Home » Atheism, Design inference, Fine tuning, Intelligent Design » Bruce Gordon’s Article on Stephen Hawking

Bruce Gordon’s Article on Stephen Hawking


In a recent Washington Times article, written by the Discovery Institute’s polymath Bruce Gordon, Gordon discusses the soundness of Stephen Hawking’s argument made recently which states that the universe could have been brought into existence merely by the laws of nature.

Stephen Hawking‘s new book, “The Grand Design,” co-authored with Leonard Mlodinow, contends that God is not necessary to create the universe because the laws of physics can do it alone. The “new atheist” crowd will cheer this message, but their credulity is a matter more of fiery sentiment than of coolheaded logic.

Mr. Hawking asserts that “as recent advances in cosmology suggest, the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously 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 light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.” But “spontaneous creation” minus any cause illustrates the lack of an explanation rather than scientific comprehension. It also runs counter to a question Mr. Hawking voiced years ago: “What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?”


Mr. Hawking should take a cue from his earlier self. His question notes the difference between mere mathematical descriptions and genuine explanations. Mathematical descriptions tell us what mathematical relationships hold among phenomena but not why they hold. Genuine explanations tell us how things actually work – that is, why such descriptions apply and are effective. Quantum theory applied to gravitation and cosmology allows mathematical descriptions of highly speculative conjectures that, even if taken seriously, provide no explanation of the events they conjure. Aside from the dearth of evidence lending credence to these speculations, their explanatory impotence is inherited from ordinary quantum mechanics, which describes measurable phenomena with great accuracy but provides no understanding of why particular quantum outcomes are observed. As Richard Feyman said, “The more you see how strangely nature behaves, the harder it is to make a model that explains how even the simplest phenomena actually work, so theoretical physics has given up on that.” Quantum physics forsakes genuine explanations for amazingly accurate mathematical descriptions in which efficient material causality is nowhere to be found.

Read the rest of the article here.

It seems rather obvious to me that the laws of nature never cause any event, they are only the pattern to which events must conform once they are induced to happen. But laws of nature cannot provide the inducement. It seems obvious to me also that without nature (in a time or position prior to the universe existing) there would be no laws of nature. Laws of nature are reactions, and there are two criteria that must be met before a law of nature (that is, a pattern an event takes) can exist. There must first be nature itself to provide the possibility of any event whatsoever, and the second is that the event must be set in motion.  Any law of nature can be said to be like a reflection in a mirror—there first must exist a mirror, and then there must be light that reflects from it. A reflection without a mirror and with no light reflecting from it seems incoherent to me. In the same way, a law of nature without nature itself and without an event set in motion seems equally incoherent.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

6 Responses to Bruce Gordon’s Article on Stephen Hawking

  1. But “spontaneous creation” minus “any cause illustrates the lack of an explanation rather than scientific comprehension.”

    The popular interpretation of Quantum Mechanics is also anything but comprehensible. Yet, it correctly explains most of the phenomena at the atomic level. Comprehensibility is a problem that only exists in the brain. You are trying to correlate two unrelated problems.

  2. nikkipolya:

    Among many weird things I could choose from in quantum mechanics let’s look at this one,, Exactly why does the quantum wave collapse?? What exactly is the ’cause’ of wave collapse?? The problem of finding adequate causation for quantum wave collapse (that did not involve God) was enough to drive Everett to deny the obvious and postulate the absurd Many Worlds interpretation instead:

    The Everett many-worlds interpretation, formulated in 1956, holds that all the possibilities described by quantum theory simultaneously occur in a multiverse composed of mostly independent parallel universes.[39] This is not accomplished by introducing some new axiom to quantum mechanics, but on the contrary by removing the axiom of the collapse of the wave packet:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics

    Perhaps you say Everett’s Many Worlds in not absurd, if so,, then in some other parallel universe, where Elvis is president of the United states, you actually do think Many Worlds is absurd,, and that I find to be absurd!!! but that one example from Many Worlds is just small potatoes to the absurdity that we could draw out if Many Worlds were actually true.

    ,,,Einstein hated the loss of determinism that quantum mechanics brought forth to physics, yet on a deeper philosophical level, I’ve heard one physics professor say something to the effect that the lack of determinism in quantum wave collapse actually restored free will to its rightful place, or probably he said something more like this,,, ‘the proof of free will is found in the indeterminacy of the quantum wave collapse”.,,, And as is quite obvious, free will is taken as obviously true by all societies, or else why should we spank our children or punish anybody in jails if they truly had no free will to control their actions?

    But all this ‘philosophy’ of the obviousness of free will coupled to the lack of stricy determinism in physics is beside the point of empirically establishing God as the primary cause of quantum wave collapse:

    notes:

    Further weight for consciousness to be treated as a separate entity in quantum mechanics, and thus the universe, is also found in the fact that it is impossible to ‘geometrically’ maintain 3-Dimensional spherical symmetry of the universe, within the sphere of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, for each 3D point of the universe, unless all the ‘higher dimensional quantum information waves’ actually do collapse to their ‘uncertain 3D wave/particle state’, universally and instantaneously, for each point of conscious observation in the universe just as the experiments of quantum mechanics are telling us that they do. The 4-D expanding hypersphere of the space-time of general relativity is insufficient to maintain such 3D integrity/symmetry, all by itself, for each different 3D point of observation in the universe. The primary reason for why the 4D space-time, of the 3D universe, is insufficient to maintain 3D symmetry, by itself, is because the universe is shown to have only 10^79 atoms. In other words, it is geometrically impossible to maintain such 3D symmetry of centrality with finite 3D material resources to work with for each 3D point in the universe. Universal quantum wave collapse of photons, to each point of ‘conscious observation’ in the universe, is the only answer that has adequate sufficiency to explain the 3D centrality we witness for ourselves in this universe.

    The Known Universe by AMNH – video (please note the centrality for our point of observation in the universe)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17jymDn0W6U

    From a slightly different point of reasoning this following site, through a fairly exhaustive examination of the General Relativity equations themselves, acknowledges the insufficiency of General Relativity to account for the ‘completeness’ of 4D space-time within the sphere of the CMBR from different points of observation in the universe.

    The Cauchy Problem In General Relativity – Igor Rodnianski
    Excerpt: 2.2 Large Data Problem In General Relativity – While the result of Choquet-Bruhat and its subsequent refinements guarantee the existence and uniqueness of a (maximal) Cauchy development, they provide no information about its geodesic completeness and thus, in the language of partial differential equations, constitutes a local existence. ,,, More generally, there are a number of conditions that will guarantee the space-time will be geodesically incomplete.,,, In the language of partial differential equations this means an impossibility of a large data global existence result for all initial data in General Relativity.
    ,,,

    The following article speaks of a proof developed by legendary mathematician Kurt Gödel, from a thought experiment, in which Gödel showed General Relativity could not be a complete description of the universe:

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: Gödel’s personal God is under no obligation to behave in a predictable orderly fashion, and Gödel produced what may be the most damaging critique of general relativity. In a Festschrift, (a book honoring Einstein), for Einstein’s seventieth birthday in 1949, Gödel demonstrated the possibility of a special case in which, as Palle Yourgrau described the result, “the large-scale geometry of the world is so warped that there exist space-time curves that bend back on themselves so far that they close; that is, they return to their starting point.” This means that “a highly accelerated spaceship journey along such a closed path, or world line, could only be described as time travel.” In fact, “Gödel worked out the length and time for the journey, as well as the exact speed and fuel requirements.” Gödel, of course, did not actually believe in time travel, but he understood his paper to undermine the Einsteinian worldview from within.

    The fact that photons are shown to travel as uncollapsed quantum information waves in the double slit experiment, and not as collapsed particles, is what gives us a solid reason for proposing this mechanism of the universal quantum wave collapse of photons to each conscious observer.

    Double-slit experiment
    Excerpt: In quantum mechanics, the double-slit experiment (often referred to as Young’s experiment) demonstrates the inseparability of the wave and particle natures of light and other quantum particles. A coherent light source (e.g., a laser) illuminates a thin plate with two parallel slits cut in it, and the light passing through the slits strikes a screen behind them. The wave nature of light causes the light waves passing through both slits to interfere, creating an interference pattern of bright and dark bands on the screen. However, at the screen, the light is always found to be absorbed as though it were made of discrete particles, called photons.,,, Any modification of the apparatus that can determine (that can let us observe) which slit a photon passes through destroys the interference pattern, illustrating the complementarity principle; that the light can demonstrate both particle and wave characteristics, but not both at the same time.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D.....experiment

    This following experiment extended the double slit experiment to show that the ‘spooky actions’, for instantaneous quantum wave collapse, happen regardless of any considerations for time or distance i.e. The following experiment shows that quantum actions are ‘universal and instantaneous’:

    Wheeler’s Classic Delayed Choice Experiment:
    Excerpt: Now, for many billions of years the photon is in transit in region 3. Yet we can choose (many billions of years later) which experimental set up to employ – the single wide-focus, or the two narrowly focused instruments. We have chosen whether to know which side of the galaxy the photon passed by (by choosing whether to use the two-telescope set up or not, which are the instruments that would give us the information about which side of the galaxy the photon passed). We have delayed this choice until a time long after the particles “have passed by one side of the galaxy, or the other side of the galaxy, or both sides of the galaxy,” so to speak. Yet, it seems paradoxically that our later choice of whether to obtain this information determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago. So it seems that time has nothing to do with effects of quantum mechanics. And, indeed, the original thought experiment was not based on any analysis of how particles evolve and behave over time – it was based on the mathematics. This is what the mathematics predicted for a result, and this is exactly the result obtained in the laboratory.
    http://www.bottomlayer.com/bot.....choice.htm

    Thus the cause is shown to tied directly to our ‘quantum observation’, And of course all this leads us back to this question. “What does our conscious observation have to do with anything in collapsing the wave function of the photon in the double slit experiment and in the universe?”, and furthermore “What is causing the quantum waves to collapse from their ‘higher dimension’ in the first place since we humans are definitely not the ones who are causing the photon waves to collapse to their ‘uncertain 3D wave/particle’ state?” I can only think of one sufficient explanation;

    Psalm 118:27
    God is the LORD, who hath shown us light:,,,

    In the following article, Physics Professor Richard Conn Henry is quite blunt as to what quantum mechanics reveals to us about the ‘primary cause’ of our 3D reality:

    Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger by Richard Conn Henry – Physics Professor – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the “illusion” of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism (solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist). (Dr. Henry’s referenced experiment and paper – “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 – “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007 (personally I feel the word “illusion” was a bit too strong from Dr. Henry to describe material reality and would myself have opted for his saying something a little more subtle like; “material reality is a “secondary reality” that is dependent on the primary reality of God’s mind” to exist. Then again I’m not a professor of physics at a major university as Dr. Henry is.)
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/aspect.html

    Professor Henry’s bluntness on the implications of quantum mechanics continues here:

    Quantum Enigma:Physics Encounters Consciousness – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: It is more than 80 years since the discovery of quantum mechanics gave us the most fundamental insight ever into our nature: the overturning of the Copernican Revolution, and the restoration of us human beings to centrality in the Universe.
    And yet, have you ever before read a sentence having meaning similar to that of my preceding sentence? Likely you have not, and the reason you have not is, in my opinion, that physicists are in a state of denial…
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-designer/

    As Professor Henry pointed out, it has been known since the discovery of quantum mechanics itself, early last century, that the universe is indeed ‘Mental’, as is illustrated by this quote from Max Planck.

    “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
    Max Planck – The Father Of Quantum Mechanics – (Of Note: Max Planck was a devout Christian, which is not surprising when you realize practically every, if not every, founder of each major branch of modern science also ‘just so happened’ to have a deep Christian connection.)

    ————–

    I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe:

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

    further notes:

    Quantum mind–body problem
    Parallels between quantum mechanics and mind/body dualism were first drawn by the founders of quantum mechanics including Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Niels Bohr, and Eugene Wigner
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.....dy_problem

    “The ‘First Mover’ is necessary for change occurring at each moment.”
    Michael Egnor – Aquinas’ First Way
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....first.html

    ,,,,

    ,,,,That the mind of a individual observer would play such an integral, yet not complete ‘closed loop’ role, in instantaneous quantum wave collapse to uncertain 3-D particles, gives us clear evidence that our mind is a unique entity. A unique entity with a superior quality of existence when compared to the uncertain 3D particles of the material universe. This is clear evidence for the existence of the ‘higher dimensional soul’ of man that supersedes any material basis that the soul/mind has been purported to emerge from by materialists. I would also like to point out that the ‘effect’, of universal quantum wave collapse to each ‘central 3D observer’, gives us clear evidence of the extremely special importance that the ’cause’ of the ‘Infinite Mind of God’ places on each of our own individual souls/minds.

    Psalm 139:17-18
    How precious concerning me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.

    ————-

    Quantum Consciousness – Time Flies Backwards? – Stuart Hameroff MD
    Excerpt: Dean Radin and Dick Bierman have performed a number of experiments of emotional response in human subjects. The subjects view a computer screen on which appear (at randomly varying intervals) a series of images, some of which are emotionally neutral, and some of which are highly emotional (violent, sexual….). In Radin and Bierman’s early studies, skin conductance of a finger was used to measure physiological response They found that subjects responded strongly to emotional images compared to neutral images, and that the emotional response occurred between a fraction of a second to several seconds BEFORE the image appeared! Recently Professor Bierman (University of Amsterdam) repeated these experiments with subjects in an fMRI brain imager and found emotional responses in brain activity up to 4 seconds before the stimuli. Moreover he looked at raw data from other laboratories and found similar emotional responses before stimuli appeared.

    etc.. etc..

  3. “It seems obvious to me also that without nature (in a time or position prior to the universe existing) there would be no laws of nature. Laws of nature are reactions, and there are two criteria that must be met before a law of nature (that is, a pattern an event takes) can exist.”

    Question: Why could the laws of nature not exist in the mind of God prior to creation?

  4. NZer,

    Question: Why could the laws of nature not exist in the mind of God prior to creation?

    I reckon they could.

  5. Dr. Bruce Gordon gives a very nice lecture in the last 30 minutes of this video:

    What Contemporary Physics and Philosophy Tell Us About Nature and God – video Fr. Spritzer, Dr. Bruce Gordon
    http://www.mefeedia.com/watch/32512834

  6. I share a link sent to me:

    The Gimp Who Would Be God.

    http://takimag.com/article/ste.....uld_be_god

Leave a Reply