Hawking: “Heaven Is A Fairy Tale”

Stephen Hawking has said in an interview that heaven is “a fairy tale for people afraid of the dark.”

Renowned Cambridge academic Stephen Hawking claimed that “heaven” is no more than a “fairy story” for “people afraid of the dark.”

Hawking has lived with motor neurone disease for 49 years, an incurable illness which normally has a terminal effect after a few years of the initial symptoms. In an interview with The Guardian last weekend, Hawking said his illness means he’s spent his whole life constantly facing “the prospect of an early death.”

But the physicist said he finds no solace in the thought of an afterlife. In fact, he doesn’t believe in an afterlife at all. He explained that the brain acts like: “a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

Whilst Hawking has repeatedly denied the need for a grand creator in order to explain the universe, his new statement takes his atheistic beliefs one step further.

However Hawking’s scientific thinking has provoked a backlash from many religious groups, who are angered by his comment that religious belief in the afterlife is based purely on fear. Stephen Green, director of lobby group Christian Voice accused Hawking of “misunderstanding religious thinking.”

Second year veterinary student and practicing Christian Chris Sharman, told The Tab that whilst Hawking: “like everyone, is completely right to have an opinion on the matter, it’s quite a bold statement to make when there is no proof either way.” He added: “the fact that Hawking is a world famous scientist shouldn’t give extra weight to his statement.”

Nevertheless, if Hawking can’t comfort himself with the thought of heaven, at least he can enjoy his title of Britain’s Best Bloke, voted earlier in the year by Nuts readers across the country.

  • A bit hasty

    Isn't this a simple error of equating the brain with the mind? Unless I'm mistaken, nobody has given any compelling reason to suppose that the mind cannot exist beyond death or explained its relationship with the body. Isn't this the sort of evidence-free speculation that Hawking would presumably denounce as typically Christian?

    • Occam

      Except that there's no reason to make it that complicated. Brain makes mind. Brain dies, mind dies. World still makes sense. Simple.

      • A bit hasty

        By all means pull out Occam's razor if you wish but why stop slashing there? Surely the ultimate simple solution – and therefore the one you must take if you wish to be consistent – is that nothing exists.

        • Descartes

          I think therefore I am. Game over. Now go wank over your bible.

          • George

            I didn't realize Cambridge was so full of blinkered Hawking fan-boys. You're all shooting down the argument just because you find the implications for your militant atheist difficult to swallow. Arguing against irrational militant atheism is not the same as arguing for Christianity. And frankly, militant atheists are almost as annoying as CICCU. Almost.

          • Meh

            Cartesian Circle. Justified by the existence of God. Now go learn some philosophy…

            • The Postman

              Rut

            • Anonymous

              The cogito itself is still effect in disproving the statement that nothing exists, which is all he was doing there. The descent to the cogito is perfectly valid, even if the way in which Descartes returns to a recognisable world is (if I may be permitted to use a technical term) bullshit.

      • Razor sharpener

        World makes sense means the mind makes sense of the world. mind dies. does the world still make sense?

        • Short Answer

          Yes.

          • Long Answer

            Yeah.

      • Elliott Sober

        There is no rational justification for Occam's razor.

        • Jonny Wilkinson

          I use a gillete mach 3 turbo

        • NJC

          One justification for Occam's Razor, a la Quine's confirmation holism, is pragmatic. The simpler a theory, the easier it is to find the error in it where its consequences have become problematic, so the easier it is to correct. Bang out some complicated theory, especially one involving unobserved metaphysical beings, the more difficult the ridiculous consequences are to resolve.

    • felix

      I find it best not to accept ideas for which there is no supporting evidence.

      STOP IMPOSING YOUR LOGIC ON ME!!!!!!!!

      • A bit hasty

        You seem to assume I am a Christian and a believer in "heaven". For your information I am neither.

        • You're the hastiest

          You seem to infer both those facts. As a result of your wonderful inference skills, I'm now assuming you're a crafty Christian fox.

    • Nick B

      Supposing that the mind is alienable from the brain is to blindly invoke the metaphysical(and religious types do that a lot). While epistemological questions can be quite perplexing, in part because the workings of the brain remain largely a mystery, it still seems fairly clear that the mind is contingent on the brain (if your brain is damaged you think differently) so no brain= no mind.

    • Philosophy student

      Go study dualism. There are SO MANY PROBLEMS with separating the brain and the mind. Here's a few:
      - Where does the mind live? Where does it exist?
      - How does it communicate with the brain?
      - How can it cause anything the brain does, when physics is a causally closed system?
      Have fun.

  • Voice of Reason

    Christian Voice …accused Hawking of “misunderstanding religious thinking.”

    What a cunt. There is nothing Hawking misunderstands that some other cunt can.

    Christian Chris …. ''it’s quite a bold statement to make when there is no proof either way.”

    Brilliant. I love how you demand proof against a fairy tale. First you prove that there is no tooth fairy, omnipotent invisible unicorn or giant flying spaghetti monster and Hawking will then waste his time to prove that your equally pathetic god does not exist either.

    • bro

      U mad?

    • A bit hasty

      Oh please. Simply by examining the soteriological effects of world religions one can differentiate between their claims and "flying spaghetti monster" claims. That's just a lazy and overused atheist stock argument. The fact is, proof of God or any ultimate Real can only be provided eschatologically. I have no idea whether any such transcendent Real exists, but such is the nature of transcendence that I wouldn't expect to be able to prove it, and Hawking is a fool if he expects scientific proof for metaphysical claims.

      • Pastafarian

        You are wrong to call His Noodly Appendage lazy.

        Become enlightened. Learn about his Noodliness here http://www.venganza.org/

      • Pretentious Much?

        Get out of your own arse. Trying to shoe horn as many long and un-used words as possible doesn't make your argument sound any better or you sound any cleverer. You just sound like a bellend with a dictionary.

      • Ba dabba dabba

        The fact is, proof of God or any ultimate Real can only be provided scatoodapoobeedleydoobopdeboptingalinglangwallwalla.

        I'M A SCAT MAN

      • Philosophy student

        Digging amongst your pretentious overly long words, I think your argument is basically: "God is better than the flying spaghetti monster because he's had more and different impact on society." Which is not an argument.
        The thing here is not proof, it's probability. Bertrand Russell imagined a teapot orbiting the earth. No one would be able to PROVE it wasn't there, if he stipulated that it was too small to see even with a telescope. That doesn't mean that we should believe in it. Ditto God.

    • Agnostic

      Overly aggressive response. You can strongly advocate atheism without condescendingly belittling other people's views. Using words like "cunt" and "pathetic" creates an unnecessarily confrontational tone and distracts from the point you're trying to make. Insulting people will not make them listen to you.

  • Liam the Leprechaun

    Hey guys, chill out

  • Brilliant

    Stevie clearly hasn't seen this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfv-Qn1M58I

    httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfv-Qn1M58I

  • GR8

    “the fact that Hawking is a world famous scientist shouldn’t give extra weight to his statement.”

    …erm

    • Scientist

      It shouldn't, because he is operating outside of the scientific realm.

  • Happy

    Why can't everyone just make nice comments to each other for a change?

    • Damian

      SHE DOESN'T EVEN GO HERE

  • Happy

    I just have a lot of feelings…

  • Jesus

    Pah!

    • Stephen

      Pahl

  • Double Standards

    I feel insulted on a daily basis by the idiotic stuff that Christians come out with but you don't hear me complaining.

  • Logic LOLz

    “the fact that Hawking is a world famous scientist shouldn’t give extra weight to his statement.” What?! So who's statements do have extra weight? My dog doesn't believe in heaven either, is his opinion as equal as Hawkins?

    • Logic LOLz's Dog

      I DO believe in heaven!

    • grama Polis

      spot the grammatical error! tut

  • astaire

    heaven, i'm in heaven….

  • Like a boss

    See top of page for photo of Hawking chilling in orbit

  • letsgotonarnia

    Speaking as a theology student, a Christian, and a lover of Gone with the Wind – Frankly my dear I don't give a damn.

    We're all entitled to think and believe what we want. It's how we act upon those thoughts and beliefs that matters.

    • Dan Ullfuch

      Relativism is so so shit. Get some spine and get your floppy body off the nicety fence.

  • Militant Athiest

    Good man Hawking! One day mankind will grow out of these childish beliefs!

  • He's right.

    There is no heaven for maths professors.

  • Techno Viking

    Darnce, bitches, darnce!! [youtube kYUuqbSyTHY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYUuqbSyTHY youtube]

  • tyrotoxism

    just like TSR

    • vengeful superior overlord, i bow down to your greatness. averaging 4.1 posts a day since 2007.
      Lo! and behold! the epitome of no life.

  • Read Me

    The Bible never actually promises you go to heaven when you die anyway: 'No man hath ascended up to heaven'

    'For dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return'. Seems in keeping with common sense there.