Stephen Hawking: ‘I’m An Athiest’

Stephen Hawking doesn’t believe there is a God. More to the point, he believes that the advancement of science makes the idea of God less and less necessary.

In an interview with Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Hawking answered on his views of the origins of the universe. Mentioned in the interview was Hawking’s own links between science and God in his books A Brief History of Time and The Grand Design. The former of the two books described the discovery of a unifying set of scientific principles known as the theory of everything that would enable scientists to “know the mind of God,” while the latter stated that the mechanism behind the origin of the universe was becoming so well known that God was no longer necessary.

Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation. What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there was a God, which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.

Hawking’s prior dealings with the question of his faith were generally approached more delicately. Such was the case when he told Reuters several years ago when he admitted he was “not religious in the normal sense” and believed that “God does not intervene to break the laws that He decreed.” However, more research and theorizing has been focused on the origins of the universe, including Hawking’s personal favorite, M-theory, which he believes will eventually unveil the grand design of the cosmos.

World-renown scientists denouncing traditional theologies is nothing new. Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is, at the moment, arguably the most famous astrophysicist on the planet. Historically, Tyson has been less than subtle about his distrust of organized religion and his implications that religious people are intellectually inferior to his fellow scientists. Perhaps his most famous quote on the matter came from an interview he did with notoriously right-leaning Bill O’Reilly, in which he described God as “an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance,” pointing to the fact that as our understanding of science advanced, people attributed less and less to the actions of God. Lately, he’s taken a bit of flak for allegedly making up stories and twisting words from public officials to fit his own agendas.

Despite Hawking’s belief that humans do not possess an immortal soul, he does believe that our species is capable of enduring in perpetuity through the majesty of interplanetary and interstellar colonization. All of which depends on us steering clear of what Hawking fears could be aggressive extraterrestrial life seeking to colonize exoplanets of their own, including Earth. He likens it to Christopher Columbus’ trip to the Americas, “which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”

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