Science & Tech

Stephen Hawking once gave a simple answer as to whether there was a God

Stephen Hawking once gave a simple answer as to whether there was a God
Interview with Stephen Hawking

People have been returning to Stephen Hawking’s words of wisdom given before his passing in 2018.

The astrophysicist gave the world so much before his death, and had ominous messages for the future too – not least warning against trying to communicate with alien civilisations and trying to warn us about what a future with AI could bring.

Hawking reflected on religion and belief in God in his book The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe, which was released back in 2002.

He wrote: "For centuries, it was believed that disabled people like me were living under a curse that was inflicted by God.

"Well, I suppose it's possible that I've upset someone up there, but I prefer to think that everything can be explained another way, by the laws of nature.

Sion Touhig/Getty Images

"If you believe in science, like I do, you believe that there are certain laws that are always obeyed. If you like, you can say the laws are the work of God, but that is more a definition of God than a proof of his existence."

Considering the possibility of God existing, he went on to write: "We are each free to believe what we want and it’s my view that the simplest explanation is there is no God.

"No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization, there’s probably no Heaven and no afterlife, either.

"We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that I am extremely grateful."

Speaking in 2014, four years before his death, Hawking had a stark warning to humanity before his death about the capabilities and threat of artificial intelligence.

In a BBC interview, Hawking warned: “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”

While the technology was only just beginning to emerge, Hawking had the foresight to theorise how it might develop and impact our lives, especially if it exceeds human intelligence.

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