Empiricism, Stephen Hawking, and God


Surprise, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has denied God. Again.

Ok, so it’s not really a surprise. Scientific inquiry has been reduced to empiricism or the measuring or quantifying of information for quite a while. Mathematical theories predict everything from back ground radiation to the number of twitter followers any given person can acquire. Stephen Hawking peddles in the more respectable former.

Science didn’t use to be that way. Most of us to Social Sciences (later changed to studies) when we were growing up, and didn’t bat an eye at the wording. Science used to refer to all human knowledge. What we studied in school represented a subset of that knowledge usually qualified and categorized by the word “natural” to refer to the world around us.

I try to categorize it by empirical science – that knowledge we can gain through careful observation of the world.

Language changes and slowly empirical science or that observable information has become the sole area of factual analysis. It’s crippled our sense of study and even more so our sense of thinking. We here the detective in Dragnet looking for the “facts and nothing but the facts” forgetting that each of us have our own perspectives on what happened and we are questionable observers at the best of times.

Hawking falls into this trap. After years of study in a particular model of thinking he ceases to see the flaw. If you design a system of acquiring knowledge that takes repeated cycles of observation and deduction you can only sit within those patterns and often become obsessed not with observations and deductions but only in those you qualify and quantify yourself. It’s a sort of narcism

Doing this causes two conflicts:

First) Once something is outside your ability to predict or deduce, it cannot be true. Even within relationships of cause and effect as big as creation, when they cannot discover a cause from which all existence is an effect they deny that such a thing could exist because of course no observable phenomena is a cause without having a cause. Aristotle and Plato offered up different names for this concept of cause, the unmoved mover or the demiurge.

Second) Dismissal of all observation that is not predicated on scientific achievement. Hawking denies the countless observation of miracles from around the globe as simple mob psychology and on the way denies any experience of God be it mystical or psychological that has ever been recorded from Aquinas to a person on the street. Oddly the narcism produced by empiricism counter acts it’s very premise of observation and deduction.

So, it is not truly a surprise that a genius has come to this conclusion. I’ve said for a few years now that the smarter you are the faster you get to the wrong answer.


About Sean Smith

Husband, Father, Pastor, Swimmer, Writer, Reader, and attempted Adventurer!
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