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MEMO TO HAWKING: STICK WITH YOUR FIELD OF EXPERTISE, DUDE.
MEMO TO HAWKING: STICK WITH YOUR FIELD OF EXPERTISE, DUDE.

This is pretty funny: Last night’s World News With Diane Sawyer closed with a story pitting the physicist Stephen Hawking against a 12 year old boy from Nebraska. Hawking has recently given interviews declaring that “heaven is a fairy story” and “science makes God unnecessary.” Meanwhile, the kid claims he saw Jesus during a near-death experience he had at the age of four. It was the ultimate in silly media smackdowns – and nobody won.

Both the fundamentalist Christians and the fundamentalist atheists are lining up to defend their causes. The interesting thing to me is how much the scientist and the boy have in common – both are hugely ill-equipped to speak with any authority on these subjects.

The kid’s father, a pastor named Todd Burpo, has written a bestselling book called Heaven Is For Real based on his son’s purported afterlife experiences. This means the Burpo family has a financial and an ego stake in a simplistic Christian view of spirituality. But Hawking, also a bestselling author and a celebrity scientist to boot, has earned an international reputation and presumably a comfortable bank account from advocating pure rationalism and materialism. Sorry, but he can’t be “scientifically objective” about a worldview that he’s dedicated his whole life to.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. so the burpo pastor is lying about not telling the son about the miscarried sister? the atheist camp is getting desperate. they’ll have to prove that. the boy said he wasn’t told, the parents said the same. i know it’s a silly little story for talk shows, but no other experience comes close, by a mile.

  2. stephen hawking hasn’t investigated bigfoot, yeti, ufo’s, uri geller and many other things. obviously his reality and evidence based based worldview is seriously flawed.

  3. Well, if this 12 year old boy is right, at least I’ll be spending eternity with John Lennon and Stephen Hawking. Should be a lot more fun than with, you know, this 12 year old boy.

  4. ” If he did, he’d understand the scientific method was never designed to quantify, qualify, or remotely comprehend spiritual states of reality.”

    I’ve never heard this before. Carl Sagan also thought otherwise.

  5. Ah, well, I bet you scoff at astrology though you’ve probably never studied it well enough to speak intelligently on the subject. After all, neither did Carl Sagan.

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