"Science will win because it works"

“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.” Stephen Hawking ABC News

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Aaron Blumer's picture


Can you identify Hawking's presuppositions?

RPittman's picture

Yes, reason trumps faith. BTW, Hawking is right, you know, as long as we share the same Western rationalistic views. Science will triumph over faith. Christians need to step up and say science is fine as long as it is natural phenomena that is observable, verifiable, and replicable, however, reason cannot take us beyond these limits. Authority from an authoritative source is valid. Reason is not the only source of legitimate knowledge.

Barry L.'s picture

Is this the same guy who says we should not try to contact aliens because they will destroy us?

ChrisC's picture

unfortunate choice of words:

ABC / Ki Mae Heussner wrote:
Celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking knows more about the universe than almost any other person ever to walk the planet, but some answers still escape even him.
(probably should have been wheel)
Barry L. wrote:
Is this the same guy who says we should not try to contact aliens because they will destroy us?
yes. it's later in the same interview / article. anyway, all sorts of people disagree with hawking on this point.

look, every once in a while hawking says something crazy and attention-getting like: "Not only does God definitely play dice, but He sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can't be seen." (from " http://www.hawking.org.uk/index.php/lectures/64 ]Does God Play Dice? ") hawking is a brilliant theoretical physicist, but no one should expect him to have all the right answers about everything.

Aaron Blumer's picture


People can always check mathematics and see if it works or not. What math can't do, though, is tell us what it Means or how it applies to the big questions of who we are, how we got here, where we're going, right and wrong.
It's true that "religion is based on authority" but what Hawking doesn't see is that science is also based on authority. This is the grand deception of unbelieving science: that there is actually some way to escape "authority." In the case of unbelieving (as in not believing Christianity and Scripture) science, the authority is some combination of the physical senses and/or reason. But science is unable to tell us why we ought to believe what we observe or why what we see should be considered more real than what we don't, etc.
So it too begins with assumptions that it takes completely on faith.

I would argue that when you remove some kind of revealed framework (a set of answers to the ultimate questions) for interpreting what we observe, what you have done is make science your religion. From that angle, Hawking's observation about authority is nonsense because it's predicated on the idea that science and religion are two different things. But for the doggedly "nonreligious," science is religion. Human beings are just not capable of being non-religious.