Yesterday Stephen Hawking, Britain’s most eminent scientist, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21, shares his thoughts on death and human purpose, with the Guardian. Here are excerpts of the report/interview:
“I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first,” he said. The 69-year-old physicist added: “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark “. Hawking’s latest comments go beyond those laid out in his 2010 book, The Grand Design, in which he asserted that there is no need for a creator to explain the existence of the universe. The book provoked a backlash from some religious leaders, including the chief rabbi, Lord Sacks, who accused Hawking of committing an “elementary fallacy”! of logic ! In his bestselling 1988 book, A Brief History of Time, Hawking wrote “It would be the ultimate triumph of human reason- for then we should know the mind of God” … His new talk will focus on M-theory, a broad mathematical framework that encompasses string theory, which is regarded by many physicists as the best hope yet of developing a theory of everything. M-theory demands a universe with 11 dimensions, including a dimension of time and the three familiar spatial dimensions. The rest are curled up too small for us to see. Evidence in support of M-theory might also come from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at Cern, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva. ”
“What is the value in knowing “Why are we here?” The universe is governed by science. But science tells us that we can’t solve the equations, directly in the abstract. We need to use the effective theory of Darwinian natural selection of those societies most likely to survive. We assign them higher value. You’ve said there is no reason to invoke God to light the blue touchpaper. Is our existence all down to luck? Science predicts that many different kinds of universe will be spontaneously created out of nothing. It is a matter of chance which we are in. So here we are. What should we do? We should seek the greatest value of our action. You had a health scare and spent time in hospital in 2009. What, if anything, do you fear about death? I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first. I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark. What are the things you find most beautiful in science? Science is beautiful when it makes simple explanations of phenomena or connections between different observations. Examples include the double helix in biology, and the fundamental equations of physics.”
Stephen Hawking is right or wrong? It’s not important. Stephen Hawking is a good or bad philosopher? It’s not important. But Stephen Hawking, the 69 year-old disabled man, is an exception that rejects the cliché and the norm, and it’s very important. He has on foot in the grave, but he rejects the stupid cliche about the life and death, and it’s very important . The interesting thing about Hawking and his interview is that many of the western people reject his idea and say: “knowing a lot about one thing (physics) means he can speak with authority on matters of which he knows little … It is rather arrogant for people to state – “There is NO heaven, or Spiritual side to Humankind!” Just because you cannot see it, weight it, measure it, take it to bits, does not mean it ain’t true, or does not exist. … I am not a PC !!” It like what the Mullahs say. Without doubt, the human beings don’t know many things about the universe, the life and the death. We know little about the fundamental questions. But we could be sure that what the stupid clergy -stupid Mullahs, stupid priests, stupid rabbis, etc- say about God and the universe is a fairy tale. If there is a God, it certainly is not like the God that the stupid Mullahs and priests describe it. If God is Mullah’s God, Church’s God, Rabbis’s God, etc, it’s too stupid and too naive ! So I certainly will fuck this God and I’m one of its number one enemy ! There is a God, or there is not a God, is not clear and is not the main question. We are stupid, or we are not stupid is the main question. Don’t forget that the stupidity is a global problem, like the global warming!