“Myth” refers to colorful stories that tell about the origins of humans and the cosmos. It’s not facts but figments of imagination. Can we think of a scientific myth? A Scientific myth is indeed a contradiction in line with the traditional sense of the term. But what Hawking is trying to put forward is a scientific myth which won’t have the scope of experimental validity. This doesn’t mean that I brand all the theories discussed by Hawking as a myth. But Hawking with the craftiness of a cherry picker has arranged those theories in such a manner to give birth to a scientific myth. The purpose of the myth: Do away with God in creation!

A Crafty Cherry Picker

Can you imagine a crafty cherry picker who picks a few ripe cherries, shows you and declares that all the ripe fruits (not cherries) in this universe(not world) are red! This cherry picker comes alive in the form of Stephen Hawking in The Grand Design.  Stephen Hawking goes cherry picking a few scientifictheories, finds the ultimate combo in M-theory and puts a big full stop by declaring that gravity fills in God’s shoes in creation from nothingness.  This indeed is a leap into darkness. Till this day, faith was considered the leap into darkness. For the book The Grand Design to make sense, the scientific rigor and experiments need to be sidestepped and the whole world should believe that science and scientific theories involves a giant leap into darkness. This is totally unexpected from a scientist like Hawking, who is hailed as the next super genius after Einstein. Living in a market dominated world, Hawking has done justice to market and not science. In the name of populism he sacrifices philosophy, God and Science(even though he says he is promoting science)  As atheism is the ‘flavor of the season’ , the book is tailor made for atheists and wannabe atheist. Also yet another book for Richard Dawkins to quote from.

Begin with a Conclusion!

There is no need for God in creations; Hawking has taken for granted this conclusion. And he cherry picks the theories and fits in the premises (arguments) in order to reach this conclusion all through the book The Grand Design. The Grand Design arises out of a dream, given wings by scientific determinism. It is the assertion that science can let you determine anything and everything and  science is the one and only  grand path that takes us to true knowledge. The scientific determinism ruled in the eighteenth and nineteenth century basing on Newtonian mechanics. Pierre Simon de Laplace, one of the leading mathematicians of that time said, if we can know all the forces action on both giant bodies and lightest atoms in nature and if we can analyze it and condense it into a single formula, then nothing will be uncertain, the future, just like the past will be present before our eyes. The confidence in science was strong that, physicist Albert Michelson imagined towards the end of nineteenth century that, what was left for us to discover in the science of nature was no more than fine tuning our precision bye a few decimal places.

The subsequent theories like Relativity, Quantum mechanics, Chaos theory took a dig at this scientific determinism and showed the indeterministic aspect that creeps in. Take the case of Chaos Theory also called Butterflyeffect. The simplest way of putting it would be a small flap of wings of the butterfly in Bangalore, India can cause a tornado in Texas, United States. In scientific terms it is the Sensitive dependence on initial conditions. A small change can trigger or can be amplified in the long run producing great consequences. This is the reason why the weather prediction is still not perfect even in the twenty-first century ( it may/maynot rain…the safest way to put it!!)

Hawking’s aim is to combine Force of Gravity, Einstein’s and Quantum theories. So he says that M-theory is the candidate for the ultimate theory of everything. ‘M-theory predicts that great many universes were created out of nothing. Again the much publicized sentence from the book: Because gravity shapes space and time, it allows space-time to be locally stable but globally unstable. On the scale of the entire universe, the positive energy of the matter canbe balance by the negative gravitational energy, and so there is no restriction on the creation of whole universes. Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing in the manner described in Chapter 6. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue torch and set the universe going.But for gravity to act on nothingness, from where will gravity originate? Even though he brings up the John Conway’s game of life,Feynman’s diagrams, Eddington’s theories and the like what he is cleverly doing is applying the micro to the macro level. An experiment with sub atomic particles need not turn true while applied to macro bodies. Even M-theory which is said to be the ultimate theory for everything hasn’t got a final shape till now. As Craig Callender wrote in New Scientist, “M-theory  is far from complete. But that doesn’t stop the authors from asserting that it explains the mysteries of existence.”

Statue! Be still.

Statue! You must stand still, till one of your friends fails to do so. That’s a game played by children. Hawking plays the same game with the readers of The Grand Design.  All his assertions can be accepted only if all the humanbeings stand still as statues. Humanity has been evolving and innovations are happening in split second time. So at a time of technological and scientific revolution does it mean that M-theory as Hawking say, is the ultimate theory of everything and it will explain everything? Will the entire scientist and all researchers be jobless? Of course he makes a humble attempt towards the end: If the theory(M-Theory) is confirmed my observation(!) it will be the successful completion of a search going back to 3000 years.

But is he sure that there will be no other theories other than M-theory in the near future that can provide better explanations?  Is he unconsciously repeating the same mistake committed by scientists who relied on scientific determinism after Newtonian scientific revolution or is he consciously dancing to the ‘popular’ tunes to sky rocket his book sales?

Everything matters

Human beings have immense potential. But all will accept that his not a perfect being. But there is always an inner urge to attain perfection. From this arises the craving for ‘everything.’ Just have a glance of the subtitles of tworecent bestselling books. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explains the Hidden Side of Everything, and Eat, Pray, Love: One Women’s Search for Everything. Everything; it’s a human weakness. When Freakonomics had a sequel Super Freakonomics, the authors admitted the mistake and pointed out that Everything in the subtitle was wrong. (If there was everything, they needn’t write a sequel!!!)

Hawking too says M-thoery is the theory of everything and there is no need to bring in God, to explain creation. This is a clever ploy to cash in on the new gen who need ‘everything’ and also wants to do away with God. Grand design shows a great scientist being reduced to a puppet of the popular culture.

Present vs Past

Hawking brings in many myths from various cultures and shows it irrelevance. He even ridicules the church’s attitude during the medieval times. But the pertinent question to be asked here is can we criticize pastbased on our present understanding? The position of the Church or any religion for that matter, might seem meaningless at present owing to advancements in science and technology. If Church was the sole reason for backwardness of science, then progress would have happened in non Christian dominated areas. But it didn’t happen and the scientific progress gained momentum from these Christian Church dominated areas ( no religious fundamentalism intended!) The interesting thing again to be noted is that Galileo, Newton and Einstein believed in a God (which God is not relevant here!!).  This means that believing in God doesn’t mortgage ones scientific spirit.

Stephen Hawking seems to be in a hurry to conclude that there is no God. If the power of human reason can be believed, the system he built up in the book Grand Design , will surely be replaced by more convincing theories. Grand Design is nothing but a scientific myth.

Science is a Leap into Darkness!

As Fritjof Capra says in The Tao of Physics, “Neither science need religion nor religion need science, but human being need both science and religion.” The Grand Design is a deliberate attempt to divorce religion from human life. If Hawking would have argued in his book that this is one of the probable conditions, then it would have made sense. But an outright assertion that too without experimental evidence won’t command respect. Because, Science is not Faith, and it will be unbecoming for a scientist to ask people to leap into darkness.

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