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Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 04:52 PM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/7979211/Has-Stephen-Hawking-ended-the-God-debate.html

No. God.

Physics does the trick.

I thought he was smart enough not to make such ridiculous statements. I stand corrected.

At the very least, he's a bit premature...

GeorgeK
09-03-2010, 04:59 PM
I think Dawkins hacked into his little box. That, or he's having a crisis. It happens, but it doesn't sound typical of Hawking's previous stuff.

This reminds me in undergrad there was some rabid atheist sneaking around campus writing, "God is dead!" and then sighned it "Nietsche". It was often hidden by a rolled down map (do they even still use those?)

A teacher would come in at the start of class and raise the map to write on the board and the writing would appear. Many of them seemed irked. Some laughed. One guy stared at it briefly looking puzzled and then under it wrote, "Nietsche is dead!" and signed it, "God".

DeleyanLee
09-03-2010, 05:02 PM
It's great PR for the new book. Now people who normally wouldn't read a physics book will grab it up so they can read it for themselves or burn it or whatever. Great sales promotion.

The first article I read about it yesterday claimed that Hawkin merely stated that there is no reason for there to be a God, which is slightly but significantly different than there being no God. Of course, I can't find that article anymore to cite it. *sigh*

Calla Lily
09-03-2010, 05:07 PM
That's what I saw too, Deleyan. At CNN online. Haven't re-checked it, though.

Maxx
09-03-2010, 05:13 PM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/7979211/Has-Stephen-Hawking-ended-the-God-debate.html

No. God.

Physics does the trick.

I thought he was smart enough not to make such ridiculous statements. I stand corrected.

At the very least, he's a bit premature...

Well, Hawking's coauthor (of Hawking and Ellis fame...as in The Large-Scale Structure of Space Time, Cambridge 1973 IIRC) Ellis, won the Templeton prize in 2004 for being the most spiritual person in the world in 2004.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_Prize

Calla Lily
09-03-2010, 05:28 PM
Trouble is, to form a well-reasoned opinion of this, I'd have to read the book. Except that Hawking is way too smart for me. I tried reading his History of the Universe and...ouch. I felt like one of the Monty Python guys dressed up as gumby and saying "My brain hurts!"

Shadow_Ferret
09-03-2010, 05:31 PM
Wow. Way to go out on a limb, Stephen.

Don Allen
09-03-2010, 05:34 PM
It sounds like Stephan is drowning in a bit of self pity, first claiming we all need to leave the earth, and now denouncing God as an equation. The guy has a tough life, and I guess I don't blame him if that amazing mind starts to ask where the justice in his incarceration to a withering shell of a body is just.

At some point we all blame God or wonder where he/she is when things go bad.

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 05:43 PM
It sounds like Stephan is drowning in a bit of self pity, first claiming we all need to leave the earth, and now denouncing God as an equation. The guy has a tough life, and I guess I don't blame him if that amazing mind starts to ask where the justice in his incarceration to a withering shell of a body is just.

At some point we all blame God or wonder where he/she is when things go bad.

I admit, the same thought occurred to me.

Amadan
09-03-2010, 05:44 PM
I would be more surprised if he thought God existed. I don't see how this has much to do with his disability.

Seriously. Why do atheists always get psychoanalyzed like that? If I start speculating as to what trauma in someone's life made someone decide to believe in supernatural beings, believers get awfully offended.

Maxx
09-03-2010, 05:46 PM
I think Dawkins hacked into his little box. That, or he's having a crisis. It happens, but it doesn't sound typical of Hawking's previous stuff.

This reminds me in undergrad there was some rabid atheist sneaking around campus writing, "God is dead!" and then sighned it "Nietsche". It was often hidden by a rolled down map (do they even still use those?)

A teacher would come in at the start of class and raise the map to write on the board and the writing would appear. Many of them seemed irked. Some laughed. One guy stared at it briefly looking puzzled and then under it wrote, "Nietsche is dead!" and signed it, "God".

This must be related to that other amazing story, something that happened to me personally about 20 times when I was in school. There was a certain rabid atheist (rabid so-to-speak) professor who would start his rabid lecture by saying "If there is a God? How can I deny him and not be struck down?" Well, sure enough, every single time he said that, A United States Marine Corporal (or a corporial? United States Sergeant, he may have gotten promoted) would run into the class room and punch the rabid athiest in the face, thus striking him down. The rabid athiest was mystified every single time and made pathetic atheistic attempts at having the United States Marine apprehended. But the United States Marine always vanished into thin air, which the rabid atheiest could not understand.
I think everybody learned an important lesson every single one of the twenty times that happened.

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 05:47 PM
I would be more surprised if he thought God existed..

He mentioned "Knowing the mind of God" at the end of A Brief History of Time. Which, of course, could have simply been a metaphor, but many people took it as an indication of faith.

Shadow_Ferret
09-03-2010, 05:48 PM
It sounds like Stephan is drowning in a bit of self pity....

...because you disagree?

Neither statement is all that earthshattering.

We should leave the planet or risk species extinction from a meteor strike. That's simple common sense.

As far as God, many scientists are atheists or agnostics. So?


He mentioned "Knowing the mind of God" at the end of A Brief History of Time. Which, of course, could have simply been a metaphor, but many people took it as an indication of faith.Would appear those many were wrong.

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 05:50 PM
Seriously. Why do atheists always get psychoanalyzed like that? If I start speculating as to what trauma in someone's life made someone decide to believe in supernatural beings, believers get awfully offended.

That's odd, because I have absolutely been psychoanalyzed on these very boards by several AW atheists for my non-atheistic beliefs. At length. In fact, we locked a major project of mine here, partly for this reason.

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 05:52 PM
Would appear those many were wrong.

Or, God forbid (hehe), he changed his mind.

DeleyanLee
09-03-2010, 05:55 PM
This must be related to that other amazing story, something that happened to me personally about 20 times when I was in school. There was a certain rabid atheist (rabid so-to-speak) professor who would start his rabid lecture by saying "If there is a God? How can I deny him and not be struck down?" Well, sure enough, every single time he said that, A United States Marine Corporal (or a corporial? United States Sergeant, he may have gotten promoted) would run into the class room and punch the rabid athiest in the face, thus striking him down. The rabid athiest was mystified every single time and made pathetic atheistic attempts at having the United States Marine apprehended. But the United States Marine always vanished into thin air, which the rabid atheiest could not understand.
I think everybody learned an important lesson every single one of the twenty times that happened.

So what you're saying is that this Marine corporal/sergeant is God since he struck the guy down? ;)

Personally, I don't see that as a lesson. I see it as a set-up/routine and a fairly hokey one at that.

Amadan
09-03-2010, 05:56 PM
That's odd, because I have absolutely been psychoanalyzed on these very boards by several AW atheists for my non-atheistic beliefs. At length. In fact, we locked a major project of mine here, partly for this reason.

There's a difference between "I think you're wrong and your beliefs are irrational" and "You must believe that because your life sucks," or (the more common version tossed at atheists) "You once prayed for something and God didn't give it to you and that's why you're an atheist."

In this case, we have people implying that Hawking is a bitter cripple blaming God for his condition.

Shadow_Ferret
09-03-2010, 05:57 PM
Or, God forbid (hehe), he changed his mind.

You and I will probably never know.

MarkEsq
09-03-2010, 05:57 PM
It sounds like Stephan is drowning in a bit of self pity, first claiming we all need to leave the earth, and now denouncing God as an equation. The guy has a tough life, and I guess I don't blame him if that amazing mind starts to ask where the justice in his incarceration to a withering shell of a body is just.

At some point we all blame God or wonder where he/she is when things go bad.


Except, that's not what he's doing. He's saying he doesn't exist. I tend to agree with Amadan that imposing one's own perception of Hawking's motives (and in a slightly condescending way) doesn't much further the discussion. An atheist could easily say, were it the case: "Well, of course the poor little chap believes in God, who else does he have to blame for his condition?"

Of course, I won't be reading the book myself: my lack of believe doesn't come from an equation or some clever man's argument God doesn't exist. Plenty of people smarter than me believe he does.

Maxx
09-03-2010, 05:58 PM
That's odd, because I have absolutely been psychoanalyzed on these very boards by several AW atheists for my non-atheistic beliefs. At length. In fact, we locked a major project of mine here, partly for this reason.

I guess as long as there are always exactly two equal and opposite sides to every eternally fixed but endlessly debatable point of possible immovable disagreement, we will always have to be careful to psychoanalyze everyone equally.

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 06:02 PM
There's a difference between "I think you're wrong and your beliefs are irrational" and "You must believe that because your life sucks," or (the more common version tossed at atheists) "You once prayed for something and God didn't give it to you and that's why you're an atheist."

In this case, we have people implying that Hawking is a bitter cripple blaming God for his condition.

Apparently you never saw the massive pscyhoanalytical work done online on me, here on AW, by your non-believing cohorts; no there was a lot more to it: I was accused of massive narcissim, meglomania, magical thinking (as a psychological disorder), identity crisis, messiah complex, paranoia, and a host of other mental ailments. Visit my locked thread in TIO for more info.

Maxx
09-03-2010, 06:03 PM
Except, that's not what he's doing. He's saying he doesn't exist. I tend to agree with Amadan that imposing one's own perception of Hawking's motives (and in a slightly condescending way) doesn't much further the discussion. An atheist could easily say, were it the case: "Well, of course the poor little chap believes in God, who else does he have to blame for his condition?"



Hawkings old buddy Ellis got a huge prize (larger than the Nobel) in 2004 for inventing a cosmos (not ours actually) where Major Cosmic Gods (MCG) might exist. Hawking might be legitimately a bit annoyed about that, since the "Invent a Spurious Cosmos that might have a Real God and win a big prize" really does not seem to be a fair way of making use of the work Hawking and Ellis did together.

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 06:03 PM
I guess as long as there are always exactly two equal and opposite sides to every eternally fixed but endlessly debatable point of possible immovable disagreement, we will always have to be careful to psychoanalyze everyone equally.

Well, as long it's all done equally...

Maxx
09-03-2010, 06:10 PM
So what you're saying is that this Marine corporal/sergeant is God since he struck the guy down? ;)

Personally, I don't see that as a lesson. I see it as a set-up/routine and a fairly hokey one at that.

How do you explain the fact that the United States Marine vanished into thin air? Bases were searched all over the world and not one United States Marine was found missing. There's a lesson there.

Calla Lily
09-03-2010, 06:12 PM
Hawkings old buddy Ellis got a huge prize (larger than the Nobel) in 2004 for inventing a cosmos (not ours actually) where Major Cosmic Gods (MCG) might exist. Hawking might be legitimately a bit annoyed about that, since the "Invent a Spurious Cosmos that might have a Real God and win a big prize" really does not seem to be a fair way of making use of the work Hawking and Ellis did together.

Pfft. HP Lovecraft did that in the 1920s. :D

*ducks and runs*

Alpha Echo
09-03-2010, 06:14 PM
So what you're saying is that this Marine corporal/sergeant is God since he struck the guy down? ;)

Personally, I don't see that as a lesson. I see it as a set-up/routine and a fairly hokey one at that.

Ditto this.

Why is this even news, though? Lots of very smart scientists don't believe there was or is a God, right? Or am I missing something here?

Calla Lily
09-03-2010, 06:15 PM
I think it's news because Hawking is sometimes seen as the rockstar of science.

Don Allen
09-03-2010, 06:17 PM
See Max and Ferret, I don't see it as a God issue at all. I could care less what the guy believes in his bedroom, i've been agnostic for life, who gives a shit. My point was that if you have followed Hawkings career you see a guy who is enlightened and an outright genius. He stays away from speculative non-sense like the rest of us mere mortals who constantly quibble about "is there a God," or "there is no God" Like I said,, I could care less. It matters not one bit to me what anyone else believes.

But Hawking's is a guy who is listened to ,,, and knows that people value his opinion. So my point was simply that he either has decided to take his genius to the level of the National Enquirer for cheap publicity, or perhaps he's a little pissed off with his situation and looking for an outlet....

My bet would be on the latter...

Maxx
09-03-2010, 06:27 PM
I think it's news because Hawking is sometimes seen as the rockstar of science.


And yet he has never really cashed in on this role (unlike his former coworker Ellis among others). It's possible that since he was never going to be spiritual enough to get a Templeton anyway (unlike a crowd of other more spiritual physists who have made getting Templetons a cottage industry) he decided to at least make the non-spiritual physist position clear at least in opposition to Ellis' rather pathological model of a possible alternative cosmos.

Amadan
09-03-2010, 06:29 PM
But Hawking's is a guy who is listened to ,,, and knows that people value his opinion. So my point was simply that he either has decided to take his genius to the level of the National Enquirer for cheap publicity, or perhaps he's a little pissed off with his situation and looking for an outlet....


Or maybe he just believes there is no god and chose to say so. Mindblowing, I know.

Calla Lily
09-03-2010, 06:33 PM
And yet he has never really cashed in on this role (unlike his former coworker Ellis among others). It's possible that since he was never going to be spiritual enough to get a Templeton anyway (unlike a crowd of other more spiritual physists who have made getting Templetons a cottage industry) he decided to at least make the non-spiritual physist position clear at least in opposition to Ellis' rather pathological model of a possible alternative cosmos.

Certainly possible. (I won't derail the thread by asking what Ellis' model is and why it's pathological--I just hope tonight I can find a description on the Net that's geared to non-physicists. :))

Maxx
09-03-2010, 06:45 PM
Certainly possible. (I won't derail the thread by asking what Ellis' model is and why it's pathological--I just hope tonight I can find a description on the Net that's geared to non-physicists. :))

Pathological by a metaphorical extension of the mathmatical sense of "pathological." Ellis' Model (I haven't seen a detailed review) apparently features a naked singularity, a non-expanding universe and a unique and singular cosmic location for the Earth our Home. An interesting case of "saving the appearances" as astronomers said before Keplerian orbits took all the little epicycles out of things.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pathological_(mathematics)

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 07:05 PM
Or maybe he just believes there is no god and chose to say so. Mindblowing, I know.

Through press releases. It really is just a marketing stunt. But, to even make that claim gives science way more credit than it deserves. There are lots and lots of theories, many like the Quantum Chaos model (AKA Modified Many Worlds Interpretation) are just as worthy, but raise more questions than they answer, unlike the prevailing Copenhagen Intrepretation, and so they are dismissed. Many theories allow a place for God, if not the old bearded guy in white on a golden throne, then a unifying, synchronistic, underlying principle. It's no where near a done deal. Not even close.

Science doesn't even have a good handle on mind and consciousness; in what universe do they think they have sufficient understanding of reality to dismiss any gods?

Maxx
09-03-2010, 07:11 PM
Science does even have a good handle on mind and consciousness; in what universe do they think they have sufficient understanding of reality to dismiss any gods?

In this universe the standard model works on its own from the beginning. Matter and energy are relatively evenly distributed and there is no uniquely privileged time or location required to make it look that way.
So that allows the dismissal of all cosmically active gods.

Shadow_Ferret
09-03-2010, 07:28 PM
But Hawking's is a guy who is listened to ,,, and knows that people value his opinion. So my point was simply that he either has decided to take his genius to the level of the National Enquirer for cheap publicity, or perhaps he's a little pissed off with his situation and looking for an outlet....

My bet would be on the latter...

Or maybe he's just finally addressed the God issue in his new book.

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 07:33 PM
In this universe the standard model works on its own from the beginning. Matter and energy are relatively evenly distributed and there is no uniquely privileged time or location required to make it look that way.
So that allows the dismissal of all cosmically active gods.

Actually, not really.

Everything is filtered through mind. Most scientific models ignore this fact to the point of their near irrelevance. Perhaps consciousness itself is a cosmically active god. We know by quantum experiments that consciousness (an observer) affects quantum events which in turn make up this reality of which the universe is a part.

I submit that there is more to the universe than Matter and Energy...there is also Mind which is something more.

Williebee
09-03-2010, 07:40 PM
At some point we all blame God or wonder where he/she is when things go bad.

That's a red herring. Mr. Hawking isn't "blaming God". He's saying there isn't one.

JimmyB27
09-03-2010, 07:41 PM
Many theories allow a place for God, if not the old bearded guy in white on a golden throne, then a unifying, synchronistic, underlying principle.
But none of them require him. And that's the way I read Stephen's words.
The BBC article (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11161493) has some actual, direct quotes, rather than mere editorialising as in the OP's link:

"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.
"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."
To me, that says merely 'we don't need god to explain things'.

Maxx
09-03-2010, 07:48 PM
We know by quantum experiments that consciousness (an observer) affects quantum events which in turn make up this reality of which the universe is a part.



I can't think of any quantum experiments where any minds make any difference. Observer or observation is the same as an interaction (ie the "point" where a wave has to take a definite value). In the absence of a good Quantum field theory you have problems (solved with "observables") defining where and when an event happens in terms of probability. Since the late 1940s this particular little observable solution hasn't even been necessary since the there has been a good quantum field theory (QED) since that time. The "mind of the observer" with a causal assocation with anything quantum is pure folklore in the world after the late 1940s.

Which, by the way, probably explains why there is a certain new plausibility associated with signs travelling back in time from the apocalypse: in early QED positrons were imagined as electrons traveling backward in time. As the hoocus pocus of early quantum "observables" fades from pop or folkloric ideas about things, so some early QED is probably creeping (60 years later) into the popular soup of pseudo-explanations.

Amadan
09-03-2010, 07:49 PM
I submit that there is more to the universe than Matter and Energy...there is also Mind which is something more.

Nope, Mind is just synapses firing (matter and energy). The entire universe is not constructed/affected by what a bunch of evolved apes on one planet think.

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 07:49 PM
But none of them require him. And that's the way I read Stephen's words.
The BBC article (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11161493) has some actual, direct quotes, rather than mere editorialising as in the OP's link:

To me, that says merely 'we don't need god to explain things'.

How can one even make that claim when we have some much more to explain, even in cosmology? Wouldn't one have to explain everything completely in order to make that argument logically?

JimmyB27
09-03-2010, 07:57 PM
How can one even make that claim when we have some much more to explain, even in cosmology? Wouldn't one have to explain everything completely in order to make that argument logically?
Sorry, it's so ingrained into the scientific mindset, that I forgot (as I always do) to include the 'given our current knowledge' bit.

Besides, if what you say is true, it's certainly even more true about those who claim we do need god to explain anything.

EmpoweredOKC
09-03-2010, 07:59 PM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/7979211/Has-Stephen-Hawking-ended-the-God-debate.html

No. God.

Physics does the trick.

I thought he was smart enough not to make such ridiculous statements. I stand corrected.

At the very least, he's a bit premature...


While scolding him for not being smart enough to avoid making ridiculous statements, did you happen to notice that Stephen Hawking did NOT say, as you claim, that there is "no. God."? I read the article, read several others on the same topic, and none of them reported Hawking saying there is no God.

Every one of them reported Hawking saying that we don't need to attribute the act of creation to God, and that physics explains the organization of the universe. That's well short of "Hawking says there is no God." Hawking is calling for the end of magical explanations of scientific processes.

benbradley
09-03-2010, 08:00 PM
I think it was in his first popular book "A Brief History of Time" in which he talks about meeting the Pope. They talked about God, but in the book he says in a rather joking or sly matter that he didn't really lead on that he and the Pope had very different definitions of God. I got the impression from that book and especially from that passage that Hawking didn't have much, if any, belief in God, and certainly not the monolithic Deity that Christianity worships.

Albert Einstein appears to have been in similar situation, a well-known figure, a scientist who allegedly had some special insights into how the Universe operates, may have said different things (or at least things that can be interpreted differently) at different times, and many parts of the religious spectrum still want to claim him as their own.

Reading the article (quoting the first sentence):

God did not create the universe, Stephen Hawking revealed yesterday.
Okay, I'm tempted to argue semantics - Hawking isn't saying here, as many people appear to interpret it, that there is no God. He's only saying that God didn't create the Universe.

I read the whole article, it really doesn't say much more about Hawking, but does attempt to go into "interesting" territory:


Science and religion are about fundamentally different things. No religion has ever been rendered obsolete by facts or observations,
Religion is too big a collection of knowledge and beliefs to be swept aside by facts, but what people believe has certainly changed over the centuries because of science. Only a couple hundred years ago many people believed that illness was caused by not praying enough.

but this happens to most scientific theories, at least in the long run.
It's true that SOMETIMES theories are overturned, but I supect the author is talking about hypotheses, which are just ideas that get tested and either passed or rejected every day in science.

Maxx
09-03-2010, 08:01 PM
How can one even make that claim when we have some much more to explain, even in cosmology? Wouldn't one have to explain everything completely in order to make that argument logically?

How could anyone ever make a coherent argument for anything if every argument required completely explaining everything?

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 08:18 PM
How could anyone ever make a coherent argument for anything if every argument required completely explaining everything?

Exactly.

However, I'm yeilding on this argument, because Jimmy later added the phrase that makes it acceptable to me.

Shadow_Ferret
09-03-2010, 08:21 PM
Nope, Mind is just synapses firing (matter and energy). The entire universe is not constructed/affected by what a bunch of evolved apes on one planet think.

This. Too many people subscribe supernatural qualities to the term "mind."

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 08:26 PM
I can't think of any quantum experiments where any minds make any difference. Observer or observation is the same as an interaction (ie the "point" where a wave has to take a definite value). In the absence of a good Quantum field theory you have problems (solved with "observables") defining where and when an event happens in terms of probability. Since the late 1940s this particular little observable solution hasn't even been necessary since the there has been a good quantum field theory (QED) since that time. The "mind of the observer" with a causal assocation with anything quantum is pure folklore in the world after the late 1940s.

Which, by the way, probably explains why there is a certain new plausibility associated with signs travelling back in time from the apocalypse: in early QED positrons were imagined as electrons traveling backward in time. As the hoocus pocus of early quantum "observables" fades from pop or folkloric ideas about things, so some early QED is probably creeping (60 years later) into the popular soup of pseudo-explanations.

Not at all. You're sticking to the widely accepted Copenhagen Interpretation, as do most, but no where near all Quantum Physicists. The Many Worlds Interpretation requires observers:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation

As indicated the MWI (or Everett-Wheeler Theory) is considered mainstream, and in a poll (see above link) came in second only to the Copenhagen (Bohr) Interpretation.

benbradley
09-03-2010, 08:27 PM
Science does even have a good handle on mind and consciousness; in what universe do they think they have sufficient understanding of reality to dismiss any gods?
(that presumably should read "Science doesn't even have...")

God has been dismissed from doing many tasks that we observe in the natural world, once believed to be evidence of His actions - just with things visible in the sky, people no longer believe that God makes the Sun rise every morning, brings out the stars at night, put the Moon through its phases, makes the planets move, causes eclipses and shooting stars...

As more and more is discovered about how the physical world operates, fewer things are attributed to the Hand of God.

It doesn't bother me that science doesn't explain everything. Furthermore, the things Science doesn't explain aren't necessarily things God has to do.

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 08:33 PM
Nope, Mind is just synapses firing (matter and energy). The entire universe is not constructed/affected by what a bunch of evolved apes on one planet think.

Oh, no one said only monkey's get to be observers.

And, if that theory of yours makes you feel better, go for it. There are others who believe that the brain is just a receiver and consciousness itself is an extra-dimensional phenomenon. For example, by your logic, music could be looked at as something that is produced by the electronic components of a radio...but we know that isn't the case.

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 08:38 PM
While scolding him for not being smart enough to avoid making ridiculous statements, did you happen to notice that Stephen Hawking did NOT say, as you claim, that there is "no. God."? I read the article, read several others on the same topic, and none of them reported Hawking saying there is no God.

Every one of them reported Hawking saying that we don't need to attribute the act of creation to God, and that physics explains the organization of the universe. That's well short of "Hawking says there is no God." Hawking is calling for the end of magical explanations of scientific processes.

Then what would God do all day?

And I'm calling for the end of scientific explanations of magickal processes.

Shadow_Ferret
09-03-2010, 08:39 PM
For example, by your logic, music could be looked at as something that is produced by the electronic components of a radio...but we know that isn't the case.

No, its caused by the vibration of the air in certain specific audible frequencies.

Maxx
09-03-2010, 08:45 PM
Not at all. You're sticking to the widely accepted Copenhagen Interpretation, as do most, but no where near all Quantum Physicists. The Many Worlds Interpretation requires observers:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation

As indicated the MWI (or Everett-Wheeler Theory) is considered mainstream, and in a poll (see above link) came in second only to the Copenhagen (Bohr) Interpretation.

If you read the article you cited, it says the advantage of MWI is that it requires no observers. The same is true if you use a field theory and sum-over-histories. The whole idea of conscious observers in physics is pure folklore for theories elaborated after the late 1940s.

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 08:46 PM
God has been dismissed from doing many tasks that we observe in the natural world, once believed to be evidence of His actions - just with things visible in the sky, people no longer believe that God makes the Sun rise every morning, brings out the stars at night, put the Moon through its phases, makes the planets move, causes eclipses and shooting stars...

As more and more is discovered about how the physical world operates, fewer things are attributed to the Hand of God.

It doesn't bother me that science doesn't explain everything. Furthermore, the things Science doesn't explain aren't necessarily things God has to do.

And yet, all those things that science likes to explain away may, in fact, be merely noncausal physical symptoms of God's actions.

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 08:56 PM
If you read the article you cited, it says the advantage of MWI is that it requires no observers. The same is true if you use a field theory and sum-over-histories. The whole idea of conscious observers in physics is pure folklore for theories elaborated after the late 1940s.

Scientific Atheists are the most "religious" people I know.

Okay, I admit I did not read the entirety of the link. Most versions of Everett's MWI theory that I'm familiar with require observers:



The involvement of consciousness (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness) in the collapse of the wave function has been summarized thus:

The rules of quantum mechanics are correct but there is only one system which may be treated with quantum mechanics, namely the entire material world. There exist external observers which cannot be treated within quantum mechanics, namely human (and perhaps animal) minds, which perform measurements (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_measurement) on the brain causing wave function collapse.[25] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mind%E2%80%93body_problem#cite_note-24)
This interpretation attributes the process of wave function collapse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave_function_collapse) (directly, indirectly, or even partially) to consciousness itself.
The consciousness causes collapse interpretation was Wigner's motivation for introducing the "Wigner's friend (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wigner%27s_friend)" thought experiment by asserting that collapse occurs at the first "conscious" observer. Supporters assert this is not a revival of substance dualism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substance_dualism), since (in a ramification of this view) consciousness and objects are "entangled" and cannot be considered separate.


From:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mind%E2%80%93body_problem

Maxx
09-03-2010, 08:56 PM
And yet, all those things that science likes to explain away may, in fact, be merely noncausal physical symptoms of God's actions.

It's true that if you define anything at all as being anything at all then anything at all could be anything at all. But apparently no one would be quite sure.

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 08:59 PM
The whole idea of conscious observers in physics is pure folklore for theories elaborated after the late 1940s.

This is simply not true.

Maxx
09-03-2010, 09:03 PM
Scientific Atheists are the most "religious" people I know.

Okay, I admit I did not read the entirety of the link. Most versions of Everett's MWI theory that I'm familiar with require observers:


From:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mind%E2%80%93body_problem





If you remain within quantum mechanics then you'll have problems with what resolves a particular set of probabilities into a particular state. After the late 1940s, more general formulations called field theories showed that there was no need to invoke observers to have summing over histories. MWI does the same thing, it seems, but removes the fields and histories to other universes, which seems like more work than having a field theory.

Maxx
09-03-2010, 09:04 PM
This is simply not true.


What theory elaborated after the late 1940s requires any observers?

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 09:19 PM
What theory elaborated after the late 1940s requires any observers?

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/02/980227055013.htm

http://www.vision.net.au/~apaterson/science/observer_effect.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measurement_problem

Theories by Everett, Wheeler, Graham, Dewitt, Herbert, and many, many more...

Maxx
09-03-2010, 09:28 PM
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/02/980227055013.htm

http://www.vision.net.au/~apaterson/science/observer_effect.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measurement_problem

Theories by Everett, Wheeler, Graham, Dewitt, Herbert, and many, many more...

That's all quantum mechanics, a theory elaborated in the 1920s. I realize that in the popular mind, that's all that has ever happened in physics (except for Hawking and Einstein and Black holes and the various big bombs ), but actually the science has progressed since the 1920s and high energy physics and cosmology can now do fine without worrying about inserting observers into collapsing wave packets. Maybe it's time to update the popular imagery a bit and that might be happening since McKenna's apocalypse features signs traveling backward in time which sounds like Wheelers ideas from the early 1940s.

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 10:02 PM
That's all quantum mechanics, a theory elaborated in the 1920s. I realize that in the popular mind, that's all that has ever happened in physics (except for Hawking and Einstein and Black holes and the various big bombs ), but actually the science has progressed since the 1920s and high energy physics and cosmology can now do fine without worrying about inserting observers into collapsing wave packets. Maybe it's time to update the popular imagery a bit and that might be happening since McKenna's apocalypse features signs traveling backward in time which sounds like Wheelers ideas from the early 1940s.

Okay, for the last time, quantum mechanics is not a one size fits all theory--there are lots of interpretations. DeWitt's and Graham were the 80's as I recall not the 40's. Nick Herbert's ideas are 80's to today. Quantum Chaos came from Princeton in the late seventies and early eighties. There are other sources, other theorists that are not public, and are, more or less involved in a non-governmental conspiracy, who I have made contact with. About them I can say no more.

I'm done arguing with you on this point, however. Materialists and atheists tend to be as inflexible and any fanatic.

Maxx
09-03-2010, 10:06 PM
Okay, for the last time, quantum mechanics is not a one size fits all theory--there are lots of interpretations.

Yes and they are all stuck with a 1920s formulation of things if they are still trying to get observers in and out of wave packets, none of which has anything to do with current work in cosmology or high energy physics or the standard model or general relativity.

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 10:11 PM
Yes and they are all stuck with a 1920s formulation of things if they are still trying to get observers in and out of wave packets, none of which has anything to do with current work in cosmology or high energy physics or the standard model or general relativity.

Says you. :P

Utoh,



From Quantum Reality by Nick Herbert

"The ontology of materialism rested upon the illusion that the kind of existence, the direct 'actuality' of the world around us, can be extrapolated into the atomic range. This extrapolation, however, is impossible . . . Atoms are not things." Werner Heisenberg
Quantum Reality #4: The many-worlds interpretation. This quantum reality, first dreamed up by Hugh Everett in 1957 while a Ph.D. candidate under John Wheeler, takes the quantum measurement problem seriously and solves it in a bold and flamboyant manner.
The measurement problem can be stated in many ways. Everett saw it like this: the orthodox ontology treats measurement as a special kind of interaction, yet we know that measurement interactions cannot really be special since M devices are no different from anything else in the world. How, then, asks Everett, can we strip the measurement act of its privileged status and achieve within physics that democracy of interactions which certainly prevails in nature?
Bohr, for instance, assigns special status to measuring devices, conferring on them a classical-style actuality not possessed by the atomic entities under their scrutiny. Von Neumann, on the other hand, does not consider M devices special: he describes them in terms of possibility waves just like atoms. However, the price von Neumann has to pay to purchase this equality of being is the necessary elevation of the measurement act to special status. Unlike any other interaction in nature, measurement has the power to collapse the wave function from many parallel possibilities (the premeasurement superposition of possibilities) to just one (the actual measurement result).
Following von Neumann's picture of quantum theory, Everett represents everything by proxy waves, but he leaves out the wave function collapse. When a quantum system encounters an M device set to measure a particular attribute, it splits as usual into many waveforms, each corresponding to a possible value of that attribute. What is new in Everett's model is that correlated to every one of these system wave functions is a different M-device waveform which records one of these attribute values. Thus if the measured attribute has five possible values, the quantum-entity-plus-measuring-device develops into five quantum systems, each with a different attribute value paired with five measuring devices each registering that value. Instead of collapsing from five possibilities to one actual outcome, the quantum system in Everett's interpretation realizes all five outcomes.
To account for the stubborn fact that no one has ever seen one M device turn into five, Everett makes a not-so-modest proposal. The apparatus actually does split into five different parts, says Everett, but each part occupies its own parallel universe. A human being—one of Everett's critics, for instance—dwells in just one of these universes (at a time) and cannot perceive the other four. Likewise the inhabitants of the other four universes are not aware of their parallel partners.
The "ordinariness" of quantum facts in spite of the real existence of multiple universes is accounted for in Everett's model by the fact that each human observer perceives only a single universe. We do not know why human perception is limited to such a small sector of the real world, but it seems to be an unavoidable fact. We are not directly aware of these alternate worlds, but our own universe would not be the same without them.
Everett's quantum theory without collapse describes the world as a continually proliferating jungle of conflicting possibilities, each isolated inside its own universe. In that world (which we might call super reality) one M device splits into five. However, humans do not happen to live in super reality but in the world of mere reality, where only one thing happens at a time. We can picture Everett's super reality as a continually branching tree of possibilities in which everything that can happen actually does happen. Each individual's experience (lived out in mere reality, not super reality) is a tiny portion of a single branch on that lush and perpetually flowering tree.
All interactions in Everett's super-real world are of the same kind: two systems come together, get correlated, then start to realize all their mutual possibilities. A measuring device is just like any other quantum entity except that its macroscopic attributes happen to be especially sensitive to some attribute (usually position) of an atomic entity with which it may become correlated. Lots of entities become correlated with photons, but few qualify as photon detectors because their visible attributes are not significantly changed by this photonic association. Our phosphor/screen combination is different: it prints a mark on a tape whenever it correlates with a photon's position attribute. In Everett's model, M devices are not essentially different from anything else except in certain unimportant details.
Everett's many-worlds interpretation of quantum theory, despite its extravagant assumption of numerous unobservable parallel worlds, is a favorite model of physicists because of all quantum realities it alone seems to solve the measurement problem with no arbitrary canonization of the process of measurement. In Everett's picture all measurement devices and measurement acts are fundamentally of the same nature as all other devices and acts. Strictly speaking, there are no "measurements" in the world, only correlations.
Einstein objected to suggestions of observer-created reality in quantum theory by saying that he could not imagine that a mouse could change the universe drastically simply by looking at it. Everett answers Einstein's objection by saying that the actual situation is quite the other way around. "It is not so much the system," Everett says, "which is affected by an observation, as the observer who becomes correlated to the system." The moral of Everett's tale is plain: if you don't want to spilt, stop looking at attribute-laden systems. At a recent conference on the nature of quantum reality, Berkeley physicist Henry Stapp suggested an advantage that Everett's quantum reality confers on biological evolution and similar improbable but not impossible processes. Suppose, says Stapp, you could calculate the odds for life to begin on Earth and found them to be infintesimally small but not actually zero. In the conventional single-universe model of things, something with a very small probability is effectively impossible: it will never happen. However, in the Everett picture everything that can happen does happen. If life on Earth is possible at all, then it is inevitable—in some corner of super reality. In Everett's bountiful multiverse, every little "could be," no matter how improbable, gets its time to shine.


Though, apparently theoretical physicist and former Nobel Prize contender (2002) Nick Herbert has no idea at all what he's talking about. I wish I could be as sure of everything as you seem to be, Maxx.

Amadan
09-03-2010, 10:46 PM
I'm done arguing with you on this point, however. Materialists and atheists tend to be as inflexible and any fanatic.

No, we just demand evidence for the things you want us to believe.

Maxx
09-03-2010, 11:02 PM
Says you. :P

Utoh,



Though, apparently theoretical physicist and former Nobel Prize contender (2002) Nick Herbert has no idea at all what he's talking about. I wish I could be as sure of everything as you seem to be, Maxx.

If an astrophysicist wants to know what gases absorb what wavelengths, what do you think she does? Does she try to calculate them using the 1920s quantum mechanics and wonder where the observers are in the waves?

Maxx
09-03-2010, 11:15 PM
Says you. :P

Utoh,



Though, apparently theoretical physicist and former Nobel Prize contender (2002) Nick Herbert has no idea at all what he's talking about. I wish I could be as sure of everything as you seem to be, Maxx.

Nick just notes how whacky the multiworld thing is. And quoting Heisenberg on the non-thing-ishness of atoms doesn't seem to elucidate much except suggest yet another reason Heisenberg could not get the critical mass needed for an A-bomb right to within a factor of 10,000.
You know there is a reason why quantum mechanics as formulated by Heisenberg and company had to be largely replaced by field theory. It doesn't work very well for calculating real qualities or even for working out most theoretical structures.

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 11:16 PM
No, we just demand evidence for the things you want us to believe.

I don't want you to believe anything. Wait, no, I want you to believe whatever you want to believe. I really do. However, I grow weary of atheists and materialists pissing in the pool of belief. My beliefs are no more fables and faerie tales than yours, the only difference is I recognize this fact.

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 11:18 PM
Nick just notes how whacky the multiworld thing is. And quoting Heisenberg on the non-thing-ishness of atoms doesn't seem to elucidate much except suggest yet another reason Heisenberg could not get the critical mass needed for an A-bomb right to within a factor of 10,000.
You know there is a reason why quantum mechanics as formulated by Heisenberg and company had to be largely replaced by field theory. It doesn't work very well for calculating real qualities or even for working out most theoretical structures.

No, Nick is a firm believer in Quantum Chaos.

Diana Hignutt
09-03-2010, 11:20 PM
If an astrophysicist wants to know what gases absorb what wavelengths, what do you think she does? Does she try to calculate them using the 1920s quantum mechanics and wonder where the observers are in the waves?

And Everett's theory was first published in 1957, btw. But, what the fuck, you can't seem to get any other of the facts right.

Oh, nice strawman, btw.

Medievalist
09-03-2010, 11:32 PM
Guys

This thread is headed in pretty vile and unacceptable directions.

Cut it out.

Also?

Hawking is being mis-quoted and misinterpreted (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/7976594/Stephen-Hawking-God-was-not-needed-to-create-the-Universe.html).


It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.


In June this year Prof Hawking told a Channel 4 series that he didn't believe that a "personal" God existed. He told Genius of Britain: "The question is: is the way the universe began chosen by God for reasons we can't understand, or was it determined by a law of science? I believe the second. If you like, you can call the laws of science 'God', but it wouldn't be a personal God that you could meet, and ask questions.

Please parse Hawking carefully; he is precise. Notice that he is operating from the conventional (and secular) idea of God as a bearded dude who knows stuff--rather than the deity of Catholic or Protestant theology, never mind any other definition.

SPMiller
09-04-2010, 01:39 AM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/7979211/Has-Stephen-Hawking-ended-the-God-debate.html

No. God.

Physics does the trick.

I thought he was smart enough not to make such ridiculous statements. I stand corrected.

At the very least, he's a bit premature...This wins my award for Most Offensive Post In Weeks. Suggesting that the assertion of "no god" implies a lack of intelligence? From this, there's little possibility for civil debate. I mean, really, how are we supposed to start there and go somewhere constructive? Especially given the thread's direction since then.

All I can think to say is that the belief in gods, or the lack thereof, implies nothing about intelligence either way. Beyond that, I have little to add because I wasn't given a reasonable starting point.

veinglory
09-04-2010, 02:14 AM
I don't want you to believe anything. Wait, no, I want you to believe whatever you want to believe. I really do. However, I grow weary of atheists and materialists pissing in the pool of belief. My beliefs are no more fables and faerie tales than yours, the only difference is I recognize this fact.

Mutual respect is... mutual. It would not include saying everyone who happens to share a certain belief is "pissing" on anything.

It would also mean that I could come in here and talk about what Hawking thinks, not whatever this is .

Shadow_Ferret
09-04-2010, 02:31 AM
...pissing in the pool of belief...

I don't believe there is a "pool" so why would I bother pissing in it? Seems like a waste of time.

Lhun
09-04-2010, 02:47 AM
This wins my award for Most Offensive Post In Weeks. Suggesting that the assertion of "no god" implies a lack of intelligence? From this, there's little possibility for civil debate. I mean, really, how are we supposed to start there and go somewhere constructive? Especially given the thread's direction since then.Don't take it so hard. Atheist simply are one of the groups of people it's currently acceptable to hate. Plenty of people have the need to feel superior to others for their self-esteem.

MacAllister
09-04-2010, 03:55 AM
That will be more than enough.