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A Remarkable Conception

Sir Fred Hoyle has never made any pretense about the personal philosophical motivation behind his cosmological models. In the introduction to his 1948 paper, he makes this statement:

“This possibility [steady state] seemed attractive, especially when taken in conjunction with aesthetic objections to the creation of the universe in the remote past. For it seems against the spirit of scientific enquiry to regard observable effects as arising from ‘causes unknown to science,’ and this in principle is what creation-in-the-past implies.”

Hoyle rejected the idea that God must be invoked to explain the existence of the universe. In his book The Nature of the Universe, written in 1952, though he admits that “there is a good deal of sociology in the Bible” and that “it is a remarkable conception,” he writes off all religion as a “desperate attempt to find an escape from the truly dreadful situation in which we find ourselves” and Christianity, in particular, as “an eternity of frustration.”

Through the years, Hoyle has increasingly broached theological subjects in his writings. In his undergraduate text on general astronomy written in 1975, Hoyle attacks Friedmann’s relativistic model on what seem to be wholly theological grounds:

“Many people are happy to accept this position [Friedmann’s] ... without looking for any physical explanation of the abrupt beginning of the particles. The abrupt beginning is deliberately regarded as meta-physical — i.e., outside physics. The physical laws are therefore considered to break down at t=0, and to do so inherently. To many people this thought process seems highly satisfactory because as “something” outside of physics can then be introduced at t=0. By a semantic maneuver, the word “something” is then replaced by “god,” except that the first letter becomes a capital, God, in order to warn us that we must not carry the enquiry any further ... I do not believe that an appeal to metaphysics is needed to solve any problem of which we can conceive (emphasis in the original).

In 1982 he declares his rejection of God by defining the universe as “everything there is,” and the first letter of the word universe becomes a capital, Universe. There is no need, then, to look beyond the universe itself for anything. By so deifying the universe, Hoyle must, of course, argue against its finite age: The attribution of a definite age to the Universe, whatever it might be, is to exalt the concept of time above the Universe, and since the Universe is everything this is crackpot in itself. I would argue the need for the Universe to take precedence over time as a knockout argument in favor of a negative answer to the above question. [That question: Did the whole Universe come into being, all in a moment, about ten billion years ago?] ... One could then dismiss cosmologies of finite age because they were offensive to basic logical consistency.

In further support of his semantical proof for “God is identically equal to the universe” (i.e. God is the universe, and the universe is God), Hoyle points out that oppression, suffering, and death are expected, even guaranteed, if strictly natural biological evolution operates, but not if an all-loving, all-powerful God is in charge. There must not be, then, an independent, transcendent being. Like Einstein, he rejects Almighty God for want of a solution to the paradox of sin and suffering.

Hugh Ross, The Fingerprint of God; Promise Publishing Co., 1991, pp. 76-77.

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