Bruce Gordon’s Article on Stephen Hawking
|October 4, 2010||Posted by Clive Hayden under Atheism, Design inference, Fine tuning, Intelligent Design|
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.