Stephen Hawking: "There is no God. No one directs the universe."
Hawking, who died in March, answers questions like "Is there a God?" and "Is time travel possible?" in his final book, which is available today.
- Hawking's final book is geared toward a popular audience.
- Each of the book's 10 chapters is posed as a question, such as "How did it all begin?"
- Hawking claims there is no God, time travel could be possible and intelligent aliens exist.
The final book from Stephen Hawking, the late theoretical physicist and cosmologist, was released Tuesday under the title Brief Answers to the Big Questions.
Hawking, who lived most of his life with the neurodegenerative disorder amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), was still working on the book when he died in March. The work was completed by his family and publishers, who filled in the gaps by drawing on an "enormous personal archive" of essays, interviews and articles from Hawking's half-century career.
Brief Answers to the Big Questions is divided into 10 chapters, each of which is posed as a question: "What is inside a black hole?", "How did it all begin?" and "Is there a God?" Hawking's answer to the God question is a resounding "no."
"There is no God. No one directs the universe," he writes. "For centuries, it was believed that disabled people like me were living under a curse that was inflicted by God. I prefer to think that everything can be explained another way, by the laws of nature."
This sentiment, by the way, is far clearer than what Hawking famously wrote in his 1988 bestseller A Brief History of Time: "If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we should know the mind of God."
Hawking touched upon the existence of alien life.
"There are forms of intelligent life out there," he wrote, adding, "we need to be wary of answering back until we have developed a bit further."
He also argued that traveling back in time can't be ruled out, artificial intelligence might someday outsmart humans and "within the next hundred years we will be able to travel to anywhere in the Solar System."
Hawking's parting gift
(Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
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Hawking's final book probably won't have a big impact in the scientific world. Still, as Matin Durrani writes for Physics World, there's a good chance the book will strike a chord with a popular audience.
"Brief Answers to the Big Questions will appeal to school students, undergraduates and non-scientists with an appetite for the grand challenges in physics. Those who are more familiar with cosmology, relativity and astronomy will not find much that is new, although it is always interesting to see Hawking's take on affairs. In essence, this book – especially the final chapter "How do we shape the future?" – will stand as Hawking's manifesto. Optimistic, upbeat and visionary, it sees science – and scientific understanding – as vital for the future of humanity."
At a book launch event on Monday in London, organizers played some remarks from Hawking lamenting the changing ways in which scientists are received in the culture.
"With Brexit and Trump now exerting new forces in relation to immigration and the development of education, we are witnessing a global revolt against experts, and that includes scientists," Hawking said.
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Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen discusses whether our society should always defend free speech rights, even for groups who would oppose such rights.
- Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen understands that protecting free speech rights isn't always a straightforward proposition.
- In this video, Strossen describes the reasoning behind why the ACLU defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, 1977.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Jokesters and serious Area 51 raiders would be met with military force.
- Facebook joke event to "raid Area 51" has already gained 1,000,000 "going" attendees.
- The U.S. Air Force has issued an official warning to potential "raiders."
- If anyone actually tries to storm an American military base, the use of deadly force is authorized.
Pugs and bulldogs are incredibly trendy, but experts have massive animal welfare concerns about these genetically manipulated breeds.
- Pugs, Frenchies, boxers, shih-tzus and other flat-faced dog breeds have been trending for at least the last decade.
- Higher visibility (usually in a celebrity's handbag), an increase in city living (smaller dogs for smaller homes), and possibly even the fine acting of Frank the Pug in 1997's Men in Black may be the cause.
- These small, specialty pure breeds are seen as the pinnacle of cuteness – they have friendly personalities, endearing odd looks, and are perfect for Stranger Things video montages.
Strangely, the sun showed no sunspots at the time the photo was taken.
- The photo shows the International Space Station as it orbits the Earth, as it does every 90 minutes.
- The photo is remarkable because it offers a glimpse of the star at a time when there were no sunspots.
- In November, astronauts aboard the ISS plan to grow Española chili pepper plants.