The Poverty of Philosophy; why Stephen Hawking is wrong on the Big Bang


25/04/2018 by socialistfight

By Gerry Downing, 25-4-18

Image result for Stephen Hawking Big Bang images

The death of Stephen Hawking on 14 March involved this author in four separate Facebook debates. Many comments were simply ignorant attacks on me for having the gall to attack the conclusions of the great scientist, some sneering bigots who were open renegades from Trotskyism, former comrades who wanted to ingratiate themselves with the capitalist establishment vis Labour reformism to enhance future career prospects by attacking revolutionary Trotskyism.

Contempt for theory

The proposition that we will defend in the essay is the Big Bang theory as a single event in a single place that happened once and will never happen again is wrong. The multiverse theory of an infinitive number of universes in infinitive space that have infinitive numbers of Big Bangs, constantly expanding and collapsing is correct. The single event theory with nothing before and nothing after is religious and idealist philosophically. [1]

But what emerged in the discussions was the contempt for theory and the inability to oppose establishment views. The entire capitalist mass media, all its politicians, all the major churches, Catholic and Protestant hailed Hawking as a great scientist. The Principal of St John’s College, Durham, the Revd Professor David Wilkinson, who is the author of God, Time and Stephen Hawking (Monarch, 2002), said:

“There is sadness at his death, admiration for a remarkable life story, admiration for his remarkable works of science, and a thankfulness for some of the things he discovered about the universe. Professor Hawking had given the world an “optimism that science can deal with all of its own questions about the universe [Professor Hawking] thought science should be able to give the reason for the start of the universe, which is a very important thing for people of faith. He reminded us who are of faith of the weakness of any ‘God in the gaps’ or deistic view of God and pointed theologians towards a God with the universe in the palm of his hand. Professor Hawking “demolished smaller Gods, and left us with the bigger, biblical God” [2] [3]

Few who had made their peace with the establishment were prepared to listen for a moment to the long-standing criticism of his worldview on philosophy:

Speaking to Google’s Zeitgeist Conference in Hertfordshire, the author of ‘A Brief History of Time’ said that fundamental questions about the nature of the universe could not be resolved without hard data such as that currently being derived from the Large Hadron Collider and space research. “Most of us don’t worry about these questions most of the time. But almost all of us must sometimes wonder: Why are we here? Where do we come from? Traditionally, these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead,” he said. “Philosophers have not kept up with modern developments in science. Particularly physics.” (our emphasis) [4]

That is an explicit endorsement of empiricism as a philosophical method. Frederick Engels set out the philosophy of Marxism for science and understanding the material world in Socialism Utopian and Scientific, which every serious Marxist must read and struggle to understand. Here he explains what the dialectic is:

Although Hegel was — with Saint-Simon — the most encyclopaedic mind of his time, yet he was limited, first, by the necessary limited extent of his own knowledge and, second, by the limited extent and depth of the knowledge and conceptions of his age. To these limits, a third must be added; Hegel was an idealist. To him, the thoughts within his brain were not the more or less abstract pictures of actual things and processes, but, conversely, things and their evolution were only the realized pictures of the “Idea”, existing somewhere from eternity before the world was… The Hegelian system, in itself, was a colossal miscarriage — but it was also the last of its kind… A system of natural and historical knowledge, embracing everything, and final for all time, is a contradiction to the fundamental law of dialectic reasoning. This law, indeed, by no means excludes, but, on the contrary, includes the idea that the systematic knowledge of the external universe can make giant strides from age to age.

But during this long period from Descartes to Hegel and from Hobbes to Feuerbach, these philosophers were by no means impelled, as they thought they were, solely by the force of pure reason. On the contrary, what really pushed them forward most was the powerful and ever more rapidly onrushing progress of natural science and industry. Among the materialists this was plain on the surface, but the idealist systems also filled themselves more and more with a materialist content and attempted pantheistically to reconcile the antithesis between mind and matter. Thus, ultimately, the Hegelian system represents merely a materialism idealistically turned upside down in method and content. [5]

Hawking’s philosophical backwardness showed itself in his lack of understanding of time and motion and change; his acceptance is that of the common sense understanding of these concepts, although he constantly encountered the contradictions to these views. Time is a measure of the movement of matter. Matter contains motion as one of its essential properties; there is no matter without motion and no motion without matter; they exist in a dialectical relationship. Matter and energy are also mutually linked dialectically, light is both three-dimensional waves and a group of corpuscles at the same time. Everything in the universe and multiverse are interlinked and mutually dependent.

Engels again:

To the metaphysician, things and their mental reflexes, ideas, are isolated, are to be considered one after the other and apart from each other, are objects of investigation fixed, rigid, given once for all. He thinks in absolutely irreconcilable antitheses. For him … cause and effect stand in a rigid antithesis one to the other. At first sight this mode of thinking seems to us very luminous, because it is that of so-called sound common sense. Only sound common sense, respectable fellow that he is, in the homely realm of his own four walls, has very wonderful adventures directly he ventures out into the wide world of research. And the metaphysical mode of thought … sooner or later reaches a limit, beyond which it becomes one-sided, restricted, abstract, lost in insoluble contradictions. In the contemplation of individual things, it forgets the connection between them; in the contemplation of their existence, it forgets the beginning and end of that existence; of their repose, it forgets their motion. It cannot see the wood for the trees.[6]

Time, Movement and Change

Image result for aristotle images

As we have observed time is a measure of the movement of matter. Back in 350 BC Aristotle had the following to say about time and motion.

Not only do we measure the movement by the time, but also the time by the movement, because they define each other. The time marks the movement, since it is its number, and the movement the time … Time is a measure of motion and of being moved, and it measures the motion by determining a motion which will measure exactly the whole motion, as the cubit does the length by determining an amount which will measure out the whole. Further ‘to be in time’ means for movement, that both it and its essence are measured by time (for simultaneously it measures both the movement and its essence, and this is what being in time means for it, that its essence should be measured). [7]

Despite his declared atheism his belief that the universe and time has a beginning about 15 billion years ago and universe and time will end some 20 billion years hence is, in fact, just a pseudo secular version of the creation/last day bible story. The Vatican has endorsed the Big Bang theory because Marxist materialist understanding is there was no beginning and there will be no end of time and matter, just constantly changing forms of matter and energy with movement itself as the essence of nature. Postulating a dead, motionless period before the Big Bang, and another one after the end lets God in by the back door and that is why the Vatican, four Popes now, have endorsed it.

That version of the Big Bang theory is wrong as is the notion that all the matter in the universe could come together in a single place. If the universe is infinite, then the matter in the universe is infinite; a fraction of infinity is itself infinity. It could not be reduced to a single point in a single place. That there were and will be an infinite number of Big Bangs in an infinite number of locations in an infinite number of universes (multiverse) on an infinite time scale is the only logical conclusion.

This conclusion he drew below is therefore wrong.

“In this lecture, I would to discuss whether time itself has a beginning, and whether it will have an end. All the evidence seems to indicate, that the universe has not existed forever, but that it had a beginning, about 15 billion years ago. This is probably the most remarkable discovery of modern cosmology. Yet it is now taken for granted. We are not yet certain whether the universe will have an end. When I gave a lecture in Japan, I was asked not to mention the possible re-collapse of the universe, because it might affect the stock market. However, I can re-assure anyone who is nervous about their investments that it is a bit early to sell: even if the universe does come to an end, it won’t be for at least twenty billion years. By that time, maybe the GATT trade agreement will have come into effect.”

There are Tory atheists and liberal atheists, but Marxism is atheistic because it replaces God with nature and fixed categories with eternal movement and change and quantity transforming into quality in the negation of the negation. Hence no God but the organised working class under revolutionary internationalist leadership can liberate humanity. And for that you must read your Marx and Engels and Lenin and Trotsky in particular to be a competent Marxist.

Image result for Stephen Hawking Big Bang imagesThis is a specifically religious and philosophically backward statement by Hawking

Religion was an integrated world outlook; bourgeois nationalism is limited to the nation as in the ridiculous nerve gas Putin did it nonsense. Marxism is also an integrated world outlook that supersedes religious prejudices about the New Jerusalem after we are dead with one here in the whole planet, world revolution. That is a religious incomprehension of infinity. From the other side. Integral calculus solved the old fixed categories by approximating motion in mathematical terms.

The Catholic or any other Church or religion has not now become progressive and accepted modern science. The poverty of philosophy lies in the so-called Marxists who do not understand the dialectic and who think Hawking is correct and philosophy is irrelevant, that science has done away with the need for Marxism. He was a backward man where philosophy is concerned, he regarded it with contempt, hence his acceptance by religions and his inability to answer basic philosophical questions.

He cannot deal with infinity, he cannot deal with a multiverse and he thinks there was a beginning and will be an end of the single universe. That is nonsense. And very religious in implications, God Did It! No, Nature did it and is doing it and will always do it!

Hawking rejected all philosophy and said scientific knowledge has replaced it. That leaves him very welcome in the Vatican. It needs a far longer piece to elaborate the relationship between science and philosophy but sufficient to point out now that the enlightenment would never have happened if the philosophy of the Church was not successfully philosophically challenged.

Religious miracles were driven out of science by the adoption of the scientific method based on a pantheistic model of God as the great watchmaker. But it was never defeated completely and is making a comeback now with many of my opponents here and elsewhere in other threads obviously having no philosophical understanding of why there is no god. And of course, the majority of these are anti-Marxists and defenders of capitalism. Revolution in nature and society is an anathema to these creatures. And Marxism did not stop with Marx and Engels, or with Lenin and Trotsky but we must continually update and advance it. All the main religions paid gracious tributes to Hawking on his death, with the Vatican and the Pope make the sincerest tributes because they recognised his backwardness in philosophy was essentially compatible to their own reactionary determined opposition to every step forward humanity had made towards human liberation in the last two millennia.

Image result for Stephen Hawking gets vatican medal images

Image result for Stephen Hawking gets vatican medal images

Here is what the Vatican has to say:

Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury tweeted, “Professor Stephen Hawking’s contribution to science was as limitless as the universe he devoted his life to understanding. His was a life lived with bravery and passion. As we pray for all those who mourn him, may he rest in peace.

Blessed Paul VI named Hawking a member of the papal academy in 1968. The academy’s members are chosen on the basis of their academic credentials and professional expertise – not religious beliefs.

Blessed Paul, the first of four popes to meet Hawking, gave the then 33-year-old scientist the prestigious Pius XI gold medal in 1975 after a unanimous vote by the academy in recognition of his great work, exceptional promise and “important contribution of his research to scientific progress.”

Pictures from the academy’s archives show the Pope kneeling before Hawking, who was seated in a motorized wheelchair, to present him with the medal and touch his head. [8]

And two from the Church of England’s Church Times: Stephen Hawking ‘pointed theologians towards a God with the universe in the palm of his hand’ and How Stephen Hawking did theologians a favour. [9]

The scientific controversy

Here are some extracts from Wikipedia on the scientific controversies around the Big bang. I make no claim to understand the science behind all these but I do understand the trust of the arguments here. Lerner claims to be a Marxist.

A theory of everything (ToE), final theory, ultimate theory, or master theory is a hypothetical single, all-encompassing, coherent theoretical framework of physics that fully explains and links together all physical aspects of the universe.[1]:6 Finding a ToE is one of the major unsolved problems in physics. Over the past few centuries, two theoretical frameworks have been developed that, as a whole, most closely resemble a ToE. These two theories upon which all modern physics rests are general relativity (GR) and quantum field theory (QFT). GR is a theoretical framework that only focuses on gravity for understanding the universe in regions of both large-scale and high-mass: stars, galaxies, clusters of galaxies, etc. On the other hand, QFT is a theoretical framework that only focuses on three non-gravitational forces for understanding the universe in regions of both small scale and low mass: sub-atomic particles, atoms, molecules, etc. QFT successfully implemented the Standard Model and unified the interactions (so-called Grand Unified Theory) between the three non-gravitational forces: weak, strong, and electromagnetic force.[2]:122

Through years of research, physicists have experimentally confirmed with tremendous accuracy virtually every prediction made by these two theories when in their appropriate domains of applicability. In accordance with their findings, scientists also learned that GR and QFT, as they are currently formulated, are mutually incompatible – they cannot both be right. Since the usual domains of applicability of GR and QFT are so different, most situations require that only one of the two theories be used.[3][4]:842–844 As it turns out, this incompatibility between GR and QFT is apparently only an issue in regions of extremely small-scale and high-mass, such as those that exist within a black hole or during the beginning stages of the universe (i.e., the moment immediately following the Big Bang). To resolve this conflict, a theoretical framework revealing a deeper underlying reality, unifying gravity with the other three interactions, must be discovered to harmoniously integrate the realms of GR and QFT into a seamless whole: a single theory that, in principle, is capable of describing all phenomena. In pursuit of this goal, quantum gravity has become an area of active research.

Eventually the string theory has evolved into a candidate for the ultimate theory of the universe, not without drawbacks and controversy. String theory posits that at the beginning of the universe (up to 10−43 seconds after the Big Bang), the four fundamental forces were once a single fundamental force. According to string theory, every particle in the universe, at its most microscopic level (Planck length), consists of varying combinations of vibrating strings (or strands) with preferred patterns of vibration. String theory further claims that it is through these specific oscillatory patterns of strings that a particle of unique mass and force charge is created (that is to say, the electron is a type of string that vibrates one way, while the up-quark is a type of string vibrating another way, and so forth). [10]

Image result for Eric J Lerner images

Ant this from Eric J Lerner:

The Big Bang Never Happened

In 1991, my book, the Big Bang Never Happened(Vintage), presented evidence that the Big Bang theory was contradicted by observations and that another approach, plasma cosmology, which hypothesized a universe without beginning or end, far better explained what we know of the cosmos. The book set off a considerable debate. Since then, observations have only further confirmed these conclusions, although the Big Bang remains by far the most widely accepted theory of cosmology.

This website provides an update on the evidence and the debate over the Big Bang, including the latest technical review and a reply to a widely- circulated criticism  as well as a technical reading list, a report on a recent workshop  and links to other relevant sites, including one that described my own work on fusion power, which is closely linked to my work in cosmology.

What is the evidence against the Big Bang?

Light Element Abundances predict contradictory densities

The Big bang theory predicts the density of ordinary matter in the universe from the abundance of a few light elements. Yet the density predictions made on the basis of the abundance of deuterium, lithium-7 and helium-4 are in contradiction with each other, and these predictions have grown worse with each new observation. The chance that the theory is right is now less than one in one hundred trillion.

Large-scale Voids are too old

The Big bang theory predicts that no object in the universe can be older than the Big Bang. Yet the large-scale voids observed in the distortion of galaxies cannot have been formed in the time since the Big Bang, without resulting in velocities of present-day galaxies far in excess of those observed. Given the observed velocities, these voids must have taken at least 70 billion years to form, five times as long as the theorized time since the Big Bang.

Surface brightness is constant

One of the striking predictions of the Big Bang theory is that ordinary geometry does not work at great distances. In the space around us, on earth, in the solar system and the galaxy (non-expanding space), as objects get farther away, they get smaller. Since distance correlates with redshift, the product of angular size and red shift, qz, is constant. Similarly the surface brightness of objects, brightness per unit area on the sky, measured as photons per second, is a constant with increasing distance for similar objects.

In contrast, the Big Bang expanding universe predicts that surface brightness, defined as above, decreases as (z+1)-3. More distant objects actually should appear bigger. But observations show that in fact the surface brightness of galaxies up to a redshift of 6 are exactly constant, as predicted by a non-expanding universe and in sharp contradiction to the Big Bang. Efforts to explain this difference by evolution–early galaxies are different than those today– lead to predictions of galaxies that are impossibly bright and dense.”

Too many Hypothetical Entities–Dark Matter and Energy, Inflation

The Big Bang theory requires THREE hypothetical entities–the inflation field, non-baryonic (dark) matter and the dark energy field to overcome gross contradictions of theory and observation. Yet no evidence has ever confirmed the existence of any of these three hypothetical entities. Indeed, there have been many lab experiments over the past 23 years that have searched for non-baryonic matter, all with negative results. Without the hypothetical inflation field, the Big Bang does not predict an isotropic (smooth) cosmic background radiation(CBR). Without non-baryonic matter, the predictions of the theory for the density of matter are in self-contradiction, inflation predicting a density 20 times larger than any predicted by light element abundances (which are in contradiction with each other). Without dark energy, the theory predicts an age of the universe younger than that of many stars in our galaxy.

No room for dark matter

While the Big bang theory requires that there is far more dark matter than ordinary matter, discoveries of white dwarfs(dead stars) in the halo of our galaxy and of warm plasma clouds in the local group of galaxies show that there is enough ordinary matter to account for the gravitational effects observed, so there is no room for extra dark matter.

No Conservation of Energy

The hypothetical dark energy field violates one of the best-tested laws of physics–the conservation of energy and matter, since the field produces energy at a titanic rate out of nothingness. To toss aside this basic conservation law in order to preserve the Big Bang theory is something that would never be acceptable in any other field of physics.

Alignment of CBR with the Local Supercluster

The largest angular scale components of the fluctuations(anisotropy) of the CBR are not random, but have a strong preferred orientation in the sky. The quadrupole and octopole power is concentrated on a ring around the sky and are essentially zero along a preferred axis. The direction of this axis is identical with the direction toward the Virgo cluster and lies exactly along the axis of the Local Supercluster filament of which our Galaxy is a part. This observation completely contradicts the Big Bang assumption that the CBR originated far from the local Supercluster and is, on the largest scale, isotropic without a preferred direction in space. (Big Bang theorists have implausibly labeled the coincidence of the preferred CBR direction and the direction to Virgo to be mere accident and have scrambled to produce new ad-hoc assumptions, including that the universe is finite only in one spatial direction, an assumption that entirely contradicts the assumptions of the inflationary model of the Big Bang, the only model generally accepted by Big Bang supporters.)

Evidence for Plasma cosmology

Plasma theory correctly predicts light element abundances

Plasma filamentation theory allows the prediction of the mass of condensed objects formed as a function of density. This leads to predictions of the formation of large numbers of intermediate mass stars during the formations of galaxies. These stars produce and emit to the environment the observed amounts of 4He, but very little C, N and O. In addition cosmic rays from these stars can produce by collisions with ambient H and He the observed amounts of D and 7Li.

Plasma theory predicts from basic physics the large scale structure of the universe

In the plasma model, superclusters, clusters and galaxies are formed from magnetically confined plasma vortex filaments. The plasma cosmology approach can easily accommodate large scale structures, and in fact firmly predicts from basic physical principles a fractal distribution of matter, with density being inversely proportional to the distance of separation of objects. This fractal scaling relationship has been borne out by many studies on all observable scales of the universe. Naturally, since the plasma approach hypothesizes no origin in time for the universe, the large amounts of time need to create large-scale structures present no problems for the theory.

Plasma theory of the CBR predict absorption of radio waves, which is observed

The plasma alternative views the energy for the CBR as provided by the radiation released by early generations of stars in the course of producing the observed 4He. The energy is thermalized and isotropized by a thicket of dense, magnetically confined plasma filaments that pervade the intergalactic medium. It has accurately matched the spectrum of the CBR using the best-quality data set from the COBE sattelite. Since this theory hypotheses filaments that efficiently scatter radiation longer than about 100 microns, it predicts that radiation longer than this from distant sources will be absorbed, or to be more precise scattered, and thus will decrease more rapidly with distance than radiation shorter than 100 microns. Such an absorption has been demonstrated by comparing radio and far-infrared radiation from galaxies at various distances–the more distant, the greater the absorption effect. New observations have shown the exact same absorption at a wavelength of 850 microns, just as predicted by plasma theory.

The alignment of the CBR anisotropy and the local Supercluster confirms the plasma theory of CBR

If the density of the absorbing filaments follows the overall density of matter, as assumed by this theory, then the degree of absorption should be higher locally in the direction along the axis of the (roughly cylindrical) Local Supercluster and lower at right angles to this axis, where less high-density matter is encountered. This in turn means that concentrations of the filaments outside the Local Supercluster, which slightly enhances CBR power, will be more obscured in the direction along the supercluster axis and less obscured at right angle to this axis, as observed. [11]


[1] Bobkin here explains that Stephen Hawking had completed his “’breath-taking’ final multiverse theory “ just two weeks before he died: “Colleagues have revealed the renowned theoretical physicist’s final academic work was to set out the ground-breaking mathematics needed for a spacecraft to find traces of multiple big bangs.

Currently being reviewed by a leading scientific journal, the paper, named A Smooth Exit from Eternal Inflation, may turn out to be Hawking’s most important scientific legacy. But the theory also predicted an infinite number of big bangs, each creating their own universe, a “multiverse”, which presented a mathematical paradox because it is seemingly impossible to measure. Despite the hopeful promise of Hawking’s final work, it also comes with the depressing prediction that, ultimately, the universe will fade into blackness as stars simply run out of energy.”

The final sentence again demonstrates his philosophical backwardness; matter, energy, motion and time are a continuum, they cannot “run out”. They can only constantly change and interchange.

Henry Bodkin, The Telegraph, 19 MARCH 2018, Stephen Hawking’s ‘breathtaking’ final multiverse theory completed two weeks before he died,

[2] Adam Becket, 14 March 2018,  Stephen Hawking ‘pointed theologians towards a God with the universe in the palm of his hand’

[3] Carol Glatz, Catholic Herald, 14 Mar 2018 Stephen Hawkingg was a longtime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences

The Church Times, Andrew Davison, 16 March 2018, How Stephen Hawkingg did theologians a favour, He had no place for God, and thereby reminded believers of the true purpose of cosmology, says Andrew Davison

[4] Stephen Hawking tells Google ‘philosophy is dead’, By Matt Warman, 17 May 2011,

[5] Frederick Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, Dialectics,

[6] Frederick Engels, Anti-Dühring 1877, Introduction, General

[7] Physics by Aristotle Written 350 B.C.E, Book IV,

[8] Carol Glatz, Catholic Herald, 14 Mar 2018, Stephen Hawking was a long-time member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences,

[9] Adam Becket, Church Times 14 MARCH 2018, Stephen Hawking ‘pointed theologians towards a God with the universe in the palm of his hand’

Andrew Davison, The Church Times, 16 MARCH 2018, How Stephen Hawking did theologians a favour

[10] Wikipedia, Theory of everything,

[11] Eric J Lerner, The Big Bang Never Happened,

One thought on “The Poverty of Philosophy; why Stephen Hawking is wrong on the Big Bang

  1. stephenrdiamond says:

    I dispute your interpretation that Hawking believed in a singular big bang theory. Here’s a statement of what Hawking was up to (

    “The Hawking-Hartle model describes the universe in its early stages and explains that there was no existence of time before the Big Bang and that the beginning of the universe as a concept is meaningless. Using this as a framework, the model backs the Big Bang theory by giving theoretical proof that the universe instantaneously inflated from a singularity into what it is today.

    “But, the model also threw up the perplexing and unmeasurable possibilities of an infinite number of Big Bangs, and in effect the possibility of each creating their own universe, in a large “multiverse”.

    “However, in his last paper, Hawking has argued that the multiple Big Bangs – evidence for a multiverse – should be measurable via “background radiation dating back to the beginning of the universe”. It also claims that the footprint of this radiation should be “detectable using a deep space probe” equipped with needed sensors.”

    You seem to be misled by statements that Hawking held that “the universe” is dateable to the big bang. Yes, but not the “multiverse.” Multiverse theorists still speak of “our universe.” This is only a semantic issue.

    Lerner (but I’ve only skimmed the material) doesn’t endorse your multiverse theory, but rather stands for a single universe as all of reality. He disputes the very occurrence of a big bang.

    Personally, I can’t adjudicate the issue of the big bang – although I entirely agree with you that the idea of a singular big bang is necessarily idealist. However, where you and I disagree sharply regards the ontological status of infinity. I think infinity when (mis)applied to an existing state of matter is idealist. God is (supposedly) infinite; matter always comes in some definite quantity.

    Based on these considerations, I opt for an eternal (but finite) oscillating universe. It is the only materialist solution to cosmology that I see (which of course doesn’t mean a better one isn’t possible.” (See my “Can infinite quantities exist?” – )

    The best argument against infinity is that the existence of actual infinities would revive Zeno’s paradox, whose resolution ultimately rests on the denial of infinitesimals, which infinities would make necessary. (“Infinitesimals: Another argument against actual infinite sets” – )


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