Quoting from Hawking's interview with the Guardian:
“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail,” explained the scientist about his view on death. “There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”
Here's an excellent rebuttal to atheists in general by Deepak Chopra in today's Huffington Post:
While driving on the super highway of Quantum Physics and the Theory of Everything, we have not noticed many smaller lanes. One of them being the "Causal Mechanics" and "Theory of Time" by the brilliant soviet scientist Nikolai Kozyrev. He arrived at these theories after experimenting and working out the mathmatical details. An introduction to his work may be found here.
The concept of something from nothing overlooks the fact that what we consider nothing may actually be currently undetectable something. Who would have believed "Dark Matter" to be something thrity years back. Causal Mechanics states that cause and consequences happen in orderly sequence and it is just the observer's position in TIME which will make the event appear either as cause or consequence. The appearnce and disappearnce of Black Holes, which brought so much of fame to Stephen Hawking itself is suggestive of this concept. Bhagvat Gita supports this concept too.
Further, the scientist claims that TIME is energy and has density. It is the density of time that determines what matter will form from the conversion of energy. Ancient Indian scriptures contain parallels to such concepts, but without clear explanantions. Kozyrev seems to have worked these out by way of analysis of the results of his experiments.
Stephen Hawking is perhaps indicating the limits of his own thought process. His own Ring Pass-Not. But there's bound to be universes beyond his Ring Pass-Not.
Here is a good article about Hawking:
“S. Hawing´s Scholarly Naiveté
- Perhaps More Physicists Should Start Studying ´The Secret Doctrine`.
Anti science bias was strongly promoted by all organized religions when their own theories came under question. Philosophers helped too. I wrote eralier as well, all anti-science thoughts have a very unfair advantage of "Interpretation". So, everytime a new discovery is made, there is no dearth of people claiming that so and so wrote this text meaning this. Secondly, and really interestingly, when it suits them they claim "even science accepts this", and when it does not science becomes evil and misleading.
Traditions work on a system of "beliefs", requiring the enquirer to close their mind. It is only science that requires a truly open mind. In that sense, Stephen Hawking is right when he says that "Philosophy is Dead" and the scientists are the new philosophers.
The funny thing is that scientific experiments on perception have made clear that the brain heavily processes the inputs from the senses. What we perceive is not what is "out there". To think so is to hold to what philosophers call naive realism.
What is at one time called a fact may from another perspective be called a fiction. This is well known to every proper philosopher, and this has been increasingly recognized in the academia, though not sufficiently in general.
Many outstanding scientists can be mentioned here: from Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos to Bateson, Stafford Beer, Hayek and so on. The current idea of extreme reductionism (as far as psychological and spiritual capabilities being reduced to mere brain processes) is not well supported by the evidence. I have written about this elsewhere on this forum at several places. See for example my postings on "Beyond Reductionism" and my mention of the Edward Kelly book on irreducible mind.
Another error often made is equating science with technology. I never forget the rant Stafford Beer gave against the prejudices of scientists and the difference with how engineers operate. Very enlightening.
Science has been abused by many politicians, scientists themselves by suggesting findings and statistics that turn out to be wrong later. It is not an easy thing to be a sincere scientist and confess "we don't know".
Science has become metaphysical since the advent of quantummechanics. It actually always contained metaphysical statements, since noone could quite understand what a force is, ontologically speaking, or what a field is.
Don't you think that is funny?
I know of few in the metaphysical/spiritual field who are neo-Luddites and want to do away with modern technology. Martin Euser is right that many confuse science with technology. I don't know of any engineers going around making grandiose metaphysical statements(publicly, at least), like scientists Hawking, Dawkins, Sam Harris, etc. The engineers seem to know the limits of what they do and leave it at that.
When it suddenly became fashionable that the scientific method could somehow discover the meaning, or lack of meaning, in the universe(universes) is beyond me. Joe, that is what Hawking and others are doing, speculating on matters outside the province of materialist science. Sure, they have a right to do that, but they are doing it under the guise of "fact based science."
Joe, you call for "the facts, just the facts." Well, what are the premesises under which we decide how "facts" are determined? If we say, as materialist science does, that it is empirical measurement by instrumentality, even the finest measuring instrument has limits, for there is no instrument that can stand outside of the universe and "objectively" measure it. Therefore, it is all so called "objectivity" is ultimately subjective.
Even when "raw data" is agreed upon as as starting pointing, that "raw data," ("facts") can be interpreted in numerous ways. And, as the history of science shows, what gets into the textbooks is the interpretation that agrees with the prevailing paradigm of the time. What prevails as a paradigm gets very social/political.
Wanting to use technology in a wise and humane way is certainly not "anti-science." Wanting materialist science to admit it's limits is not being anti true-science.
I think we're in general agreement, Joe. I'd say the classic scientific method does quite well on the day-to-day practical level. There's plenty there for engineers to work with. Although, this method has yet to show it can "cook up" wisdom-to-go for the human race.
The questions of epistemology have been argured and discussed for centuries, I doubt if we'll come to any solution agreeable to everyone here or the world at large. Suffice it to say, though, that what is thought of as mere "speculation" and "wishful thinking" by some in one era can become manifested physical reality or agreed upon reality in another.
The Akashic Records are a case in point in the metaphysical realm. Laughed at by science, and even by many in certain camps in the spiritual field in the past, is now taken seriously by the "New Science" as the "Zero Point Field," "Quantum Vacuum" or "Quantum Field."
The emerging "New Science" of putting consciousness back into the central picture of "reality" is best described by people directly involved in that movement. I've given links to such in other forums here, so don't feel like repeating them.
"Cooking Up" of wisdom is not the exclusive domain of scientists only, so let us not be unduly harsh on them.
The New Science could come to level of considering "Consciousness" by following a logical developmental path, in which Newton, Einstein and numerous others have played important roles. Spiritualists, on the other hand, because of their direct experience methods have compelled those who are unable to experience directly anything, to be corrupted by religions and cults.