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Sunday, 22 April 2012





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Is a creator necessary?


In a series of provocative programs, articles and books, Prof. Stephen Hawking has said modern physics leaves no room for a Creator - and that science could explain the origins of the universe.

The best-selling author concludes: 'Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself 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 touchpaper and set the universe going.Prof. Hawking sets out to contest Sir Isaac Newton's belief that the universe must have been designed by God as it could not have created out of chaos.


He cites the 1992 discovery of a planet orbiting a star other than our Sun.'That makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions - the single Sun, the lucky combination of Earth-Sun distance and solar mass - far less remarkable, and far less compelling as evidence that the Earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings.'Prof. Hawking had previously appeared to accept the role of God in the creation of the universe, writing in A Brief History Of Time in 1988: 'If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason - for then we should know the mind of God.'


He also leaves open the possibility of life on other planets and entire new universes - the so-called 'multiverse'.

A Brief History of Time, 1988: If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason - for then we should know the mind of God.' In a recent documentary, Prof. Hawking states "It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going". He also says that the form of complex theoretical physics known as M-theory, a type of string theory, could be the 'holy grail' that will explain everything in the known universe.

Physicists have long sought after a universal theory that unites quantum theory, matter at the sub-atomic level, with gravity which explains how objects interact. He says: 'M-theory is the unified theory Einstein was hoping to find.


The fact that we human beings - who are ourselves mere collections of fundamental particles of nature - have been able to come this close to an understanding of the laws governing us and our universe is a triumph'.

No need for an initial cause. He is emphatic that our universe (and various multiverses) are the only thing in existence which did not need an initial "cause". He argues that this is what gives a lot of people the notion that there has to be a creator because "nothing cannot create something from nothing".

There is a cause for everything in our experience. For example, if you see a steaming hot cup of tea sitting on a chair in the middle of the room, you conclude that someone has built the chair, and someone else has made the tea, moved the chair to the centre of the room and left the drink there.

This is the premise upon which The Cosmological First Cause argument is built.

This is a large subject which I will address in a future column, since it deserves to be treated as a separate topic. When it comes to quantum particles, it has been proved that no action is required from any agent.


They have been observed in laboratory conditions to simply appear, disappear and reappear in a different place a few minutes later. This could be the key to the ultimate origins of the universe. Scientists such as Prof. Hawking believe that these particles may have simply kick started the universe from nothing. It is also possible that these quantum particles may have sprung from another universe, kick starting our own. In spite of this, Prof. Hawking still maintains that without other universes, our own could still have sprung into existence from these quantum particles quite randomly and without any cause.


A large part of the programs and literature attempt to account for the strange nature of reality as revealed by astronomers and physicists; to reconcile the apparent absurdities of quantum mechanics with the mind-stretching features of special and general relativity.

Also to explain why the forces of nature are apparently fine-tuned to allow the evolution of complex creatures such as ourselves.

As Hawking notes, only the tiniest altering of the constants that control nucleosynthesis in stars would produce a universe with no carbon and no oxygen and therefore no humans.


"Our universe and its laws appear to have a design that both is tailor-made to support us and, if we are to exist, leaves little room for alternation," he states. "That is not easily explained, and raises the natural question of why it is that way." The answer, he says, lies with the afore mentioned M-theory. (The M apparently stands for "master, miracle, or mystery".

The vital point is that M-theory allows for the existence of 11 dimensions of spacetime that contains not just vibrating strings of matter but also "point particles, two-dimensional membranes, three-dimensional blobs and other objects that are more difficult to picture."

Crucially the laws of M-theory allow for an unimaginably large number of different universes. Thus we exist because the laws of our particular universe just happen to be tuned to the exact parameters that permit the existence of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and other key atoms and which also generate laws that allow these entities to interact in ways that build up complex chemical combinations.

Other universes are not so lucky.M-theory is the unified theory of physics that Einstein was hoping to find and if it is confirmed by observation, it will be the successful conclusion to a search that was begun by the ancient Greeks when they started to puzzle about the nature of reality. "We will have found the grand design," Hawking concludes. It is all entertaining stuff, skilfully assembled and described in a fairly droll manner. The wave-particle duality of particles is described as being as foreign as drinking a chunk of sandstone, for example.

Life on other planets

He also argues that it is 'perfectly rational' to assume intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe.And in an extraordinary series of assertions, he said the Earth might be at risk from what he imagines to be 'massive ships' which could try to colonise our planet and plunder our resources. 'We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet. 'I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet.'Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.'It would be 'too risky' to attempt to make contact with alien races, he concluded.


In conclusion, to return to the main point; if science can prove that the universe/s came into existence without a cause, this has profound implications for religion, faith and philosophy. This is a subject which I have covered in previous columns, from a moral, social and emotional point of view. Yet it is interesting to cover the subject from the angle of Cosmological First Cause argument (or Etiological argument), with God and/or an infinite regress of multiple "gods" as Prime Mover/s in the appearance of universes.

Whichever way we look at this argument, it is a bit like going down a rabbit warren! Readers may well conclude that Prof. Hawking's belief that the appearance of the Universe was the only thing in existence that needed no cause, is a more effective way to stay sane than wondering who, or what, created God.



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