The Religion of Physics III: Hawking Rewrites History

There are two ways to rewrite history. The common lie is ineffective. The amazingly effective method is far more difficult. Simply eliminate any information which contradicts what you are attempting to promote. Never tell any outright lie, simply be very selective in what you allow your audience to hear.

Secular Humanists always start from the simple and “progress” to the complex. Cave paintings are presented as the simplest, therefore earliest, of man’s art expressions. Then man’s art “evolved” to flat painting, to one-dimensional perspective, to two-dimensional perspective, and finally to realistic painting. This is a means of expressing man’s supposed “evolution” in culture and of course took thousands of years. The Parthenon, the Acropolis, Luxor, Angor Wat, the Great Wall of China and thousands of other ancient works of art, created during the same time periods as cave paintings and flat paintings are either ignored or added at the end as an appendix. In music the same “evolution” is foundational. Simple percussion, simple harps, animal horns, these ancient instruments develop over millennia. The complex orchestras of Babylon, ancient India and China are once again either ignored or added as an appendix.

“Our present ideas about the motion of bodies date back to Galileo and Newton. Before them people believed Aristotle, who said that the natural state of a body was to be at rest and that it moved only if driven by a force or impulse.” These are the opening words of Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, Chapter 2, Space and Time. The writings of Galileo and Newton, their ideas of gravity, inertia and motion laid the foundation for modern Physics. It is not true that nobody before them “bothered to see” if Aristotle was correct by experiment. Herodotus opens his Histories with “Those of the Persians who have knowledge of history declare…” He views the Persians as more knowledgeable than the Greeks but less knowledgeable than the Babylonians or the Egyptians.1 Francis Bacon declared in 1620 that “printing, gunpowder and the compass” were the greatest inventions of all time. Each of these inventions go back to the early Chinese.2

Printing, cannons, navigation, massive stone structures, 2,000-year-old roads and bridges which are still in use all require advanced use of physics. Where are their records? Alexander the Great burned the massive Persian archives. Julius Caesar, later Eusebius and later still Islamic Arabs burned the majority of the library of Alexandria. Throughout history wars have destroyed much of the information of earlier cultures.

In A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking uses the same tactics: destroy or ignore all facts of history which disagree with uniformitarianism/evolution. Even Albert Einstein’s much smaller work, The Evolution of Physics goes back to the mathematics of the Greeks. Many Greeks contributed to the system of geometry known today as Euclidian or two-dimensional geometry, which includes trigonometry. It is foundational to both Newton and Galileo. It is also contrary to Aristotle and Stephen Hawking’s ideas, therefore ignored.

After the book’s conclusion, Stephen Hawking takes the three men he credits with the founding of modern physics, Albert Einstein, Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton, and devotes 2 pages to each one. Perhaps these pages were intended to be tributes. The fact that each of these men believed that the universe was designed and created with a moral purpose is ignored. When it is mentioned, it is ridiculed.

Albert Einstein said hundreds, perhaps thousands of times, “God does not play dice with the Universe.” Stephen Hawking said, “All the evidence show that God was actually quite a gambler, and the universe is a great casino, where dice are thrown, and roulette wheels spin on every occasion.” He also said, “Not only does God play dice, but … he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen.”

Steven Hawking points out that Albert Einstein publicly protested against Germany’s involvement in WWI, became a pacifist, supported Zionism, was offered the Presidency of Israel, which he declined, supported the US in WWII helping to build the first atomic bomb.

“Galileo, perhaps more than any other single person, was responsible for the birth of modern science. His renowned conflict with the Catholic Church was central to his philosophy…” Stephen Hawking’s high praise shows the crux, the lynchpin of modern science: principled resistance of the established religion when it stands for error and unwavering devotion to truth. Stephen Hawking then twists this praise to advance his own religion at Galileo’s expense. He falsely claims that “Galileo was one of the first to argue that man could hope to understand how the world works, and moreover, that we could do this by observing the real world.” What about Job? What about the 10,000 Arabic documents on astronomy, their widespread use of the Greek astrolabes? Scholarly Arabs rejected the Ptolemaic system in 1070 AD. What about the Mayans, Egyptians, Babylonians, the Indus Valley, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Incas??

Galileo took the same position as John Calvin, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, the Anabaptists, Augustine of Hippo and all other Reformers. The Holy Spirit guides the conscience of the individual believer to correctly understand both special revelation (the Bible) and general revelation (the material world). “It seems to me that it was well said by Madama Serenissima and insisted on by your reverence, that the Holy Scripture cannot err, and that the decrees therein contained are absolutely true and inviolable. But I should have in your place added that, though Scripture cannot err, its expounders and interpreters are liable to err in many ways, and one error in particular would be most grave and most frequent, if we always stopped short at the literal signification of the words.”3

Galileo did not believe, as Stephen Hawking so boldly lies, “that the Bible was not intended to tell us anything about scientific theories, and that it was usual to assume that, where the Bible conflicted with common sense, it was being allegorical.” Instead, Galileo, like Martin Luther, took the position of Augustine; “I have insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation.”4

Galileo believed that the Established Religion of the day, the Roman Catholic Church was suppressing the truth of the Bible. Savanarola was burned at the stake in 1498 AD for the very same belief. Galileo explained this in detail in his 1610 publication Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo. Stephen Hawking even admits this. Galileo “wrote about Copernicus’s theory in Italian (not the usual academic Latin) and soon his views became widely supported outside the universities.” At that time, the universities represented the thinking of Aristotle. Stephen Hawking fails to understand that the modern University system took the place of the Roman Catholic Church in suppressing scientific truth.

Stephen Hawking is retired from the position Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, a position once held by Sir Isaac Newton. Yet Stephen Hawking opens his comments on Isaac Newton with: “Isaac Newton was not a pleasant man. His relations with other academics were notorious, with most of his later life spent embroiled in heated disputes.” Another view might say that Sir Isaac Newton was a very principled man who spent the later part of his life defending himself against baseless personal attacks. Neither statement is entirely true, but when Hawking spends less than two pages on Newton, such a charge is entirely unwarranted. Rather he should have expanded on Sir Isaac Newton’s considerable contributions to physics, such as his works in the field of optics, the prism and the invention of the reflecting telescope, none of which are mentioned with more than an offhand comment in A Brief History of Time. Instead of attacking Isaac Newton’s character, Stephen Hawking should either be complimentary or stick to Newton’s scientific accomplishments. This comes across as an attack because Newton was a Christian who based his science on the Bible.

Except for the personal attacks on Einstein, Galileo and Newton, A Brief History of Time is an extremely seductive and interesting collection of important facts. It is completely religious, carefully selecting the facts which support Stephen Hawking’s conclusions.

“We find ourselves in a bewildering world.” This is the simple position of those who believe in the “new” or “progressive” physics, represented by Stephen Hawking. Though this thinking is now so dominant they simply refer to their beliefs as physics, this is the opposite of classical or traditional physics represented by Albert Einstein. Einstein believed “One may say the eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.”6

Stephen Hawking uses the label scientific determinist for his belief in this “bewildering world.” “The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the question of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?” “…Why is it that we and the universe exist? If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason-for then we would know the mind of God.”

Compare this with the attitude of Galileo. “Some years ago, as Your Serene Highness well knows, I discovered in the heavens many things that had not been seen before our own age. The novelty of these things, as well as some consequences which followed from them in contradiction to the physical notions commonly held among academic philosophers, stirred up against me no small number of professors-as if I had placed these things in the sky with my own hands in order to upset nature and overturn the sciences. They seemed to forget that the increase of unknown truths stimulates the investigation, establishment, and growth of the arts, not their diminution or destruction.”5

All quotes of Stephen Hawking are from the book A Brief History of Time.

1 The History of Herodotus by Herodotus of Halicarnassus, 440 BC, Translated by George Rawlinson 1858 AD.
2 Novum Organum, Liber I, CXXIX 1863 translation
3 Letter to Benedetto Castelli (1613) fro Galileo
4 Augustine of Hippo The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 408 AD.
5 Essay published in 1615, in response to enquireies of Christina of Tuscany, as quoted in Aspects of Western Civilization: Problems an dSources in History (1988) by Perry McAdow Rogers, p. 53.
6 Albert Einstein, article “Physics and Reality” in Journal of the Franklin Institute (March 1936).

3 Comments

Filed under Current Issues, Politics, Excerpts from our Nonfiction Books, History, Scientific

3 responses to “The Religion of Physics III: Hawking Rewrites History

  1. Pingback: List of Blog Entries by Subject (The same blog post may appear under multiple categories) | Elk Jerky for the Soul

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