Chief rabbi challenges Stephen Hawking in row over origins of universe
Lord Sacks accuses astrophysicist of logical fallacy in book excluding possibility of supernatural creation
Riazat Butt • The Guardian
The chief rabbi, Lord Sacks, hit back at Stephen Hawking after the astrophysicist said God did not create the universe.
In his new book, The Grand Design, published next week, Hawking concludes that science excludes the possibility of a deity and that it is unnecessary to "invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going".
But his finding were described by Sacks as an "elementary fallacy" of logic.
Writing in the Times, the chief rabbi said: "There is a difference between science and religion. Science is about explanation. Religion is about interpretation. The Bible simply isn't interested in how the universe came into being."
Sacks also said the mutual hostility between religion and science was one of "the curses of our age" and warned it would be equally damaging to both.
"But there is more to wisdom than science. It cannot tell us why we are here or how we should live. Science masquerading as religion is as unseemly as religion masquerading as science."
In an earlier book, A Brief History of Time, Hawking was apparently more open to the idea of God, suggesting that a scientific understanding of the universe was not incompatible with a creator. "If we discover a complete theory … it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we should know the mind of God," he wrote.
If the Torah isn't interested in how the universe came to be, why does the Torah waste so much space explaining it? And why would the Torah explain creation incorrectly?
The Chief Rabbi, it seems, is engaging in apologetics, not in debate based on fact and merit.