Stephen William Hawking: an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist at the University of Cambridge, who scored one of the highest possible score — 160 — on his Mensa IQ test, died recently on March 14, 2018.
Hawking said he didn’t believe in a personal God and that God did not create the universe. He claimed that the laws of physics themselves brought the Universe into being, rather than God:
The science-religion debate has been going on since science was born, centuries ago. Until relatively recently, it seemed to have quietened down, but now Hawking and others have brought it back into the limelight.
We need to stop thinking therefore that science is the fount of all knowledge. It’s simply not. Science does not tell us how we ought to live—science isn’t ethics. Scientists and religious believers should keep out of each other’s territory. But this is naive. The science-religion relationship is a sure-fire source of publicity, which is always welcome when one has a book to sell.
No religion has ever been set out in terms of scientific statements. This is why scientists are able to mock the claims of religions but have never been able to deal a knock-out blow: in the end, a religious believer can always fall back on a faith that does not depend on verification.
Einstein claimed that the greatest mystery of the universe was that its most fundamental laws can be expressed in terms of beautiful mathematical equations. Einstein followed closely the views of the concept of God as an expression of the underlying unity of the universe, something so wondrous that it can command a spiritual awe.
Hawking’s view appears to be that the belief in a God-created universe can be supplanted by a belief in M-theory (a form of string theory). One problem with the theory is that it looks as though it will be extremely difficult to test, unless physicists can build a particle accelerator the size of a galaxy. Even if the experimenters find a way round this and M-theory passes all their tests, the reasons for the mathematical order at the heart of the universe’s order would still remain an unsolvable mystery.