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The Grand Design

by Stephen Hawking

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The three central questions of philosophy and science: Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why this particular set of laws and not some other? No one can make a discussion of such matters as compulsively readable as the celebrated University of Cambridge cosmologist Hawking (A Brief History of Time). Along with Caltech physicist Mlodinow (The Drunkard's Walk), Hawking deftly mixes cutting-edge physics to answer those key questions. For instance, why do we exist? Earth occupies a "Goldilocks Zone" in space: just the perfect distance from a not-too-hot star, with just the right elements to allow life to evolve.

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ISBN: 055338466X
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...consider Newton’s laws to be laws because they hold, at least to a very good approximation, for the conditions of the everyday world, in which the speeds we encounter are far below the speed of light. If nature is governed by laws, three questions arise: What is the origin of the laws? Are there any exceptions to the laws, i.e., miracles? Is there only one set of possible laws? These important questions have been addressed in varying ways by scientists, philosophers, and theologians. The answer traditionally given to the first question—the answer of Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, and Newton—was that the laws were the work of God. However, this is no more than a definition of God as the embodiment of the laws of nature. Unless one endows God with some other attributes, such as being the God of the Old Testament, employing God as a response to the first question merely substitutes one mystery for another. So if we involve God in the answer to the first question, the real crunch...

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