According to ABC News, in a recently-published book called The Grand Design (sic? irony?), physicist Stephen Hawking writes:
Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. 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 touch paper and set the universe going…
The article goes on:
In A Brief History of Time, Hawking had suggested that the idea of God or a divine being was not necessarily incompatible with a scientific understanding of the universe.
But in his latest work, Hawking cites the 1992 discovery of a planet orbiting a star outside our own Solar System as a turning point against Isaac Newton’s belief that the universe could not have arisen out of chaos.
“That makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions – the single sun, the lucky combination of Earth-sun distance and solar mass – far less remarkable, and far less compelling as evidence that the Earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings,” he wrote.
I’m unconvinced by this, and find it hard to take seriously. Although I know I must. Assuming the title of the book is ironic, the existence of ‘law’ and therefore a rational universe do not argue against God. Other planets (and other intelligent life ‘out there’) argue against God? How? God not a necessary hypothesis? Ok, so what? I believe in God because I am satisfied that I have experienced God, not as an explanation for being here.
Try harder please, Dr Hawking.