The Grand Design
The Grand Design By Stephen Hawking
(Published 9 Sept. 2010 and available here)
An assessment by Les Sherlock, March 2021, originally posted 2015
Stephen Hawking was hailed as the greatest thinker alive on the earth during his lifetime - even perhaps the greatest of all time. Indeed, he was given a prominent spot in the opening ceremonies at the London 2012 Olympic Games - what greater tribute could one have than this? (Slightly tongue in cheek!) So how dare a semi-retired, comparatively uneducated, piano tuner stand up and say such a man is fundamentally wrong in his conclusions on his strongest subject?
The answer is simple: my Father’s intellect is as far in advance of Hawking's as the latter’s is over an amoeba; and I am simply repeating what God has said is the truth. How do I know that I can calculate the length of one side of a triangle if I know the length of the other two sides? Because I worked out for myself that the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the square on the other two sides? No, of course not! My intellect is far too inadequate for that. But I know it is true because a greater intellect than mine worked it out, and I can take what he did, use it and reach the correct conclusion. Likewise, I know Hawking is wrong because a far greater intellect than his or mine has said so!
The Start and Goldfish Bowls
As an atheist, Hawking was handicapped from the start because he had decided before he even looked at the evidence that a creator does not exist; therefore whatever scientific evidence he considered he was always going to be calculating how it could be interpreted to fit his faith. Atheism is the belief that God does not exist, and is therefore just as much a religious faith as the belief that He does exist. Ultimately, God may perhaps neither be proved nor disproved by scientific observation; but as is shown throughout this website, the relevant scientific observations fit far better with the presence of a Creator rather than the absence!
So when on the very first page we read…
How does the universe behave? What is the nature of reality? Where did all this come from? Did the universe need a creator?
…we know his answer to the last question is going to be “No!”
I am aware that supporters of Hawking will aim the same criticism at me:
“You believe in a God, therefore you are prejudiced and skew the evidence to support your faith.”
One key difference between Hawking and me is that I accept my starting point is the presence of a Creator; while he claims he is purely working from unbiased scientific observation. This means he is blind to the foundation on which his reasoning is based; so he is unable to take account of this and is therefore vulnerable to the faulty conclusions that are bound to result from a faulty beginning.
For me, I was confronted with the problem that we all, without exception, start from pre-existing beliefs when discussing the Christian faith with Jehovah’s Witnesses who came to our door when I was in my mid-teens. See here for a page looking at their teaching.
Afterwards, I thought,
“What if they are right and I am wrong? How could I abandon the teaching I have been brought up with, and leave the church I have been attending since a baby to join them?”
It was an internal battle; but when it was won I determined that come what may, regardless of the cost or what I would have to do, I would seek out and follow the truth with as much energy as I could muster, where ever that would lead. This has been my attitude ever since. Does this mean I am superior to Hawkins, or anyone else? No! Of course not. I am a fallible human being who has proved over and over again how clever I am at making mistakes. So in order to try to counter this handicap, I read and research the subjects I have been dealing with on this site from every angle - and in the case of evolution this means reading many books written by avowed evolutionists as well as creationists.
This is the reason for my website: I have had the opportunity to read many books that others will not have had the time or opportunity to see for themselves. I can now share what I have understood from all this, and hope it will help people seeking the truth to reach a balanced conclusion.
I have laboured this point because, when confronting such a great mind as that of Hawking, one has to realise the obvious fact that, as I previously mentioned, a faulty foundation is bound to lead to an erroneous conclusion.
I mention Hawking's great mind because even an intellectual pigmy like me can work out basic arithmetic on the foundation that 2+2=4. It would take a super-intellect to make arithmetic work on the basis that 2+2=5!
In this book, Hawking spectacularly blows his cover with the admission that one’s prior belief is going to have a massive effect on his reasoning. So in chapter three of this book, ‘What is Reality’, we are given the example of a goldfish in a round bowl, whose view on reality will be distorted by the curvature of the bowl, but nevertheless, if very clever could produce a theory that appears to work, which while ‘true’ inside the bowl, is obviously not the way things really work in the outside world. For example, on page 53:
"The goldfish view is not the same as our own, but goldfish could still formulate scientific laws governing the motion of the objects they observe outside their bowl. For example, due to the distortion, a freely moving object that we would observe to move in a straight line would be observed by the goldfish to move along a curved path. Nevertheless, the goldfish could formulate scientific laws from their distorted frame of reference that would always hold true and that would enable them to make predictions about the future motions of objects outside the bowl. Their laws would be more complicated than the laws in our frame, but simplicity is a matter of taste."
So here is the clear admission that
[a] our view of reality is seriously affected by whatever ‘goldfish bowl’ we swim in
[b] if our belief system is being distorted by the ‘bowl’ then the ‘laws’ governing our conclusions about the universe are going to be more complicated than the real laws that brought it into being and control it.
Hawkins confirms point [a] explicitly on page 58:
"…there is no picture or theory-independent concept of reality."
On page 60 he goes on to say:
"…different theories can successfully describe the same phenomenon through disparate conceptual frameworks. In fact many successful theories that had proven successful were later replaced by other, equally successful theories based on wholly new concepts of reality."
This then confirms what I said at the beginning: our prejudices and beliefs will inevitably have a massive effect on our conclusions and the way we interpret scientific data; and the fact that scientific theories may be able to make successful predictions is not necessarily evidence that they are correct, as can be seen from earlier ‘proven’ theories that were later displaced by something different. So for atheists to pretend they have exclusive access to unbiased scientific reasoning while Christians, creationists and Intelligent Design followers are twisting science to fit religious fables is quite clearly untrue and unfair, as Hawking here has admitted.
However, if one is to accept Hawking’s statement that a distorted foundation of belief will result in more complicated laws than reality, then one has to look no further than his first popular book, A Brief History of Time - described by many as the biggest-selling book of all time that people have not managed to finish reading! Understanding Hawking's universe is beyond the reach of the average person, as most who try to wade through his books will have to admit if they are being honest.
Why are the laws in Hawking's universe so complicated? Because they begin from the faulty foundation that a Creator does not exist, and it takes a very complicated set of ideas to come up with a universe that can create both itself and the billions of mutations that, contrary to all observation, can increase the specified complexity of genomes and result in millions of different living things evolving from a single cell.
In the first chapter of The Grand Design, we are introduced to what Hawking believes is likely to be the ultimate theory of everything: M-theory. A highly complicated set of ideas, M-theory results from quantum theories - the study of the very small. The problem is that today’s knowledge of the tiniest particles of matter believed to exist is limited by what we are able to observe. And this is very limited!
At the time I originally wrote this part of the page, Spring - Summer 2015, there was great excitement because the revamped Large Hadron Collider had begun functioning and it was hoped it would produce for the first time evidence of particles never before seen. Will there be even smaller particles beyond those, though? Since the particles we can observe act in unpredictable ways, are there laws governing these particles based on those at a lower level we cannot see?
Of course, there is no way of answering such questions, because until we have the tools to observe them, or prove they do not exist, it is outside our ability to do so.
The reason I mention this is because the track record of evolutionists is not promising! Around or just before the start of the 20th century they categorically told us the human body contained around 100 vestigial organs: organs that had been needed by earlier evolutionary ancestors but no longer had any use, which had simply ‘hung around’ in every generation and we could live just as well and efficiently without them.
The reality was that these organs did have function, and the reason the scientists of the day believed they were useless relics of the past was not because they were useless but because of their inadequate understanding of the human body.
An identical blunder was made by Susumu Ohno in 1972 and parroted by evolutionists for the following 40 years, when he described 95% of human DNA as ‘junk’. The ENCODE project finally exposed the fallacy, which once again was based not on reality but the inadequate understanding of DNA and its function.
As can be seen from these two examples, scientific ‘facts’ presented to prove the Creator does not exist were based on lies that resulted from inadequate understanding. Therefore it is most unwise for today’s scientists, like Hawking, categorically to make claims for the existence of quantum laws, when they do not have the full story.
This is not to say such research should not be undertaken, of course. By all means continue to develop tools to further our understanding of the universe. But do not try to use your incomplete knowledge to deny the existence of the Creator, who doubtless has installed particles and processes to govern the quantum universe that results in quantum particle activity you cannot presently explain.
In the same way, He installed laws, mechanisms and processes that are essential for life within every living cell, with a complexity beyond modern scientists to duplicate. Indeed, they have been beyond the ability of scientists even to observe until recent decades, and may be beyond their ability to understand fully for many more decades, if ever!
I just mentioned ‘seeing’ particles; however Hawkins points out that in fact we cannot see the tiniest particles at all.
"In the case of subatomic particles that we can’t see, electrons are a useful model that explains observations like tracks in a cloud chamber…"
Speaking of British physicist J J Thomson, who it is said discovered the electron in 1897, he says:
"Thomson did not ‘see’ an electron, nor was his speculation directly or unambiguously demonstrated by his experiments. But the model has proved crucial in applications from fundamental science to engineering, and today all physicists believe in electrons, even though you cannot see them."
On page 65 Hawking also explains that quarks also cannot be seen, but that they explain the properties of protons and neutrons. Then on page 67 he mentions St Augustine - who said that time was created by God when He made the universe and did not exist before then - pointing out that this is a model favoured by those who take the book of Genesis literally. He then goes on to repeat the old chestnut:
"…the world contains fossil and other evidence that makes it look much older. (Were they put there to fool us?)"
For someone claiming comprehensive knowledge of the subject, one has to ask the question, is he deliberately lying here by presenting a question creationists have addressed many times over and pretending they have no answer, or is he ignorant of their response to it? In which case he clearly has not done his homework!
If he wished to criticise a theory, then it is unacceptable to present a simplistic objection without evidence or explanation. It is only the case that the world looks old when one takes the evolutionists’ narrow uniformitarian interpretation of the evidence and ignores the many observations that point in the opposite direction. For example see the conclusions from the RATE project for scientific evidence that supports a 'young earth', and here for the ten best evidences of this.
However, when comparing the conflicting models of creation and the big bang, while claiming the latter better explains fossil and radioactive records, and light coming from billions of light years away, he nevertheless concluded:
"…neither model can be said to be more real than the other."
I find it extraordinary that ‘Big Bangers’ are quite happy to accept that matter travelled faster than light in the early moments of the Big Bang because they claim the observable laws of the universe that prevent this would not have applied then (although they are unable to explain what could possibly trigger ‘inflation’ and then later stop it again), they nevertheless claim it is impossible for those laws to be overridden by the Creator of them during the act of creation! How inconsistent can you become?
In other words he returns to his original admission that one’s belief about origins is primarily dependent on the goldfish bowl in which you swim. This is important to understand, because the theories of scientists over the centuries are consistently based on the belief that their knowledge of the processes they are considering is sufficient to explain how it all works.
Indeed, Hawking took this attitude in his book. He accepted and described past theories that have been superseded by better ones as continued research has demonstrated their inadequacy. However, in this book he described processes at the quantum level which do not react according to any observable laws and assumes they are not governed by anything but rather are random, because he did not know of anything that would make them act in this way. So, for example, on page 85:
"In the first two thousand or so years of scientific thought, ordinary experience and intuition were the basis for theoretical explanation. As we improved our technology and expanded the range of phenomena that we could observe, we began to find nature behaving in ways that were less and less in line with our everyday experience and hence with our intuition..."
And on page 87:
"…there are many instances in science in which a large assemblage appears to behave in a manner that is different from the behaviour of its individual components."
In other words, a body acts differently to the atomic and sub-atomic parts from which it is made.
This assumes there is nothing else that is beyond our present ability to observe, that causes them to act in this way. I would suggest that with the track record of scientists pontificating on the basis of their incomplete knowledge, it is very likely that there is a great deal more going on than we could possibly know.
The Bible says that it is by wisdom that God created everything, but Hawking’s denial of the existence of God prohibits him from accepting there could be a mind greater than his own. Contrary to what evolutionists would have us think, science was founded on the belief of people who accepted the fact of a Creator, who, as an Intelligent Designer would create a universe that followed consistent laws and principles that could be studied and understood, and from which we could predict the way things would happen.
While today’s scientists still believe the universe follows such laws on the macroscopic scale, they are now telling us that this does not happen on the microscopic scale. It is my belief that this is inconsistent, and that in fact the same principle holds true throughout creation: it is simply the lack of knowledge and/or ability to observe what takes place in the sub-atomic area that leads them to this conclusion. It is illogical for a universe of regular laws to be built on a foundation of random activity.
"Quantum physics might seem to undermine the idea that nature is governed by laws, but that is not the case. Instead it leads us to accept a new form of determinism: given the state of a system at some time, the laws of nature determine the probabilities of various futures and pasts rather than determining the future and past with certainty. Though that is distasteful to some, scientists must accept theories that agree with experiment, not their own preconceived notions. What science does demand of a theory is that it be testable."
But do evolutionary scientists demand that their theories must be testable? Clearly not! The theory of evolution is based on the foundation that at some time in the past inanimate matter changed into a living cell due to no intelligent cause. There is no experiment that has demonstrated abiogenesis - life appearing from non-life - in any way; rather every experiment has only served to demonstrate how impossible it is. It is not testable: it happened once and once only according to evolutionary theory, but no-one can even begin to explain what form it took or how it occurred, since the simplest living thing ever observed is far too complex to have been able to form randomly from inanimate matter. Therefore abiogenesis is untestable, which means, according to Hawking, that it is not science.
In order for all of living things to evolve from a simple single cell, the complexity of its genome must increase by DNA becoming larger, and grow more specified as the new individual DNA elements take up the correct sequence to code for all the elements of life. The increase of specified complexity, which is an essential part of evolution, has never been observed and no experiment has ever achieved it. Rather, every observation of random activity is that it decreases specified complexity.
Since the only theory that agrees with experiment in these two essential areas is creation, because all of experience shows that these things could only occur through intelligent intervention, then according to this Hawking quote scientists should abandon evolution and accept Intelligent Design! Will they do this? While some have done so, most have not - in the words of Hawking, they continue to maintain their own preconceived notions.
Theory of Everything
"Our use of probabilistic terms to describe the outcome of events in everyday life is therefore a reflection not of the intrinsic nature of the process but only of our ignorance of it. Probabilities in quantum physics are different. They reflect a fundamental randomness in nature."
So while he accepts that our inability to predict exactly where a dart will land is due to our ignorance of such factors as the speed, spin and direction of the dart, he gives no consideration to the possibility that the unpredictability of quantum events is also due to our ignorance of everything that is taking place.
What we do know is certainly sufficient for us to utilise quantum mechanics to our advantage however, and indeed many modern devices - smart phones, laser beams, etc. - make use of it. A few weeks before I originally wrote this piece it was announced that quantum computers, apparently just around the corner, will be so far in advance of today’s computers they could undertake calculations that would take our present computers the entire age of the universe to complete. As that was seven years ago it appears a rather larger corner than we were lead to expect! Of course, this calculation is using the evolutionist’s estimate of the age of the universe: c13.7 billion years!
One of the common, untrue and tiresome complaints of evolutionists is that there are no scientists who believe in creationism and that a belief in creation hinders true science. This is not a claim that Hawking could make however, because after telling us that Isaac Newton’s law of gravity was the first force to be described in mathematic terms, on page 112 he says:
"…Newton believed that God could and did intervene in the workings of the universe."
As a Christian, Newton, like many other founders of scientific methods, believed our Creator-God would produce a universe that was orderly, run by consistent laws, and able to be investigated and understood.
“We account the Scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatever.”
Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
“Sir Isaac Newton was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian, who has been considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived. His monograph Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, lays the foundations for most of classical mechanics.”
In this chapter, The Theory of Everything, Hawking goes on to describe how the understanding of the forces of electricity and magnetism was furthered by Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell, both of whom believed in a Creator, although he does not tell us this. Read more quotes from Isaac Newton here; and see here for a list of creation-scientists, past and present. Contrary to the evolutionists’ claims, without men who had a belief in God, understanding of the basic laws that govern our universe would, at the very least, have been delayed.
So when Hawking goes on to say…
..it’s likely that our eyes evolved with the ability to detect electromagnetic radiation..
…it is clear that Newton, Faraday and Maxwell, on whose work he depends for his own understanding of the universe, would not agree with him that our eyes evolved!
On page 122 Hawking criticises Lord Kelvin for continuing to believe that ‘the ether’ exists when observation demonstrated the opposite:
"As we’ve said often happens, people try to save the model by contrived and ad hoc additions."
But this is precisely what he and many others are presently doing with the Big Bang theory, and as new observations demonstrate serious problems with it they bolt on new additions in order to try to preserve it: so much so that many evolutionary scientists now realise it is untenable. In the publication New Scientist, 30 June 2012, the cover article by New Scientist consultant Amanda Gefter, “What Kind of Bang was the Big Bang?” describes some serious problems with the present theories of the origin of the universe on page 35:
“We thought that inflation predicted a smooth, flat universe,” says Paul Steinhardt of Princetown University, a pioneer of inflation who has become a vocal detractor. “Instead it predicts every possibility an infinite number of times. We’re back to square one.” Tegmark agrees: “Inflation has destroyed itself. It logically self-destructed.”
(This quote can be seen here, although a subscription is required in order to read it.)
(Max Tegmark, cosmologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.)
Some years earlier, in New Scientist, May 22, 2004, was published a ‘Cosmology Statement’ complaining that virtually all financial and experimental resources in cosmology are devoted to big bang studies, when the theory only survives through a number of ‘fudge factors’. It then appeared on the Internet and was signed by large numbers of scientists across the world. The original page has now disappeared, but at the time of writing this page, the statement can be seen here, and begins:
"The big bang today relies on a growing number of hypothetical entities, things that we have never observed-- inflation, dark matter and dark energy are the most prominent examples. Without them, there would be a fatal contradiction between the observations made by astronomers and the predictions of the big bang theory. In no other field of physics would this continual recourse to new hypothetical objects be accepted as a way of bridging the gap between theory and observation. It would, at the least, raise serious questions about the validity of the underlying theory."
In a lecture I attended, given by Valerie Calderbank FRAS, she began, after telling us that the Big Bang Theory was the best explanation of the universe’s origin there is, by saying with reference to what she was about to tell us...
"If we get a better theory, then all this will be thrown away,"
…which proves that at best it is an unproven hypothesis, based on the belief that no kind of Intelligent Designer exists and therefore there can only be a naturalistic explanation for origins. So it’s foundation is not scientific observation, but the religious belief that God does not exist.
The problem for Hawking with his big bang theory and other scientists with alternative naturalistic explanations for the universe is that none of them work without, in Hawking’s words,
“contrived and ad hoc additions.”
This is hardly surprising, since it is obvious that if the universe was actually created by an Intelligent Designer then no naturalistic explanation can ever work! On page 139 he talks about…
“…a consequence of our lack of understanding.”
It becomes very clear from reading this book that scientific theories are simply ideas dreamed up by people trying to explain the universe, which are then tested against observation. Fair enough! This is the way our scientific understanding has brought us to the point where we can fly in the air, communicate with people in spaceships circling the moon, and use computers that at the beginning of my lifetime were stuff of science fiction. The problem arises when, on the basis of their incomplete knowledge and ‘lack of understanding’, they pontificate that they have proved the universe could have built itself and therefore God does not exist. At the same time they are aware that at the quantum level things take place in apparently random ways.
One of the inviolable laws of the universe is that you reap what you sow; or to put it in computer terms RIRO - rubbish in, rubbish out! Since it seems highly unlikely that an orderly universe could be built on random foundations, the obvious conclusion is that there must be something else going on that is directing it all. Today’s present knowledge may be able to make fairly accurate predictions at the quantum level, such that use can be made of it all to create previously impossible devises, but this does not mean that there is nothing else to learn or that current theories are not actually very far from the mark. It simply means, as in the past, that we know just enough to be able to make use of the principles in the universe that govern these areas, but that in the future a better understanding will radically alter our theories about them.
Choosing Our Universe
In the chapter ‘Choosing Our Universe’, an explanation is given about the ‘big bang’, and Hawking points out that if we extrapolate backwards, the universe reaches the point where it is so small it is the size of quantum particles, and therefore quantum theory comes into effect. Amongst other things, this means that time does not exist, so it is not possible to talk about what happened before because there was no ‘before’ if there was no time. Also, according to Feyman’s theories:
"…a particle does not have a unique history. That is, as it moves from its starting point A to some endpoint B, it doesn’t take one unique path, but rather simultaneously takes every possible path connecting the two points."
So at the beginning because it was a quantum event, there emerged from that tiny starting point a vast number of different universes, now known as the ‘multiverse’ theory. Every possible type of universe was formed with some collapsing again before they got very far and others developing into radically different existences.
This is all very well, but it assumes our incomplete knowledge of quantum physics is enough to reach this conclusion. But what if it isn’t? What if there is something else going on that is beyond our present ability to detect, that makes quantum particles appear to be taking ‘every possible path’, when in fact they are not?
On page 166 he points out that inflation, the period when the universe expanded massively faster than the speed of light, is necessary to account for an almost identical temperature throughout the universe, when there is simply not enough time for the areas of different temperatures to equalise without it. But once again, this is simply adding more speculation to rescue the theory that otherwise would not work. For inflation to take place, space has to be able to expand faster than the speed of light: what if it can’t? There is no way to test this: it has to be assumed in order to make the theory work. And as we have seen, predictions that work are not necessarily proof that a theory is correct; so the fact that inflation can be shown mathematically is not alone evidence that the universe did begin in this way.
In the chapter on the fine tuning of the universe - ‘The Apparent Miracle’ - Hawkins discusses some of the ways the universe reveals the intelligence that was required to produce it; but of course he claims that in a universe of billions of solar systems, one with a planet just the right size, just the right distance away from the sun, with just the right shape of orbit around it and just the right speed and direction of rotation, all this would be inevitable purely by chance. Of course there are many more elements, both on the microscopic scale as well as the macroscopic one, that have a very fine line between making life possible and impossible. So we have two quotes; the first:
"Newton believed that our strangely habitable solar system did not “arise out of chaos by the mere laws of nature.” Instead, he maintained, the order of the universe was “created by God at first and conserved by Him to this Day in the same state and condition.”"
This tells us two things. Firstly that one of the most significant scientists who ever lived, who lay the foundations of our understanding of the universe, was a Christian and a creationist. So much for the claims of evolutionists that creationism is a hindrance to science! The reverse is the case: it was belief in creationism that gave us the basics of science that has enabled our knowledge to build up to what it is today.
Secondly, what we see in the universe is clear evidence of design. You don’t get order out of chaos without intelligent input and no-one has ever seen an example of random activity producing anything other than disorder. This is why I think it is most unlikely that randomness at the quantum level is all there is: there must be something at a deeper level that is directing events in order for a universe to exist that operates according to clearly observable laws. For example :
…according to quantum physics, each particle has some probability of being found anywhere in the universe. So even if the chances of finding a given electron within the double-slit apparatus are very high, there will always be some chance of it being found instead on the far side of the star Alpha Centauri, or in the shepherd’s pie at your local cafeteria.
I love his dry sense of humour, seen here in the final phrase. It shines through in his book frequently and brings light relief to what would be difficult reading for many.
I find it incredible that atheistic scientists can say it is impossible for God to create a universe that is now around 6,000 years old with light reaching us from billions of light years away, and at the same time tell us that particles can travel from one side of the universe to the other instantly! How does that work? The main point, though, is that I would take the view Newton and many other high-ranked scientists took/take, and believe that whatever appears to be going on at the quantum level, for the result to be an orderly universe, there must be as yet unknown laws governing it all.
The second quote is from the atheistic scientist Hoyle:
“I do not believe that any scientist who examined the evidence would fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce inside the stars.”
In order to maintain his religious belief that God does not exist, in spite of what he could observe in the universe, Hoyle proposed his idea of an ‘intelligent universe’: the idea that the universe as a whole had intelligence and was directing evolutionary processes in order to produce life. A kind of impersonal ‘force’ similar to that seen in the Star Wars films. While he hated the idea of Christians taking his work and applying it to evidence for the existence of God, it is very clear that his ‘intelligent universe’ was but a step away from the Intelligent Designer revealed in the Bible.
Hawking gives a number of examples of the fine line between the universe being habitable or impossible for life, one being the fact that
"…a change of as little as 0.5 percent in the strength of the strong nuclear force, or 4 percent in the electric force, would destroy either nearly all carbon or all oxygen in every star, and hence the possibility of life as we know it."
Of course, both Hoyle and Hawking are assuming here that the carbon for carbon-based life-forms, such as ourselves, came from exploding stars scattering the carbon across the universe. There is no such problem for an Intelligent Designer; but with the chances of 99.5% that the strong nuclear force would be wrong and 96% that the electric force would be wrong, when both must be correct, one wonders how much faith atheists expect us to have in random events coming up with the goods against impossible odds in order to avoid the necessity of accepting the existence of God?
He points out that the universe and the laws by which it functions, have all the appearance of design, and admits
"That is not easily explained…"
It is only a problem for an atheist with an a priori belief that God does not exist and therefore everything must have an explanation that excludes the possibility of a Designer. In other words, the foundation of his theories is based on religious faith - the faith that God does not exist. On page 216 he says,
“We claim, however, that it is possible to answer these questions purely within the realm of science, and without invoking any divine beings."
So ignoring all the evidence that the universe and life would be impossible without the Intelligent Designer, his brilliant mind (and this is not sarcasm: Hawkins did have a brilliant mind) conceives twists and turns to produce his own ‘scientific theories’ that are actually based on circular thinking: God does not exist because everything arose by chance; everything arose by chance because God does not exist.
The Grand Design
I would refute his claim on page 207 that the traditional Christian viewpoint was ‘greatly influenced’ by Aristotle. The traditional Christian viewpoint was influenced by the Bible, and if Aristotle’s beliefs came near to the Christian view of creation, then as the Old Testament was certainly completed before he was born, any matter of influence would have been the other way around!
On page 210 he claims
"…Darwin and Wallace explained how the apparently miraculous design of living forms could appear without intervention…"
No they didn’t! Darwin himself admitted that if no fossil evidence was found of the transitional forms on which his theory relies, then it would be valid to question the truth of the idea. Apart from a tiny handful of disputed fossils, none have been found - and certainly not on the scale that would have to exist if evolution had taken place. Transitional species would outnumber all other forms by many thousands to one, as can be seen in the Challenge, but there is not a single example anywhere of mutation giving advantage, preserved by natural selection, that increases the specified complexity of DNA.
Furthermore, as can be seen in my Challenge, the idea that random mutation in DNA could ever produce higher and higher forms of life is absolutely impossible. So while Darwin and Wallace may have given people the excuse to ignore God, the theory simply does not stand up to scientific scrutiny: as has been seen by the number of times successive theories have had to be replaced by other equally faulty theories when later research proved them wrong.
In the final chapter, The Grand Design, Hawking makes an obvious error in his thinking regarding the laws of the universe:
"These laws should hold everywhere and at all times; otherwise they wouldn’t be laws. There could be no exceptions or miracles. Gods or demons couldn’t intervene in the running of the universe."
Let me illustrate. The law of gravity means that any unsupported object heavier than air within the gravitational field of the Earth will fall down until it lands on something able to bear its weight. So how do planes manage to stay in the air? The law of aerodynamics, while it is operating, is greater than the law of gravity. Anyone living before the 20th century would have believed that a machine able to carry tons of people and equipment in the air would be a miracle. Indeed, in 1899 Lord Kelvin said,
“Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.”
The truth is that they were as possible in the 19th century as they were in the 20th, but no-one knew enough to be able to build one. Hawking is unaware of all the laws that God used and put in place, and thinks the only ones that exist are those of which he is aware. By definition, if the universe is the work of an Intelligent Designer, then the laws and processes He used to create it will be different from and/or additional to those required for its running. Processes required to build a car, e.g. welding, cannot be seen when it is driving along the road; but if you try to explain the welds by the car’s functions, you are bound to get it wrong!.
Therefore what Hawking calls ‘miracles’ - events that cannot be explained by the laws of which we are aware - may well be the result of God utilising other laws that under normal circumstances are not seen.
The foundation of science was built upon the work of scientists who believed that an Almighty, All-knowing God, would create a universe that can be investigated and understood. This is not to say it is impossible for Him to intervene as and when He desires, however. To claim that such a God would create a universe that from the moment of its creation would be totally outside of His control is ludicrous! It is like saying a clock-maker is unable to stop the clock he made or alter the time it displays, once it has begun running!
If it is argued that a clock will run down and stop, then the same is true of the universe: it too is running down and once all activity from all the suns has ended, it will be completely lifeless in every sense of the word. The only difference is in the length of time it takes and that it is rather more complicated! However, for both the clock and the universe, if there is intervention to keep it wound up, then it will never run down!
I do not pretend to understand all the ‘ins and outs’ of M-theory, quantum theory or a whole lot of other things. Indeed, as mentioned on the page describing my Internet encounter with an evolutionist, I am the equivalent of the little boy in the crowd shouting,
“The emperor has no clothes!”
Since my understanding of quantum physics is so limited, there are doubtless schoolboy errors in some of my descriptions and explanations above.
However, I would submit that my errors are minor compared to those of Stephen Hawking, whose atheism has forced him into the corner of having to create ever-increasingly complex theories to rescue his belief, with an infinite number of universes when we can detect only one, eleven dimensions when we can see only four (three physical and one time), matter and heat travelling faster than light, something spontaneously coming from nothing, effects spontaneously appearing without cause, order spontaneously emerging from disorder, life spontaneously developing from non-life, and the grand design that can be created without a grand designer: you have to admire his faith in atheism!
I pray that anyone reading this page will experience a real encounter with the Designer, and you will be able to enjoy the relationship with Him for which you were designed and fulfil the purpose of your birth.
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