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Here's Why Stephen Hawking Says There Is No God

Updated on July 20, 2017
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Catherine Giordano is a writer and public speaker who often writes and speaks on topics related to science, philosophy, and religion.

A Grand Design?

Stephen Hawking thinks that there is a "grand design" to the universe, but it has nothing to do with God. Science is coming close to "The Theory of Everything, " and when it does, we will know the grand design.

Stephen Hawking Says "There Is No God"

There is a grand design, but it is not God.
There is a grand design, but it is not God. | Source

Stephen Hawking Says, “I’m an Atheist.”

Stephen Hawking is generally considered one of the smartest people on Earth. He is a world famous theoretical physicist and cosmologist who has received many honors for his work in the field of cosmology, quantum physics, black holes, and the nature of space-time.

So when Stephen Hawking said that God didn't exist and added "I am an atheist” the world took notice.

Hawking made this statement in 2014 during an interview with Pablo Jauregui, a journalist from El Mundo, a Spanish language newspaper.

When Did Hawking Become an Atheist?

Hawking has probably been an atheist from an early age. His family was nominally Christian, but in reality, they were atheists.

As a school boy at St. Albans school, he argued with his classmates about Christianity. During his college years, he was a well-known atheist.

His first wife, Jane, whom he married in 1965 and divorced in 1995, was a devout Christian. It is clear they were never on the same page about religious matters.

Hawking’s statement denying the existence of God should not have come as a surprise to anyone. Throughout the years, Hawking has made many statements in opposition to religious beliefs.

“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.”

“There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.”

“We are each free to believe what we want, and it’s my view that the simplest explanation is; there is no god. No one created our universe, and no one directs our fate.”

(The above quotes come from Goodreads: Stephen Hawking Author Quotes.)

There Is No God

Stephen Hawking asserts that "there is no God."
Stephen Hawking asserts that "there is no God." | Source

Did Hawking Ever Say Anything Suggesting Belief in God?

Hawking has made some ambiguous statements about God. For example in his 1988 book, A Brief History of Time, he discusses what it would mean if we were to ever discover why we and the universe exist. He wrote, “It would be the ultimate triumph of human reason--for then, we would know the mind of God.”

This statement has been misinterpreted by some to mean the Hawking believed in God. In the El Mundo interview, Hawking made clear that this quote was only a metaphor.

“What I meant when I said we would know ‘the mind of God’ was that we would know everything God would know if there were a God, which there isn't. I'm an atheist."

"The Mind of God"

When Hawking wrote that "we would know the mind of God," he meant it as a metaphor.
When Hawking wrote that "we would know the mind of God," he meant it as a metaphor. | Source

Do Scientists Tend to be Atheists?

Stephen Hawking has lots of company among his peers with respect to atheism. According to surveys, as many as 93% of top-tier scientists do not believe in God. (In comparison about 83% of Americans believe in God.)

  • Nature magazine conducted a survey in 1998 among members of The National Academy of Sciences, a prestigious group of top scientists. They found that only 7% of these scientists believed in God. Further they showed the group of believers was shrinking when they compared their study to prior similar studies (28% in 1914 and 15% in 1933) so perhaps the proportion of believers is even lower today.(Nature 394,313:23 July 1998)
  • A similar study was conducted among British scientists-- Fellows of the Royal Society of London. Among the British population as a whole 42% believe in a personal God, but among British Scientists, only 5% do. (Evolution and Outreach, December 2013 6:33)

Did ALS Influence Hawking’s Religious Beliefs?

Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 21. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. This causes the brain to be unable to initiate and control muscle movement It eventually leads to total paralysis.

Hawking was given only two years to live. He has defied that prediction: As of this writing, he is still alive in his mid-seventies. However, he is very nearly totally paralysed. He requires an aide to push his wheel chair. He uses a voice synthesizer to speak which he controls with a cheek muscle.

Some have said that Hawking’s survival is a miracle. Hawking does not believe that. He has said, “Religion believes in miracles, but they are not compatible with science.”

His illness has not turned him against God. He was an atheist before he was diagnosed. Just as he does not need God to explain the existence of the universe, he does not need God to explain his survival. His case has always been an oddity—this disease almost always strikes people over the age of 50. Hawking was only 21 when he was diagnosed. It usually kills its victims within two to five years. Hawking has survived over 50 years. Hawking attributes his longevity to a fierce will to live and a stubborn desire not to let his illness keep him from having a full life.

Hawking has said, “However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there's life, there is hope.”

Hawking lived his life as normally as possible. He had three children with his first wife Jane. (They were divorced in 1995 and they both remarried, but Stephen is now divorced from his second wife. He and Jane remain good friends.)

He writes, teaches, and lectures. Hawking has received numerous awards and honors for his work. He is the author of several books intended for a general audience, including an autobiography.

Stephen Hawking’s scientific achievements may even have been fostered by his illness. Being unable to live a normal physical life meant he could devote himself to the inner life of the mind. The pressure of believing that he did not have long to live spurred him to work harder in order to accomplish as much as possible in the time he might have.

A Miracle or Science?

Some say Hawking's longevity is a miracle, but Hawking doesn't believe in miracles.
Some say Hawking's longevity is a miracle, but Hawking doesn't believe in miracles. | Source

How Does Hawking Explain the Universe?

In his newest book, The Grand Design, (written with co-author, physicist Leonard Mlodinow), Stephen Hawking takes us from the earliest beliefs about the creation of the universe to the cutting edge of modern cosmology which includes quantum physics, string theory, multi-verses, and M-theory. Together these theories are bringing us close to what scientists call “The Theory of Everything”—one theory that unifies everything.

This book doesn’t play coy about belief in God. Right on page 8, Hawking writes “M-Theory predicts that a great many universes were created out of nothing. Their creation does not require the intervention of some supernatural being or god. Rather these multiple universes arise naturally from physical law.”

Something from nothing? It doesn’t make sense. We have this reaction because at the level that humans experience the universe we see cause-and-effect. But cause-and-effect does not exist on the quantum level in the same way that we experience it.

At the end of the book, Hawking sums it up on page 180: “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.”

In the El Mundo interview, Hawking said, “When people ask me if a god created the universe, I tell them that the question itself makes no sense. Time didn’t exist before the Big Bang, so there is no time for God to make the universe in. It’s like asking directions to the edge of the earth; The Earth is a sphere; it doesn’t have an edge; so looking for it is a futile exercise.”

God Is Not Required

M-Theory shows how "something can come from nothing."
M-Theory shows how "something can come from nothing." | Source

What Was the Response from the Religious?

As might be expected, there was a huge outcry from religious leaders who offered vigorous rebuttals to Hawking’s statement that God did not necessarily create the universe. Their arguments were weak, petty, and often showed little to no understanding of science. They even sometimes misquoted Hawking in order to set up straw men to knock down. The rebuttals boiled down to “God exists because I say so.”

  • The Arch Bishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, said “Belief in God…is the belief that there is an intelligent, living agent on whose activity everything ultimately depends for its existence. Physics on its own will not settle the question of why there is something rather than nothing.” (DailyMail.com 9/23/2010)
  • The Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, Lord Jonathan Sacks, said: “Science is about explanation. Religion is about interpretation... The Bible simply isn't interested in how the universe came into being." (DailyMail.com 9/23/2010)

Some of the others said that Hawking did not disprove the existence of God. Of course, he didn’t. No one can prove or disprove the existence of an immaterial invisible being. What Hawking did do is show how the universe could come into existence without a Prime Mover to set things into motion.

Some said that you cannot get something from nothing and everything has to have a cause and God is that cause. I don’t think these critics actual read Hawking’s book because he does explain these points.

Some said that God is the laws of the universe as understood by physicists. Here’s one example of that from a blog called Christian Post: “ [Hawking’s] redefinition of ‘nothing’ in no way removes God (and actually introduces us to something like God), but instead only reacquaints us with the standard debate between two eternal ‘somethings’-–the uni/multiverse and God.”

Some point out that string theory and M-theory are not accepted by all scientists. True, but that does not mean that Hawking is wrong. Many scientists do accept these cutting edge theories, and the fact that some do not does not disprove them.

Finally, some try to discredit Hawking, attacking him and not his work. For instance, Hawking has said life might exist on other planets and that these "aliens" might be hostile to Earthlings. They retort that there is no proof for this so everything that Hawking says must be wrong. They try to conflate mere musings (that many other scientists have also speculated about) and his scientific work.

Should Hawking Stick to Science and Leave God to Theologians?

Some critics have stated that Hawking should stick to science and leave God to theologians.

But Hawking is sticking to science. His views about God are informed by his study of science. Hawking is not discussing theology—issues like is God one or three, does God care about the eating of pork, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin—these are theological issues and Hawking has nothing to say about them.

Hawking’s opinion about God is a scientific opinion. Since the laws of physics can explain the creation of the universe, there is no need to have a Supreme Being to create it. We do not need a God who is outside space-time and who Himself was created from nothing, to create the universe. God is superfluous.

The Grand Design

The Grand Design
The Grand Design

The book is written for a general audience. (Even if you don’t understand all of it, you, like me, will get the gist of it.) It is liberally sprinkled with illustrations and even some corny jokes.(For instance, a discussion of cosmic microwave background radiation notes that it could only heat your food to about 3 degrees above absolute zero, so it might not be very useful for making popcorn,) You don't need to have a PhD in physics to enjoy this book. But, I'm sure the physics majors will get a lot out of this book also.

 

What Do You Believe?

Which of these statements comes closest to your own beliefs?

See results

A Video of of the "El Mundo" Interview in which Hawking Talks about His Atheism

I welcome your comments.

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    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 4 hours ago from Orlando Florida

      Dabasish Bag: Stephen Hawking takes a scientific approach to the concept of God. Anyone who does so must admit it makes more sense to not believe than to believe.

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      Debasish Bag 15 hours ago

      The fear about the unknown and the helplessness create a belief in God. But the truth that the possibility for God to exist is very little is admitted by a true scientist.

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      Catherine Giordano 4 days ago from Orlando Florida

      Donald Ho: Thanks for your comment. I'm sure Stephen Hawking meant to include all gods in his statement. Since he lives in a country where the Judeo-Christian god is the main god, his statement appears to reference the god of Genesis since he uses the singular case. If he lived in India or China, he would probably have said "gods."

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      Donald Ho 5 days ago

      I am an atheist and I agree with Hawkins. There no God. The belief in a biblical God is not universal and is only prevalent in the middle eastern cultures that had found its way to Europe. In the far east, the belief in a creator God is non existent . Instead there is a belief in a pantheon of Gods that reflects the way a particular culture developed , like in India with Hinduism where Brahma has to share the universe with a pantheon of other Gods and in China where the Jade emperor rules the universe with a pantheon of other Taoist deities.

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      Catherine Giordano 2 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      Jason Evans: Thanks for your comment. I agree with everything you said except for the part about an afterlife. Do you beieive that God exists, but he didn't create the universe or life; all he did was create heaven so humans could have an after-life?

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      Jason Evans 2 weeks ago

      Im an Agnostic, so i believe in life after death but god didn't create us. We evolved over millienia, god didn't create the whole universe and the countless galaxys out there in space.. Science says different and thats good enuff for me....

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      Catherine Giordano 2 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      Jeremy Aub: Thanks for your comment. Please take a look at my article about Creationism, et al. It is like I have "surrnatura" abilities also because I published it only yesterday and it is the perfect response to your comment. https://owlcation.com/humanities/Creationism-Creat...

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      Jeremy Aub 2 weeks ago

      Oh my.

      Hawkings clearly has lost some respect in my regards. With such high intellect and knowledge of this vast and wondrous universe, still he came to this conclusion?

      You just have to look at a simple hubble image to realize how an immensity amount of energy is needed in order to bring all things together. Mankind is only able to discover what already exists. He certainly didn't invent consciousness and intelligence.

      So where does it come from?

      Everywhere there are proofs of intelligent design. Everything lives in symbiosis and is connected to one another. It doesn't take a PhD in physics to realize somewhere along the road there had to be a force of creation behind all of this. You can call it god, or the divine, or the ultimate spirit or whatever you like but please, stop using religious hatred as a mean to discredit the idea of a supreme intelligent being.

      I'm amazed as to how atheist portray themselves as proud, happy to believe in nothing more than matter. Nothing more than what their 5 senses can perceive. But reality can be deceiving and I'd have thought we had learned to know better than dismiss so easily what we don't see or understand yet. On the premise that science has not doscovered it yet. What about atoms and all the things that are invisible to us but still exist?

      Oh really give me a break, science has not even discovered 10% of all creation and yet many will mock the idea of a creator. And all the people who believe in the argument.

      Fun fact, it makes SO much more sense to have an ultimate intelligence in this universe rather than have life, love, beauty, and all things great come from nothing, randomly.

      By the way, I have seen the future many times in my dreams. But I guess it will take a long time for science to admit it to even be possible. Also, I have multiple testimonies of friends and family relatives who had powerful experiences with the surnatural. Things that even modern science can't even begin to comprehend.

      But that is the way it is, we live in a very mysterious world and it saddens me to see so many people claiming to be more wise and educated when in the end all they are doing is going further away from the truth...

      Peace.

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      Aleksandar Đani Banovic 3 weeks ago

      Bible said-We are all make on image of God! Ok! So we are all gods. Hell and Paradise is on earth. You, Me- all of us see it already and feel it really good

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 3 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      William Stuart: Physicists think of time as a fourth dimension. Time has always existed, but before "minds" evolved in the universe there was no awareness of it. If gravity can exist without a mind to measure it, so can time. I recently wrote an essay about how the universe appears to be fine-tuned for life. In that essay, I discuss the strong anthropic principle which states that no universe can exist unless it is observed. This principle is not widely accepted, but your comment seems to be in line with it. Thanks for your comment.

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      William Stuart 3 weeks ago

      Mr. Hawking's: "Before the big bang there was no time". I take issue; before the mind there was no time. I see time as an artifact of the measured mind. Before the measured mind there was no need for time or even numbers. Just read a short piece on the Piraha who live in the back waters of the Amazon; worth Googling. A society that functions without a measured mind. I see two different times; time specific, that we measured minders use as a useful tool that works and time general that has neither a start or finish until we show up and parcel it. General time is like space, where isn't it.

      Time is our invention as is mathematics. We start using it to calculate and further on to solve complex issues. While when doing the latter some one or others see how with imagined changes it seems to be magic and this goes on and on, finding it suitable for quantum physics.....we think.

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      Catherine Giordano 5 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      Joe Black: The old "you can't disprove a negative" response. True enough, but you can show that all the available evidence points to that negative being true. Also, Hawking did not claim that there is no God in his scientific writings, only that there is no need for a God to create our universe, However, when giving his personal opinion, he said that he did not believe that there is a God.

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      Joe Black 5 weeks ago

      // "Some of the others said that Hawking did not disprove the existence of God." //

      There is never a need to "disprove" that which cannot be verifiably demonstrated to exist anywhere outside of human imagination.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 5 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      John: You should put that on a T-shirt.

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      John 5 weeks ago

      Thank God I'm an Atheist!

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 6 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      khuaro Mirza: Thanks for letting me know that you liked it. A share is the best compliment I can get.

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      Khusro Mirza. 6 weeks ago

      Great read worth sharing with friends.

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      Catherine Giordano 6 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      Jonathan Blocher: I quoted only two or three of the many who spoke out against Hawking. Google it and you will find the" huge outcry."

      I think the "something from nothing" dispute may be analogous to a Mobias Strip. No beginning and no end. It may all boil down to the definition of "nothing." I'll let the physicists work it out. But you seem to be making the "God of the Gaps" argument. It seems to me to be a pretty desperate attempt to show the existence of God. The Bible does not say that "And God created vacuum fluctuations."

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      Catherine Giordano 6 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      CyrilS: Stephen Hawking has never tried to explain miracles. He's a scientist. He knows that there are no miracles. He has said, "there are no miracles, or exceptions to the laws of nature."

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      Jonathan Blocher 6 weeks ago

      "As might be expected, there was a huge outcry from religious leaders who offered vigorous rebuttals to Hawking’s statement that God did not necessarily create the universe."

      The quotations that follow in the article do not sound like much of an outcry. They sound quite measured and reasonable.

      Moreover, the critics are correct to point out that Hawking and Mlodinow are using the word in a misleading way. When the authors claim that “the universe can and will create itself from nothing,” they are not using the word nothing in its conventional sense. They are really speaking of the quantum vacuum, which is not a nothing. On page 113 they explain, “…there is no such thing as empty space… [space] can have a state of minimum energy, called the vacuum, but that state is subject to what are called quantum jitters, or vacuum fluctuations — particles and fields quivering in and out of existence.” Our universe is said to have originated out of a fluctuation in this vacuum energy field, but not from a true nothing.

      Other cosmologists, such as Lawrence Krauss and Alex Vilenkin, also use the word nothing to refer to the quantum vacuum. For example:

      By nothing I do not mean nothing, but rather nothing—in this case, the nothingness we normally call empty space… if I take a region of space and get rid of everthing within it—dust, gas, people, and even the radiation passing through, namely absolutely everything within that region—if the empty space weighs something, then that would correspond to the existence of a cosmological term such as Einstein invented.

      Until they can explain how the vacuum energy field originated, they have not succeeded in explaining how our local universe originated.

      Krauss, Lawrence. A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing. New York: Atria Paperback. 2012. Page 58.

      So until cosmologists can explain the origin of the vacuum energy field, they have not succeeded in explaining the origin of our local universe.

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      CyrilS 6 weeks ago

      How does Hawking explain the physical healings at Lourdes which, after thorough medical examination, are declared to be miracles?

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      Dugitron9001 6 weeks ago

      God cripples Stephen Hawking physically; Friedrich Nietzsche

      ~ God is dead, God kills Nietzsche... Zen...

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 6 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      Domingo Soria: Thank you for your comment. I hope you did not misconstrue my intention when I wrote what "some critics" said. I completely agree with you. If you try to read that these critics wrote,you will see how empty their arguments are. It made by head spin trying to figure out just exactly what their criticism was. Sometimes it would sound like an intellectual argument about science at first, but it boiled down to "God exists because I say so." In my essay, I did my best to represent their arguments.That was the hard part. Refuting them was easy

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      Domingo Soria 7 weeks ago

      I totally disagree with the statement "Some critics have stated that Hawking should stick to science and leave God to theologians." First of all, Hawking is one of the greatest scientists of the 20th and 21st centuries. No theologian can get even close to have similar intellectual achievements to those of Stephen Hawking. Second, it's very doubtful that in today's World any person with a basic knowledge of Science, accustomed to the use of logic, reasoning and fat-checking skills, would ever accept Dogma, religious indoctrination, and Bronze Age sacred books full of nonsensical stories as the basis of our societies. The Dark Ages are over. Thank "god" for that.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 7 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      badooooosha: Stephen Hawking has said that there is no heaven and no afterlife either. He has called these ideas "fairy tales." What happens to us after we die? Nothing. Bodies decompose and to paraphrase a line from the "The Grand Design"--the particles that made up our body might end up on the far side of Alpha Centauri or in the meatloaf at the cafeteria.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 7 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      Andrew Tompkins: I agree with you. "God" is a metaphor. It is highly unlikely that there are any "intelligent agencies." Hawking has demonstrated that they are not needed. I can recommend the book to you. I am about to read it for the second time.

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      Andrew Tompkins 7 weeks ago from syracuse, ny, usa

      A very fine review of "The Grand Design" - can't wait to read it. While I can't speak for all atheists of course, I know that when I use the word "God" (as a proper name) , I mean it as a metaphor for the mysteries that are still unknown to us. At this point, it's hard for me to imagine there won't always be that which we don't understand, so I figure there will always be gods. In no way would I want anyone to interpret that as a some latent or suppressed belief in some intelligence out there, let alone one that cares at all about the welfare of the conditions of life. I think it is pretty easy to demonstrate that if there are such intelligent agents behind it all, they care not one whit of the state of life on this planet.

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      badooooosha 7 weeks ago

      lol, if he says there is no God, can he also tell us the fate of man after death.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 7 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      A4mrtheist: Yes, I too wish we had a more recent survey than 1998. I caution people not to take the poll surveys in my articles as "gospel". They are skewed because the sample is self-selected. People who disagree with me, never even read the essay, much less vote in the poll. One way to increase the number of atheists is to send more people to theology schools. Quite often when students take a good close up look at their religion, they become atheists. Stephen Hawking is a great scientist and a great role model with respect to not letting anything get in the way of your goals. Thanks for your comments.

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      A4mrtheist 7 weeks ago

      Very good and well written article but I do wish that the data was more recent than 1998. As a former theology student in college turned atheist I have come to realize that polls like the one above are usually skewed towards the views of the readers (86% agree, we can only wish). With that in mind it is the very reason more do not embrace atheism...they simply do not read articles that conflict with or challenge their beliefs. With all that science has to offer it is clearly evident to me that the biblical story of creation and of gods existence if virtually impossible. Stephen Hawking is one of the greatest of the greats.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 7 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      Austinstar: Thanks for the idea. I have to think of an angle. It happened many years ago. I sat down at Asimov's table at breakfast and he wrote the limericks. On Sunday, he helped me complete The Times Crossword Puzzle. He finished his in pen in about 20 minutes.

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      Catherine Giordano 7 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      Larry Rankin: I can't take any credit. It is all Stephen Hawking.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 7 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      Sandra Brandsetter: Hawking is regarded as one of the smartest men in the world. I can't imagine anyone calling him a fool

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      Sandra Brandstetter 7 weeks ago

      And the fool says in his heart,"There is no God..." Brilliant or not--it is all around you. You look and do not see.

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      Larry Rankin 7 weeks ago from Oklahoma

      I always enjoy your perspective on creation.

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      Austinstar 7 weeks ago from Somewhere in the universe

      What a treat! If I could sit and talk to these wonderful scientists, I would be so honored. Wow! He actually wrote something just for you! That's a beautiful thing. I, too would treasure such a memory.

      You should write a hub about that! I would love to hear the story.

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      Catherine Giordano 7 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      Austinstar: I had a chance to meet Asimov at a weekend conference. He was very nice. He wrote a limerick for me using my name and I have framed it. Also once I wrote him a letter, and he wrote me back with a long letter. We did indeed lose him too soon.

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      Austinstar 8 weeks ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Hawkings brain will exist in a jar forever, like Einsteins. I wish we could invent robot recepticles for our brains. I think we will someday. Asimov predicted it. He's my favorite scientist. I had a t-shirt that said, Kiss my Asimov! We lost him way too soon.

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      Catherine Giordano 8 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      Thanks Austinstar for the funny quip. I try to imagine if Hawking would have done more or less if he had not gotten ALS. No way of knowing. I just had this startling thought. What if his brilliance and his atypical ALS are somehow related? Maybe his brain is different in some way and it caused both of these things. When he dies, I hope they do an autopsy.

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      Catherine Giordano 8 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      vocalcoach: The Theory of Everything was a great movie, but remember Hollywood movies don't always stick to the truth. Presenting Hawking as an atheist would have been bad for the box office.

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      Catherine Giordano 8 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      Nell Rose: Einstein did not believe in God. That is a common misconception. Please find the hub I did "What Was Einstein's Religion." Even if atoms are sentient (depends on how you define sentient), it does not mean God. The universe is such a strange place that it can even create itself.

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      Nell Rose 8 weeks ago from England

      How interesting! Of course nobody will ever know if he is right about God or wrong. But I do know that the universe is a lot stranger than he acknowledges. for example on an atomic level atoms seem to be sentient. just check out the split screen theory. who knows? but it was fascinating! my brother said, reading over my shoulder, lol, 'he can't possibly know, and Einstein believed in God, go Einstein! LOL!

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      Audrey Hunt 8 weeks ago from Nashville Tn.

      I watched the movie, "The Theory of Everything" which introduced Hawking. I interpreted the ending of the movie showing the bug moving across the floor as showing a bit of doubt about this brilliant man's view on God. I wonder now if I inserted my own views instead or perhaps this ending leaves this question up to the viewer.

      I admire Hawking and I also admire the way in which you presented this interesting hub.

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      Austinstar 8 weeks ago from Somewhere in the universe

      When people ask me about my atheism, I usually say, "honest to god, I am an atheist!" That really confuses the heck out of people.

      Good article about Hawkins. He has accomplished much more than we give him credit for.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 8 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      threekeys: I found "The Grand Design" easier to read than "A Brief History of Time." Maybe it's because I'm older and smarter or maybe the new book is written better for the non-science majors among us.

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      Catherine Giordano 8 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      Kylysssa: Yes a lot of scientists get caught on that--people who don't recognize a metaphor when they see one. A few years ago I said, "i swear to God. It's true." And my atheists friends laughed at me. "it's just a thing from my childhood," I said. "All the kids said that in my neighborhood."

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      Kylyssa Shay 8 weeks ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      Atheists seem to "get in trouble" every time they use words like 'god' or 'spirit' in writing or speaking, even when they are meant dramatically or for any purpose different from saying they believe in Jesus. I was once hounded online for months by a person who deeply believed it meant I really, truly believed in Jesus because I wrote a character who shouted, "Oh, God, yes!" in a sexy story in an erotica magazine.

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      ThreeKeys 8 weeks ago from Australia

      Good read and reminder to read this book!

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      Catherine Giordano 8 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      FlourishAnyway: You pose some interesting questions. I'll take a look and see if I can find stats on belief in God among people who are seriously ill. I'd bet that religiosity either stays the same or gets stronger. I, like you, admire people like Hawking very much because they don't let what they can't do stop them from dog what they can do. I also admire him, or anyone, who can wrap their minds around cosmology, quantum physics (so-counter-intuitive), multi-dimensional space. Thanks a lot for your comment.

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      FlourishAnyway 8 weeks ago from USA

      Fascinating and so well written. Physics confounds me but I do respect people like him who have put significant thought into mysteries of science and the universe. I'd be interested to know the religiosity percentages on people with chronic diseases like ALS. The percentages on scientists is very interesting and mirrors my experience in working with scientists and engineers.

      He certainly drew an unfortunate lottery number when it came to the disease yet he has managed to astound the world with his achievements and longevity. I find that inspiring.