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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:40 PM 
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This could just as well go in A&E, since I'm mostly talking about Hawking's recent appearance on the Discover Channel's series, Curiosity. But I figured the folks who like to talk about science and religion spend a lot more time in R&R, so here goes.

Hawking's new book, The Grand Design argues that "one can't prove that God doesn't exist, but science makes God unnecessary." Hawking went on Curiosity last week to talk a little more about this. The basic premise is that theologians often define God as a "first cause," which in the context of modern cosmology boils down to something like the spark that caused the Big Bang. But Hawking argues that, since mass and energy can spontaneously arise through vacuum fluctuations (and their analog in the early universe, which I don't claim to understand), there needn't be a Creator to spark the Big Bang. Indeed, since time doesn't exist inside a spacetime singularity, like a black hole or the universe in its earliest conditions, our current scientific understanding removes the possibility of a Creator, at least in this sense of the word.

Heady stuff. I'm paraphrasing heavily; if you're interested check out the vids below.







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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:47 PM 
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The second part of the show was a panel discussion between a theologian, a cosmologist/hard atheist, and an physicist/agnostic. A couple of other physicists and astronomers with varying religious backgrounds also have cameos.

Vids:





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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:49 PM 
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At this point, I imagine the list of people on our dusty little corner of the interweb whose eyes haven't yet glazed over in boredom probably includes about five people :P Anyhoo, hope someone enjoys these ideas. I'll pop back over in a couple of days and add my own impressions, if anyone cares :D


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 3:49 PM 
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Quote:
...since time doesn't exist inside a spacetime singularity, like a black hole or the universe in its earliest conditions, our current scientific understanding removes the possibility of a Creator, at least in this sense of the word.

I gotta admit, I love this quote. I bet it would make a good Facebook status, just to get some people scratching their heads.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 6:38 PM 
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Indeed, since time doesn't exist inside a spacetime singularity, like a black hole or the universe in its earliest conditions, our current scientific understanding removes the possibility of a Creator, at least in this sense of the word.


Was this part of the paraphrasing? =p If not, I'm still wrapping my head around the pretty gargantuan leap from "a god is unnecessary for all this to happen" to "removes the possibility of a Creator".

Why would time be needed to create the spark? If, whatever happened inside that original formation ended up causing the Big Bang, who is to say that whatever "natural" causes were still attributable to a supernatural being?

Beyond that, the non-existence of time inside a singularity is still theoretical, even if mathematically sound.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 8:40 PM 
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Haha, yeah, looking back I went a little overboard with the paraphrasing there. The leap from "removing the necessity for God" to "removing the possibility" was pure nooj, and it's wrong. Occam's Razor kinda suggests that if the creator postulate is unnecessary, it should be removed, but ymmv.

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Beyond that, the non-existence of time inside a singularity is still theoretical, even if mathematically sound.

Hmm, I agree, as long as by theoretical you mean "an accepted scientific theory, well-supported by empirical evidence." Not that we can test conditions inside a black hole directly, but general relativity is an established and well-supported theory. GR is the theory that Hawking and a few thousand other working cosmologists use on a daily basis to make predictions about all kinds of stuff, conditions inside black holes included.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 6:15 AM 
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There are also working and accepted theories that relativity as we've tested it stops working once you cross the singularity.

That's the fucked up thing about physics is that you can have multiple accepted but unproven theories, because until something drastic changes, then we have no way of verifying them.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 11:19 PM 
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Neat videos, but they gloss over some stuff I wish they had spent a bit more time; the idea that things at the sub-atomic level pop into and out of existence is not something I'm familiar with.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:17 AM 
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It's even smaller than "subatomic" -- it's sub-nucleus, all the parts that make up protons and neutrons (quarks) are really fucked up pieces of physics.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:24 AM 
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Vanamar wrote:
It's even smaller than "subatomic" -- it's sub-nucleus, all the parts that make up protons and neutrons (quarks) are really fucked up pieces of physics.

He specifically said protons though which really threw me.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:40 AM 
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Not having watched the videos yet, I'm going to assume that he's boiling things down to basics, rather than delving deep into the component particles of protons.

Protons are made up of two up quarks and a down quark. Occasionally a fourth quark is seen inside a proton (a "strange" quark), which will disappear as fast as it appeared.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:39 AM 
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Heh, I'm halfway through a physics PhD and I don't claim to really understand this stuff. I don't do cosmology or particle physics, I just think they're really interesting. The phenomenon Hawking is referring to, though, is pair production: the spontaneous creation of a particle/antiparticle pair out of the very small but nonzero energy at any point in spacetime. To my knowledge, the pair needn't be the quarks Vana describes. Proton/antiproton, electron/positron, etc. pairs are all allowed (more technically, all quantum numbers just have to be conserved). The idea, broadly, is that the particle and its antiparticle are equal but opposite in every way: one has positive mass, the other negative; if one has a +1 charge, the other is -1, and so on. The wiki article on vacuum energy gives a little more detail.

Incidentally, this is the same process by which black holes lose mass over time, called Hawking radiation. Wiki article here.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:41 AM 
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Vanamar wrote:
Not having watched the videos yet, I'm going to assume that he's boiling things down to basics, rather than delving deep into the component particles of protons.

Protons are made up of two up quarks and a down quark. Occasionally a fourth quark is seen inside a proton (a "strange" quark), which will disappear as fast as it appeared.

This is exactly the point I'm raising, I'm familiar with the basics of physics whereas my knowledge of the sub-atomic level is almost nil. Obviously this is the challenge you have with such a program, tailoring the content to the level of knowledge the average viewer has.

I also would've liked to have learned more about anti-matter.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 2:58 PM 
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This is why the religious side will always have the advantage in the eyes of the common populace.

To be at the absolute pinnacle of theological expertise as it relates to this argument, you need only be able to utter the words, "God did it."

To be considered even partially knowledgeable in the scientific fields that relate to this topic...well, it takes a bit of specialization.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:57 AM 
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Bovinity Divinity wrote:
This is why the religious side will always have the advantage in the eyes of the common populace.

To be at the absolute pinnacle of theological expertise as it relates to this argument, you need only be able to utter the words, "God did it."

To be considered even partially knowledgeable in the scientific fields that relate to this topic...well, it takes a bit of specialization.


Yet is your understanding of this any different than the belief in creation? Do you have any grasp at all of what is being said or are you blindly believing that its true or could be true because its science. Ignorance is ignorance under any veil.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:30 PM 
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Yet is your understanding of this any different than the belief in creation? Do you have any grasp at all of what is being said or are you blindly believing that its true or could be true because its science. Ignorance is ignorance under any veil.


Yeah, that's the beauty of science, I can actually go out and study and learn things. Our capacity isn't limited to, "God did it. Also we have an old book."

It's cute when the religious side tries to paint science as being equally about "faith".


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:02 PM 
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Bovinity Divinity wrote:
It's cute when the religious side tries to paint science as being equally about "faith".


But I'm not from the religious side. I'm just annoyed when people poke fun at others for their beliefs when they themselves are clueless. Your understanding of this topic is based entirely on accepting what someone you consider an authority has told you. Would you have believed him if he told you that sub particals called midiclorians bind all life together through an energy field called the force? How is your understanding of this topic any different.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:12 PM 
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1) You're assuming that no one in this thread - specifically myself - either knows or is capable of knowing anything about this topic. Bad news, that's your first mistake.

2) You refer to something totally silly like midiclorians. This is where science is - once again - a great thing. Someone COULD claim it's all magical midiclorians, but would quickly be asked to provide some sort of proof or at least substantiating theory. It's not like religion where you can just say whatever and people have to accept it.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:20 PM 
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Bovinity Divinity wrote:
1) You're assuming that no one in this thread - specifically myself - either knows or is capable of knowing anything about this topic. Bad news, that's your first mistake.


I implied you didn't know anything about the topic, that's why I quoted you. You were also the only one taking a jab at others for being ignorant. Noojen, a guy working on his phd, and Argrax, a mechanical engineer admit to having difficulty understanding the depth of this but you, a guy without an university undergraduate degree, have the background, knowledge and brains to fully grasp it. Sorry for thinking you a dumbass, my bad.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:27 PM 
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Sorry for thinking you a dumbass, my bad.


Apology accepted. Now you can move on. =)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:57 PM 
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Mathematics is the only true science. Everything else is as bullshit as the bible.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:16 PM 
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I'll give an amen to that. Myrtle would agree!


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 1:13 PM 
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Sadly, the videos are gone. I wanted to watch them, but waited too long. :/


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:48 PM 
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I bet God made them go away.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:20 PM 
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Why didn't you save them to your HD? Coulda just watched em later!


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:00 AM 
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Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. From the premise that a model does not need a creator, the conclusion does not follow that it must not have one.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 8:29 AM 
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But until there is evidence it is merely a belief based on faith. Hawking isn't saying there is no god, he's saying one wasn't necessary.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 6:29 PM 
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Scroll up - I was responding to an argument that used that premise to suggest there couldn't have been one.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 11:39 PM 
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Tranthas wrote:
Scroll up

see posts 5-6, Tranny me boy


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:04 AM 
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Oh, then lemme clarify. Post 6 uses Occam's razor in an attempt to remove things that have not been demonstrated to be impossible, a necessary requirement of Occam's razor.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:41 AM 
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God did it. :bootyshake:


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