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Great Hawking Interview

Science, truth and beauty: Hawking's answers

What is the value in knowing "Why are we here?"

The universe is governed by science. But science tells us that we can't solve the equations, directly in the abstract. We need to use the effective theory of Darwinian natural selection of those societies most likely to survive. We assign them higher value.

You've said there is no reason to invoke God to light the blue touchpaper. Is our existence all down to luck?

Science predicts that many different kinds of universe will be spontaneously created out of nothing. It is a matter of chance which we are in.

So here we are. What should we do?

We should seek the greatest value of our action.

You had a health scare and spent time in hospital in 2009. What, if anything, do you fear about death?

I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first. I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.

What are the things you find most beautiful in science?

Science is beautiful when it makes simple explanations of phenomena or connections between different observations. Examples include the double helix in biology, and the fundamental equations of physics."

(Tip to Pedant)


 

Comments

Sorry I have been such an absentee Blogger folks. I hope you all haven't seen this before I posted it. Hopefully I will find some time to put up a few more things this week.

nah! great stuff and was delighted to read it. :)

He's just cribbing off Minsky.

btw, I have a question for OneGoodMovers:

"Do we have free will, or are our brains just machines responding to genetics and prior experience?"

I can form a good argument for why our brains would THINK they had free will even if they don't, with similar advantages to believing in god, which is why I bring it up.

Thoughts?

Question : "Do we have free will, or are our brains just machines responding to genetics and prior experience?" Answer : "Yes!" Why do we always want to have a simple Yes or No answer to The Question? I actually prefer Douglas Adams' answer. Try this : http://www.acampbell.ukfsn.org/essays/skeptic/uncertainty.html

Free meaning not determined by an outside force... Yes

Free meaning unbound to ones nature as determined by experience and genetics. Clearly not.

It has always struck me as a useless question for Non believers.

Its a big deal to decide if your actions are determined by god or not. clearly has a whole ton of meanings if you really are on a rail unable to act differently and god built the rail. Shit is clearly his fault.

But the whole question of whether your nature determines your choices or your choices define your nature doesn't lead to an answer that would change the way we live.

Have you been reading the essays of Spinoza and Descartes re free will?

It's great to see prominent people with debilitating and possibly fatal diseases speak out so clearly against an afterlife.

The best I've read about the subject, is probably Sagan's last few paragraphs of the first chapter ("You Are Here") in Pale Blue Dot.

We need to use the effective theory of Darwinian natural selection of those societies most likely to survive. We assign them higher value.

well thank you mr. eichmann.

and people in wheelchairs, do we assign them a lower value?

The universe is governed by science.

oh, really? physical laws, maybe, but science? somebody miight want to look that term up, it seems mr. hawkin seems to have neglected to do so.

Science predicts that many different kinds of universe will be spontaneously created out of nothing.

"predicts"? meaning it hasn't happened yet?

"predicting" that something will be "spontaneously" created out of nothing? how does "spontaneously" fit into the cause-and-effect of "science" as we know it? i thought spontaneous action of any kind was what science DISproves. and why "many different kinds"? why not only one? why many? why not an infinite number?

We should seek the greatest value of our action.

assuming charitably that he means that we should determine our actions depending on their "value", what determines this value? are we even allowed to ask this obvious question, or should we simply remove our shoes as we stand on the holy ground of the genius of this superhuman, hawking?

Science is beautiful when it makes simple explanations of phenomena or connections between different observations.

so, why is science better than say, literature?

sorry. is hawking yet another untouchable idol here that it's forbidden to question without ridicule or punishment?

i wonder how darwin would explain hawkin's continued existence.

sorry. is hawking yet another untouchable idol here that it's forbidden to question without ridicule or punishment?

not really, but you do realize the man types with his toung and eyelid right? Like, he may use "science" at times with a wider meaning because the scientific process, or our knowledge or physics reveals might be a better descriptor because of the time involved in finding or spelling the additional words.

Predicts is not a denoter of the time frame in when the universes are created but the time in which humans discover them. Like hawking has predicted how celestial bodies might act and then go test that theory by taking measurements.

Predicts is not a denoter of the time frame in when the universes are created but the time in which humans discover them.

Good answer Red7. Semantics are often used to obfuscate the topic at hand, and becker is the master of obfuscation.

well thank you mr. eichmann.

and people in wheelchairs, do we assign them a lower value?

Did you read the question? it was "Why are we here?"

The value he is talking about is the value in an equation that figures out why humans have come to exist, not an equation to build a master race.

There was never a society of wheelchair people so he wouldn't give that a value.

Did you read the question?

The value he is talking about is the value in an equation that figures out why humans have come to exist

Again becker uses semantics (vis-à-vis the meaning of 'value') to obfuscate.

Nothing surprising here.

defeated once again

defeated once again

as i said earlier:

is hawking yet another untouchable idol here that it's forbidden to question without ridicule or punishment?

no defeat here that i can see. merely a meaningless declaration of a nonexistent victory. again: say something critical of hawkins, anything! ever! and you might be worthy of serious consideration as a freethinker instead of the groupie you seem to be.

as a rocker i can tell you: groupies are only good for 1 thing. uh, maybe 2.

3, if you include running interference. but believe me, you don't want to be that guy/gal. however, if you insist, i'll take you on. here's your pay: NOTHING. here's what you can put on your resume: NOTHING. here's what you can take home after i tire of you and replace you with someone younger, smarter and better looking: NOTHING.

of course, i realize you wouldn't want to be my groupie, but you seem to be perfectly willing to be hawkin's, and the terms are exactly the same. except he won't even buy you breakfast.

how's that for "obfuscation"? not bad, i think, but i still have a ways to go to match you and joann here.

You are truly a master in missing the point.

There are a number of Hawking's views I have found questionable. Your silly language nitpicking is not a reason that raises to that level.

There are a number of Hawking's views I have found questionable.

ok, go on, name one. better yet, name one you've mentioned here in the past.

if you can think of one (which i doubt) i'll bet it just happens to be one i agree with, so i'll wind up defending hawkins.

this would be no problem for me, of course, since i am a freethinker and not a groupie and i'll defend whatever i see as the truth no matter who says it. you...?

i suspect if michelle bachman stated that 2+2=4 you'd find some way to disagree. or if hawking says "the universe is governed by science" you'd find some way to show that this is the absolute truth.

oops, you already did that. hiding behind "semantics", yet another word you should look up. understanding the difference between definitions and semantics might help you seem more, uh, "intellectually together". not that that seems to be what you're shooting for.

There are a number of Hawking's views I have found questionable.

ok, go on, name one. better yet, name one you've mentioned here in the past.

if you can think of one (which i doubt) i'll bet it just happens to be one i agree with, so i'll wind up defending hawkins.

this would be no problem for me, of course, since i am a freethinker and not a groupie and i'll defend whatever i see as the truth no matter who says it. you...?

i suspect if michelle bachman stated that 2+2=4 you'd find some way to disagree. or if hawking says "the universe is governed by science" you'd find some way to show that this is the absolute truth.

oops, you already did that. hiding behind "semantics", yet another word you should look up. understanding the difference between definitions and semantics might help you seem more, uh, "intellectually together". not that that seems to be what you're shooting for.

To the best of my knowledge I have never posted on Hawking before.

He had some theory of matter continueity that involved some idea like genes in matter and how black holes erased matter in the past by destroying their source code.

It was not good. He abandoned it.

You are being a moron.

You are being a moron.

wha...? again, out of the blue weirdly disconnected accusations. this one, i'm guessing, is designed to distract from the steaming pile of nonsense above it.

hawking claimed somewhere that "matter" has "genes"? and you decided to take this literally, and found it objectionable? mazel tov,

but you didn't do it here. and yes, you've commented plenty on hawking and his ideas here.

but hey, congratulations, you've proven your intellectual independance to anyone willing to believe that you once, in your heart (not in writing) objected to your uncharitable and narrow interpretation of something said by a man you obviously see as a virtual god.

i don't see any other way to see it. out of the full interview that pedantareus directed you to, you managed to pick the most arguable points to make up your post. and now you are desperately trying to show that they're not arguable at all. i call sycophancy.

would it kill you to make the attempt to understand my questions/objections charitably, as i try to do for you and also hawking himself? without this, honest and productive dialogue cannot take place. for me, at least, the only interesting alternative to this is clever ad hominem and you're not doing that either. even a simple "fuck off" would be more honest and interesting than your serpentine misdirection, adolescent name calling and ESPECIALLY your transparant attempts to sound calmer, more sure of yourself and more "mature" than you really are.

There was never a society of wheelchair people so he wouldn't give that a value.

giving you the benefit of the doubt: i assume you are not a member of any of the various societies consisting of, yes, people confined to wheelchairs for the duration- like stephen hawking. yes, there are such societies, and the people who belong to them find them quite helpful. the "help" they find is partially due to a simple sense of community but also relies greatly on the assistance of other people NOT confined to wheelchairs who (altruism, anyone?) put serious time and effort, often if not usually with no benefit to themselves into helping those less fortunate than themselves.

yes, people in wheelchairs for life, and other physically handicapped people as well, can be said to have formed "societies" by any definition, and you, red, are again being disingenuous. the meaning of hawkin's statement here could certainly be legitimately parsed in a few different ways, and mine (the "eichmann" reference) is one of them. sorry this scares you so much you feel the need to redefine reality in such a blatantly false way.

or, perhaps it isn't fear of your hero being made to look bad? perhaps it's just a kneejerk need to attack anything i say?

if it's not one of these things, than what is it?

how does "spontaneously" fit into the cause-and-effect of "science" as we know it?

You "nothing out of nothing" guys should read a science article at least once in a decade. Particles being created out of nothing have been known for decades now (probably since 1930s). Hawking himself, his claim to fame is his theory that black holes "evaporate" due to these particles being created out of nothing near the event horizon.

andyo, "something out of nothing" is certainly a possibility that science considers, at least these days, mostly because of the questions raised by modern cutting-edge physics experiments and their surprising results, but this was not my point, which was about SPONTONAEITY.

something out of nothing is an idea that science has only recently admitted as a possibility, well done, etc. but spontenaety is still unrecognized by science as we (or at least i) understand it. it is by definition causeless. disproving the possibility of spontaneous forms of generation was germaine to the development of science as we (i) know it.

i don't know what you mean by "nothing out of nothing guys" so i don't know if i am one. if you mean that i don't believe that something can come from nothing, you're right- but this puts me squarely within scientific thinking as i, at least, understand it, though i of course realize this thinking is constantly changing and i may have missed something.

Particles being created out of nothing have been known for decades now (probably since 1930s).

this is simply untrue as far as i know. science doesn't even have a working definition of "nothing" now, certainly not in the 30's, and whatever it is (or isn't :)) it's not considered a causative source of anything. and if it were, it would be scientifically meaningless, or wouldn't fulfill even the simplest definition of "nothing".

as far as i know only the various mystical traditions, and of course "pure" mathematics even attempt to grapple with what "nothing" might mean. correct me, please, if i'm wrong, i know you are more up-to-date on current physics thinking than i am and defer to you.

so: how does science deal with "nothing" ?

Particles being created out of nothing have been known for decades now (probably since 1930s).

this is simply untrue as far as i know.

Not as far as physicists know, though.

it's not considered a causative source of anything.

It causes black holes to shrink, probably among other things.

And "nothing" meaning nothing scientifically, that's just a silly platitude.

It causes black holes to shrink, probably among other things.

so, "nothing" causes black holes to shrink? what the hell does that even mean? last i heard, some form of gravitational force having to do with density "causes" black holes to shrink. and even if there's some new theory i haven't heard of (which is certainly possible), it would still involve some sort of physical law and not "nothing".

i don't doubt that you know what you're talking about, andyo, but i sure as hell don't.

And "nothing" meaning nothing scientifically, that's just a silly platitude.

no, "nothing" meaning nothing scientifically"- THAT is the silly platitude, not to mention the crudest form of tautology. again, i'm sure you know what you're talking about, or at least think you do. don't treat me, or the other readers here like children. come on, we can take it. get with the common sense (since you seem to want to play it that way but are failing badly).

so, "nothing" causes black holes to shrink?

Sorry. By "it", I meant "the fact that particles are created out of nothing spontaneously". "Nothing" doesn't cause them to appear (AFAIK, though a quantum physicist might answer that differently), they appear randomly and spontaneously.

You'd be hard pressed to apply earthly philosophy to the quantum world.

You'd be hard pressed to apply earthly philosophy to the quantum world.

this may be true. but you'd be equally hard pressed to prove the existence of a "world" that "earthly" philosophy has nothing to say about. :)

andyo, have i mentioned lately?... you are awesome. and by this i mean that you just say what you think without (as far as i can tell) any intentional misdirection or emotionally-based asides (unless they're humorous- totally kosher by me). it's a pleasure to at least have the feeling that i understand what someone here is at least TRYING to say.

i hope that this expression of appreciation doesn't negatively affect your reputation here, considering my own. we've certainly butted horns many times in the past, quite strongly, fwiw. but i never felt you were just spouting bullshit to make me look bad, rather making cogent points to refute my own points that you found objectionable.

i wish there were many more like you- if there were, i'd be a lot more knowledgeable than i am.

this may be true. but you'd be equally hard pressed to prove the existence of a "world" that "earthly" philosophy has nothing to say about. :)

Well it "may" be true as much as quantum mechanics "may" be true. Do computer chips work by magic, then? What about that silly doomsday device, the LHC? The thing about reality is that it doesn't need to be believed, it will still screw you over when you"re not looking.

wha...? again, out of the blue weirdly disconnected accusations. this one, i'm guessing, is designed to distract from the steaming pile of nonsense above it

JB, you have peppered strings with accusations that I am a ball lacking coward of a sock puppet, that has some Obama like fetish for hawking's genius.

Get over yourself, or get lost. Go recruit someone that thinks you aremaking a substancial arguement here.

red, really. if i were trylng to "recruit" anyone i wouldn't be doing it here. whether you lack balls or are a coward or a sockpuppet you haven't given up yet, and for this i commend you, even though you continually avoid the actual issues. i didn't say anything about obama, or compare you to him, so this is yet another example of you pulling strawmen out of your ass (must be painful).

as far as "get lost": why don't YOU get lost? who the fuck are you to tell anyone to get lost? you pulling rank? go ahead. prove my point. do it. you know you want to.

otherwise, shut up, or focus, or get real or go fuck yourself. you haven't had a single worthwhile or even understandable rebuttal to anything i've said here so far. and your spelling, sentence structure and "organization" (such as it is) of ideas, let alone the relevance and development of said "ideas" to the topic here are all even more pathetic than my own complete lack of concern for the "rules" of the written english language- like, say, the use of caps.

what i say, despite its lack of proper protocol, is at least understandable and on point. what you say is consistently obtuse, combative or insulting for it's own sake, vague to the point of irrelevancy, or mindlessly defensive to the point of infantilism.

again: try to make a cogent objection to anything i've said here. about what hawking says. about the nature of jewishness. about physics/science, about groupie-ism and sycophancy. about cowardice.. anything really, that doesn't make you look like some brainwashed non-freethinking jerkoff who expends even less effort making his comments readable than i do- which is saying a lot.

your question back at you: do you even care (about what you write here)? or are you, as i said before, so sure that your readers will suck up any poorly phrased bullshit you write simply because it's on the "right side"?

red, really. if i were trylng to "recruit" anyone i wouldn't be doing it here.

I meant that you should go recruit/ find someone that thought your arguement has substance. Someone may share your beliefs but you haven't made any relavent points here today.

The Count here is: 0

I rebutted your arguements as what seemed like deliberate misunderstandings of the questions and statements in the interview.

This is a place for friendly discourse JB, If you are going to try and fill every string with depression fueled rants that can't answer to a single counter point with our insult I will just have to get consistent about deleting your comments off my posts.

Hope you feel better.

Alright fellas, enough with the insults. Take a walk around the block or smoke some pot, and come back tomorrow.

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