I pulled this little excerpt from this blog post over at rzim.org. It astonishes me that the people claiming to be thinkers don’t think things through. Ironic, don’t yo think?
Take, for instance, Hawking’s statement quoted above: “Because there is a law of gravity the universe can and will create itself from nothing.” Clearly, he assumes that gravity (or perhaps only the law of gravity?) exists. That is not nothing. So the universe is not created from nothing. Worse still, the statement “the universe can and will create itself from nothing” is self-contradictory. If I say, “X creates Y,” this presupposes the existence of X in the first place in order to bring Y into existence. If I say “X creates X,” I presuppose the existence of X in order to account for the existence of X. To presuppose the existence of the universe to account for its existence is logically incoherent. One might add for good measure the fact that when physicists talk about “nothing” they often mean a quantum vacuum which is manifestly not nothing. Could this be “much ado about nothing”?
Hawking here is using the same incoherent “argument” as Oxford chemist Peter Atkins, also a wellknown atheist, who believes that “Space-time generates its own dust in the process of its own self-assembly.” (3) Atkins dubs this the “Cosmic bootstrap” principle, referring to the selfcontradictory idea of a person lifting himself by pulling on his own bootlace. His Oxford colleague, philosopher of religion Keith Ward, is surely right to say that Atkins’s view of the universe is as blatantly self-contradictory as the name he gives to it, pointing out that it is “logically impossible for a cause to bring about some effect without already being in existence.” Ward concludes: “Between the hypothesis of God and the hypothesis of a cosmic bootstrap, there is no competition. We were always right to think that persons, or universes, who seek to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps are forever doomed to failure.” (4)What this shows is that nonsense remains nonsense even when talked by world-famous scientists.