:

    I understand Hawkings has contributed to ideas about black holes or whatever. Yet this is minor stuff. Thousands of researchers have done at least this much in their fields.

    No, actually, Hawking is one of the few who has developed theories about the origins and nature of blackholes. If you claim “thousands” of others have done so, then provide proof. Otherwise, it looks like you’re falling victim to illogical thinking.

    I don’t see Hawkings as having made a “patent” like newton or anybody that gets famous in science.
    What is It??

    Sir Isaac Newton formulated laws that explained gravity. Nobody has a patent on that. Thinking that gaining a patent on an invention is the only way to achieve anything in science is faulty thinking on your part.

    i think its just he’s been givin a status because of acclaim in science circles.
    Then he’s written books and so on. I see this a lot. This sAgan guy and many more who get famous from the media but don’t actually contribute anything that will be remembered a century from now.

    To my knowledge, Sagan held a PhD in some field. But he was more of a science popularizer with his series “Cosmos” in the 1980s. He also wrote extensively on science topics (The Demon-Haunted World; Broca’s Brain; Dragons of Eden). To say neither Sagan nor Hawking has contributed anything to science is ludicrous.

    I once saw Hawkings on a episode of Star trek, the series I never watched but noticed in passing, sitting with Einstein and newton.

    If you get most of your science information from Star Trek, you are in serious trouble.

    Oh no. hawkings has not done anything to get in that club.
    In fact I don’t understand what he’s accomplished except for being famous.

    Maybe you should try reading Hawking’s book first before condemning him.

    What? Why shoul;d I esteem him as a science achiever?

    Because he has written peer-reviewed scientific papers which explained the phenomena of black holes. Because he has tried to explain how and why the universe came into being.

    If you refuse to even acknowledge what Hawking or even Sagan have done for science, that says more about your total lack of scientific knowledge than anything else.

  12. 12

    barb
    I asked and all you tell me if he did great things. Relative to his fame I don’t see anything to justify him as a achiever in science. Anymore then thousands of people who have done this or that in science.
    Why is he acclaimed so highly? i say its without scientific merit. Other reasons are behind it.
    Black hole musings is chump change. its not like Newton or Edison.
    i wish him well and respect him for enduring MS but I don’t see him as a important or even close scientist of our times.
    just famous for unscientific reasons.

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