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Thread: Stephen Hawkings: Science is the law of God

  1. #1

    Stephen Hawkings: Science is the law of God

    The man comes up with the best quips.

    http://current.com/items/89011597_q-...en-hawking.htm

  2. #2
    justin and i saw hawking a couple of yrs ago. he was funny. but, as j said, "i didn't understand most of that!" he was talking physics. it was fascinating to listen to him. we were in front and i was impressed by his ability to sit for over an hour, talk, answer questions...i can't do that any more due to pain.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by cass View Post
    justin and i saw hawking a couple of yrs ago. he was funny. but, as j said, "i didn't understand most of that!" he was talking physics. it was fascinating to listen to him. we were in front and i was impressed by his ability to sit for over an hour, talk, answer questions...i can't do that any more due to pain.
    cass,

    Hawking is the prime example of what the British health care system can do. On July 31, the Business Investment Daily apparently said in an editorial,
    "People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the UK, where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless."
    http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnal...ditorials.aspx

    They were implying that Hawking lives in Cambridge, Boston. Hawking is of course Lucasian Professor of Mathematics (once held by Sir Isaac Newton) at Cambridge University, England. Perhaps this mistake occurred because Hawking received the Presidential Medal of Science from Obama in July Source and the editors of Business Investment Daily thought that only Americans got the award. Or, could it be because his computer voice has a Brooklyn accent.

    This story is so bizarre that I thought that I should investigate it. How is it possible that a newspaper such as Business Investment Daily could make such a fundamental mistake. Not only did they write this, possibly one of dumbest statements in journalism" but in the revised version, they tried to suggest that the National Health Service of the United Kingdom would have cut Hawking off, if he had not been so well-known:
    We also say that not everyone suffering from a debilitating disease is Stephen Hawking, and we hope our critics would acknowledge that. Hawking is a renowned theoretical physicist, university professor and best-selling author. It is doubtful any National Health Service bureaucrat would cut him off.
    That too is a lie because Hawking developed as ALS as young man, long before he became famous and known as a physicist. Yet, the NHS took care of him at the time. Incidentally, Hawking was just taken care of by the same NHS only recently Source. As Hawking himself said, “I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for the NHS. I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived.” Thank you very much, indeed. http://wonkette.com/tag/stephen-hawking

    The Business Investment Daily should be embarrassed. This is the same newspaper that published a poll claiming that 40% of doctors would quit if the House Bill on health reform were to pass, something that apparently no other poll can confirm. Anybody that relies on this newspaper for their investment news better take everything else that it publishes with a grain of salt. Maybe Sarah Palin reads the Business Investment Daily (see article on "Delegates walk out 'in Disgust' at Palin Speech" in Hong Kong)

    Hawking is 67 years old and lived his entire life in the United Kingdom. He is planning to retire at the end of this year but probably will continue in his role as "the sage of science".

    Wise.
    Last edited by Wise Young; 09-24-2009 at 06:42 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Dr. Young,

    Maybe because I am consumed by the current effort to pass healthcare reform legislation, the IBD story using Hawking as an example of someone who would have perished under a national healthcare system was the first thing that came to mind when I read your first post earlier today.

    I refrained from replying because I didn't want to turn the thread to politics. But it shows the degree to which politics affects all aspects of our lives. Too many citizens either fail to see the connections or just don't have the stomach for the fight. Later, they rail against what they allowed to happen, or more importantly - not happen.

    The current reform effort could produce the most important citizens rights legislation for people with disabilities since the ADA. No matter what one's political affiliation or ideological bent, this is something we should all demand that our politicians get done. As in the IBD story, the opposition has it wrong.
    Foolish

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."~Edgar Allan Poe

    "Dream big, you might never wake up!"- Snoop Dogg

  5. #5
    That article is indeed bizarre!
    When I first saw Hawking at a meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society in the early '70s, he was already well know, and there was a cluster of other young astronomers around him; I don't remember if he was in a wheelchair yet.
    The British NHS certainly has done well by him. However, I can't but wonder if others with similar health problems but having less "star quality" (for lack of better words) receive the same level of support and care.
    - Richard

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by rfbdorf View Post
    That article is indeed bizarre!
    When I first saw Hawking at a meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society in the early '70s, he was already well know, and there was a cluster of other young astronomers around him; I don't remember if he was in a wheelchair yet.
    The British NHS certainly has done well by him. However, I can't but wonder if others with similar health problems but having less "star quality" (for lack of better words) receive the same level of support and care.
    - Richard
    Richard,

    I am so impressed that you actually attended a Royal Society meeting in the 1970's with Stephen Hawking!

    The accusation that the Investor Business Daily leveled at the National Health Service of Britain is that so-called "death panels" would have let Hawking die. When criticized for this, the editors suggested an even worse lie, i.e. that the NHS took care of Stephen Hawking only because he is a celebrity and that they would have let others die. Finally, when they were criticized again for this assertion, they lied a third time by claiming that Hawking was wealthy and paid for his own care. They clearly have no interest in the truth.

    It is true that Hawking was already prominent as a physicist by the 1970's. However, his ALS developed much earlier in 1963. In 1962, Hawking received his bachelor's degree at Oxford where he barely made "first class". He then went to Cambridge to study cosmology and theoretical physics. Almost upon his arrival at Cambridge, he began to develop symptoms of ALS. During his first two years at Cambridge (not surprisingly because he was developing ALS), he did not distinguish himself. He resumed his PhD in 1965 and was elected the youngest fellow of the Royal Society in 1974. His ALS diagnosis was made in 1964, long before he was famous. The NHS took care of him even though the diagnosis, even back then, was believed to have been a death sentence.

    The Business Investment Daily claimed that Hawkings was wealthy and paid for his own medical care. While it is true that Hawkings was privileged in the 1970's and received some money from his best-selling book in the 1990's, he was not wealthy for the first 25 years of his disease. Hawking's parents were not particularly wealthy. His father was a research biologist. At the time that Hawking attended Oxford, he was just a poor student. His first wife was his caretaker from 1965 and his main source of assistance at work were physics students who helped him with his work and whom he helped in return with their work.

    The question whether Hawking used his wealth to pay for his health care was addressed by many comments to a blog by Jay Bookman (Source). Hawking receives his care at a NHS Hospital, the Addenbrook’s Hospital in Cambridge. In such a hospital, you don't get billed and you don't pay. Many people pointed out that academics don't make that much money. More important, even if Stephen Hawking were a billionaire in the U.S. diagnosed with ALS, I doubt that he would have received as good care from 1965 to 1991.

    Wise.
    Last edited by Wise Young; 09-25-2009 at 08:13 AM.

  7. #7
    Thanks for the info, Wise.
    BTW, it was the Royal Astronomical Society, not the Royal Society. Not nearly as exclusive!
    - Richard

  8. #8
    Senior Member cypresss's Avatar
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    I bet you know about the book "a brief history of time", but it was made a film too. The film is more about the life than the book. You can watch the movie on google video, but the quality is very poor. Maybe is better to search it on a rental dvd house.
    This signature left intentionally blank.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Young View Post
    The man comes up with the best quips.

    http://current.com/items/89011597_q-...en-hawking.htm
    While I have the utmost respect for Mr Hawking who may be the smartest man alive today I find that comment quite arrogant. Western science does not have the monopoly on knowing the mind of God and there are plenty of indiginous tribal peoples whom have their own equally valid version of how the universe works.

  10. #10
    Senior Member JimD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ian View Post
    While I have the utmost respect for Mr Hawking who may be the smartest man alive today I find that comment quite arrogant. Western science does not have the monopoly on knowing the mind of God and there are plenty of indiginous tribal peoples whom have their own equally valid version of how the universe works.


    They may have their own versions of how it works, but with respect, I doubt seriously that they are equally valid.

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