May 16, 2011

Stephen Hawking: Heaven a fairy story


Stephen HawkingEnglish theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking has described heaven as a “fairy story for people afraid of the dark”.

His comments came in an interview with Ian Sample, science correspondent for the Guardian newspaper in the UK.

Hawking has experienced a number of health scares since being diagnosed with life threatening motor neurone disease when he was 21, the most recent when he was hospitalised in the US in 2009.

When asked in the interview what, if anything he feared about death, Hawking replied:

“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. 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.”

Such as statement is not likely to go down well those who have a belief in God or are swayed by religion. Stephen Hawking ruffled feathers only last year with his book The Grand Design, where he wrote:

“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…”

Put in the simplest terms, there is a very high probability that he is right. If he isn’t, then we all win. If he is correct, what does it matter anyway? If, after death, there is simply nothing, we won’t be aware of it so there’s no real reason to fear it. We weren’t aware of the 13 billion years that had already passed before we were born, so the chances are pretty high that the next 13 billion will be exactly the same.

One thing is for certain. Stephen Hawking possesses quite possibly the greatest mind of our times. When he speaks, we should listen.



Filed under: Reality — Tags: , , — Stephen Broadbent @ 9:52 pm






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