Hawking: Is this table easy to put together?
Assistant: Easy? It assembles itself.
Over the last few days there’s been quite an explosion in the media to welcome Hawking’s new book The Grand Design. Apart from the IKEA joke one of the best things I found was from Tim Connor on the American Thinker site (ouch – bit my tongue).
First he quotes Hawking:
Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing.
OK, but then Connor goes on:
The so-called “law of gravity” is nothing more than a term to describe observable properties of matter. There is no per-se law that dictates how matter is to behave. Therefore if matter didn’t exist then neither would laws such as gravity exist. You cannot have laws such as gravity without matter. Quite simply laws such as the law of gravity did not exist before matter in order to dictate that matter should somehow create itself. So then quite obviously neither ‘the law of gravity” nor any other law could have anything to do with “spontaneous creation.”
So Hawking’s explanation is basically an exercise in circular logic. Matter exists because of gravity which exists because of matter which exists because of gravity . . . and so on and so forth.
Er… what is it that makes people leap from ‘I disagree with this guy’ to ‘this guy hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about’? Hawking may be right or wrong, but I can’t believe he’s guilty of such a blatant petitio principii.
I’m no physicist, but I thought we’d moved on from gravity as a term used to describe the behaviour of matter to a conception of gravity as curvature of spacetime? If not, someone tell Stephen Hawking – quick!
A few other links I found interesting:
© Chris Lawrence 2010.