Stephen Hawking, the eminent theoretical physicist, says that Heaven is a ‘fairy story’ made up by those who fear death. One wonders where the scientific proof of that may be found, because, seeing as science depends on observation and testing, with empirically measurable results, it is fair to ask for his empirical proof that Heaven does not exist.
But let’s take his assertion one step further just the same. What should we do with our lives without Heaven or an afterlife? We should, ‘fulfil our potential on Earth by making good use of our lives.’ Okay, well, how do we, Mr. Scientist, scientifically determine what is good? Why, empirically, of course, because you are a scientist, should we do good? What, solely in terms of empiricism, is good? Good speaks of virtue; it is a statement of value. What value is found by mere scientific observation?
In a word, none. Not one atom of good can be found in the Big Bang theory which itself is brought out by the Big Bang theory. Science, in and by itself, only tells us that things happen, perhaps even how they happen. But science never tells us why they happen, or offers even the least bit of evidence for why even science itself is good. Science as science, though a great and useful tool in our universe, is only that: a tool. Finding the value in what it discovers requires us to take the next step and analyze philosophically what, if any, good there is to it. We must use Reason for that, and the standard of evidence becomes different. It becomes rational rather than empirical.
Hawking and his cohorts will assert that God was not necessary to the creation of the universe, and as such, there is no God. They ignore the simple question: why should we be shocked that a God, in the act or acts of creation, would ensure that the science necessary for creation would be part of the equation from the start?
Hawking may well be the preeminent scientist of his generation. Yet we have come to venerate science so much that we have stopped requiring that scientists remain scientific? What Mr. Hawking has become, to use a term coined by the old newsman Edward Newman, is an anything expert. Because he is so well known as a great scientist, the popular notion is that he must know a great deal about everything.
Would you ask Stephen Hawking for advice on car repairs? The stock market? Dog grooming? Raising emus? Repairing your plumbing? No? Then why ask him what is good? He may well know the answers to all that, but not because he is a scientist. It would be because he would also be a mechanic, stock trader, vet, expert in animal husbandry, plumber, and philosopher.
As it is, he is none of those things. He is only a scientist. He may be very well versed in that. Yet that in itself fails to qualify him to speak on non-scientific matters. His recent statements attest to that very well.