As submitted to The Daily Maverick
Note to reader: While the opening paragraph is identical to a previous post on this subject, the rest of the content is new.
I’m not a physicist, so won’t be able to say much about many of the claims Stephen Hawking reportedly makes in his new book The Grand Design (co-written with Leonard Mlodinow, author of the excellent The Drunkard’s Walk). But based on reviews and responses to the book by other physicists, Hawking’s controversial claim – that God is no longer necessary to explain the origins of the universe – is premised on insights gleaned from a patchwork of string-theories known as “M-theory”.
Relegating God to the sidelines in this fashion has brought Hawking many headlines, and will no doubt help book sales. It’s also brought a swift flurry of responses from religious groups and leaders, who reject the notion of God’s redundancy. A summary of many of these responses consists of an admission that while Hawking may have provided insight into the “how” questions relating to the origin of the universe, he hasn’t helped us answer the “why” questions. Therefore, they say, God still has a role in helping us understand our lives on this dustbowl called Earth.