Institute for Creation Research v. Stephen Hawking

ALL the greatest minds in creationism are disagreeing with the new book by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow. This is a link to the book’s listing at Amazon: The Grand Design.

First we reported that Ken Ham Contradicts Stephen Hawking; then we wrote Food Fight: Ray Comfort v. Stephen Hawking; and after that Hawking Inspires Discovery Institute Humor!

Now we hear from the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom. They just posted this article at their website: Hawking Says Universe Created Itself. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

Stephen Hawking, leading cosmologist and recently retired Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, has co-authored a new book, The Grand Design. In it, he claims that the universe did not need God to create it. This conclusion goes against the writings of another famed Lucasian Professor who is credited with discovering the very law Hawking uses as his “proof” — Sir Isaac Newton.

Aha! ICR has found a contradiction in Hawking’s thinking. Hawking uses gravity for his conclusion, but gravity was first described by Newton, and Newton thought the universe was designed. Therefore …

Hey, Hawking: ICR has exposed your flawed thinking! Let’s read on:

[Gravity] could hardly suffice as an adequate cause for the whole universe. Pointing out qualities of already-existing energies is no more an explanation for their origin than pointing out how the energy-of-motion in a rolling ball will be exactly matched by the energy-of-resistance from friction. Neither quantity answers where the ball came from and who or what pushed it.

Yet another flaw in Hawking’s thinking. Where did gravity come from? Can’t answer that, can you Hawking? Huh? Huh?

We continue with ICR’s devastating critique:

Extraordinary information also characterizes this vast universe. The three-dimensional placement of heavenly bodies in space and the particular — and peculiarly life-enabling — universal parameters, such as the speed of light and electromagnetic strength, are some examples of fine-tuned information. Also, there is the mountain of information in living systems to explain.

Since concerns over gravity and energy do not address the more obvious question of information — a massless yet ubiquitous fundamental entity — then statements about gravity or energy alone form insufficient grounds to reject a supernatural origin for the universe.

Information is a ” fundamental entity.” Information, information, information. Therefore … Oogity Boogity! Here’s more:

In addition, any assertion that a thing can make itself is self-contradictory. This is because in every case where something has actually been made, that which caused it existed prior to it. For example, an oak tree may have found its immediate cause in the planting action of a pre-existing squirrel and by the acorn production of a pre-existing oak tree. So, for the universe to have made itself, it would have had to exist prior to its existencea contradiction of the undeniable first principle of causality.

The “undeniable first principle of causality”? They have a footnote for that, which says:

The first principle of causality can be stated several ways, including “every effect has a cause,” and “nonbeing cannot cause being.” Geisler, N. L. 1999. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 120.

Careful, ICR. If you adhere to that “undeniable first principle of causality” consistently, you’ve ruled out your First Cause. It’s gonna be turtles all the way down. Oh wait — they’ve got that one covered:

A classic argument for the existence of God holds that since something exists (say, the universe), and since something cannot make itself (without violating the first principle of causality), then a cause outside that thing must exist (God). In essence, Hawking has attempted to refute this reasoning by simply denying the second premise!

Aaaargh!! Wait — they have a footnote for that too. It says:

Importantly, this argument requires that the “something” that exists is the kind of something that is contingent and finite, like an oak tree, person, or the universe. This is unlike the Creator Himself, who is self-existent, uncaused, eternal, and infinite. Infinite beings require no cause.

Ah, “infinite beings require no cause.” Therefore the “undeniable first principle of causality” is no problem! One more excerpt:

Did the oak tree come from an acorn? No, Hawking would say — it was just the result of “spontaneous creation” and there it is. Such reasoning makes no sense.

If — repeat, if — Hawking says that oak trees spontaneously create themselves, then they’ve caught him in yet another mistake. Hawking must be a really dumb guy!

Where does this leave us? Hawking — that fool! — has tried to make gravity his First Cause. Unknown to him, ICR already has a First Cause. The First First Cause, so to speak. And that one needs no cause. Accept no substitutes!

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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15 responses to “Institute for Creation Research v. Stephen Hawking

  1. “ALL the greatest minds in creationism …”
    There’s nothing further to be said, is there?

  2. “ALL the greatest minds in creationism …”
    There’s nothing further to be said, is there?”

    Except this… that the collective brain power of all those minds would barely power an LED bulb… and only for the briefest of moments.

  3. comradebillyboy

    ICR vs Hawking…….who am I going to believe? Oh yes, Hawking’s ideas are supported by actual evidence while ICR’s are a medieval interpretation of Genesis. Let’s see, skill and science vs. ignorance and superstition…. which is usually the winning argument in modern America?

  4. comradebillyboy says:

    ICR vs Hawking…….who am I going to believe?

    Hawking has evidence, but ICR has the Lake of Fire. Be careful, this is a big decision.

  5. I would just ask three questions:

    1. Did they actually read Hawking’s book?
    2. Do they actually know what information is?
    3. Do they care at all to first make sure they know what they are talking about?

  6. It seems that their power of DENIAL approaches INFINITY.

  7. Why do creationists invariably try to refute current science with science from hundreds of years ago? For example, they say Hawking’s gravity conflicts with Newton’s, and that Louis Pastuer proved that life can’t emerge spontaneously.

  8. Gabriel Hanna asks:

    Why do creationists invariably try to refute current science with science from hundreds of years ago?

    Pre-Darwin, science was tolerable — with certain exceptions. Since then it’s been all downhill for the creationists.

  9. ICR faults Hawking: “Hawking Says Universe Created Itself.”

    Of course, ICR’s belief is that God created the universe. But then, if we carry it one step further into the past, ICR must believe that “God created Himself.”

  10. It’s been a staple item of atheist rhetoric for many years that, if anything can be “self-caused,” then it’s not at all clear why “being self-caused” cannot apply to the universe just as readily as it applies to God. I believe this line of thought is usually attributed to Russell, though a version of it appears in Schopenhauer.

    The theistic response seems to be that nothing can be self-caused without also being unlimited in every possible way (eternal, infinite, etc.). I can see why this response would make sense if one starts off from thinking in roughly Neoplatonic terms about “being”, but I can’t see how one can get into that very framework simply by reasoning about the nature of causation alone.

  11. I postulate that a supernatural squirrel created the first acorn and therefore the oak tree. Problem solved. No science required.

    It sounds stupid applied to an oak tree. Except, it’s exactly the same argument the creationists apply to the universe. Exactly. The only difference is that their supernatural entity isn’t a squirrel (that we know of). They won’t be pushed into describing it in any scientific sense, but we know from it’s biography that it’s prone to holding grudges (for eternity, in the case of eating a fruit), throwing temper tantrums on a regular basis, making lots of nonsensical rules, and has an unnatural obsession with human sexual conduct. Given that we occupy an infinitesimally small part of the universe, the focus of this supernatural entity on us is creepy, to say the least.

    Creationists would be a lot more interesting if they actually tried to sort out what their designer actually looked like, was composed of, what forces it used to “create” and more importantly, “destroy”… If they had even the tiniest bit of scientific curiosity, they would be intensely interested in trying to characterize the creator. I would certainly want to know what it’s intentions were, and how we could stop it if we needed to. I wager it would be harder than deflecting an asteroid.

  12. It really isn’t a fair fight.

    On one side we have a cripple, horribly twisted and withered away, confined to a increasingly small range by a insidious, incurable disease.

    On the other side we have Stephen Hawking.

  13. concise and snarky, just the way I like it, good work, SC.

  14. eric (but not Eric)

    I’m sure the best is yet to come. We haven’t heard Ray Comfort’s or Casey Luskin’s refutations of Hawking. I start to giggle just thinking about it.

  15. Hawking’s book is a lot like Darwin’s and the process is similar.

    Darwin spent 20 years collecting and collating data before he summarized it in his book. Over the kitchen table Darwin might have said, “You know, the diversity of life can be explained without invoking a supernatural deity.”

    Fast forward. Hawking spent twenty years collecting and collating data before he summarized it in his book. Over the kitchen table Hawking might have said, “You know, the origin of the universe can be explained without invoking a supernatural deity.”

    Behind the scenes in both kitchens is a huge and complicated body of science.

    Creationists ONLY concern themselves with the kitchen table summary and not the work behind the scenes. Creationists neither understand the science nor want to understand the science and it’s the latter that’s the worse for their cause.