Thursday, September 9, 2010
Back in my reckless and wild Whitworth college student days, as a prank intended to stir up a rivalry, I wrote "95 theses" on why Whitworth was a better school than Gonzaga and tasked a horde of fellow students to post 300 copies around the Gonzaga campus on Reformation Day. Alternatingly silly and intentionally incendiary, the prank briefly blew up into a really big deal. Some of the theses were "yo momma" style one-liners directed against then-president Father Robert Spitzer, including this one:
35) Robert Spitzer lost a tap dancing contest to a drunken Stephen Hawking.
Back then, I meant it in sophomoric jest. But yet, we hear that Spitzer is actually going to face off against Hawking tomorrow. Not on the tap dance stage, but, rather, Larry King Live.
Both Spitzer and Hawking have come out with new books. Hawking's The Grand Design argues there's no need for a god in the universe, while Spitzer's New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy argues, unsurprisingly, that scientific discoveries provide even more evidence for the hand of God.
The debate goes back to the old "uncaused cause" philosophical argument, that if everything effect has a cause, something had to be the first cause.
How old? Aristotle was articulating it even before the Gospels were written.
Hawking, obviously, is one of the best scientific minds of our time. But Spitzer is no slouch either. His doctoral dissertation (in philosophy) is titled a "Study of Objectively Real Time." Sounds pretty heavy. Here's a link to his essay attacking the implicit assumptions in Hawking's work.
So be warned. The discussion may get science-y.
Watch the show at 9 pm tomorrow.