People Believe What They Want to Believe, Even Genius Scientists


I have said it before, and I will probably say it again (and again): people believe what they want to believe. I am reminded of that truism after reading the intriguing article by Robin Schumacher, Stephen Hawking’s Three Arguments Against God, published in The Christian Post. Truism? Because I say so! In effect that is exactly what Stephen Hawking’s arguments amount to.

I say that with the absolute greatest amount of deference to his enormous intellect of course. Really! I mean it. I am no genius, and I do not claim to be one. It seems to me, however, that our inclinations to believe (or not believe) have less to do with our intellect and more to do with our feelings, our will and our willingness or unwillingness to accept an agency that is greater than ourselves.

I imagine you are smirking right now. That is fine. I understand, but I stick to what I just said. It does not take a genius to recognize what is going on.

The Schumacher article addresses Hawking’s arguments against God very well. You should read it for yourself. The arguments are not very earth shaking, which in itself is disappointing coming from the person who may be considered the most intelligent man of our time. In making his argument, Hawking begins with suppositions that are pure tautology: Hawking says, “the universe can and will create itself from nothing.” Pausing very long on this assertion is uncomfortable at best, with the question, “why”, arising inevitably out from the pause.

Hawking relies on M-Theory for the assertion that the universe creates itself out of nothing. Aside from the complex set of principles of M-theory that “provide a framework for developing a unified theory of all of the fundamental forces of nature,” the bare assertion is simply tautological. It is the equivalent of “just because”. I am reminded of the emperor with no clothes.

The assertion that universe had a creator is no less tautological (as a bare assertion). It is only clothed in simpler attire. The article quotes Tim Radford who observes this point about Hawking’s assertion:

M-theory invokes something different: a prime mover, a begetter, a creative force that is everywhere and nowhere. This force cannot be identified by instruments or examined by comprehensible mathematical prediction, and yet it contains all possibilities. It incorporates omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence, and it’s a big mystery. Remind you of Anybody?

There is more to the article, of course, but the essence of it is that the arguments for the nonexistence of God are no less compelling then the arguments for the existence of God – actually much less compelling in my opinion.

There are only two possibilities: “it can only be matter before mind [materialism] or mind before matter [design].” Either life and intellect arose from inanimate and inane matter, or life and intellect arose from life and intellect. Which makes more sense to you?

Which one a person believes stems from something other than reason and science because reason and science have yet to prove, and may be incapable of proving, which of the two possibilities is correct. The source for belief, I suggest, is implied in the following statement of Hawking quoted in the article:

“Many people do not like the idea that time has a beginning, probably because it smacks of divine intervention.”

It is a matter of “like”; a matter of preference; a matter of choice. People believe what we want to believe, even genius scientists.


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