Stephen Hawking is amazing. He has a disease that should have killed him decades ago, but keeps soldiering on as his body wastes away. He’s always cited by accommodationists as being quasi-religious, since he said in A Brief History of Time that if physicists were to hit on a “theory of everything” they would have seen into “the mind of God.” Over the ensuing years it’s become clear that Hawking meant “God” as “the physical laws that govern the universe.”
Here he is in a new interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC, discussing the Big Issue (there’s a short video clip and a longer description of his views):
Sawyer: So, to the people who say science and religion are irreconcilable, you say. . .?
Hawking: One could define God as the embodiment of the laws of nature. However, this is not what most people would think of as God. They mean a human-like being with whom one could have a personal relationship.
Sawyer then asked him if there was a way to reconcile science and faith.
Hawking: There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.
He’s right, of course. The last, terse sentence sums up in six words the entire history of science and faith. Hawking, willfully misunderstood by those desperate to harmonize science with faith, recognizes their profound incompatibility.
It’s time to admit that those who still claim that religion and science are compatible–ignoring their fundamental and blatantly obvious differences in philosophy, methodology, and success at understanding the universe–are intellectually dishonest.