Discovery Senior Fellow Bruce Gordon was recently published in The Washington Times calling Stephen Hawking’s message that God is not necessary to create the universe “a matter more of fiery sentiment than of coolheaded logic“:
Mr. Hawking asserts that “as recent advances in cosmology suggest, the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously 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.” But “spontaneous creation” minus any cause illustrates the lack of an explanation rather than scientific comprehension. It also runs counter to a question Mr. Hawking voiced years ago: “What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?”
Mr. Hawking should take a cue from his earlier self. His question notes the difference between mere mathematical descriptions and genuine explanations. Mathematical descriptions tell us what mathematical relationships hold among phenomena but not why they hold. Genuine explanations tell us how things actually work – that is, why such descriptions apply and are effective. Quantum theory applied to gravitation and cosmology allows mathematical descriptions of highly speculative conjectures that, even if taken seriously, provide no explanation of the events they conjure. Aside from the dearth of evidence lending credence to these speculations, their explanatory impotence is inherited from ordinary quantum mechanics, which describes measurable phenomena with great accuracy but provides no understanding of why particular quantum outcomes are observed. As Richard Feyman said, “The more you see how strangely nature behaves, the harder it is to make a model that explains how even the simplest phenomena actually work, so theoretical physics has given up on that.” Quantum physics forsakes genuine explanations for amazingly accurate mathematical descriptions in which efficient material causality is nowhere to be found.
Read the whole thing here.