Hawking upsets the “God of Gaps”

I just read on the  BBC News website, Daily View: Stephen Hawking’s Universe theory. Clare Spencer discusses the fall out of Stephen Hawking’s new book. I often make the point that I don’t like to comment on religious matters, but that’s becoming increasingly hypocritical. Anyway, I found many of the quotes absolutely ridiculous and so here I am.

Beginning with Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, what a nonsensical response; “…’I do not need God to explain the Universe.’ We never did. That is what scientists do not understand”. Anyone who has followed the religious-science debate knows damn well that for as long as anything resembling scientific investigation has existed, religion has been there to stand on it’s toes – just look at Answers in Genesis, or the house imprisonment of Galileo for instance.

As Quentin de la Bedoyere put it, “Most particularly it would not touch the question of how something existing comes out from nothing. That is a question which science cannot answer, and will never answer, because nothingness is not within its domain…”

This is the fundamental fallback of any religious argument; the “God of gaps”. If science has no answer, the more religious will celebrate that “God did it,” and when science puts up a compelling argument, like Lord Sacks here, the religious person will smile and state that it doesn’t matter, or like Quentin, who demonstrates scientific ignorance, will continue to argue the gap.

The fact of the matter here is that Hawking’s put together an interesting argument as to why the Big Bang may not remain unexplainable. It’s not, as with Richard Dawkins, an open attack on religion, but rather removing the gap of initiation that has been heavily exploited by the religious.

I feel that Graham Farmello puts it correctly when he writes, “The science-religion relationship, in so far as there is one, continues to be a crowd-pleaser. It seems to be a fundamental law of PR that the God-science debate is a sure-fire source of publicity. Always welcome when one has a book to sell.”

Richard Dawkins is sure to sell books.

The removal of another gap sets those who exploit such limits of our understanding up on the back foot – media is simply clever enough to find an easy buck to be made by pushing this point.

Much of the other quotes of the piece are just as silly and pointless. It is, after all, those whose convictions are so flimsy that they require to exploit gaps that will be hurt by a reasonable explanation to the Big Bang.

In Dawkins The God Delusion, for instance, he puts up many fine points as to why morals are not borne from religious foundations and why religion does nothing but promote out-group intolerance. This, as one can clearly see with Hawking’s new book, also includes science – which no doubt threatens the validity scripture truth. What we find is that the more insecure will promote such xenophobia, which extends to scientific investigation.

Although I have no problems with anyone’s personal beliefs, I must stress that when religion causes hatred of other people or increased clarity as to how the universe works, I cannot help but get annoyed.

For more, Jerry Coyne puts it better than this flu riddled head ever could in Science pushes back theology a bit more.


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