On one hand I want to laugh when he writes this:
"According to Viking mythology, eclipses occur when two wolves, Skoll and Hati, catch the sun or moon. At the onset of an eclipse people would make lots of noise, hoping to scare the wolves away. After some time, people must have noticed that the eclipses ended regardless of whether they ran around banging on pots.
Ignorance of nature's ways led people in ancient times to postulate many myths in an effort to make sense of their world."
As a Pagan I want to get uppity and argue that the fact that these "myths" weren't literally true are beside the point.
On the other hand, what he goes on to say is so interesting that I almost forgot his comment about old Norse myths until I reread the excerpt.
Hawking says a lot of interesting things, and I'd like to quote what I find to be his most interesting point:
"As recent advances in cosmology suggest, the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."
The italics are my doing.
I'm not quite sure how it's possible to get something from nothing. But Hawking says that science proves it, and since I don't understand the mathematics behind it I'm not about to debate it with him. How do you debate a "fact" whose explanation you don't understand?
Then again, I can disagree with Hawking without debating with him.
But I'm not sure if I disagree with him. After all, as Anne Johnson pointed suggested, maybe the gods were created by the big bang.
I'm really not sure what to think about all this, although I find it a fascinating subject to speculate on.
Ok, ok, so I do have an idea....years ago I heard that the Hindus believed that the universe has gone through a number of lives. That it goes through cycles of death and rebirth. Reincarnation, if you will, but on a cosmic level. I thought that made sense, and it still makes sense to me. I'm not sure that I like the idea of the universe coming to an end and everything being destroyed...but you don't have to like something to believe it.
And I need to wrap this up now to go watch a movie with the family. So I'll leave you, and hope to hear your thoughts on the subject. :)