When did Steve Hawking stop talking about God?
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15-05-2014, 07:43 PM (This post was last modified: 15-05-2014 08:07 PM by rampant.a.i..)
When did Steve Hawking stop talking about God?
I remember attending one of Stephen Hawking's lectures at Cal-Tech when I was fairly young, and remember reading A Brief History of Time, and being a little dismayed that the lecture was a re-hashing of much of the material in A Brief History.

And here we are, in 2014, where Stephen Hawking is frequently referred to by fundamentalist popular culture as "That Atheist," as if he'd specifically come out against God, and A Brief History of Time is discarded as part of an academic denunciation of the Christian God.

What I remember most, though, is how reluctant Stephen Hawking was during the Q&A session, to answer questions about God. He deflected, and made some very generalized statements, to the point that I have always assumed Steve to be a deist, or at most an agnostic.

How does this happen? Did Stephen Hawking ever "come out" as a Gnostic Atheist, or does the cherry-picked quote it stand as part of the cultural backlash against anyone who would question the Christian tradition?

It's as if there was a cultural shift in the mid to late 90's, followed by a cultural inquisition; where suddenly any figure in science who had questioned any part of Christian dogma was in the crosshairs of a fundamentalist movement that would later seek to erode the very foundation of modernity they built their recidivist movement upon.

What interests me about this is that I read Hawking when I was in the full-swing, secular teenage "seeker" quest to become religious. I sought to find something that resonated with me, aligned with science and this potential "need" for a creator; I not only entertained any idea of the Divine, as attractive in itself, but as a possible necessity. Things were too amazing to have wholly natural origins and lack "deeper" dimensions.

It's curious to me now, looking back, to realize the New Wave of Christian Fundamentalism that would reject anything that might question their worldview prima facie, would cause me to reject deism in later years, because they seemed incapable of examining their own beliefs critically, and seemed to be severely lacking in faith. Otherwise, why would they reject simple questions?

It makes me sad, looking back, realizing at some point Stephen Hawking publicly decided to stop posing questions of faith because of the backlash from Fundamentalist Christians, because the fundies threw a tantrum large enough to scare Hawking away from asking basic questions; when the only reason for Hawking's fame originates in his ability to pose difficult questions.

Does this bother anyone else?

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes
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15-05-2014, 07:53 PM
RE: When did Steve Hawking stop talking about God?
"We are each free to believe what we want and it is my view that the simplest explanation is 'There is no God.' No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization. There is probably no heaven, and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that, I am extremely grateful."
-Stephen Hawking (source)

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15-05-2014, 08:09 PM
RE: When did Steve Hawking stop talking about God?
(15-05-2014 07:53 PM)Vosur Wrote:  "We are each free to believe what we want and it is my view that the simplest explanation is 'There is no God.' No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization. There is probably no heaven, and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that, I am extremely grateful."
-Stephen Hawking (source)

But that's my problem. How could someone so brilliant pose such a simple question, only to be edited down because he did not share a cultural belief, and yet continue to be edified because he questioned shared cultural beliefs?

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes
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15-05-2014, 08:22 PM
RE: When did Steve Hawking stop talking about God?
It's a bit of a paradox in American culture, it seems.

Society touts the value of "standing up for what you think is right," and "not giving in just because everyone tells you to."

As. long. as. you. give. in. to. what. everyone. deems. is. right.

As long as you don't "stand up" when they don't want you to.

As long as you think Christianity is right.

A person very dear to me was badly hurt through a misunderstanding and miscommunication. For this, I am sorry, and he knows it. That said, any blaming me for malicious intent is for the birds. I will not wear some scarlet letter, I will not be anybody's whipping girl, and I will not lurk in silence.
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15-05-2014, 08:26 PM
RE: When did Steve Hawking stop talking about God?
I don't know if you could say he was silenced by fundies

more likely it was a personal conflict with someone close (butt hurt avoidance).
or simply "why bother, wasting electronic breath on the ignorant".

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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15-05-2014, 09:23 PM (This post was last modified: 15-05-2014 09:43 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: When did Steve Hawking stop talking about God?
It's hard to find it all spelled out in one spot, but in "The Grand Design", (written with Dr. Leonard Mlodinow ,,, from where else, Caltech of course Tongue ..2010) most of what he says leads me to think he is a non-believer. P, 172 "We claim however, (speaking of the *first cause argument*) that it is possible to answer these questions purely within the realm of science, and without invoking any divine beings".

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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