I have never really had much interest in Stephen Hawking, who has just died. He was an atheist and a materialist. For a scientist, I have often been surprised at his idea that humanity would find another planet to live on. I suppose that if this were to happen, there would have to be a kind of “Noah’s Ark” city in space that would arrive at light speed in several thousands (millions?) of years time. The remote descendents of those who left Earth would presumably arrive at the planet. The big question would be knowing whether the humans in question would be welcome on a planet already inhabited by the living beings already there.
There is also the question of artificial intelligence. I have to admit that this is quite frightening, giving rise to a scenario like in the Terminator movies. Obviously, such a scenario is unlikely with today’s technology, but things could develop…
What is of greater concern is a quote in Hawking’s book The Grand Design saying that human beings are merely “biological machines” “with no consciousness, no souls, no spirit, no mind and nothing but a collection of organised chemicals that run physical brains in a deterministic machine-like way”.
If this is so, there is no moral objection to what monstrous quacks like Dr Mengele were doing at Auschwitz during World War II: experimenting on human beings. If there is no life, consciousness or free will, then human beings are worth nothing. The Nazis were not the last to experiment of humans. There are indications that such practices have occurred in the USA and other countries since World War II. If we are machines, as Descartes said of non-human animals, then there is no reason for any empathy. Life can just be exploited for profit of the strongest.
I have no connection with scientific circles, and have no knowledge about whether such “Enlightenment” materialism still prevails in the scientific world, or whether theories like Dr Robert Lanza’s biocentrism are beginning to catch on, offering a pre-existing consciousness that would create matter, time and space and give it life.
I find Lanza difficult to follow, but biocentrism does offer an explanation for life, order, value and everything that flows from living consciousness. All our Enlightenment scientific education we got at school is overturned, and we have the impression of having to re-learn everything and accept what seems to be nonsense. What really is nonsense is the idea of brute matter evolving into order and life over trillions of “years” and becoming human “machines”. Then, we are just going to have to re-learn and take a page from philosophical Idealism and Romanticism.
However, only about a month ago, according to Stephen Hawking admits intelligent design is ‘highly probable’, he surmised that “some form of intelligence” was actually behind the creation of the Universe. He even went as far as speaking of a God factor, whatever that means. His brother had a near-death experience in October 2017 after a heart attack, and that seemed to bring consciousness into the picture. That did not please the scientific community in Cambridge that one little bit!
In the article, we read:
Stephen Hawking has since published a rebuttal to his critics, insisting that “Intelligent design” doesn’t in any way prove that God exists, but only that a “God-like force” played a role in the creation of our Universe, approximately 13.8 billion years ago.
Perhaps God created the universe and conveniently died early on so that everything could evolve according to the dogmas of materialism. It doesn’t sound very scientific to me!
The man has now passed on and has certainly been very surprised to find himself conscious and freed from his crippled body. We should pray for him and learn from these scientific discussions.