Stephen Hawking Reignites Science Vs. Religion Debate, Boosts Book Sales

The media is in a tizzy over Stephen Hawking’s new book, The Grand Design, in which he argues that God did not create the universe.

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing … It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going,” writes Hawking.

Hawking’s new theories about the origins of the universe have grabbed headlines all over the world. The media frenzy was led by the London Times (subscription only) last week with the front page headline “Hawking: God did not create universe.”

Of course, all the publicity surrounding Stephen Hawking has boosted sales of his book. The Grand Design is currently the number one top seller on Amazon, beating other hot books like Mockingjay, Freedom, and Tony Blair’s memoir.

Here’s more information about The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow (Available September 7, 2010):

THE FIRST MAJOR WORK IN NEARLY A DECADE BY ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT THINKERS—A MARVELOUSLY CONCISE BOOK WITH NEW ANSWERS TO THE ULTIMATE QUESTIONS OF LIFE

When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the nature of reality? Why are the laws of nature so finely tuned as to allow for the existence of beings like ourselves? And, finally, is the apparent “grand design” of our universe evidence of a benevolent creator who set things in motion—or does science offer another explanation?

The most fundamental questions about the origins of the universe and of life itself, once the province of philosophy, now occupy the territory where scientists, philosophers, and theologians meet—if only to disagree. In their new book, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow present the most recent scientific thinking about the mysteries of the universe, in nontechnical language marked by both brilliance and simplicity.

In The Grand Design they explain that 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. When applied to the universe as a whole, this idea calls into question the very notion of cause and effect. But the “top-down” approach to cosmology that Hawking and

Mlodinow describe would say that the fact that the past takes no definite form means that we create history by observing it, rather than that history creates us. The authors further explain that we ourselves are the product of quantum fluctuations in the very early universe, and show how 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.

Along the way Hawking and Mlodinow question the conventional concept of reality, posing a “model-dependent” theory of reality as the best we can hope to find. And they conclude with a riveting assessment of M-theory, an explanation of the laws governing us and our universe that is currently the only viable candidate for a complete “theory of everything.” If confirmed, they write, it will be the unified theory that Einstein was looking for, and the ultimate triumph of human reason.

A succinct, startling, and lavishly illustrated guide to discoveries that are altering our understanding and threatening some of our most cherished belief systems, The Grand Design is a book that will inform—and provoke—like no other.

(Source: Guardian)

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