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Talk:Stephen Hawking

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This Science related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.

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Spinoza's God[edit]

The article implies Baruch Spinoza believed in a God that is "a metaphor representing the natural laws of the universe." But at the beginning of his Ethics Spinoza defines God as "a being absolutely infinite--that is, a substance consisting in infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality" (Part I, definition VI).

If God is indeed a substance, which for Spinoza is a fundamental material out of which an object is made (Part I, definition III), I do not see how it could be the laws of the universe, which are presumably unextended, much less a metaphor for them.

Moreover, in the Ethics Spinoza demonstrates (or at least attempts to) that God is the only substance (Part I, proposition XIV). So in Spinoza's metaphysical picture every extended thing, we and everything we can touch, is a part of God.

In conclusion, while I think the speculation that for Stephen Hawking God is merely a metaphor is plausible, to pin that idea of God on Spinoza is a misrepresentation of Spinoza's views. Please note that I am not a philosopher; I have merely read Spinoza's Ethics. Nonetheless I think my reading of Spinoza is relatively uncontroversial. (talk) 02:50, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

I totally agree with you. First of all, S. Hakwing in The Grand Design expresses his view that "philosophy is dead", and by philosophy he surely means the old metaphysics. In an interview he also says that even if we'll have a "Theory of everything", this doesn't mean a lot to our human behaviour because it's up to us to define our ethics. So he's a materialist, and a humanist. And an atheist.

“When people ask me if a god created the universe, I tell them that the question itself makes no sense. Time didn’t exist before the big bang, so there is no time for god to make the universe in. It’s like asking directions to the edge of the earth; The Earth is a sphere; it doesn’t have an edge; so looking for it is a futile exercise. We are each free to believe what we want, and it’s my view that the simplest explanation is; there is no god. No one created our universe,and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization; There is probably no heaven, and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that I am extremely grateful.”

He obviously loves the machinery of nature (thankgoodness he does) but this doesn't mean he's a pantheist, so I think we should change that final part.Gianga23 (talk) 09:42, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

Two "questions"?[edit]

I think religious folks got Hawking's and Dawkins' points of view the wrong way.



2) the famous question: if the universe was created by the laws of physics, "who" created the laws?

I think the first one's just a misunderstanding and a way of saying - the meta-physics should explain the physics -. They both don't disregard philosophy. Even though Hawking said philosophy is dead, he meant that the theological philosophy, the supernatural need for a creator isn't necessary (or believable?) anymore. Some philosophers and scientists have made this point (obviously the objective ones among them). Hawking indeed said that even finding a theory of everything wouldn't mean anything for the human views on ethics (and i believe aestethics too... Why should it?). He, as serious geniuses have always said, often repeats that our intelligence could destroy us, so it's in the hand of human's compassion, freedom an reason to use it the right way. Richard Hawkins seems even more accomodating in the regards of philosophy. Just his famous friendship with AC Grayling and D Dennett proves this. In a conversation with Neil Tyson, they explain why philosophy is certainly important and fundamental for ethics, aestethics, and for reasonable thinking on science too. Many people think that science and humanities are opposite. to me they're two faces of the same coin: the celebration of human consciousness (both in reason and freedom). Philosophy stands in the middle between the two, and as its name says, love of knowledge, or love of truth, describes both the love for what's out there and what's in here, for what we cannot change, and for what we can indeed make better. Philosophy in the hand of ideology and religion isn't what it's supposed to be, as the first greek thinkers pretty much all discarded the mythologies and said - this is my way of seeing the world and our place in it. Look, it's wonderful and rational. - that is more scientific than religious.

To you?

As for the second question, what do you think? To me only nature was first, has always been and always will be ( in who knows how many foms and following how many laws). Laws and "stuff" are kinda separated in the common sense, but i think it's not that way actually. They're the the way the universe is, that's all. Do you think the question makes sense, or should point to gods? Gianga23 (talk) 11:43, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

Adding to In Popular Culture[edit]

What are the guidelines on adding an example of a portrayal/homage to him in fiction? I think adding something about Stephen from the Shin Megami Tensei games ( might be good, since the character has been around for such a long time and has increased in prominence in recent games. On the other hand, the character has diverged from the real life inspiration a lot, and AFAICT the man himself hasn't comment on this representation. Others' opinions? (talk) 08:06, 1 February 2018 (UTC)

The main guideline about whether something can/should be included in an article is "missionality". Since there's already something there, I don't see why you couldn't add that; but personally I don't think the section should exist at all. It's not a huge drama, though. —Kazitor, pending 08:22, 1 February 2018 (UTC)

Deathbed conversion[edit]

Anyone want to take odds on how quick a claim's going to be made? --Scherben (talk) 22:09, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

I can guarantee a claim has already been made. Why are we only talking about nut job’s reactions to his death? Christopher (talk) 22:12, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
We aren't; I was. I think the potential for idiocy and lies about the man is well within this site's remit. His work speaks for itself; and, is way beyond my intellectual capacity :) --Scherben (talk) 22:19, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

Hawking's last paper[edit]

A Smooth Exit from Eternal Inflation?. If someone can chew it and give something better than what appears on science news sites, please add it here. --Panzerfaust (talk) 15:02, 23 March 2018 (UTC)