Bishop Barron on Stephen Hawking and Atheism
Bishop Robert Barron | 8.IX.2010
- I was just watching the Theological Robber Baron's talk on beauty, which is a beautiful talk and which I interrupted in order to resume it after I had read Evangelii Gaudium, which so far I have not.
In it, Robert Baron (none other) says he was in Paris for his doctoral thesis in Theology.
Now, this means you were in fact studying where St Thomas Aquinas taught.
But, opening this video, it seems you could as well have been studying in Königsberg for all the accuracy of your Thomism.
Of course the philosopher seeks empiricism!
St Thomas' contribution as compared to Plato was to give a bit more room to empiricism.
And since Geocentrism is Empirical (whatever Heliocentrism is, it is not direct experience), he duly deduced a first and outermost mover of all the finite numbers of the layers of the universe in its daily course around Earth, that first mover being of course God.
Note, since Thomists claiming to be such have abandoned Geocentrism, Prima Via, which St Thomas himself thought and taught as the most obvious one has become displaced by them and in their opinion by Tertia Via.
- Phil Chalmers
- St Thomas was betrayed.
He wrote enormous amounts of theology and philosophy which many humans thought was brilliant and wise and full of truth.
The Holy Spirit visited him and showed him what his work was worth. St Thomas then knew his work was as worthless as straw, he is quoted as saying just that, and ordered it in his last will and testament to be destroyed.
This was not done.
I cannot even imagine what damage has been done by such an act of quenching the Holy Spirit. Don't bother to quote Aquinas, it is stale straw from many yesterdays ago.
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- That his writings were straw as to his personal action, is possible.
I don't think so, but seeing the vision, it is possible.
It is also possible that he foresaw how he would be really betrayed by "Thomists" like Barron. For instance "omni artifici de sua arte loquenti credendum est" misapplied by expertise idolaters.
We have more reason to believe the universal Church than his private revelation, as to worth of studying his work.
Some detractors are even Kantian.
- 0:50 - 1:00
"see, there's a qualitative difference between science and philosophy : science seeks after events and objects and phenomena within the empirically observable and measurable universe"
Well, the universe is not measurable empirically, but if you take this as being a differentia specifica for science as opposed to philosophy (a distinction St Thomas would have denied), that means you deny this to philosophy, and you want to construct all philosophy around pure logic applied to itself without reference to the empirical.
If however some level of metaphysics does start out with the empirical, then science is directly relevant for it, in so far as it is correct.
And this would mean, we either accept the metaphysical conclusions of Hawking, or we refute him on some of his science.
I think I did so here:
Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : Computers Afraid of the Dark?
"I'm the one supposed to be defending old pre-scientific views of the world"
Yes, you are.
When you start doing that, you are a robber baron no more.
First of all, there is no such thing as "pre-scientific". Those who use the word are referring to views on "scientific" topics before there was what they consider in their field a "scientific community".
A "pre-scientific" view is all views including the latest before that one which started the academic collaboration now referred to as "science".
For instance, in Indo-European linguistics, considering pater and father, it is "scientific" to speak about a "sound law" like p > f in Germanic, even if it would be equally possible that f > p in non-Germanic and even if a Proto-Indo-European Lautstand is simply not empirically accessible.
On the other hand, speaking of a "sound correspondence" like Latin/Greek p = Germanic f, which is strictly empirically verifiable (pater, father, piscis, fish, caper, hafr (OE for goat or buck), apo, af / of / off, hyper, over ... you'll need to accept some wavering between f and v sounds at this point, but that is empirically verifiable too), speaking of "sound correspondences" is "pre-scientific".
Second, quite a few of the "pre-scientific" views would be those of scholasticism.
Third, quite a lot of scholasticism works much better on the theological and philosophical level, if you refrain from divorcing it from "pre-scientific" views on the empirical or more close to empirical one.
For instance, Prima Via looks a lot better as proof for one God if there is one unified movement of one whole universe around Earth. Replace that with Heliocentrism and multiple solar systems ... well, you see how Giordano Bruno got in trouble. He was a Dominican, he was familiar with Saint Thomas, so, arguably, his apostasy was motivated by combining Prima Via with Heliocentrism and multiple solar systems in an infinite cosmos.
Obviously, Bruno's Heliocentrism, unlike Newton's, would also count as "pre-scientific" for the guys who tout that word. I don't mean you should defend ALL "pre-scientific" views of the world.
It's a bit how some call Pius XII Hitler's Pope. He was. And he withdrew from Hitler the correction in Humani generis unitas, which he never published as an encyclical.
Reminds me, I ought to read that one.
- Before 5:04
Things in the world are contingent.
Not admitted by that side.
On a view which could have been also that of Stephen Hawking, and certainly was that of a lot of other atheist science believers and still is:
IF we had all data about the initial state of the universe and IF we had all data about how causes interact and IF we had infinite time and patience - THEN from the initial state of the universe one could deduce Bishop Barron being a Bishop and Stephen Hawking being an atheist.
And the most obvious answer in defense of contingency is - we look contingent. We look as contingent as the universe looks geocentric.
We deem ourselves contingent because of this look, because this prima facie probability of contingency is one we have not refuted.
Hence the problem with divorcing sane philosophy from empirical data, from experience, from the prima facie look of things.
Note, whenever on some one item we do not accept the prima facie look of sth as true, it is because we deduce from the prima facie look of a lot of related things.
Contingent is not just depending on the necessary, but depending on the necessary in such a way that the necessary was not under necessity to produce the contingent item.
"Hawking" would admit that we are in a sense contingent on sth else, but he would not admit there was any freedom in that something else, and therefore would not admit there is any real contingency in us. We would on that view be the ephemeral shape of sth very permanent.
If we look at Tertia Via, divorced from Prima, we could arrive to ultimate necessary being in the universe being a freedom, like God - or we could equally arrive to it being an unfreedom, the Ananke he believed in.
- 6:02 "and this is precisely what Catholic philosophy identifies as God"
And atheistic philosophy identifies the necessary being with the multiplicity of particles and forces.
That is why Prima, Secunda and Tertia via have an atheistic counterpart, for those divorcing Prima via from Geocentrism.
That is why Quarta and Quinta via for the atheists ultimately aren't meaningless, but if they went beyond the text of St Thomas, they would replace "orderer" with "failure of all that can fail" (in biology known as natural selection, death) and "most noble per se" with "most evolved".
Hence the urgency of defending intelligent design and geocentrism. And if you do that, you can as well defend Young Earth Creationism too.
6:34 "unlimited in its being"
- 1) Less obvious, by far, than "if the universe moves around Earth, something is moving it and if the stars don't collide, someone has ordered them"
- 2) An atheist could argue that a quantum particle is "unlimited in its being" and its limits are only meta-limits, due to the existence of other particles, which in and of itself is how quantum physics approaches limitless existence.
- Up to 7:07
"gravity is finite" - Hawking was speaking of the law of gravity, which he pretends is universal, all over the universe
"gravity is variable" - but Mm/d^2*constant is not variable
"gravity of itself is not that which exists through the power of its own essence" - what Hawking denied
"and it's ludicrous that something like it within the universe is itself the cause of the being of the universe" - he would of course say it encompasses the universe.
If we can say it doesn't, how can we - how can you - defend using gravity as a universal truth the application of which primes over empirical evidence for geocentricity?
I am not defending that. Some American Catholics are.
- 7:59 "within that framework, I'm not going to find a deity"
No, not a deity. But certainly more than one very obvious God-did-it.
8:06-08 "God is not a force within the observable measurable cosmos"
In a sense He is, if He distinguishes miracles from ordinary events.
In a sense He is, if certain things within the observable cosmos are directly produced by Him and others only indirectly.
You are verging on interpreting Tertia Via in such a Pantheistic way as to clearly impinge on Prima Via.
8:31 "no one thinks God is a ... you're going to find within the universe"
Well, if not God, then very immediate traces of God.
LIKE, on the Thomasic and Geocentric view, the daily motion of the Universe around us.
Obviously, denying this is in conflict with the theorem that there are only a finite number of moved movers.
Some moved mover is not moved indirectly by the unmoved one and directly only by another moved mover. Some moved mover is moved directly by the unmoved one.
Deny that, you pull away the very basis for concluding there is an unmoved one, since you have admitted in principle a clear possibility of an infinite series of moved movers.