Pharyngula

Laplace, Hawking, same difference. In a completely unsurprising move, Stephen Hawking has made it clear that we have no need for the god hypothesis.

Modern physics leaves no place for God in the creation of the Universe, Stephen Hawking has concluded. Just as Darwinism removed the need for a creator in the sphere of biology, Britain’s most eminent scientist argues that a new series of theories have rendered redundant the role of a creator for the Universe. In his forthcoming book, an extract from which is published exclusively in Eureka, published today with The Times, Professor Hawking sets out to answer the question: “Did the Universe need a creator?” The answer he gives is a resounding “no”. Far from being a once-in-a-million event that could only be accounted for by extraordinary serendipity or a divine hand, the Big Bang was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, Hawking says. “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing.

Cue condemnations and histrionics, stage left. Fulminations and denial, stage right.

Like it says, this is from an upcoming book, so I haven’t read it yet, and The Times seems to have moved everything behind a paywall, so I can’t even read the full article or any of the associated content, but the story itself sounds a bit banal. The theists have never offered a single credible, logical reason to incorporate a cosmic intelligence into the history of the universe, and it’s about time they were flatly rebuffed and told their contributions are unnecessary.

Besides the annoying paywall, though, I have to point out another nasty element of the reporting — they must really hate Richard Dawkins at The Times.

When it comes to religion, Stephen Hawking is the voice of reason. Not for him the polemical style that has propelled Richard Dawkins to the fore of national consciousness in the God debates. His argument is likely in the long term to be more dangerous to religion because it is more measured than The God Delusion.

The God Delusion was a calm and measured book, and Richard Dawkins’ talks are polite, rational events. Have these people even read the book? It looks to me as if they are trying to mollify their readers by setting up a Saint Hawking while reassuring everyone that they can still beat up on Devil Dawkins.