Is God Dead? Hawking v. Birnbaum
Stephen Hawking, a major contemporary physicist, is as well a sometimes cosmologist, cosmology being the study of the origins and workings of the cosmic order. At times Cambridge professor Hawking is an agnostic (there may or may not be God) and at times he is an atheist (there definitely is no God). To Hawking the universe certainly doesn't need God to originate or to operate – so it is just simpler to assume God is not there. On a broader level, Hawking even asserts that philosophy as a science is also dead. Per Hawking, God is in good company with philosophy, both are superfluous and so to speak dead. Has the esteemed physicist Hawking over-reached?
When in his role as casual cosmologist, Hawking believes that the entire universe can be understood and described with “hard science” alone; to Hawking Physics-Math- Chemistry-Biology hold all the answers to the universe. This (parochial) view actually permeates global hard-science academe. Now, inasmuch as the same in-group tends to review each other’s theories and formal papers, this politically-correct wisdom tends to self-perpetuate. Thus, with the scientific-academic ‘in-crowd’, the ‘tool kit’ for cosmology only embraces what can be measured in the lab, or very direct extrapolations thereof.
Private scholar, David Birnbaum – globally-featured author of the cutting-edge three part philosophy series Summa Metaphysica series – respectfully disagrees (see SummaMetaphysica.com). To Birnbaum both philosophy and the possibility of the infinite divine are very much alive. To conceptual theorist Birnbaum, Physics-Math is necessary but not sufficient to cracking the cosmic code.
Birnbaum’s general approach to scientific academe would probably run something like this: You are truly very smart and astute with lab experiments, observations and related equations – and we have come a long way; however, we all know that vis à vis cosmology, your experiments to date have not gotten us further back than the Big Bang – and there is no indication that you will ever truly be able to do so. Rather than wait around indefinitely, let’s utilize the playbook of metaphysics and see if a true unified and integrated schema can be discerned which more fully and efficiently embraces all knowledge/information/science to date – and yields us an all-embracing theory of the cosmic order.
Per the Summa Metaphysica website – “Birnbaum proposes an original concept as the missing key to understanding the cosmic drama. He proposes his signature concept that Potential is the eternal cosmic dynamic. More precisely, Birnbaum proposes that Quest for Potential∞ (infinitely iterating) is the eternal cosmic dynamic. This dynamic works its way forward over the billions of eons towards first igniting our universe and eventually – down the road – catalyzing the emergence of higher-level consciousness human beings within it.
The core theme of David Birnbaum’s works is that one elegant dynamic and one elegant dynamic, alone (Quest for Potential∞) both instigates and drives the entire cosmic order. According to him, “Potentialism proposes that there is, indeed, a protagonist to the cosmic order, but that the protagonist is a ‘quest’ and not a ‘classic entity.’ The universe quests for its maximal potential. The core dynamic Quest for Potential∞ strives with purpose and direction towards ever-greater and higher potential. At the ‘beginning of time,’ eternal Quest for Potential∞ harnessed the eternal portion of the eternal equations of Physics-Mathematics to ignite our universe via the Big Bang. Note that the works of MIT quantum physicist Seth Lloyd (2006) dovetail with the Summa Metaphysica series (1988, 2005, 2014).
This same symbiotic dynamic – Quest for Potential∞ in league with Physics-Math – then acted as a catalyst for the route tracking-forwards to high level humans in the 21st Century – tracking forward from the Big Bang thru the emergence of the Elements, primordial star systems, myriad galaxies, supernovas, the sun, our solar system, life, photosynthesis, DNA, organisms, sexual reproduction, multi-cellular life, the Cambrian Explosion, amphibians, forests, reptiles, mammals, dinosaurs, birds, flowers, evolution, hominids, homo sapiens, and ever-increasing consciousness/emotion – and, indeed, for all the key dynamics which have evolved in the universe.”
To Birnbaum, Physics-Math is a tool of the master cosmic dynamic; however, Physics-Math is not the underlying master cosmic dynamic itself; rather, Quest for Potential∞ is.
To employ military terms to help us out here, per Birnbaum, Physics-Math is not the Commander-in-Chief of the cosmic order; rather, it is more the Lieutenant General, charged with implementing prime directive of the cosmic order. Meaning, the ‘hard sciences’ play a very key role in the ongoing cosmic unfolding, but are not the bedrock ultimate (and infinite) core cosmic dynamic. For further elaboration, see www.PotentialismTheory.com.
From this author’s perspective, Hawking, while brilliant, when playing cosmologist tends to speak outside his realm of expertise. Physics is not cosmology. Cosmology, a far broader field than physics, actually belongs under the discipline of metaphysics – a branch of Hawking's ‘dead science’ of philosophy. And therein lies the problem: Hawking has nullified a panoply of tools outside of his Physics-Math-Chemistry-Biology tool kit. But, Physics-Math-Chemistry-Biology alone, as Birnbaum has demonstrated from the get-go, are simply unlikely and unable to get to the heart of cosmology.
While metaphysicist/philosopher Birnbaum embraces Hawking’s Physics-Math as integral to cosmology, Hawking delegitimizes Birnbaum’s metaphysics/philosophy as integral (to cosmology).
Birnbaum remains bemused by the militant Hawking approach, which, notwithstanding its imperiousness, clearly does not solve fundamental gaps in cosmic theory; nor does it show any promise of ever doing so. Meaning, per Birnbaum, Hawking et al. violate a fundamental law of intellectual inquiry: Admit that which you do not know.
Metaphysics and cosmology seek answers to the ultimate answers of existence. They have a selection of tools to accomplish that task, two of them being qualitative and quantitative analysis. The first, quantitative, is what physicists do well. It's basically the science of measuring things.
Qualitative is what physicists do horribly with. Qualitative describes what things are like. Now, it can be something more abstract in nature – like how something affects you emotionally or it could be describing something like morality; qualitative also covers things far more concrete – like texture or taste.
Qualitative is clearly outside the realm of physics, but such things as texture and taste are certainly real. And that's why, in the past, physics remembered not to overreach, but rather remembered that it has limitations – and that all the sciences were necessary to discover the whole universe. You didn't ask a biologist to calculate red shift from a distant star (as the answer is in the realm of physics) and you didn't ask a physicist for assistance in understanding a flu virus (as the answer is in the realm of biology). But physics seems to have forgotten those lessons in recent decades. Simply put, the Hawking types err egregiously in invalidating philosophy, metaphysics, spirituality, and the spectrum of the creative as potential key dynamics of the core engine of the cosmic order.
Birnbaum reaches far beyond not only the realms of Physics-Math-Chemistry-Biology, and not only beyond the realms of Philosophy and Spirituality, but also reaches-into totally unexplored terrain: terra incognita. It is in this unexplored terrain that Birnbaum’s fine-tuned intuitive radar conceptualizes his Infinite Quest for Potential dynamic.
And once Birnbaum has radar-lock on his Infinite Quest for Potential, he discerns its repetitive pattern – Quest for Potential∞ > Complexification across the cosmic order in all realms. And once Birnbaum has discerned this repetitive pattern transcending all fields from macro to micro levels, Birnbaum has discerned a transcendent universal teleology (cosmic direction/purpose); and once Birnbaum has discerned a transcendent teleology, we are confronted with the very real possibility of a transcendent consciousness; and therein lies the mystery.
Per Birnbaum, Complexification (shorthand: C+) – the drive towards ever-greater complexity/sophistication/richness/variety/wondrousness – is the ‘handmaiden’ of overarching Infinite Quest for Potential. This pattern of advance continuously repeats itself not only traversing cosmic history, but contemporaneously on myriad levels, indeed, on all levels. One need just ‘step-back’ a bit to discern it.
Where Hawking and his peers tend to see only random, chaotic events, Birnbaum astutely discerns a universal pattern. While Hawking and peers tend to see a ‘random’ universe of ‘decay,’ Birnbaum discerns a ‘patterned’ universe of ongoing ‘growth’ – for 14 billion years and counting.
Metaphysics is an overarching science. To look at the universe through the eyes of a (parochial) physicist bound by politically-correct randomness, it is hard to see either the universal common denominator of the universe or the repeating pattern. However, once Birnbaum has delineated the repeating pastern, it is hard to deny it.
The pattern Quest for Potential > Complexification. The symbolic representation of the repeating pattern would be: Q4P∞ > C+. The common denominator of the cosmic order.
Once articulated (by Birnbaum), when you step back from physics and look at the whole of the universe, and indeed the march of cosmic history, it is really impossible to not see both the dynamic and the related repeating pattern. The pattern appears on every level, and is somewhat ubiquitous. The planet has become more complex – life has, consciousness has, the galaxy has... In fact, regardless of how you look at the universe, the pattern of growing complexity is everywhere. It is universal (see ParadigmChallenge.com).
Is there some infinite driving force/pattern to the universe?
To Birnbaum the answer is definitely ‘yes.’ Is there some divine spark to the universe? To Birnbaum, the answer is ‘possibly yes’; indeed, we (humans) may be the forward edge of this so-to-speak divine spark.
To a pre-Birnbaumiam physicist, even one as legendary a Hawking – with his comparatively narrow set of tools – the answer is a bland ‘no’. Thus, to Hawking et al. God – as well as philosophy – are both, indeed dead. Per Hawking, only his God of Physics is alive and well.
Unfortunately for Messr. Hawking, his mechanistic physics cannot match the grandeur and elegance of Birnbaum’s overarching metaphysics. Birnbaum’s Summa Metaphysica not only fills-in the key gaping holes in Hawking’s schema – and not only ties-up the untenable loose-ends therein – but indeed, breathtakingly unifies Science, Philosophy and Spirituality – seamlessly and elegantly. Summa Metaphysica’s Theory of Potential – courtesy of metaphysicist Birnbaum – is an achievement of breathtaking proportions. Perhaps Hawking et al. should get with the program – and enter the 21st century. Sooner rather than later.