KENNEWICK — In 2011, The Discovery Channel debuted the first segment of its new Curiosity series with a most provocative episode titled, Did God Create the Universe?
I know that many people believe this issue was settled 3,500 years ago in Genesis. But the Bible is not a science text, and for the past 60 years, many scientists have all but declared that God is dead.
And so I wondered whether Discovery would simply echo the growing chorus among scientific atheists on this fundamental question. Sadly, they did exactly that. I was astonished as I watched the program, which consisted of an hour-long solo lecture by one of the leading scientific atheists of our time, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking.
Employing a bedazzling display of special effects, and using terminology that few are familiar with (singularities, black holes, quantum mechanics, etc.), Hawking proceeded in a matter-of–fact tone to claim that he has now proven that God does not exist!
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I was deeply disturbed by this debut of Curiosity, but not really surprised. The search for the elusive proof of scientific atheism (aka scientific naturalism), has been a half-century-long preoccupation of many Western scientists.
The original arguments put forth by scientific atheism emerged from the life sciences with the discovery of DNA in the 1950s. It then became possible, so we were told, to view life itself as little more than an intricate biochemical mechanism. Biology and chemistry told us all we needed to know about what had always before seemed mysterious and Godly.
And where did that leave God?
Dead. So said no less a scientific luminary than Jacques Monod, Nobel prize-winning president of the prestigious Pasteur Institute. In 1970, Monod published his astounding scientific “proof” in his New York Times bestseller Chance and Necessity. The new field of biochemistry, Monod insisted, had absolutely proven God’s non-existence.
But remarkably, more advanced research in the decades following Monod’s drastic proclamation discovered just this: Monod was wrong wrong about essentials. The very proof he had used to argue atheism via biochemistry and "life-as-mechanism" has now been demonstrated to be utterly false!
But the fact of this embarrassing failure by Monod and his atheist disciples has largely gone unacknowledged in academia. Their quest to remove faith from Western society has continued unabated.
Now enter Stephen Hawking, who took up the cause for atheism in his recent best seller The Grand Design. And with the stage all to himself on the Discovery Channel, Hawking makes unequivocal statements about events no one has ever observed, and transforms highly speculative guesses into “proven” scientific dogma.
The absence of appropriate skepticism, reservation, or expressions of doubt reminded me all too clearly of Monod. And reminded me that what Curiosity on the Discovery Channel presented wasn’t a scientific argument at all. It was nothing but another philosophical diatribe in favor of atheism.
And as I watched I began to wonder what portion of the viewing audience would realize that there are as many contradictory findings and confounding theories in astrophysics as there are conspiracies “proving” who shot JFK.
Allow me to cut to the chase and point out the fundamental error Hawking attempts to thrust upon the viewing audience: Hawking claims that Einstein's theory of relativity “dictates” that our universe began as a "singularity" — a tiny, almost infinitely dense bundle of mass and energy. From there, Hawking presses forward to say with certainty, in an area of study in which certainty ought to indicate mental illness or ego-poisoning — that such a singularity must be preceded by nothingness, a nothingness so entirely void that it must exclude the existence even of God Himself.
And yet at the same time, Hawking insists, this same “nothingness” somehow simultaneously contained the potency to spontaneously produce the universe! He literally tells the audience, “We all think you can’t get something for nothing. But in the special case of the Big Bang, we got an entire universe out of nothing at all”
Unbelievable! I was flabbergasted. The contradictions in his argument were so immense that I decided it would have been less insulting if Hawking had told us we are puppets manipulated by green men from Mars.
And so I must conclude with this: shame on the Discovery Channel! Shame on Mr. Hawking! In fact, the answer to the question they posed, as to how the universe got started, was best answered 800 years ago, by St. Thomas (of) Aquinas, arguably the greatest intellect in the history of Euro-American thought, who wrote the following in his timeless Summa Theologiae:
"Whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another... subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand...(it follows that) it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God."
* Dr. Stephen J. Iacoboni is a Tri-Cities oncologist and author of The Undying Soul, A Cancer Doctor's Discovery.