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May 19 2011

Hawking: Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try.

Wait, what? That’s not a Hawking quote? Well this is:

“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.

“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,” he added.

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.

Tell me that’s not just about a perfect analogy. With a mechanistic worldview, you excise the “comfort” you might get from the false claim of heaven in return for the crystalline understanding of reality as it actually is. That might be upsetting for some people, but tough noogies. There’s so much more to derive comfort from in this world — like the love you have for one another in this world (the only one you get!), the amazing accomplishments of humankind since coming down from the trees, or even the simple majesty of this universe and how astounding and numinous it all is.

Funny thing is, while I’m sure this’ll drag apologists out of the woodwork to tell us all how wrong Hawking is to even try to take on theology, the only affect this has on me is to get that one damn ear worm stuck in my head again.

1 comment

  1. 1
    Troythulu

    One thing I find refreshing about Hawking is his honesty.

    He takes off the kid gloves and doesn’t try to pretend that the apologist position is just as valid as his own.

    He knows enough to know the limits of his knowledge, unlike defenders of woo who claim to Know™ timeless truths, and he tells it like it is.

    I think he’s always done that to a degree, but recently has hardened his stance, which I think is a Good Thing.

    Excellent post, Jason.

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