Was Hawking academically fascist?

April 22, 2019

    In his post-humous publication entitled Brief Answers to the Big Questions, Professor Stephen Hawking strengthens his naturalistic view against God. His argument proceeds as following.

    First, whether God is exist or not, according to Hawking, is a valid question in science (Hawking, 2018, p. 59).

    Second, the natural laws suggest that the universe can pop up by itself, and it is possible that Big Bang is caused by nothing (Hawking, 2018, p. 68).

    Third, the powerful gravitational pull of a floating black hole distorts and warps time and light (Hawking, 2018, p. 68).

    Fourth, time was not exist prior to Big Bang (Hawking, 2018, p. 70).

    Fifth, God did not have time to make the universe because there was no time prior to the Big Bang. It is comparable to asking for directions to the edge of Earth while on the contrary the planet does not have an edge (Hawking, 2018, p. 70).

    Hawking perorates with a question whether God think on complicated matters such as the M-theory in eleven dimensions or not (Hawking, 2018, p. 72).

    If an astrophysicist like Hawking may investigate God by non-religious measurements, then one may evaluate Hawking’s premise on the basis of non-physics; for the sake of fairness.

    Hawking’s first premise is what Paul Feyerabend, a 20th century philosopher of science, calls as fascism of science where scientists impose scientific methods to examine non-science because they take it for granted that the former is superior.

    His second and fourth premise presume that there was only one Big Bang happened in 13.7 billion years ago.

    Nonetheless, there is a minor view called the cyclic model of the universe which says the universe experiences cooling and expansion in endless cycles which is marked by the Big Bang and the Big Crunch. In other words, the last Big Bang was only one out of many bangs in the past and future.

    The third premise contradicts the nature of time which is indefinite. If time could have been stopped by the floating black holes, then time were not indefinite.

    Moreover, his fifth premise is also problematic. It assumes that God is situated in time or the universe is identical to God (pantheism).

    However, there are some other divine concepts such as panentheism (where the universe is part of God), emanation (where things in universe flow from God) or Sufism (where men can mystically unify with God).

    It would be fair if an investigation of God is conducted based upon each particular divine conception.

    Had Hawking defended his naturalistic view based upon a particular divine concept, he could have done justice to himself and religious communities.

    Furthermore, physics and astronomy have their own boundaries. Let us say only empirical celestial bodies can be investigated in astronomy and physics.

    Unfortunately, Hawking oversteps such limits, and hastily jumps into a general conclusion against all types of divinity.

    Of course we should applaud his works but it does not mean he may spout whatever discourse he was not well trained of (such as divinity or theology) as much as theologians who are not well trained in science should hold themselves not to interfere to astronomy and physics.

    The way Hawking wrap up his discussion on God ridicules all divine conceptions but in fact too many divine conceptions to be criticised. While he forgot that a half truth is a whole lie, he should have been specific in attacking one or some divine conceptions.

    If such criticism is sound, then Hawking was lamentably fascistic in the realm of academia.

    Bogor 20 Oct 2018.

Tentang Penulis

Qusthan Abqary - I am a lecturer and teach some subjects such as Ethics and Social Awareness, Corporate Governance and Ethics, Business Ethics, Critical and Creative Thinking and others. My research interests are political philosophy, ethics, peace, and war.

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