Professor Stephen Hawking has dismissed entirely the notion that a God had any hand whatsoever in the creation of the universe:
In the new work, The Grand Design, Professor Stephen Hawking argues that the Big Bang, rather than occurring following the intervention of a divine being, was inevitable due to the law of gravity.
In his 1988 book, A Brief History of Time, Hawking had seemed to accept the role of God in the creation of the universe. But in the new text, co-written with American physicist Leonard Mlodinow, he said new theories showed a creator is “not necessary”.
The Grand Design, an extract of which appears in the Times today, sets out to contest Sir Isaac Newton’s belief that the universe must have been designed by God as it could not have been created out of chaos.
“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,” he writes. “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.”
Poor poor creationists. They spend all their time bitching, moaning and whinging about the impossibility of the universe creating itself without a sentient, guiding hand (whilst ignoring where that came from), but Prof Hawking has undermined them quite comprehensively. There’s just no need for a God to explain anything in existence at all. I wonder how many imaginative ways the creationist lobby can a) dismiss his argument without addressing it b) invoke a theist, straw man argument to try to shift the burden of proof away from them yet again and c) lie about science until they’re blue in the face in the hope most people will believe them and not Hawking.
Dawkins’ documentary last night was damned entertaining, and occasionally painfully revealing. And the science teacher at the Islamic faith school who so totally dropped herself in it has responded:
Science is essentially mankind’s best effort at understanding the workings of the known universe, given our limited resources and intelligence. Learning about science is fun, fantastic and thought-provoking, especially discussions arising around ethical grey areas. However, it is important that children are made aware of the limitations of scientific endeavour lest they be corralled into a realm wherein nothing is worth knowing unless it has been determined by empirical scientific discovery.
If they were encouraged towards that worldview alone, I believe they would be receiving an education devoid of further enrichment from a faith-based narrative. I’m not in the business of wanting young people bereft of the entire canon of human belief systems. That religions have stood the test of time is testament to the human need for something other than that which we can prove or disprove.
As a teacher, I’d be doing my pupils a grave disservice if I insisted that the answers that science can give us should be the limit of our understanding of the world. Kids are bright and don’t need liberating from religion, especially if the alternative is limited to giving credence to atheistic secularism alone. Rather, equip them with all the alternatives and let them work it out for themselves.
I’m aghast at this. She’s debating her confrontation with Dawkins about evolution, which she as a science teacher disputed. I’ll accept (to a point) that history has shown at the very least a predilection for something other than what we can prove or disprove, but that has almost entirely been due to historical ignorance – we haven’t been able to figure out the answers about who we are and how we came to be. Now we can, and for her to say that metaphysics should or could in any way answer how humanity, the earth or the universe came to be is objectively wrong. By all means discuss the issues and run through the debates in a religious education class, but science alone does have the answers to these questions – to suggest there are religious/metaphysical/transcendental alternatives is in small or large measure an attempt to indoctrinate children (as Dawkins says) into believing ‘God’ has answers science doesn’t, thereby contributing to robbing them of the freedom to engage with the world critically.
I personally agree with Dawkins that children do need liberating from religion, at least from their parents’. But my bottom line from Erfana Bora’s argument is this: she is doing her pupils a horrible disservice by suggesting as a science teacher that science doesn’t provide all the answers to our understanding of the world – it does. If she disagrees with the theory of evolution, and suggests for a heartbeat that a religious text has any role in any way in explaining how life on earth has come to be, she shouldn’t be teaching science in a school funded by the British taxpayer. Very simple.
Well of course this is what creationist nutcases seem to think. Watch this video, which proves just how wrong their position on the science is. The world is not 6,000 years old.
I see so much garbage on the web and Twitter about how evolution is the ‘creation story’ to atheism’s ‘religion’ these days, and it really gets my back up. There’s little more infuriating to me than modern human beings denying reason, science or the proven natural order of things. How anyone can get away with being a religious literalist in this day and age in any society, given the wealth of evidence to back up the science, is completely beyond me. Just today I’ve spoken to a fool who insisted neanderthal man looked just like us, and without any sense of irony.
This video is just one attempt by evolutionary scientists to refute creationism and Biblical literalism, but it’s a good one. Enjoy.
“A society that turns its back on reason and prefers ideology is headed towards some kind of theocracy.” – James L Powell, Ph.D.