Like clergymen, scientists do not enjoy sharing their ignorance and failures with their audiences. In fact, up until Einstein wrote (in 1905) the three papers1 that would earn him the title "man of the century,"2 scientists were so sure they had figured out 98% of everything there is to figure out about the universe. For 300 years before Einstein, Newtonian physics was the unchallenged truth: there is matter (stuff) which is made of elements and compounds, then there is energy (gravity, magnetism, electricity, etc) which connects and steers matter, and of course there is a lot of void (vacuum or nothingness). What was there not to understand?

Well, a little before Einstein came to the scene, another scientist by the name of Max Planck was asking why metal, like iron, turned red when it was heated. Red is supposed to signify lesser energy than all the other colors in the electromagnetic spectrum. Then Einstein wrote the three papers that would explain Planck’s mystery and forever change how we view reality, dropping the percentage of how much we have figured out about the universe to something like 3%.

Einstein Opened Pandora’s Box

Einstein, and others, discovered that in fact, energy and matter were not two separate entities. Energy is matter, and matter is energy, it all depends on how we look at it (what device we use). For example, if a bullet train (300 km/hr) passes you and you were asked to describe what you saw through its windows, your answer would depend on whether you were standing still or running at a speed of 299km/hr.

Similarly, if an electric fan was spinning, it’s impossible to discern whether it was anything but a solid disc, unless of course lightning struck in a strobe-light fashion, one can see that it’s actually made of four blades. Matter, then, is like the spinning fan, except what’s spinning are electrons and other sub-atomic particles. They spin so fast that they give the illusion of matter, when in fact it’s only those tiny marbles spinning so fast in every direction that makes one see a non-existent solid sphere.

With measuring devices (like the strobe light with the fan), Einstein and other scientists were able to prove that energy and matter were one and the same. Energy waves, like light waves, in fact contained traveling electrons (photons). It’s not so much as electrons traveled in waves of energy, but that the electrons arethe energy that travels. This was mathematically described as E = mC2.

What Hawking Based His Theory On

Einstein died in 1955, having left behind an unresolved mystery: quantum reality. What Stephen Hawking and the entire scientific community refer to as the Laws of Physics (like gravity and inertia), it turns out, do not apply in the quantum world (i.e. sub-atomic world). But how can the universe’s building bricks, the stuff that makes the entire universe, have different physical laws than the universe they make? Moreover, scientists discovered that in the quantum world, the same exact electron or proton can exist in more than one place at the same time. Such a phenomenon is not allowed to occur in a world governed by the laws of physics.

It’s crucial to note here that scientists are not happy about their quantum findings (unlike philosophers, scientists want things to make sense and to be based on the observed the world). Ever since quantum theory3 became a fact, scientists (including Einstein who unintentionally set the basis for it) have relentlessly been trying to at least tweak it to match common sense. In one of the greatest scientific debates in history (Copenhagen, 1940), Einstein and Danish scientist, Niels Bohr, reached a dead end: will there ever come a scientist to trump the impeccable findings of quantum theory? Einstein, till his death, believed it was inevitable, while Bohr said it will never happen because the problem is in the act of measuring itself (it alters quantum reality)4. Every scientist who attempted to disprove quantum theory, with empirical evidence nevertheless, only ended up providing even more empirical evidence to quantum theory. Contrary to scientists’ desires, quantum theory remains a fact until today.

Hawking did not utilize quantum theory to justify his most recent conclusion, rather he bypassed it. He said that5 "because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing." What quantum theory proved is not that matter can appear and disappear (i.e. created from nothing), but that our measuring devices were unable to explain whether matter exists at all. If quantum theory is correct (and so far it is), it means that the universe we live in does not really exist.

"The world isn’t made of things. It’s not made of objects… The notion that big things are made of little things, quantum theory doesn’t describe the world that way. Big things aren’t made of little things. They are made of entities whose attributes aren’t there when you don’t look, but become there when you do look. The world exists when we don’t look at it in some strange state that is indescribable, and then when we look at it, it becomes absolutely ordinary, as though someone were trying to pull something over our eyes. The world is an illusion.

Nick Herbert, Ph.D.

One of several popular explanations (among scientists) as to why quantum theory shows us what Einstein referred to as "voodoo" is that the universe we experience is but a hologram of the actual universe6. Another suggests, through string theory7, that there is not one universe, but a multi-verse where reality could be mirrors that appear and disappear randomly, which would explain why an electron can exist in two different places at the same time.

It must be understood that the difference between physics (science in general) and philosophy is that the former is based on empirical evidence. In other words, when a physicist like Nick Herbert says the universe is an illusion, this must be proven in a lab! What Bohr was trying to say was that the reason we end up with such an obnoxious lab result has to do with the act of measuring itself, that human beings are simply incapable of proving that the world is real. Einstein, on the other hand, rejected the notion and believed that one day, the appropriate lab device would be invented to show that quantum theory results are nonsense. So far, all attempts and all measuring devices invented, have only further confirmed Bohr’s position.

"Science makes God unnecessary" ~ Stephen Hawking

When Hawking says that the existence of God is no longer necessary to explain how the universe was created, he is not saying that God does not exist, nor is he saying that we finally figured out how the universe was created. All what he said was that now we have a new reasonable theory of how the universe was created which does not require a First Mover (First Cause). He mixed the findings of the probabilistic quantum theory (world is fuzzy and laws of physics don’t apply) with the big bang theory (the universe began as a singularity, an existence with no dimensions, governed by the laws of physics), to say that the singularity belongs to the quantum world, where cause and effect no longer holds, which means that singularity could very well come from nothing, and that time (the fourth dimension) does not exist when there is no existence, so there was no such thing as "time" before the creation of that singularity, which means there was nothing before existence in order to create anything.

However, the problem is not only about the "time" dimension, but the other three dimensions that represent the void (nothingness). Does nothingness have dimensions? If we say yes, then we can no longer say it is nothing. If you can visualize nothingness, then it is no longer nothingness. And I’m not talking about the void in outer space. Physicists have already accounted for the vast nothingness in between celestial bodies, referring to it as dark matter and dark energy, together comprising 96% of the universe (leaving only 4% of the universe we can perceive). I’m talking about what comprises 99.99999999% of every atom! What “stuff” is between an electron and a proton? And if the universe is made of atoms and dark (negative) atoms, then what we are actually perceiving is only the fan blades (0.00000001%), while the remaining is unaccounted for as anything. This is what reinforces the hologram theory of the universe aforementioned: perhaps the singularity that spun this universe did not really bang, but instead emitted itself into the void, like a laser show, and painted the void with energy (i.e. matter), including the minds of human beings who are contemplating all of this.


Unfortunately, science has been in an existential lock-down ever since Einstein opened the gates of quantum theory decades ago, when all laws of physics fell apart in the quantum lab. But since “to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail,” a scientist can only resolve the paradoxes he encounters with, well, more science!

But Bohr was right in ways that unimaginative scientists (men with hammers who think everything is a nail) cannot understand: the problem with science is the measuring device. In other words, the scientific method is not equipped to enable us to understand what the universe is made of, let alone how it was created.

Hawking did say one thing that is absolutely true: the human mind is conditioned to think in terms of cause and effect (it is what truly separates mankind from all other living beings). And all human knowledge is based on this universal principle.

"There is only one constant," said the Merovingian in The Matrix Reloaded8, "one universality that is the only real truth: causality — action [and] reaction; cause and effect…. Our only hope, our only peace, is to understand it, to understand the "why." "Why" is what separates us from them. "Why" is the only real source of power. Without it, you’re powerless."

Hawking, however, showed how there is a way (a logic) to consider a universe without cause and effect. In fact, human beings (and only human beings) seem to be wired to see the world through causality. A cat, for instance, does not wonder where the ball that rolled down the living room came from. All human infants do.

Philosophers and metaphysicists have figured out centuries ago what physicists are now discovering with mathematics and labs. But the mysteries of the universe were never meant to be understood in labs. Physics (and math) are but tools, like a hammer, and they’re extremely effective in building cars, airplanes, and other wonderful gadgets and machines. But some things are not nails.