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So here is the question of the day: Does it matter that famed physicist Stephen Hawking was – as best one can tell from his complex and even impish way of expressing himself – an atheist who still had moments when he could hint at doubts?
Does it matter that the mind that probed the far corners of the universe couldn't handle the mysteries of the human heart and that this pained him? After all, in an empty, random universe, there are no moral laws to explain the physics of love and attachment.
Attention - Obituaries - Reputation - Celebrity - Hole
If you pay close attention to the major obituaries, it's also clear that Hawking's giant reputation and celebrity was the black hole that sucked some thoughtful coverage into nothingness.
On one level, I thought that some of the best material on Hawking's faith questions was found in a compact, logical sequence in The New York Times. As always, things begin with the book that made him a global phenomenon:
History - Time - Dr - Hawking - Theory
In “A Brief History of Time,” Dr. Hawking concluded that “if we do discover a complete theory” of the universe, “it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists.” He added, “Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of why it is that we and the universe exist.”
“If we find the answer to that,” he continued, “it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God.”
Hawking - Opinions
But Hawking kept writing and, as always, his opinions grew more provocative.
Nothing raised as much furor, however, as his increasingly scathing remarks about religion. ...
History - Time - Mind - God - Grand
In “A Brief History of Time,” he had referred to the “mind of God,” but in “The Grand Design,” a 2011 book he wrote with Leonard...
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