After much speculation and confusion due to his previous statements, Stephen Hawking finally came out of the closet and embraced his atheism publicly, in an interview for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo:
In my second question, I ask him to clarify his stance on God and religion, which has generated an intense debate among his readers. On one hand, at the end of A Brief History of Time, he wrote that if someday we reached that ‘Theory of Everything’, we would know “the mind of God”. But afterwards, in his controversial book The Grand Design, he said that the universe can be created “out of nothing, out of nowhere”, and that the idea of God is “not necessary” to explain its origin. I ask him, given this apparent contradiction, if he changed his mind in this field, and if he considers himself an agnostic or atheist.
His resounding answer is very clear that although many have come to describe Hawking being alive as “a miracle”, half a century after being diagnosed with a disease which its life expectancy is usually a couple of years, the astrophysicist rejects all religious beliefs: “in the past, before we understood the science it was logical to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation. What I meant when I said we would know ‘the mind of God’ was that we would understand everything God would be able to understand if it existed. But there is no God. I am an atheist. Religion believes in miracles, but they are not compatible with science”.
Welcome to the rational side, Dr. Hawking — we’ve been waiting you for a while.
(hat tip Julián Fernandez | Image: Chris Boland via photopin cc)