Stephen Hawking is a genius physicist and “one of the most important scientists and public intellectuals of our time, if not all time.”
But despite being a top ranked scientist among scientists, Stephen Hawking does not base his choice of belief system on evidence.
Note carefully that Stephen Hawking’s choice of belief is made to resolve his emotional response to the concept of an afterlife. As he states, he is grateful, i.e. relieved to conclude that there is no afterlife. This is understandable, since he spent his entire adult life struggling with a severely debilitating physical disease, experiencing, in essence, the misery of a disembodied soul as postulated to be the condition of the afterlife.
But is someone’s emotionally disturbed coping mechanism a viable basis on which to base belief directing your own life’s choices and plans for your soul’s fate after death?
From Rev. Michael Schuler, Senior Minister, First Unitarian Society of Madison, Wisconsin, an atheist yet incongruously a religious leader who explicitly presents himself as an authority on a God he doesn’t believe in, whose unresearched, uneducated, inexperienced opinion the reader should accept.
From a religious naturalist point of view, it seems obvious to me that we “go” to the same place we came from before we were conceived—the same “place” that trillions of other animals and plants have gone throughout Earth’s history when they died. Some speak about it as “coming from God and returning to God”. Others talk about it as “coming from mystery and returning to mystery”. Still others as “coming from nothing and returning to nothing”. All these I sense as legitimate and emotionally satisfying ways of thinking and talking about what happens at death.
Any supposed “faith” which doesn’t include trusting that whatever happens on the other side of death is just fine is, in my view, really no faith at all. Fear of a terrifying, hellish after-death scenario, OR hope of a blissful, heavenly after-death scenario are just that: fear or hope; not faith, not trust.
Contrary to the words he uses, this is not faith or trust, both of which are based on acquired knowledge. This is the very coping mechanism he accuses his opponents of using. This minister is using classic Orwellian newspeak.
Equating God with nothing is obviously an emotionally satisfying solution for this individual who can therefore justify making himself the ultimate authority and recipient of blessings from the people in his congregation. But what about his followers?
Watch the multitude of Unsolved Mysteries if you think trusting your life to a total stranger is sure to end well.
Which ones? They can’t prove what they claim to be reality.
...all too often, science is presented as trafficking in absolute truths. On the contrary, science is a framework for interpreting, systematizing, and predicting nature based on empirical observations. That is to say, a well accepted ‘theory’ (framework for understanding/predicting nature) can always be upended with sufficiently compelling contrary evidence.
Inevitably, those of us who aren’t professional scientists have to take a lot of science on trust. And one of the things that makes it so easy to trust the standard view of evolution, in particular, is…the [belief that] doubters are so deluded or dishonest that one needn’t waste time with them. Unfortunately, that also makes it embarrassingly awkward to ask a question that seems, in the light of recent studies and several popular books, to be growing ever more pertinent. What if Darwin’s theory of evolution…as most of us learned it at school and believe we understand it – is, in crucial respects, not entirely accurate?
Nobody wants to provide ammunition to the proponents of creationism or “intelligent design”…But in the culture at large, we may be on the brink of a major shift in perspective, with enormous implications for how most of us think about how life came to be the way it is…
We’ve learned that huge proportions of the human genome consist of viruses, or virus-like materials, raising the notion that they got there through infection – meaning that natural selection acts not just on random mutations, but on new stuff that’s introduced from elsewhere…
I started reading What Darwin Got Wrong…I grasped with astonishment what Fodor had done – he’d uncovered a glaring flaw in the whole notion! Natural selection, he explains, simply “cannot be the primary engine of evolution”…
The irony in all this is that Darwin himself never claimed that it was.
- natural selection has never been the only imaginable mechanism of evolution,
- but rejection of a God of Creation was and remains a pillar of the concept,
- what is another imaginable mechanism of evolution?
- Survival of the fittest
- through selective breeding by the elite
- exploitation of the worker masses
- and elimination of the useless eaters.
Darwin’s grandfather… Erasmus Darwin…was a well-known doctor…his experiments on the origin of life were one of the foundations mentioned and included by Mary Shelley in her novel on the attempt by doctor Frankenstein to generate life from dead human bodies. He also published a book on his ideas regarding the evolution of species, which can be considered the prequel of the “Origin of Species”, written by his grandson… [Emphases added here and below.]
one of [Charles Darwin’s] cousins, Sir Francis Galton penned works that gave birth to eugenics as a “science”…which attempted to “improve” humanity biologically and combat supposed genetic deterioration... positive eugenics measures…marriages which were believed to be “better” from a biological viewpoint, and which was supposedly practiced by the Darwin family. Moreover, the theoryof eugenics defended the use of other “negative eugenics” measures, such as…sterilization of genetically inferior couples…physical elimination.
The first and most obvious enabling feature of Darwin’s context was the status of England as an imperial power in the 19th century…The voyage of the Beagle was actually part of England’s empire-building effort.
A second important cultural factor was the…new attitude of freedom and competition, exemplified by Malthus’s theory about the “struggle for survival,“
This not only supported the evolutionary theory of competition in the natural world, but also Adolph Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf / My Struggle.
From Humanities: The Magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities
Charles Darwin was only twenty-two years old when he was offered the opportunity of a lifetime… Darwin’s father despaired of him ever settling into a useful career, for Darwin had recoiled from an early medical training in Edinburgh…
Even The Humanist admits Darwin had no training.
- At Cambridge…at a time when science was not yet a structured profession…John Stevens Hens-low, the botany professor…invited him to scientific parties to meet the famous men of the university…
- Adam Sedgwick took him as an assistant for two weeks of summer fieldwork examining the earliest known rocks in Wales.
- Then…Henslow offering him a voyage round the world on a British survey ship, HMS Beagle.
The invitation had come through several hands and was unusual, even in its own day…Normally, the British government expected the ship’s surgeon to collect useful information about the countries visited…In Darwin’s case, the elite social network that linked government, naval administration [Britain’s military force], and the old universities…recommended Darwin “not on the supposition of yr. being a finished Naturalist, but as amply qualified for collecting, observing, & noting any thing worthy…”
At first, Dr. Darwin felt his son should not accept. The whole plan was “a wild scheme,” he declared…Dr. Darwin was persuaded otherwise by his brother-in-law, Josiah Wedgwood…the Darwin and Wedgwood families had done much to transform British thought in the Industrial Revolution…
Today the multimedia fame of the Beagle voyage sometimes makes it hard to remember that its purpose was not to take Darwin round the world but to…promote and exploit British interests overseas.
Charles Darwin was simply chosen for the respectability of his connections. He was not a scientist, he was a political front man for a “wild scheme” underwriting Britain’s latest exploitation of the world’s resources both human and natural during the height of its imperialism, while, if the idea of Evolution was utterly shot down by the Religious Establishment, he could be thrown under the bus with no harm done to any of the prestigious men with careers to protect.
Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection was used to justify… imperialism, racism, eugenics and social inequality…
Darwin borrowed popular concepts, including “survival of the fittest,” from sociologist Herbert Spencer and “struggle for existence” from economist Thomas Malthus…
[Darwin] appeared to be confirming with science what they already believed to be true about human society—that the fit inherited qualities such as industriousness and the ability to accumulate wealth, while the unfit were innately lazy and stupid.
Spencer applied the idea of “survival of the fittest” to so-called laissez faire or unrestrained capitalism during the Industrial Revolution, in which businesses are allowed to operate with little regulation from the government…
Spencer opposed any laws that helped workers, the poor, and those he deemed genetically weak. Such laws, he argued, would go against the evolution of civilization by delaying the extinction of the “unfit.”
Charles Darwin was by no stretch of the imagination a scientist. He was just a pawn of powerful men capitalizing (that’s a pun) on the massive social upheaval of the Industrial Revolution. But his ideas were accepted through the collaboration of science, education, politics, the military, but mostly, the general public.
What wins Evolution’s converts over from Creation-based religion is not the origin of life, but the destination of life after death. No accountability to a Superhuman Being who gave life and scrutinizes what we did with it. Freedom to do whatever you want in this life with no negative consequences later.
In 1882 after Evolution was embraced by the elite, the declaration of God’s death was not based on scientific evidence, but charged as an assassination by rebels shaking off the last vestiges of morality.
The death of God didn’t strike Nietzsche as an entirely good thing. Without a God, the basic belief system of Western Europe was in jeopardy, as he put it in Twilight of the Idols: “When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet. This morality is by no means self-evident… Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole…”
With the old system of meaning gone a new one could be created, but it came with risks—ones that could bring out the worst in human nature…What could the point of life be without a God? Even if there was one, the Western world now knew that he hadn’t placed us at the centre of the universe, and it was learning of the lowly origin from which man had evolved. We finally saw the true world…
His fear of nihilism and our reaction to it was shown in The Will to Power, when he wrote that: “What I relate is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism…
European culture has been moving with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade, as toward a catastrophe: restlessly, violently, headlong…that no longer reflects, that is afraid to reflect.”
What Nietzsche foresaw was simply the outcome of evolutionary belief in action, an upsurge in the baseline experience of the strong dominating the weak.
The Rape of Africa was the invasion, occupation,division, and colonization of African territory by European powers… [in just 30 years AFTER slavery was abolished] (between 1881 and 1914). The 10 percent of Africa that was under formal European control in 1870 increased to almost 90 percent by 1914…
the Industrial societies’ demand for raw materials, especially copper, cotton, rubber, palm oil, cocoa, diamonds, tea, and tin…
large native populations were also a source of military power; Britain and France used large numbers of British Indian and North African soldiers…
many atrocities were perpetrated in the Congo Free State…laborers who failed to meet rubber collection quotas were often punished by having their hands cut off…
up to [half] of the estimated 16 million native inhabitants died [in 25 years] between 1885 and 1908…[from] “indiscriminate war”, starvation, reduction of births and diseases… It has been estimated that sleeping sickness and smallpox killed nearly half the population in the areas surrounding the lower Congo River…
Note also the signs of Kwashiorkor, swelling of the gut, caused by a severe form of malnutrition, especially an extreme lack of protein. This results in the inability for osmosis to occur across cell membranes, therefore fluids to accumulate in the gastro-intestinal system, as well as an enlarged diseased liver.
A similar situation occurred in the neighbouring French Congo…brutal methods, along with the introduction of disease, resulted in the loss of up to 50 percent of the indigenous population…
to build the Suez Canal…sources estimate…that 120,000 workers died over the ten years of construction due to malnutrition, fatigue and disease, especially cholera…
Germany became the third-largest colonial power in Africa….Weltpolitik(world policy) was adopted by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1890 during his Second Reich, with the aim of transforming Germany into a global power through aggressive expansion…which ultimately led to World War I.
The Second World War was the most destructive war in history…Yet the First World War, not the Second, was the single most important event in shaping the history of Europe during the twentieth century...For the First World War differed fundamentally from the wars that had preceded it…
Wilson commented on the eve of American entry into the war, “the spirit of ruthless brutality will enter into every fiber of our national life…”
The First World War shattered the hope that civilization in the West was making continuous progress toward a more rational and enlightened world…
Europeans came to the realization that they had not, after all, progressed very far from barbarism; the supposedly civilized men of the twentieth century had outdone in savagery the barbarians of all preceding ages.
conquests of territories were inevitably followed by public displays of the indigenous people for scientific and leisure purposes…”human zoos” could be found in Hamburg, Antwerp, Barcelona, London, Milan, New York City, Paris, etc., with 200,000 to 300,000 visitors attending each exhibition.
In [1906 at the Bronx Zoo in New York City], Madison Grant, head of the New York Zoological Society…a scientific racist and eugenicist, placed [Pygmy] Ota Benga in a cage with an orangutan and labeled him “The Missing Link” in an attempt to illustrate Darwinism, and in particular that Africans like Ota Benga are closer to apes than were Europeans…
And so, by the Evolutionary processes of “survival of the fittest” would – and should – be eliminated.
If this reminds you – as it should – of the murder of millions of “subhumans,” under Nazi Germany, it because it is exactly the same rationale. Hitler had every reason to believe Imperial England would ally with him. But Churchill fought against, and won, that political battle in Parliament against the odds, knowing it would take all the wealth in England’s empire to merely survive as an independent nation.
Interesting that Churchill’s policy of fighting Germany not only succeeded in destroying Germany’s world empire but, by trading all of Britain’s holdings for American-made weapons, catapulted America into becoming the New World Order. Interesting that Churchill’s mother was American.
Rudyard Kiplings’ “The White Man’s Burden,” written in 1899, was both a paean to Imperial England and an exhortation to imperialism to the United States. The US had just ended the Spanish-American War with a treaty that ceded Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States, and placed Cuba under U.S. control. Anti-imperialists quickly responded renouncing the hypocrisy of claiming moral sanction for a policy that originated from greed for military power and commercial markets, continuing racial and gender inequality at home, and the special “burden” [taxation to underwrite the costs] of imperialism to the working people of the United States.
Atheism – whether in the guise of religion or science such as Evolution – explains that we return to the same nothingness that we came from, making collaboration with evil totalitarian governments an acceptable way of life, and death an inconsequential, if not welcomed, end to suffering.
What are we to learn from an openly atheistic movement whose leaders were complicit in and responsible for the deaths of millions of people through genocide, starvation, war and forced relocation to labor camps..?
The Bolshevik Revolution helped define the world of the 20th century. It led to the advent of the first socialistic government, which soon expanded into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The Soviet Union aggressively spread communist ideology to Eastern Europe, China, North Korea and Southeast Asia. At the same time, it enslaved its people behind an “iron curtain” of a tightly controlled political, economic and cultural system…
the October Revolution was the extraordinary success of Marxist philosophy, which was espoused by an aggressive minority. It was named after Karl Marx, a Prussian-born political theorist, sociologist, journalist and revolutionary socialist of the previous century.
Karl Marx saw the world as divided between the working class and property owners. Those of the working class labored for wages but never got ahead because they didn’t own what they created…Marxism viewed the world through glasses where everything was colored by property, money and ownership.
Marx saw the solution as communism…socialistic governments whose resources would be shared for the betterment of all.
Communism isn’t a government. It is a stateless system where everybody shares. Its motto, coined by Karl Marx, is “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” The concept is that everybody will give and take what they want, and it will somehow work out.
However, this wouldn’t happen on its own…
a dictatorship…including the military…could enforce the socialism necessary to creating eventual communism.
In communist ideology, the dictatorship of the proletariat was to be temporary because the ideals of communism were eventually supposed to take over, with the state then withering away. But that never happened. Those who took power stayed in power.
And what did the Communists do once in position to carry out their scheme?
Atheism was suddenly imposed on millions of people engulfed in Communist revolutions. The total number of Christian victims under the Soviet regime has been estimated to range around 12 to 20 million. Mao Zedong was responsible for at least 40 million deaths and perhaps 80 million or more, occurring during deliberate eradication campaigns of landowners, potential counterrevolutionaries, and Christians. “As the Chinese Communist Party celebrates its centenary, Christianity—and other faiths—remain among the challengers it fears most.”
And why is that? Because belief in hyper dimensional Supreme Being supersedes the authority of the four dimensional Supreme Dictator and – most importantly – removes the fear of death, therefore the biggest weapon of control..
Most probably near 170,000,000 people have been murdered in cold-blood by governments, well over three-quarters by absolutist regimes.The most such killing was done by the Soviet Union (near 62,000,000 people), the communist government of China is second (near 35,000,000), followed by Nazi Germany (almost 21,000,000), and Nationalist China (some 10,000,000). Lesser megamurderers include WWII Japan, Khmer Rouge Cambodia, WWI Turkey, communist Vietnam, post-WWII Poland, Pakistan, and communist Yugoslavia. The most intense democide was carried out by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, where they killed over 30 percent of their subjects in less than four years.
The best predictor of this killing is regime power. The more arbitrary power a regime has, the less democratic it is, the more likely it will kill its subjects or foreigners. The conclusion is that power kills, absolute power kills absolutely.
Unless you are already one of the elite, you have no basis for faith – only arrogance – to believe that you are one of the fittest who will survive and thrive in this lifetime using the Evolutionary justification to dominate and destroy the weak.
[B]oth of them bestsellers at the time and ever since: Aldous Huxley’s 1932 Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1949 Nineteen Eighty-Four. The two dystopias have many details in common…Both men imagined future societies completely obsessed with sex, though in diametrically opposite ways: state-enforced repression and celibacy in the case of Orwell; deliberate, narcotising promiscuity in the case of Huxley. Both men thought the future would be dominated by America. Both men thought that future governments would spend a lot of effort permanently trying to incite economic consumption…Both men were writing warnings: “the message of the book”, said Huxley, was, “This is possible: for heaven’s sake be careful about it.” In his vision, humanity was facing a future world tranquilised by pleasure and drugs and the voluntary distractions of “civilised infantilisation”. For Orwell, humanity was facing a permanent state of war and totalitarian mind-control, summed up by the image of “a boot stamping on a human face, for ever”…
Nothing, however, but nothing, could rival the sales boost provided by Donald Trump. This president embodies the insight that given a willingness to lie without compunction, norms of veracity can be abolished with extraordinary speed. It is one of the central demands of the Party, in Orwell’s book, that you “reject the evidence of your eyes and ears”. Trump put that maxim into effect on his very first day in office, with his insistence that people ignore the evidence of their senses about his Inauguration day crowds…
Huxley’s…grandfather Thomas was “Darwin’s bulldog”, the first high-profile public defender of Darwin’s ideas; his brother Julian was…a leading eugenicist…Huxley was interested in eugenics, which held a fascination for many intellectuals of the left as well as of the right. He came to see it as a sinister field…But he had first felt the lure of the idea that…science can cure some of the pain and difficulty of being human…
In Brave New World promiscuity is not just normal, it is actively encouraged; total frankness in all aspects of sexuality, ditto. Sex is a distraction and a source of entertainment, almost a drug…Huxley was completely right…Undemanding pleasures and unchallenging entertainments are central to the functioning of society. Sources of distraction play a vital role…and every effort is made to stop people from feeling strong emotion. The preferred method for this is soma, a side-effect free drug which guarantees dissociated happiness…look at the modern use of antidepressants, anti-anxiety and sedative medications, and conclude that he had nailed it.
One particular area of Huxley’s prescience concerned the importance of data…many features of Facebook, in particular, are anticipated by Brave New World. Facebook’s mission statement “to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together” sounds a lot like the new world’s motto “Community, Identity, Stability”…The public nature of relationship status, the idea that everything should be shared, and the idea that “everyone belongs to everyone else” are also common themes of the novel and the company — and above all, the idea, perfectly put by Zuckerberg and perfectly exemplifying Huxley’s main theme, that “privacy is an outdated norm”…This theme, of an attack on privacy, is central to Orwell’s vision too. Thought crime is one of the most serious crimes in Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is at this point that we can start to see his and Huxley’s novels not as competing visions of the future but as complementary, overlapping warnings. Our world has sex on display everywhere, entertainment to take you out of your mind whenever you want, and drugs to make you stop feeling. It also has an increasing number of strongmen leaders who rewrite history and ignore the truth, and a growing emphasis on crimes-by-thought. We don’t have an official “Two Minutes Hate”, as Orwell’s state of Oceania does, but our social media equivalents come pretty close. The idea of permanent low-level war as a new norm looks a lot like our 18-year global war on terror — in fact the GWOT would fit in nicely in Orwell’s world of acronyms and Newspeak. The idea of a society permanently stratified into inherited or genetically determined social classes maps well on to a modern world where the most unequal societies are also the ones in which people are most likely to inherit their life chances. A globally dominant society ruled by a party and a strong leader, a society which uses every possible method of surveillance and data collection to monitor and control its citizens, a society which is also enjoying a record rise in prosperity and abundance, and using unprecedented new techniques in science and genetics — that society would look a lot like a blend of Orwell’s and Huxley’s visions…Huxley and Orwell both wrote their books to try and prevent their dystopias from coming true…
Doesn’t it make sense to question why the powers-that-be are so intent on indoctrinating the rest of us that life is meaningless and worthless and we should be content to just coast through it?
Certainly the only hope for a constructive force to reclaim and restore stability in life, from the individual to a utopian society to the entire universe, lies with power beyond the limitations of human beings.
Our only option for learning about hyper dimensionality has been, and remains, revelation from hyper dimensional beings who explain concepts like Eternity vs Time and Immortality vs Death in simple language understandable even by uneducated individuals.
Religion’s promises for power over the destructive forces of this life and assurance of a high quality eternal life has led uncountable numbers of people over thousands of years to place their belief, and their actions, in religion. Is this just, as Richard Dawkins proclaims, a God Delusion?
“I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.”
Is Richard Dawkins really smart to put all his trust in himself as the ultimate authority on life, the universe and everything?
Are you smart to put your trust in his unquestionably arrogant assertion of his intellect resulting in a frankly uncertain guess?
As university-level biology and science education instructors, we were very pleased to see the interesting and important paper…focusing on the acceptance of the theory of evolution among college students. We whole-heartedly agree with the authors’ conclusion that “evolution literacy” should be fortified at all educational levels. Unfortunately, Paz-y-Mino and Espinoza promote three significant misconceptions about the theory of biological evolution that routinely plague those of us helping students understand, and potentially come to accept, this central theme of biology...
First…the theory of evolution…both currently and as first conceived by Darwin and Wallace, neither provides, nor requires, an explanation for the origin of life…[Emphases added.]
The Human Genome Project catalogues all the genes, with their variations and combinations, that together assemble a human being. Does this scientific endeavor support evolution or Intelligent Design?
Gene Myers, the computer scientist who actually put together the genome map…confessed: “We don’t understand ourselves yet…[t]here’s still a metaphysical, magical element.” (Metaphysical means “beyond the physical”; it denotes an area of investigation that has to do with the origins of objects, hence, is outside the legitimate purview of physical science.)…Myers continued: “What really astounds me is the architecture of life. The system is extremely complex. It’s like it was designed.” Designed? Doesn’t that imply a designer, an intelligence, something more than the fortuitous bumping together of chemicals in the primordial slime? (Even skeptics have acknowledged such. In his book, Fundamentals of Critical Thinking, Paul Ricci has stated that the principle that “‘everything designed has a designer’ is an analytically true statement” (1986, 190)…Myers replied: “There’s a huge intelligence there. I don’t see that as being unscientific. Others may, but not me”.
There you have it.
It is impossible to understand how life ends without understanding its nature, including how it begins. So anyone who places their trust in Evolution’s assurance that the life experienced on earth from birth to death is all there is and can be squandered as one chooses is trusting in ignorance.
It is up to you, the jury, to determine if four dimensional Evolution can prove it was where it claims it was and did what it claims it did within its claimed timeframe, and furthermore that a superhuman Creator who documented that he did it, “did not do it”.
Before rejecting a Creator God out of hand because of a bad experience with religion, stop and think for one minute.
Death is the biggest crisis we’ll face in life. Can we trust our own judgment on a condition we have no way of exploring for ourselves? This isn’t a question I can really afford to ignore, neither can I trust my own limited experience on such a significant issue, that one way or another, sooner or later, is going to happen to each of us. And to the ones we love more than our own selves.