a reply to: whereislogic
That was an interesting video. Lennox is a mathematician and a philosopher, bringing the two disciplines together into what he feels is a coherent
explanation for the divergent views of theoretical physicists, particularly Hawking.
My comments are listed below:
1. First, I don't think that including Dawkins in the mix contributes anything to the conversation. As I've said before, I don't agree with Dawkins'
take on God because he's declaring an absolute which he can't prove. I think he's very much the extremist when it comes to the subject of God. So I
just choose to ignore any statement which includes Dawkins' views.
2. I think Lennox failed to make the distinction between science and philosophy when he asks the following questions:
a. How did the universe begin; what made it “happen”. This is a question for science. Why? Because if you're looking for a physical explanation
in the natural world, you must employ physical means to get there. If I asked how plants use photosynthesis for respiration, I wouldn't turn to
philosophy to answer the question. I'd go into the lab, tear it apart and work it out.
b. Why are we here? What's the purpose? This is a question for philosophy. You can't bring that question into the lab and work it out. A proof in
philosophy is not the same as a proof in science. Philosophy requires the input and agreement of many different minds to come to a conclusion.
Science requires hard evidence that you only get at the bench.
3. About Hawking's book “The Grand Design”. I haven't read it but I'm getting a copy and will read it. As far as I can tell from the lecture,
there's a huge issue with terminology here. Lennox alludes to that when he mentions vacuum fluctuations. When Hawking says “nothing”, I doubt
that he really means the absence of anything. Therefore, when he says “something from nothing” and suggests that the Law of Gravity allows that
to happen, I think it's a bit more complex than Lennox portrays. Remember mathematics is the language of science, not English. Lennox, as a
mathematician, should recognize this. There are many, many concepts that are represented by mathematics that are difficult to explain in human
language. As I said, I will read his book and look at his reference material (that's actually where you'll find the papers that may support his
And remember that Hawking is a theoretical physicist. He's the “idea man”. He works out his hypotheses in mathematics and then sees if it holds
up against other theoretical propositions. After that comes the really difficult work of proving the concept as a physical reality. Unfortunately, I
think this book probably has a lot of statements which are interpreted to be absolutes when they are not.
4. Also the Law of Gravity he refers to is probably more in line with quantum gravity. That's a huge area of research – to characterize a graviton,
if there is such a thing. So again, I think there's a big problem with terminology. Lennox is talking classical mechanics when we know that it's the
quantum world that probably holds these answers.
5. Lennox suggests that scientists like Dawkins have given the ignorant public a choice: You either choose God or science. You can't have both.
Well, you know my opinion of Dawkins so no sense going there. That "choice" is a complete falsehood. You can favor one over the other or reject them
both. But that doesn't mean you have hard evidence for any position. Here Lennox says, and I agree with him that “A statement made by a scientist
(or many scientists) doesn't make a scientific statement”. He's absolutely correct. A scientific statement is grounded in hard evidence. It
doesn't mean that it's an absolute. It only means that enough research has gone into the subject to make a credible statement about it. A scientist
who makes a statement (like Dawkins) is merely stating his/her own opinion. It may have some evidence, but isn't considered within the general realm
of accepted science.
6. Lennox admits that neither side has an absolute answer. He rationalizes a God because he's a Christian and that's his belief system. But nowhere
does he provide evidence that there is this God. It's a hypothesis. If you choose to believe it, that's fine. If you choose not to believe it,
that's okay too. Because neither side can provide hard evidence. Only speculation. I personally think it's a huge mistake for either side not to
lay that out from the git-go because most people are not equipped to distinguish scientific fact from scientific hypotheses. And this happens all the
time when this topic comes up. It's the responsibility of the lecturer – be it Lennox, Hawkings or Dawkins – to lay down the ground work for the
discussion. You rarely see anyone do this because they're more interested to get their own opinion out. This would give the audience the opportunity
to review the topic objectively and not just buy into someone's opinion.
7. And remember – there are other theories about a “creator”. The universe as a simulation is a hot topic of discussion. And by default, a
simulated universe would require a “programmer”, or whatever you want to call it.
Anyway, that was one of your better videos. I'll let you know what I think of the book.
edit on 20-4-2017 by Phantom423 because: (no reason given)