Monday, April 04, 2011

A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking

A Brief History of Time

By Stephen W. Hawking

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

I read this book several years ago and since that time I have read it several more times. Since my first reading, I have not been able to get this book off my mind. On that account I should give it five stars. But the things that I can’t get off my mind are all negative criticisms. On that account I should give it one star.
My criticisms start before I even get to the author.

In his introduction Carl Sagan speaks of “Einstein’s famous question about weather God had any choice in creating the universe.” Unfortunately Mr. Sagan paraphrases this one of Einstein’s many famous questions incorrectly, as my memory recalls.
If there were a God why would he not have a choice in creating the universe? This paraphrasing makes no sense.

Einstein’s question as I recall it was whether or not God had any choice in his own existence.

Now that is a big question to all us philosophy buffs. Mr. Sagan’s incorrect paraphrasing makes Einstein’s “famous question” no question at all.

Asking whether God had a choice in his own existence is a subtle way of stating the impossibility of the God concept.

If there is a God he could not have had the choice to exist or not to exist. He either was or he wasn’t. If he wasn’t, he could never have been because something can not come from “nothing.”

The answer to the rhetorical question is that he had no choice and therefore was lacking in freedom. God can not be God and be lacking in freedom. Therefore the concept of God is untenable.

The above is not my opinion; it is simple philosophic logic that can be found in any philosophy book debating the God concept.

This was really a rhetorical question in my opinion on the part of Einstein. He was expressing his dubiousness on this subject.

If there is a God whether or not to create the universe is no problem at all; God can do as he pleases. He can create it or not create it. Who or what is going to make him do it or not do it? What logic says he can’t do it? Sagan’s question makes no sense.

Now we come to Mr. Hawking and friends.

Unfortunately there is a lot of sloppy language going on in the scientific community. Mr. Hawking is just one of many who “slop” around terms to the point of meaninglessness. One such term is the word “universe.”

The universe is defined briefly as, “all that is.” I am sorry but there can not be two “all that is.” All that is covers everything. It follows then that there can be no multiple universes, parallel universes or competing universes. There can only be one universe.

Scientists are obviously using the word “universe” with a different understanding than “all that is.” Somebody should explain to readers how the scientific community is defining the word universe.

Other improperly used words are infinite and annihilate.

The universe can not be at the same time infinite and limited. An infinite universe can not expand. It is already infinite. It can’t get no bigger than that.

A particle can not be annihilated and at the same time transformed into something else. If a particle is annihilated it not only disappears, it ceases to exist. It doesn’t just disappear. As far as I know annihilation is impossible. Therefore if a particle turns into light and/or energy, then it hasn’t been annihilated. It has been transformed. It can only be annihilated if it has been turned into nothing – and this is an impossible theoretical state. A state of “nothing” does not exist.
Space is also something. Its influences may be so minimal that they are not necessary to mathematical equations but space is more than a state or condition fabricated by gravity and other magnetic forces. There are scientists who are presently working to discover exactly what space is and what its influences are on the universe.

Light travels in straight lines in all directions infinitely – but it also bends. This is impossible. It does one or the other. It either travels infinitely in straight lines or it bend and wiggles its way through space. If light bends and wiggles it way through space then it certainly can not be used as a measurement of the distance between planets or galaxies. Unless someone can measure the exact amount of wiggle at every distance in space – which I doubt very much is possible. What the heck are these scientists talking about?

An ellipse is an extended circle? Then I suppose a circle is a square with rounded sides. I know these guys are trying to dumb this stuff down for folks like me but if they dumb it down too much they are me and then we are all going nowhere.

I’m not a Big Bang guy and neither was Mr. Hubble. I have read that Mr. Hubble who established the notion of red shifts and blue shifts said that he in no way concluded from this observation that the universe is actually expanding or that any Big Bang was involved.

I think the Big Bang notion is comparable to “the world is flat” notion along with the Ptolemaic universe and phlogiston. It is being challenged by plasma theorists and others. The whole concept seems to be imploding in favor of an infinite, self-evolving universe.
I am reading a book at the moment by Eric J. Lerner “The Big Bang Never Happened.” It is making some sense to my way of thinking.

Question posed in Mr. Hawking book: What was God doing before he created the universe?

Answer provided in book by St. Augustine: Time did not exist before the beginning of the universe.

So then where was God? He obviously did not exist before the universe either. Is God not a part of “all that is”? Does he exist? If so then he must have existed within the concept of “all that is” – the universe. No universe, no God.

And if the universe had no beginning – and the Big Bang can not be construed as the beginning of “all that is” – then St. Augustine may be right. Time began when the universe began; the universe always was and always will be (in one shape or another) therefore time always was and always will be.

Mr. Hawking, Mr. Sagan and others in the scientific community I don’t think are/were big on philosophy. They know their math but seem short on logic and semantics.
This book to me is pretty much an exercise in scientific madness (time going backwards, the universe collapsing, parallel universes, universes that are cone shaped, or infinite but finite and limited) but it is not just Mr. Hawking who has gone mad. He has a whole bunch lined up to jump off the edge of the universe and splatter on the nothingness below following eagerly behind him.