Last week The Discovery Channel debuted the first segment of its new Curiosity series with a most provocative episode titled, "Did God Create the Universe?"
I know that many people believe this issue was settled 3,500 years ago in Genesis. But the Bible is not a science text, and for the past 60 years many scientists have all but declared that God is dead.
And so I wondered whether Discovery would simply echo the growing chorus among scientific atheists on this fundamental question. Sadly, they did exactly that. I was astonished to view an hour-long solo lecture by one of the leading scientific atheists of our time, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking.
Employing a bedazzling display of special effects, and using terminology that few are familiar with (singularities, black holes, quantum mechanics, etc.), Hawking proceeded in a matter-of -fact tone to claim that he has now proven that God does not exist!
I was deeply disturbed by this debut of Curiosity, but not really surprised. The search for the elusive proof of scientific atheism has been a half-century-long preoccupation of many Western scientists. The original arguments put forth by scientific atheism emerged from the life sciences with the discovery of DNA in the 1950s. It then became possible, so we were told, to view life itself as little more than an intricate biochemical mechanism. Biology and chemistry told us all we needed to know about what had always before seemed mysterious and Godly.
And where did that leave God? Dead. So said no less a scientific luminary than Jacques Monod, Nobel prize-winning president of the prestigious Pasteur Institute. In 1970, Monod published his astounding scientific "proof" in the New York Times bestseller "Chance and Necessity." The new field of biochemistry, Monod insisted, had absolutely proven God's nonexistence.
But remarkably, more advanced research in the decades following Monod's drastic proclamation discovered just this: Monod was wrong ... wrong about essentials. The very proof he had used to argue atheism via biochemistry has now been demonstrated to be utterly false.
But the embarrassing failure by Monod did not end the quest of his disciples to remove faith from Western society.
Enter Stephen Hawking, who has recently made the case for atheism anew in his latest release, "The Grand Design."
Given the stage all to himself, Hawking draws unequivocal conclusions about events no one has ever observed, and erroneously transforms highly speculative guesses into "proven" scientific dogma.
And demonstrated that what Curiosity/Discovery presented wasn't science at all. It was purely a philosophical diatribe promoting atheism.
And as I watched, I wondered how many viewers actually realized that there are as many contradictory findings and confounding theories in astrophysics as there are conspiracies "proving" who shot JFK.
So let me to cut to the chase. Hawking's fundamental flaw is as follows: He claims that Einstein's theory of relativity "dictates" that our universe began as a "singularity" - a tiny, almost infinitely dense bundle of mass and energy. From there, he presses forward with a certainty that indicates either mental illness or ego-poisoning - that the primal singularity of 15 billion years ago was necessarily preceded by nothingness, a nothingness so entirely void that it must exclude the existence even of God himself.
And then he insists that this same "nothingness" somehow simultaneously contained the potency to spontaneously produce the universe. He literally tells us, "We have all been told that you can't get something for nothing. But in the special case of the Big Bang, we got an entire universe from nothing at all ..."
Unbelievable! I was flabbergasted. The contradictions in his argument were so profound that I cannot refrain from concluding with this: Shame on the Discovery Channel! Shame on Mr. Hawking.
In fact, the answer to the question as to how the universe got started was best answered 800 years ago, by St. Thomas of Aquinas, arguably the greatest intellect in the entire history of Euro-American thought, who wrote the following in his timeless "Summa Theologiae:"
"Whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another... subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand ... (it follows that) it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God."
Dr. Stephen J. Iacoboni, M.D., is Author of THE UNDYING SOUL, A Cancer Doctor's Discovery. Iacoboni co-founded the St. Mary Regional Cancer Center in Walla Walla and is now co-medical director of the Kennewick General Hospital Hematology-Oncology Program.