Thursday, May 26, 2011

Book Review – Hawking’s The Grand Design

“Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time remains a top seller after 22 years, paralleling his surprising longevity with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This new book, written with Mlodinow (also a theoretical physicist and trade-book author), despite its grand claim says little new, except for providing a surface-level update on the speculative M-theory as well as joining the fashionable ‘Ditchkinses’ in providing naïve jabs at religion….

“Hawking & Mlodinow approach deep spiritual, metaphysical, ontological, and existential questions, but instead of seriously engaging them, they apply superficial physical-reductionistic answers. This is not surprising, given Hawking’s habit of ridiculing religion as outmoded myth, but it is sad nevertheless; I had hoped that he and Mlodinow would have learned from both atheist and Christian critiques of Dawkins and Hitchens. Apparently there remains a significant market for sloppy dismissal of anything to do with faith….

“Hawking and Mlodinow display extreme philosophical and theological naïveté, beginning with their announcement that ‘philosophy is dead’….

“The goal of the book was to answer ‘the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything,’ which they state as: ‘Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why this particular set of laws and not some other?’ (p. 10). These are good questions, but scientists and the general public, Christian or otherwise, will not receive reliable answers in this failed attempt by Hawking and Mlodinow.”

The above are snippets of my review of The Grand Design, which has been published in the June 2011 issue of Perspectives on Science & Christian Faith; read the entire review here or here, it is also listed in our “Collected Papers”.

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