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Stephen Hawking was instrumental to my atheism

Last week, Stephen Hawking passed away at 76. Sean Carroll wrote a wonderful piece on Hawking's scientific contributions, which are many. Hawking was also a provocateur of the religious, famously opining in A Brief History of Time,
So long as the universe had a beginning, we could suppose it had a creator. But if the universe is really completely self-contained, having no boundary or edge, it would have neither beginning nor end: it would simply be. What place, then, for a creator? Hawking was discussing what he called the "No Boundary Proposal," also known as the Hawking-Hartle State. Now, theologians have famously disputed the plausibility of Hawking's proposal. It was, essentially, just a mathematical exercise. Absent a quantum theory of gravity, we really have no idea what the boundary condition of the universe is (or is not). Hawking did not prove that God does not exist. He didn't disprove the existence of a Creator. And yet, this No Boundary concept was hu…

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