I think you're being unfair.
Its actually very clear from the article that Hawking is not claiming that "something" (in the sense of the very first primordial existent) emerged from "nothing" (i.e. in ex nihilo
). He is not using the term "universe" to denote "all that exists"; it is made clear in the article that, in his view, a single universe is only one subset of the whole, errr, "macrocosm," if you will.
From the article:
"From there he introduces the idea of multiple universes, saying that if there are many universes, one will have laws of physics like ours -- and in such a universe, something not only can, but must, arise from nothing."
He is simply saying that the first existent thing(s) in our particular universe could have emerged simply given the physical laws of our universe [i.e. its existence does not rely on a creator God]. This still leaves the existence of our universe open to causes and conditions from a number of outside events.
Moreover, that is religious thought.
Not all conclusions that are not derived from science are "religious." On this argumentation, any a priori
claim made at all would be a religious one. If you make an exhaustive dichotomy between empirical induction and religious belief, you fail to leave room for one very important thing: reason. The sort of reasoning that Mr. Hawking is basing his claims off of. Whether you agree with his reasoning or not, you have to at least admit that he is indeed reasoning (notably, in a way acceptable to a large contingency of people). Its simply unfair to characterize him as someone who is religiously devoted to the idea of something-out-of-nothing-ism .
That is a completely unfalsifiable claim. It cannot be reproduced, predicted or observed.
Why judge yourself and Mr. Hawking on two different scales? You critique him for making an unfalsifiable claim, but make just as strong of an unfalsifiable claim to the counter: "Positing that something (like the universe) can arise from nothing without a cause is fallacious to begin with
." At least Hawking does us the service of offering his reasoning, your view is stated as though its axiomatic. Further, I think it would be hard for you to deny that your strong belief in causal dependence is not influenced by your
Maybe this double standard would make sense if you were critiquing his scientific view as mythologized in order to argue that "scientism is just one narrative on par with any other mythical narrative" just as your own is; but that doesn't seem to be your line of reasoning.
As time goes on I see what kind of theories materialist philosophy cook up and wonder why they're hailed as the state sanctioned directors of the truth in the present day world.
You're right, I'm voting for you when the next election for "Director of Truth" comes up.
The thing is, I agree with you; it seems counterintuitive that something could come out of nothing -- yet, I think we need to be understanding/empathetic enough to see that quite a few people could see it as equally counterintuitive that this very moment could be causally connected in a chain back to "beginningless time" (even this term, as language often does, reifies the conception that there is such a particular "time"). There have been a number of great philosophers (and people in general) from all different traditions who have grappled with these competing intuitions in a number of different ways for years (see Aristotle's hylei
for one interesting example); we can't just pick one as the reasonable one and claim that all others are based off of mythology.
Conclusion: Its easy to caricature someone's view and beat up the straw man in front of a bunch of people likely to agree with you; it takes a bit more skill to step into someone else's shoes sympathetically and try to see where they're coming from. Understanding the Dharma is for the salvation of sentient beings, not to attack others with.We are meditating on emptiness and analyzing phenomena in order to attain liberation from cyclic existence so that we may help all sentient beings to do the same.