I have a great deal of respect for Stephen Hawking, he is obviously a genius. But, I am not sure that means he is really that good at philosophy. There is a fascinating interview on the Guardian, but sadly I think people are going to use it as some sort of magic atheist stick to quote as a debate ender. But, like the famous Douglas Adams quote, on closer inspection I don’t think it really proves anything.
Take this for example:
What is the value in knowing “Why are we here?”
The universe is governed by science. But science tells us that we can’t solve the equations, directly in the abstract. We need to use the effective theory of Darwinian natural selection of those societies most likely to survive. We assign them higher value.
For a start, I don’t want to live in a society that is based on Darwinian values. I don’t want to fall victim to Godwin’s Law here, but historically that really hasn’t worked out that well, has it now? And, I really don’t want to sound cruel, but can noone else see the irony of a man confined to a wheelchair by a genetic condition holding such views? The idea that all humans are of intrinsic value regardless of whether they are suited to pass on genetic material is certainly not rooted in Darwinianism, but instead comes from the idea that there is more to the Universe than what is strictly qualifiable.
And, if science can’t solve those equations, what can? People like Hawking can certainly help illumiate the “how”, but they are no good at the “why”. That is where God comes in.