Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Paralyzed With Crazy

My student gazed at me, pen poised to record the glorious diamonds of sparkling thought that shimmered from every word I spoke.

"First, the theory not only explains the universe but creates it."
Asherel glanced up.
"Are you writing this down?" I demanded.
She bent back over her notebook.
"Next," I continued, "We create history by observation rather than history creating us."
She squinted to keep her face impassive.

"There is no model- independent test of reality. It follows that  a well constructed model creates a reality of its own."

"I'm confused," said Asherel.

"These words are quoted from one of our preeminent scientist, Stephen Hawking. You know of him, right?"
She shook her head.
"Ok, be sure you are taking notes.  Stephen Hawking is a professor of applied math and physics at Cambridge U. He is almost completely paralyzed but still writes and teaches using a mouth stick and computer. He does not believe in God, but believes in materialistic determinism."

The goal during my current events time with Asherel is to teach her current events, but also to work on her speed note taking skills, comprehension, understanding bias, rewording complex thoughts into her own words and such noble goals like that. In reality, it often degenerates into who gets frustrated first.

"But what does it mean?" she asked.
"Material determinism means that matter follows its own rules and predetermined activity, and there is no free will and no guiding force...like a God. In a sense, matter is its own God."
"That's crazy," she said.
"Now, his so-called M-theory..."
"What does the M stand for?"
"Mentally unbalanced.," I said, "Let me continue. His M theory is an attempt to come up with a single unified theory of the universe. Newton and Einstein couldn't do it, so Hawking is determined to figure it out."
"Mom, I'm confused."
"Just take notes. Ok, now before the Big Bang, time did not exist. Our universe has infinite parallel universes where every possible version of the universe exists simultaneously."
"How do they know?" she asked.
"I assume they did an experiment," I answered knowledgeably.

Now came the critical part of our current events study. Could she restate the article from her notes in her own words.
She began just as I was sipping my hot tea.
"Stephen Hawking is a paralyzed atheist."
You can imagine for yourself what happened to that sip of hot tea. I'm lucky I didn't aspirate and drown. If laughter is medicine, I overdosed.

But I think her summary is on to something. The extremes to which people will go to avoid the necessity of a guiding force, a God, is indeed paralyzing. I am sure Stephen Hawking is probably a genius, and I am very sorry for his disabling disease that he has lived nobly with. However, I do not think it is his disease which is paralyzing him as much as his attempts to explain away any need for God. That makes me much much sadder for him.

Isaiah 44:20
He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, "Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?"

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