British science was in the news last week when Stephen Hawking, the gravity challenged popularizer of all things spacey, declared that the universe had started from nothing. ! For some reason the media couldn't get enough of nothing. Nothing is always something for the mainstream media, because it underpins everything they've been pushing in their relentless drive for that countervail to Christian tradition called nihilism. So they predictably flogged it for all it was worth. Which wasn't much. Time ran a particularly slavish review of Hawking. It was hardly the first story that mag has generated out of nothing. The only other item high on the media's menu was barbecued Koran. Odd to see the secular press falling all over themselves to show respect for a vengeful, primitive religion when their heart was actually in the post-modern dogma of nihil ex humana. Is that what they call negative capability? Hawking too, has vested interests in nothing, since his whole claim to fame rests on it. Black holes, a purely theoretical construct never observed or verified, are about the best reification of nothing in the world, or rather not in the world. Hawking has been hawking black holes for decades, to the point where they've now become an accepted part of the entire post-modern continuum of TV, movies, and the New York Times. But do they exist? Don't ask us to prove a negative! comes the reply.
Science, it seems to me, is a tripod. It has three legs: time, force and matter. Take away any of those legs and science falls down. By definition, none of them were around prior to the Big Bang, and so Hawking is simply talking through his wormhole of a hat. If he wants to trade in his physicist's hat for that of a priest or philosopher or even a poet, he's welcome to try. But be forewarned, Stephen! Another poet has already covered that ground, and remember what he discovered: nothing will come of nothing!