Stephen Hawking’s new book promises a lot of hype. CNN Already published two separate articles about it on their site even though no-one has read it yet. I’ve added it to my Amazon Science Books Wishlist, and will buy it when I come round to it unless some generous soul wants to offer it to me first. About the hype, though: “Given the existence of gravity …”

OK, but given by whom?

I love a good debate, and I am open to one: I have a few opinions to offer to start one off, too!

  1. The purpose of science is not to ask “why?”, but rather to ask “how?”
    In fact, science cannot answer the question of “why?” because that question is, by its nature, part of the realm of metaphysics and philosophy rather than that of science. Even Kant with his “Kritik der reinen Vernunft” (Critique on pure reason) cannot get around the “every event must have a cause” logic of his predecessors and, as far as I know, no-one has.

  2. If something is to be given, it must be given by someone (or something).
    In fact, “given the existence of gravity” doesn’t explain much other than the shape and form of the universe. The eleven dimensions proposed by Hawking aren’t new to his new book and may be explained by the existence of gravity - I haven’t read the book yet - but that hardly explains gravity.