While more prestigious names prevail in the world of science based on educational and New York Times bestseller status, let’s never forget that some of the most astute scientific discoveries came from those with initially and considerably less auspicious backgrounds. Albert Einstein’s road from file clerk to one of the greatest scientific minds in history will forever stand as the equivalent of Noah going from simple, unconvincing man to pivotal figure in rebuilding humankind and zoology. But less celebrated is also Stephen Hawking’s nemesis on studies of black holes, physicist Leonard Susskind, who went from plumber to one of the greatest practitioners of imagination in Physics within the last forty years.
These were just some of the ones in science who had to get it in official writing and convince the throne of scientific titans it was worth the lucid daydreaming done while at work. Today, it seems almost impossible to do such a thing unless you can unusually and effortlessly fall into a rank of rivaling Hawking or even Susskind.
Or maybe nobody has to with the chance to expound on complex scientific theories in widely-read, online environments. Many of them are frequented by fellow lay public Stephen Hawkings…without needing to use a Swedish-sounding computer voice.
True evidence of it happened when Hawking made his controversial comments in his new co-written book “The Grand Design” that the creation of the universe didn’t need a creator. Based on every conservatively-governed message board, Twitter, Facebook and all else, the public at large came out in droves to fill the blank comment space with intelligent point-counterpoint to override the trolls and self-reflective, anonymous vitriol on usual days.
And these comments couldn’t be described as one-sentence rebuts. They were the unusual sight of full, run-on paragraphs expounding on why Stephen Hawking was either right or wrong. Most of the expounding came from those who were confident Hawking was dead wrong and gave their thoughts on how they thought the universe was really created. It brought it into the open that the average citizen of the world has somehow acquired enough time than ever thought to cogently put together a basic concept of how our universe was created.
Before, the assumption was that only the ALS-addled state of Stephen Hawking could afford any time to ruminate, capture and connect profound thoughts that normally escape those who have the fortune and misfortune to be physically active in the chaotic world.
All of this gives more evidence to the widening dichotomy between scientists and the average public. In the last decade, politics and more complicated subjects within physics have alienated the public from respecting the scientific perspective. The scientific take on global warming alone has been enough for some to mark as a true division between us and them. But you also have string theory, which the masses have tried to assimilate, yet deemed by some unnecessary to learn due to its exhausting complexity and inability to move forward.
When it comes to explaining the universe, though, there seems to be more intuitive forces at work in being able to understand how it was created and why it was created. Based on my observations of all those comments online, it seems that more than a few non-scientific citizens of the world have a uniform and intuitive understanding of how their version of God could create a universe while still balancing the scientific side.
Hawking’s argument that the universe could have been created from nothing based on the laws of gravity doesn’t always line up with the logic of the average human mind. Most immediate responses are always that anything coming into existence with the complex building blocks of life would need a creator or create a contradiction. However, the average human mind may not have made it all that cut and dry and added a unique twist. What if God had created the building blocks of the universe and then let it create and expand itself under its own accord?
I’ll admit that when I first heard about Hawking’s comment, I assumed he meant it that way. A comment or two he made in the book perhaps allude to it. Through this, though, it’s possible to visualize a creator who created the mechanics for an undetermined length of time, then retreated to watch His creation unfold under the force of certain and set principles.
Yes, let’s call it giving the universe its own sense of free will.
Under this scenario, you can give leverage to each side of the argument while looking at the creator through a more intelligent eye rather than so literally as many a human mind has for centuries. The public apparently thought about this thoroughly and didn’t wait a second to go online to express it. We don’t even need a physicist to stand in front of us and show us a simple analogy (using household materials Michio Kaku or Neil Degrasse Tyson style) to fully express its meaning.
If the average person in the world can understand the creation of the universe metaphorically as an efficient supercomputer designed in an unknown realm and sent off to bring us to where we are now, then the division of the scientist and average person can either move wider or closer. It’s not necessarily easy to see that much public intelligence on cyber forums where it arguably goes to waste.
There’s clear evidence, however, of a true divide between millions of people and Stephen Hawking; something we couldn’t have imagined back when he wrote “A Brief History of Time.” Nevertheless, as with many other scientists past and present, the believer/agnostic line gets crossed multiple times in a career before settling on a definitive belief. The public needs to understand that. Conversely, scientists need to understand that the public sometimes has as many deep insights as the science elite do with a tendency to hold more steadfast to them.
In a better world, that kind of truce would incite scientists to tap into the public’s collective scientific imagination for ideas rather than thinking it beneath them. Also, the average person would lessen his increasing thought that scientists place themselves on a pedestal as the only source toward universal understanding. I’ve said in articles past that opposing forces linking arms can bring forth exponentially more interesting ideas than adamantly staying on either side of the fence.
The question now is whether Stephen Hawking will ever acknowledge the public imagination toward explaining the creation of the universe. Even a bevy of his cohorts think that he was dead wrong on his new assessment of a self-creating universe. For a sense of repair, a follow-up book to “The Grand Design” reflecting an acknowledgment of public theories would be in concert with the true meaning of the present book.
That particular meaning attempts to create a new paradigm in looking at things differently than we normally do in the world of science. It could help the scientific world enormously if they equated the same on a sociological level.