Stephen Hawking: The tragedy of a wasted life

240px-Stephen_Hawking.StarChildA while back I went to see the movie ‘The Theory of Everything.’

A brilliant physicist, Oxford University and a love story: It was a recipe guaranteed to hook me, and it did.

I am far from the first to be captivated by the genius. To think that such extraordinary intellect can be trapped within such a broken body is both tragic and inspiring.

I am awed by men like Hawking, both past and present, who have walked and conquered the halls of the greatest universities on earth. I wish that ‘A brief history of time’ wasn’t something that would go entirely over my head. I admire Hawking for more than his intellect; for his perseverance, his fighting spirit and his sense of humour.

He is truly a man who will go down in history.

But that is all.

And I found myself wondering if that is enough.

If all we can hope for in this life is to do enough to be remembered, then Hawking represents the epitome of success. But what if it’s true that there is more?

What if it’s true that Hawking spent much of his life arguing against the existence of a God that he will one day face?

Then his brilliance was all for nothing, and his life was a tragic waste.

And suddenly the greatest minds of the halls of Oxford pale in comparison to the common man who sits with his Bible and knows the creator.

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When Richard Dawkins admits the possiblity of intelligent design…

882672_81892904Some time ago I watched a fascinating documentary by Ben Stein about the shocking prejudice existent in universities around the world towards scholars and professors who believe in intelligent design. (Here’s the link for part one of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed )

What astonished me more than anything in the entire film, was when Stein interviewed Richard Dawkins, the world’s most prominent atheist.

Dawkins’ answer to one of humanity’s biggest questions regarding the origin of life was both refreshingly and shockingly honest. While ‘science’ allows us to believe they can explain the existence of the universe apart from God, Dawkins brought to light this fundamental truth. THEY HAVE NO IDEA HOW LIFE BEGAN!

When questioned, Dawkins had to concede that it is possible that life on earth may have been designed by another life form of very high intelligence, and that evidence for that designer could be found.small

He did go on to qualify that (as he does not believe in any god) this supremely intelligent life form must have somehow evolved (only moving the problem back a step.)

Either way it seems that modern science can offer us these two things about the origins of life: That they have no idea how it actually came about, and that intelligent design is a plausible option that would answer a lot of questions.

What a shame that people who believe in the latter are condemned as un-scholarly, when all that remains for the ‘scholars’ to cling to is the former.

Here is the 2min clip in which Dawkins accepts the option of intelligent design.

The Barr Smith Library Reading Room

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I love the Barr Smith Library reading room.

I never managed to study in there, though. Instead I’d have to hole up at some 70s style desk, in a dank corner, behind the stacks on level 2, because the beauty of the reading room made study impossible. Sometimes I’d sit in there though, pretending to work. I was always amazed by the air. Unlike the rest of the library, dull, stuffy and smelling of old books (surprise surprise), the reading room seemed to have the natural airflow of a European cathedral.

The reading room embodies my romantic ideas of universities; the paradoxical mix of tradition and history with freedom of thought and inspiration. I love that as I sat there my feet would rest on an old pipe that ran beneath the desk as a testament to a bygone era (someone once told me, the pipes used to carry hot water to keep the students’ feet warm). The old wooden desks, with inkwells in the corners, were inlaid with bottle green leather, and I’d smile as I looked at the various etchings and carved graffiti that I romantically imagined predated the war era (but that were probably circa 1990s).

The Barr Smith reading room made me feel like I was a part of something great; that I was one in a long line of scholars who had and would change the world. It almost whispered to me, ‘Seize the day girl; make your life extraordinary.’