Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J. "'The Universe Coming From Nothing' Makes No Sense."

Why would a preeminent physicist make the claim that “the universe can come from nothing?” This is precisely what Dr. Stephen Hawking has done in his new book, The Grand Design,” when he notes, “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.”  

This statement betrays Hawking’s fundamental assumption about the universe, namely that it came from nothing. But why would a preeminent physicist assume that the universe came from nothing? Presumably, because he believes that there are reasons for thinking that the universe had a beginning.

Let me put it in reverse: If one believes that there is significant evidence for a beginning of the universe then one is confronted with the question, “what was the universe before the beginning?” If the beginning is truly a point at which the universe came into existence then one is confronted by the fact that prior to the beginning, the whole physical universe was nothing. 

What’s my point? If Dr. Hawking does not believe that there is any reason to think that the universe had a beginning (from physics or philosophy), then why does he even bother to speculate about how the universe could spontaneously create itself from nothing? I am left to assume that Dr. Hawking does believe there are reasons for thinking the universe had a beginning – otherwise his contention about “the universe coming from nothing” makes no sense.
Read (here) the rest of the article by Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.


Anonymous said...

I believe the problem may be that Dr. Hawking has ventured to explain his physics with ordinary English, that is, without mathematics. But theoretical physics or science cannot be separated from mathematics without destroying much. So to address the philosophical issue he wished to tackle he was left with English and logic.

It's unclear if he's claiming that the universe 'spontaneously' emerged from nothing or from gravity. Of course, if indeed he argued that it emerged from gravity then he begs the question as to where that came from? If gravity is eternal and uncreated, he would still have to explain why the universe is intelligible. Does he mean that 'the law of gravity' is intelligent? What does he mean by intelligence? Does he mean that gravity is an intelligent thing, process, force or law? Does he mean it's intelligence itself? When was all of this scientifically proven? Or has he meant it only as a hypothesis?

Or is he writing philosophy and inadvertently implying that for him 'gravity' is God, that is, as First Cause?

If, on the other hand, he meant that the universe came from nothing, then he has admitted that the universe had a beginning. In effect, he'd be arguing that before the universe (or any universe for he writes of a multiverse), there was nothing. But then the (a) universe popped up. But that's unintelligible. Why did it pop up?

BTW, an excerpt of Dr. Hawkings book can be found at:


Ron Krumpos said...

In "The Grand Design" Stephen Hawking postulates that the M-theory may be the Holy Grail of physics...the Grand Unified Theory which Einstein had tried to formulate and later abandoned. It expands on quantum mechanics and string theories.

In my e-book on comparative mysticism is a quote by Albert Einstein: “…most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and most radiant beauty – which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive form – this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of all religion.”

Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity is probably the best known scientific equation. I revised it to help better understand the relationship between divine Essence (Spirit), matter (mass/energy: visible/dark) and consciousness (fx raised to its greatest power). Unlike the speed of light, which is a constant, there are no exact measurements for consciousness. In this hypothetical formula, basic consciousness may be of insects, to the second power of animals and to the third power the rational mind of humans. The fourth power is suprarational consciousness of mystics, when they intuit the divine essence in perceived matter. This was a convenient analogy, but there cannot be a divine formula.

NeoSUFI.Tato said...

TORTOISE (Hinduism) and DRAGON (Taoism) are symbols for ENERGY or WAVE, both are analog with MAGEN DAVID (Judaism). "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is the metaphor, also Thawaf seven times circling around the Ka'ba and Sa’i oscillating along “the sinus” Marwah-Shafa during rituals of the Hajj (Abraham).
"A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME - From the Big Bang to Black Hole" by Stephen W. Hawking is the best scientific interpretation of AL QUR'AN by a non believer. It is also a “genuine bridge stone” for comprehensive study of Theology. Surprise, this paradox is a miracle and blessing in disguise as well. So, it should be very wise and challenging for Moslem scholars to verify my discovery.
NeoSUFI visionary strategic thinking.