Hawking irritates me anymore. Certainly there's a lot to admire about him. But there's a caginess that suggests he may be motivated toward marketing more than toward candor.
His "know the mind of god" quote was sheer frickin' genius, if his goal was to sell books. Did that book sell a lot of copies? Oh, yea. Maybe he was just being poetic? pfft That line seems more like disingenuous populist drivel.
The need for supernatural investment to explain the origins of the universe has been superfluous for years. But now that Hawking is publishing it suddenly people notice? I suppose I should be grateful that his celebrity status has gotten this information some media attention. I guess I'm just mad at the world. Why should it take years for natural cosmology to seem interesting. Why does it need a celebrity endorsement? Why is that celebrity Hawking? ARGH!
Misreporting of what was actually written may be part of the what is stirring the hornets' nest. I've probably seen three different outlets headlining that Hawking wrote he had proved god didn't create the universe, and several others that implied as much. Again, I guess I'm just mad at the world. Competition in the media markets rewards controversy and punishes accurate unbiased un-hyped reporting.
And Hawking is JUST NOW sharing this information with the public? He waited until he was ready to publish again? That seems too coincidental to be anything but mercenary.
Maybe I'm just cranky. Maybe I just hate capitalism. Maybe I'm just jealous. Maybe I'm just a cynical idealist (actually, I am). Maybe I shouldn't be picking on Stephen. I don't know what it's like to be him, what motivates him, what worries him. I learned from and enjoyed Brief History and Nutshell. But once more, by being just the right amount of controversial, he is getting another avalanche of free publicity for his book.
Maybe I should be mad at humans and western culture for being such easy targets. But I find it hard to overlook crafty opportunism, even if I may benefit.