Sunday, September 5, 2010

Stephen Hawking - The Grand Design

The Grand Design

Looks Awesome. Here's an excerpt from amazon:

How can we understand the world in which we find ourselves? Over twenty years ago I wrote A Brief History of Time, to try to explain where the universe came from, and where it is going. But that book left some important questions unanswered. Why is there a universe--why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why are the laws of nature what they are? Did the universe need a designer and creator?

It was Einstein’s dream to discover the grand design of the universe, a single theory that explains everything. However, physicists in Einstein’s day hadn’t made enough progress in understanding the forces of nature for that to be a realistic goal. And by the time I had begun writing A Brief History of Time, there were still several key advances that had not yet been made that would prevent us from fulfilling Einstein’s dream. But in recent years the development of M-theory, the top-down approach to cosmology, and new observations such as those made by satellites like NASA’s COBE and WMAP, have brought us closer than ever to that single theory, and to being able to answer those deepest of questions. And so Leonard Mlodinow and I set out to write a sequel to A Brief History of Time to attempt to answer the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. The result is The Grand Design, the product of our four-year effort.

In The Grand Design we explain why, according to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence, or history, but rather that every possible history of the universe exists simultaneously. We question the conventional concept of reality, posing instead a "model-dependent" theory of reality. We discuss how the laws of our particular universe are extraordinarily finely tuned so as to allow for our existence, and show why quantum theory predicts the multiverse--the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature. And we assess M-Theory, an explanation of the laws governing the multiverse, and the only viable candidate for a complete "theory of everything." As we promise in our opening chapter, unlike the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life given in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the answer we provide in The Grand Design is not, simply, "42."


BathTub said...

It's been an absolutely hilarious weekend watching all the religious people protest how you can't get something from nothing.

So many of them failing to see what they are actually saying.

And then the essays people are writing to 'disprove' this 2 line quote mine without having the book even released yet.

It's been quite amusing.

AIGBusted said...

Hi BathTub,

"It's been an absolutely hilarious weekend watching all the religious people protest how you can't get something from nothing.

"So many of them failing to see what they are actually saying."

That's true. It is pretty odd to see people going on and on about how something can't come from nothing -- and then in the same breath say that God created something from nothing. Even William Lane Craig acknowledges how counterintuitive and implausible it is for God to create something out of nothing. And yet he brushes this off by saying that God creating something from nothing is still less implausible than nothing evolving into something on its own.

I've heard physicists talk about how something can come from nothing, but sometimes all that they mean is that universe may have come from a quantum vacuum or something -- and a quantum vacuum isn't nothing, although it's damn close.

Samuel said...

I read the book and I'm not really sure what to think. I'm still trying to come to an intuitive understanding of quantum mechanics - but I must admit most of it is over my head.

I don't think the book really solves much. I was kind of disappointed with it.... but I'm equally disappointed seeing apologists attack the book before even reading it.

I've noticed a trend in apologetics. "Don't understand, just argue against."

Uchitrakar said...

"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist."
- Stephen Hawking in “The Grand Design”
“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.”
- Stephen Hawking in the same book.

Here three questions can be asked:
1) Which one came first, universe, or laws of gravity and quantum theory?
2) If the universe came first, then how was there spontaneous creation without the laws of gravity and quantum theory?
3) If the laws of gravity and quantum theory came first, then Hawking has merely substituted God with quantum theory and laws of gravity. These two together can be called Hawking's "Unconscious God". Therefore we can legitimately ask the question: Who, or what, created Hawking's unconscious God?
Not only this, but there are other problems also. If the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes spontaneously appearing from nothing, then initially there was nothing. Then wherefrom appear those laws of gravity and quantum theory to allow universes appearing spontaneously from nothing? In which container were those two laws of nature?
Now regarding the M-theory: I have already written something on multiverse theory (not yet published anywhere). There I have come to the conclusion that if there are an infinite number of universes, then only within that infinite number of universes there will certainly be at least one universe in which life will emerge. If the number of universes is only 10 to the power 500, then it is very much unlikely that any one of them will support life, because no universe will know which set of values the other universes have already taken, and if everything is left on chance, then there is every probability that all the universes will take only those set of values that will not support life. There will be no mechanism that will prevent any universe from taking the same set of values that have already been taken by other universes. There will be no mechanism that will take an overview of all the universes already generated, and seeing that in none of them life has actually emerged will move the things in such a way that at least one universe going to be generated afterwards will definitely get the value of the parameters just right for the emergence of life. Only in case of an infinite number of universes this problem will not be there. This is because if we subtract 10 to the power 500 from infinity, then also we will get infinity. If we subtract infinity from infinity, still then we will be left with infinity. So we are always left with an infinite number of universes out of which in at least one universe life will definitely emerge. Therefore if M-theory shows that it can possibly have 10 to the power 500 number of solutions, and that thus there might be 10 to the power 500 number of universes in each of which physical laws would be different, then it is really a poor theory, because it cannot give us any assurance that life will certainly emerge in at least one universe. So instead of M-theory we need another theory that will actually have an infinite number of solutions.
So, Hawking is mistaken if he claims that M-theory can explain why we are here.

NeoSUFI.Tato said...


The Old Lady’s TORTOISE (Hinduism) and DRAGON (Taoism) are symbols for WAVE (energy), both are analog with MAGEN DAVID (Judaism). "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is the metaphor, and also similar with allegory of rituals Thawaf circling around the Ka'ba and Sa’i oscillating along “the sinus” Marwah-Shafa (seven times) during the Hajj pilgrimage (Abraham). CROSS (Christian) and SWASTIKA (Buddhism) are symbols for “Balance of Nature.”

"A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME - From the Big Bang to Black Hole" by Stephen W. Hawking is the best scientific interpretation of AL QUR'AN by a non believer. It is a “test case” and also a “genuine bridge stone” for comprehensive study of Theology. Surprise, this paradox is a miracle and blessing in disguise as well. It should be very wise and challenging for Moslem scholars and others to verify my discovery, for then we should know the Mind of GOD.

I am just “ordinary people,” so would you mind correcting my point of view. Thank you.

Please, see pictures: