Stephen Hawking’s Moral Black Hole

Stephen-HawkingThere has been considerable fallout of late regarding world-renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking’s refusal to attend Israel’s Fifth Presidential Conference this coming June, on the grounds of Israeli malfeasance toward the Palestinians. Whatever one’s view of the Jewish state, there should be little doubt that the physicist’s decision to boycott the event is both intellectually indefensible and morally suspect, and raises the question of how mental agility and moral folly can co-exist in the same person.

As several commentators have indicated, his position is intellectually indefensible since Hawking evinces no knowledge of the history of the Middle East, ludicrously compares Israel to apartheid South Africa, and seems wholly unaware of the provably fraudulent nature of the Palestinian narrative. Palestinian revisionism has falsified the historical record in practically every conceivable respect. The data are readily accessible and no genuine scholar or thinking person can deny them and still retain a modicum of integrity. At the same time, his attitude is morally suspect owing to the fact that Hawking, who suffers from motor neuron disease, would have been rendered mute without the advances and advantages of Israeli medical breakthroughs. Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Shurat HaDin–Israel Law Center, called Hawking’s boycott hypocritical. “His whole computer-based communication system runs on a chip designed by Israel’s Intel team. I suggest that if he truly wants to pull out of Israel, he should also pull out his Intel Core i7 from his tablet.”

In a stinging article for FrontPage Magazine, Ari Lieberman points to the sharp distinction between the benefits and gifts that Israel has lavished upon mankind in science, technology and medicine and the deficits and depravities that are the legacy of the Arab world: barbarism, cultural regression, ignorance, religiously sanctioned violence and terroristic savagery. It is a distinction, we should have thought, that a world-class scientist like Hawking—who, incidentally, has visited Iran without uttering a single criticism of that rogue state—should be equipped to make but is clearly unable to do. One recalls his most celebrated theory, namely, that black holes leak radiation, but he cannot, it appears, register the lies, obsessions and hatreds that routinely leak from the black hole of the Islamic world—perhaps “gush” would be the more accurate word. (Of course, we need to make an adjustment here in the interest of precision: what are emitted from the Islamic world are not photons but, say, crepusculars, not particles of light, as in the original theory, but particles of darkness.)

Hawking, then, can countenance the retrograde policies, Jew-hatred and terror-sponsorship of Iran, a country to which he has granted legitimacy with his approving visit. But when it comes to the democratic nation whose medical and technological discoveries have given him a new lease on life, he engages in facile and politically correct posturing. “One cannot really argue with a mathematical theorem,” Hawking asserts, but one can surely argue with a political assumption—and Hawking’s is defective at best and invidious at worst.

Hawking’s profound failings as a social and political thinker are a subset of a much larger syndrome—the naivety or ineptitude of the acknowledged genius when he (or she) proceeds to pontificate on matters beyond his specialized field and insists on addressing the affairs of the world in general. It appears to be an occupational hazard that plagues a substantial number of such cynosures. This is not quite the same thing as the infirmity that afflicts the “expert,” insofar as an “expert” can be frequently relied upon to botch, mishandle, degrade or obfuscate the very area in which his “expertise” presumably applies. The maladroit “genius,” on the contrary, is one who is lambently at home in his domain, though not outside of it.

In a second article for Frontpage, Lieberman touches on the notion of the idiot savant, who “typically lack[s] normal social communication skills but possesses an abnormally high skill in such isolated disciplines as mathematics or art,” a personality that is “very easily manipulated.” Lieberman dismisses the idea in Hawking’s case, but I would not be so hasty. I tend to regard Hawking as, let us say, a useful idiot savant, for by his determination to boycott the Israeli symposium, he has not only stigmatized Israel but has reinforced the convictions and sentiments of antisemites and anti-Zionists (often one and the same thing) around the world and across the disciplines. In any event, the category of specialized and selectively brilliant incompetents remains intact and boasts a prestigious membership. To mention just a few as illustration:

Bobby Fischer, arguably the greatest chess player who ever lived, was consumed by absurd conspiracy theories and irrational hatreds.  Einstein was a political naïf; if he could have had his way, Israel would never have been born (and Hawking wouldn’t have profited from the microprocessors that permit him to communicate). Richard Dawkins, a renowned biologist, has little understanding of the moral universe. It all comes down for him to the power of the genes and the absence of the Lord, a thesis that empties the human world of moral choice and freedom of the will while dictating ex cathedra to the mystery of the Creation. It is inappropriate for a scientist to assert that God does not exist since that statement can be neither proved nor falsified. It is equally an act of pure hubris.

Martin Heidegger, considered by many the greatest philosopher of the 20th century, was an unrepentant Nazi. Bertrand Russell urged Britain to surrender to the same regime that Heidegger supported; in The Flight from Truth: The Reign of Deceit in the Age of Information, Jean-François Revel cites a 1937 speech in which Russell declared that “Britain should disarm, and if Hitler marched his troops into this country when we were undefended, they should be welcomed like tourists and greeted in a friendly way.” In his essay Reflections on Ghandi, George Orwell records the Mahatma’s answer to the Jewish predicament in the 1940s: “Ghandi’s view was that the German Jews ought to commit collective suicide, which ‘would have aroused the world and the people of Germany to Hitler’s violence’… When, in 1942, he urged non-violent resistance against a Japanese invasion, he was ready to admit that it might cost several million deaths.” Ghandi was a leader of the Indian National Congress and a promoter of independence from British rule, in other words, a domestic politician, but had no compunction in advising the Jews trapped in the European slaughterhouse.

Similarly, many Nobel Laureates have dismal and even reprehensible track records. One thinks of the ferocious antisemitism of José Saramago and the petulant and sophomoric anti-Americanism of Harold Pinter. Mikis Theodorakis, though not a Laureate but a candidate for the 2000 Nobel, may be a musical genius but he is also a gutter antisemite. Economist Paul Krugman, who is much in the news, may know his Keynes but he certainly does not know how the real world works, arguing for increased government debt and the immateriality of deficits because “we owe what we have borrowed to ourselves.” But as it happens, we also owe it to China, and owing to ourselves makes little sense in an interconnected world without which we could not be our economic selves. This lionized resolver of our fiscal ills will not rest until the nation goes bankrupt, or in the words of William Anderson, a member of the Austrian School of Economics, “his central message is this: internal bond finance of government trumps scarcity.” Scarcity is a fact of the real world that impinges on the life of real people, not a conceptual fancy that exists inside a theoretical construct. Former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu would win a prize for world-class buffoonery if one were instituted. Chu, who was awarded a Nobel for his work in laser cooling, is a great fan of glucose and termite guts to reduce the world’s dependence on oil, and has recommended painting roofs and roads white to reflect sunlight and save money on air conditioning. Nonetheless, he was also a chief promoter of the Solyndra fiasco, costing the American taxpayer over half a billion dollars. The list could be extended indefinitely.

“Great men” may be great in their professional endeavors but, all too often, when they range outside the borders of their specialties they manifest either as downright silly or positively dangerous. These are very smart people, but they are hawking dubious wares. High intelligence counts for little in the sociocultural realm when it is confined to the narrow if intricate space of a singular curriculum or specialization, when it is not leavened by common sense and moral clarity, or when it considers itself, by virtue of its disciplinary eminence, as authoritative in pronouncing on complex and recalcitrant questions outside its particular field of study. As for Hawking, a representative figure of this strange breed mantled in adulation, he may be a great scientist and a suffering human being, but he is also, like many of his congeners, an ignoramus and a moral imbecile. Why should we be surprised?

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  • UCSPanther

    Henry Ford was another classic example: His legacy is making the automobile affordable to average folks, but he was a rabid antisemite to the point where it tarnished his legacy. Ford openly supported Nazi Germany, blew a considerable amount of his personal fortune to translate the Protocols into English (And in doing so, helped ensure that vile piece of propaganda would endure in the libraries of antisemites and in the propaganda of repressive dictatorships everywhere,), and slandered Jews in his company newspaper, the Dearborn Independent, until it was shut down after a libel suit.

    Bobby Fischer was just plain insane. He held horrifically antisemitic views from the 1960s onwards, vehemently denied his genetic background (Putting him in the same league as William Potter Gale), was hopelessly obsessed with antisemitic conspiracy theories, and rabidly anti-American to boot. His library was said to have included books like Mein Kampf and The Protocols (Both mandatory reading for antisemites everywhere), assorted propaganda written by white supremicists like Ben Klassen (The founder of the virulently racist World Church of the Creator), plus a notebook filled with rambling statements which openly expressed a desire to commit genocide of Jews.

  • truebearing

    Great post!

    Driven by infinitly expanding hubris, Hawking's Luciferian ego can't abide the possibility of a being that is vastly more intelligent than himself, so he dismisses the existence of God….without a scintilla of evidence. Is it surprising then that he has made such a fool of himself with his moronic maunderings on Israel?

    Hawking has what I call "The Daedalus Complex." Daedalus was the most brilliant person of his time, arrogantly meddling in the affairs of the Gods — once by enabling Queen Pasiphae to have sex with a divine bull. He was proud of his gifts, but overly confident and foolish, and it eventually got him thrown into the complex, inescapable labyrinth that he'd created for King Minos. Daedalus cleverly created wings so he and his son Icarus could escape, but subsequently lost his beloved son when Icarus heedlessly flew too close to the sun.

    Great minds create their own labyrinths, but some forget that they are not the origin of the tools they use to build them. These intellects close themselves to much that is true when they become overly proud and lost in delusional labyrinths of self-adulation. Hawking has himself irretrievably lost.

    • guest5/20

      And your post is also thoughtful. I always enjoys allusions to classic myths, and you have made what I'd call a definition of "pathological narcissism" quite poetic!

      • truebearing

        People like Hawking engage in their narcissistic reductionism to elevate their own relative importance in the world. In effect, Hawking wants to limit the universe to the borders of his understanding.

        Similarly, the Left utilizes Procrustean Method to reduce the human universe to a managable level, lopping off the heads and feet of anyone who refuses to fit their ideological sarcophagus. I guess we could call that "collective pathological narcissism."

        Appropriately enough, I came up with the "Daedalus Complex" concept while studying Hegel and Marx in college. Marx is a textbook example of both the Daedalus Complex and Procrustean Method. So much for "myth" being synonymous with falsehood.

  • David of Edinburgh

    Noam Chomsky is another who should stick to what he knows

    • stern

      That was my thought exactly!

      • Carl Sesar

        Really? What does he know? Noun? Verb?

        He hates, and he lies.

  • Kit West

    Wow, I don't think I've ever come across a more racist and factually lacking article since studying colonial-era slavery. To suggest that the only things to come out of the Arab world are violence and barbaric practices shows that Hawking has far more brains than this author – for a start, the whole concept of civilisation and civilised society came from the Arab world, along with several millenia of advances in mathematics, astronomy, and medicine. Never mind an Israili computer chip, without the Arab world, we wouldn't have Steven Hawking, as his theories are built on the work of hundreds of years of science that was long-pioneered by those you can savages.

    And falling back on the 'intelligent people have no social skills and don't understand anything other than maths' is just plain lazy. I'm not saying Hawking's boycott is right (though something needs to be done by the international community to end the violence and illegal actions taking place on both sides of the conflict, and this action has at least started a debate), but this article is just so wrong.

    • Open mind

      "…several millenia of advances in mathematics, astronomy, and medicine." Could you please expand on recent advancements in the 20th & 21st centuries?

    • stern

      "something needs to be done by the international community to end the violence and illegal actions taking place on both sides of the conflict"

      Um. yeah, right, so let's just punish Israel, shall we? After all, we can't expect the "Palestinians" to act like civilized people, can we? Once again, you demonstrate the quiet racism of low expectations.

    • ratonis

      Whatever the contributions of the Arab world to civilization might be, they are long forgotten as a result of Islam's rejection of the rationalist strain in Medieval Islam, a "civilizational suicide" that took place in the 12th century. Even if one notes those great accomplishments, informed people know well that many of the great achievements of the medieval Islamic world were fostered and accomplished by the scholars, architects, etc. of the dhimmi populations (i.e. Christians and Jews). To this day, your archetypal Islamic mosque bears the inescapable architectural stamp of Byzantine Christian architecture. Even the vaunted "Arab" numerals did not originate with the Arabs, but was ripped off from conquered India's culture.

    • Chiggles

      " the whole concept of civilisation and civilised society came from the Arab world, along with several millenia of advances in mathematics, astronomy, and medicine."

      Say WHAT? You are officially an idiot. Well, on second thought, those things did come from what today is called the Arab (and Muslim) world, but they came and went before the Arabs arrived on the scene, and came no more once the Arabs were in control. Arabs squat (and not just to do number one) on the ruins of civilizations greater than anything they could ever have imagined, civilizations they destroyed themselves in the case of the later ones.

    • guest5/20

      Your's is a good example of how the incessant flashing of the race card will soon destroy it as a tool of oppression–just from sheer tiresomeness, sheer tedium, sheer boredom. I can't even read past your first sentence without nodding off…

    • Stephen_Brady

      The 'greatest" achievement of the 20th Century is the non-discovery of dark matter, in a vain attempt by atheists to deny the existence of a Creator. The cyclical universe cannot exist without enough matter to cause it to reduce in size to the singularity, and another Big Bang. Unfortunately for this idea, no one has ever discovered a single molecule of dark matter.

      No problem, that. Hawking decrees that the universe didn't need a Creator … it created itself, ex nihilo, thus obviating the need for a God. Does Hawking have proof for this? Of course not. It's a matter of faith, you see …

      • truebearing

        There may be more than a few parts missing from Kit's kit. He fails to understand that Islam is what was cited as the cause of Arab regression, not race. He also failed to see that the accomplishments he sloppily credited Arabs with — mostly inaccurately — predated the advent of Islam. The wind is whistling through that polemic.

    • AnOrdinaryMan

      "…the whole concept of civilisation…came from the Arab world, along with several millenia of advances in mathematics, astronomy, and medicine." A very authoritative book in my library, "A History of Islamic Societies," by Ira M. Lapidus, has, under the word "science" in the index, about 6 or 7 page references. I have looked at each reference, and I cannot find ONE SINGLE REFERENCE to a specific Arab advancement in math, astronomy, or medicine. The book does talk about Arab poetry; and on p. 728, the author talks about Sayid Ahmad Khan, whom he describes as "a leading supporter for the modernization of Islam." Lapidus further states, "To adapt Muslims to British rule, he(Khan) had to persuade them that Western scientific thought was not antithetical to Islam." So much for your "several millenia of advances in mathematics, astronomy, and medicine." And Israel has given the world more scientific advances in 65 years than Arab societies have, in 1400 years.

  • http://frontpage richard sherman

    GERTRUDE STEIN is as bad as they come. A purported Jewish intellectual who strongly supported VICHY….
    and the 73000 Jews VICHY sent to Auschwitz!

  • Nedal Hubhub

    What a Racist Article, desperately spinning and playing the usual cracked antisemitic album.
    you do not really have to be a Specialist to understand the History of Apartheid Israel " The Jewish State" they call it. Israel is the number one anti Semite country in the world, hey Middle East Specialist, Arabs are Semites as well, and what Israel has done to them Surpasses Nazi Germany.
    Just go out and say that is is forbidden to criticize poor Israel, that would be more easy.
    But like it or not there is a Limit for any sorry feelings, and for Israel to pass on anything just because we feel sorry for the suffering of the Holocaust victims has been exhausted, Israel is being ripped from within by, believe it or not Ultra Orthodox Jews that think Jews have lost their path with what is so called Israel, so how could you label those as antisemitic is a really hard task.

    • UCSPanther

      Bobby Fischer tried to claim that he wasn't antisemitic because he was pro-Arab, while at the same time, making statements about openly wishing to commit genocide on the Jewish people.

      Nice try with your little game here.

    • Lan Astaslem

      tell us all about the churches and synagogues in saudi arabia and most of the moslem cesspools – oh yeah, you can't build any in moslem countries. Your taqiya is showing.

  • Adheeb

    Although a person maybe an expert in a certain field, it is a grave mistake to accept his/her positions in other areas. We all have opinions but are they informed opinions?

  • digdigby

    Hawkings need many millions of dollars for state of the art equipment and a round the clock team to keep him alive and 'productive'. Hard science books simply will NOT produce the serious money. He hit upon Pop Atheist books which he writes over and over in order to generate the money he needs. It is sad, sick, grotesque. Hating Israel is just part of the 'street cred' with his nihilistic 'hate the west' crowd of readers.

    • guest5/20

      It might be as simple as Hawkings being paid by our usual suspects in the Soros-Progressive complex, who seek to use his credibility to bash Christians and Jews and the West. Why do we assume any honor at all among Progressives, particularly their "scientists"? I'm of the theory that these nincompoops would not be so biased without the money that is coming their way from wherever.org–how that money is dispersed…I wish some crack investigator would find out…

  • Looking4Sanity

    "…raises the question of how mental agility and moral folly can co-exist in the same person."

    No. It doesn't. Prime example – Lucifer. Extremely cunning and ultimately evil.

    We should all pity and pray for Stephen. It's easy to understand why he's bitter and twisted. There are many people who are hale and whole who are equally bitter and twisted. What is their excuse?

  • Chris

    Israel and the Zionist companies who support this Nazi government have long been on my boycott list, This small action puts the world on notice don't bank or shop with them. It is the moral imperative of the 21st century.

    • UCSPanther

      I spit on your moral imperative and will go out of my way to buy Israeli made goods any time I can.

    • Chiggles

      When I have the dollars in hand, my next gun purchase will be a Tavor.

    • truebearing

      Oh no, another hapless fool is boycotting something.

      You wouldn't recognize a moral imperative if it did a pirouette on your head in spiked heels.

  • Stephen_Brady

    As a philosopher, I was fascinated by the works of Martin Heidegger, and not only wrote on his philosophy, but taught it as part of of a graduate-level seminar called "Being and Time". This section was always full, and I gradually came to see how imperative learning the work of an atheist was to budding atheists, as they developed their worldview. I sincerely regret this, and have left the field entirely.

    Mr. Hawking's views on Israel are simply a means of making money and staying "relevant". He has as much business commenting "authoritatively" on Israel as I do on theoretical physics.

  • The Dead Critic

    As a Christian, I hate seeing a man with intelligence (supposed) rail against a group of people he has simply no knowledge of….as most don't. I wonder what he would think if the Jewish scientists who are inventing new ways to make his life more tolerable were to simply come out and say….."Enough already! You can spend the rest of your life dreaming of that black hole that's six feet under, cuzz you ain't getting anymore science from us!"

    • concerned citizen

      NO knowledge of? He may be a supporter of Atheism for his own gain however this man hit the nail on it's head. I am a Christian and I can tell you there IS an agenda behind the Zionist Jew movement, (Einstein was a victim of the consequences of his emotions, illustrating he was not perfect as is no man and his movement of the current Israel was a BAD MOVE) and it has evil consequences unless we can see what Hawking is REALLY TRYING to accomplish, WAKE UP WORLD! The Rothschilds are the "Ultra-Orthodox Jews" referenced in an earlier comment about secret agendas and this ultra powerful family is exerting it's control over all politics, including Europe/USA and are reshaping the world into a more corrupt, evil world under the guise of "liberalism" and "civil liberties", WAKE UP! Do you SERIOUSLY think the star of David is just that??? THE JEWS, who CRUCIFIED JESUS GET SYMPATHY??? SOMETHING IS WRONG HERE…THINK ABOUT IT…WAKE UP PEOPLE BECAUSE WHEN AN ATHEIST PROMOTES THE RIGHT IDEAS SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD, DON'T BE SHEEP!!! YOU ARE ALL BEING HERDED BY THE WRONG SHEPHERD!

  • Gregg Allman

    This guy is a vegetable that has some aid talking for him. Say a prayer for him and trust nothing that is attributed to him. They all lie. All.

  • teq

    Every ten months or so we hear some new bizarre pronouncement by Dr. Hawking. The last ones were warnings about how we had to leave earth or face extinction. He says we have 1000 years to get off earth and establish colonies in space. Then there was the strange report about how he was brought to the emergency ward with severe burns. Turns out someone had left him out in the sun and forgotten about him.
    Poor old Hawking. I gotta cut him some slack. If I had Lou Gerig's Disease I'd probably crack up and say stupid things too.

    • UCSPanther

      The very very very bright tend to be very good at the area they are focused on and do well in theoretical research, but they often lack practical knowledge and understanding about the real world outside of their self-constructed bubble.

  • FrontPgSubscr

    The very very very bright, as a rule, do not have our best interest at heart. I don't
    wish to 'belabor the issue', but Robert McNamara fit same 'profile' (-"whiz kid").

    • FrontPgSubscr

      Robert S. McNamara

  • slider 96

    Hawking should boycott the Israeli invented devices that allow him to communicate .

  • Will Imagine

    Bit verbose but the points were heard. :D