Stephen Hawking, a renowned scientist, has come out with a book that says that the universe doesn’t need God to exist. This has caused a stir, and you can read a nice article/commentary on it on DiscoveryNews “Stephen Hawking Is Such a Troublemaker.”
But what caught my attention more than this simple bit of news (I expected as much from what I know of Hawking) is this paragraph by the author of the above article, Ian O’Neill. I was struck on how many problems this statement has:
“Personally, I totally agree with Stephen’s point of view. It’s far more fascinating to think the Big Bang is purely a consequence of physics with no supernatural being influencing its creation. Alas, the human brain tends to rationalize extremely complex cosmological events as being proof that only ‘a God’ could have done it.”
On the second sentence, how is it more fascinating if there were merely natural, finite, impersonal and random processes than if there were a supernatural, infinite, personal and purposeful God? The existence of a Character who created the universe and caused me to exist who I could get to know is so much more fascinating and mesmerizing than mindless physical laws that just happen with no ultimate cause. From whatever angle you look at it, anything and everything you would ever need to satisfy your fascination is found in God yet not found in physics. Physics is wonderful and truly fascinating, but the One who invented physics must be more wonderful and truly more fascinating. I’m not dissing physics, but it’s just true when the finite meets the infinite. Thus, O’Neil’s sentence baffles me. Even if you don’t believe there is a God, you could you disagree that God would be more fascinating than physics if there was one.
Second problem, to repeat his last sentence: “The human brain tends to rationalize extremely complex cosmological events as being proof that only ‘a God’ could have done it.” I interpret this to say that humans have a natural bent toward trying to explain cosmology with God. O’Neil speaks as if he “knows better” than to go with this human tendency. But does he?
This brings up three questions – where does our ability to rationalize come from? Does this tendency mean something? And doesn’t this tendency make sense?
1) Why does our brain even try to do rationalize or use logical thinking? Rational thought coming from irrational natural processes just cries out ludicrous. If this is true, then rationality is really untrustworthy – which is what Mr. O’Neil is saying at least of this God-ward thinking tendency, but in doing so he undercuts the rationality used for even discussing physics or “knowing better” than going along with other thinking humans.
2) That a human mind would tend toward an all-powerful God seems rather odd. Why would humans conceive of something so inconceivable? Where would did our idea of God come from if no God exists? How can the finite consider the infinite when all it has ever known is finiteness?
3) Any extremely complex event needs an explanation or an originator. Whether it’s a computer, an intricate wood carving, or a science textbook, complexity is always being rationalized. That’s the nature of science itself. Finding rational explanations for what we see. Isn’t this good? Therefore if someone looks to an explanation for complexity and thinks of Someone who designed it, it is a completely rational thing to do; especially when you’re talking about the universe, something more complex than any human-created item for which we assume an originator.
Well, there’s another ramble. Any thoughts? Am I representing O’Neil fairly?