[Photo of Victor J. Stenger]
In his book "A Brief History of Time," published back in 1988, Stephen Hawking, the physicist and mathematician, gave the impression that he believed there was a possibility a god created the universe.
In 2010, he has changed his mind. His new book, "The Grand Design," co-authored by fellow physicist Leonard Mlodinow, argues that a god is not necessary to understand the creation of the universe.
Physics, says Hawking, provides an explanation of creation and there is no necessity to posit a "benevolent creator who made the Universe for our benefit."
It all hinges on the law of gravity. "Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. [...] ... Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to ... set the universe going."
Well, this is all well and good and I'm glad that Hawking is on board as he is one of the real geniuses of our time.
But Victor J. Stenger said much the same thing in his book, "God The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist," which was published in 2007. Stenger notes that not only is their no evidence for a creator god, "but scientific observations actually point to his nonexistence. Life on Earth looks just as it should look if it were not designed, and indeed, the universe operates just as it should if it appeared spontaneously from nothing."
None of this will make any difference to those who insist that ancient tracts written thousands of years ago by ignorant men hold the "truth" about human life and the deities. Too much energy and investment has been placed in these old myths and superstitions. The livelihood of the priests, pastors and their churches depend on ensuring that their flocks continue to believe, and so their main objective necessarily must include denying science and keeping believers in a state of confusion and fear, a state which, they proclaim, can be mitigated only by the ministrations of the religious institutions to which they give their allegiance.