Hawking: Heaven a ‘fairy story’ for people ‘afraid of the dark’

Expect a severe backlash against famed physicist Stephen Hawking, who dismissed the existence of an afterlife during an interview with British paper The Guardian.

Hawking, 69, discussed facing death over time and pooh-poohed the notion that human souls go on to something bigger and better after death, and said the beliefs were borne of a desire to avoid a painful reality:

“I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first,” he said.

“I regard the brain as 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,” he added.

On the meaning of life, Hawking elaborated:

Science predicts that many different kinds of universe will be spontaneously created out of nothing. It is a matter of chance which we are in.

Hawking said humans should seek the “greatest value of [their] action.”