Radical Science and a Crisis of Scientific Reasoning
It would be stretching the point to suggest that Hawking’s work categorically repudiates the mechanistic rendition so beloved by Einstein. He does indeed take exception to a universal mechanism under an exclusive jurisdiction of relativity theory. Something not fully articulated about quantum mechanics leads him to deploy it as a spanner in the engineering of Einstein’s causal palace. But this skeptical instinct, although fruitful as physics, serves to heighten a malaise with the forfeiture of such understanding to reflective associates–however estranged–of Bertrand Russell.
As against Bacon’s omnipresently authoritative distribution of causal powers, Hawking maintains an entirely phenomenal sense of ground, and thereby challenges not only the undertaking of magic, but also (at a level not yet articulable) that of science.
Because physics occupies itself with the same province of substantial entities which has encouraged a theology of First Cause, Hawking is quick to contend against "God" as a provision of sufficient ground, by reason of the proposal of imaginary time which brings to light a universe having no "boundary," no beginning, no end. As a physicist, however, he is ill-equipped to manage another imperative registering within the so-called quantum theory of gravity, namely, provision of sufficient ground a propos of phenomenality which the history of natural science has oversimplified. Of course the readily predictive sphere constitutes that tangibility which physics has taken upon itself to rule. But full phenomenality consists of another region, in subtle, delicate and prevailing play with brutal manifestation. Hawking, almost alone among his peers, is troubled, however vaguely, by that kind of superstructure.
One notable demurrant against the earnest focus group discussing "the question of why it is that we and the universe exist" would be the bold nemesis of Bertrand Russell. She would see right through the timorous impertinence of such a congregation of continuing-education acolytes in their endless supplication before the altar of rationalist cleverness. Hawking’s spill must be seen as linked to a tradition whose self-overestimation does not merely pose a lacuna within the orbit of cultivating originary power. The neglect of such a crucial dimension of phenomenality entails socially facilitated relentless hostility toward any intentional elicitation of uncanny sufficing. As such, it enforces an appalling simplism and distemper upon every endeavor on behalf of sufficient grounds. As if the warfare of one’s self’s lucidity were not challenge enough, in imperial science the individual is confronted by tasks of coexistence with white-collar felons. On the other hand, notwithstanding the successes crowning that militancy, anyone essaying, along the lines of physics, the atypical aspiration articulated by Hawking has ahead of him a truly astronomical wait for that ship to come in.
Hallowed for so many centuries now, that programmatic modesty maintained by scientists, to the effect that human manifestation is, appearances notwithstanding, absolutely an arrangement by stupendous eventuation of nonhuman entities, harbors an almost indetectable self-centered aggressiveness. The tenet to the effect that intentional sentience steers forth by reason of aggregation, due to material disturbance, yielding "consciousness" does not simply acknowledge a major role of inertial factors in concrete experience, but, more to the point, it endorses an enslavement of human aspirations to sterile concussions. Reasoning along such lines–in wilful ignorance of their larger territory–has in play an appetite for reducing the self to a toy, and an appetite for waylaying anyone with scope beyond toyland. Engaging the phenomena of "blind forces" as they actually come forth introduces an indispensable factor of responsibility. Human carnal experience presents powerful physiological and environmental factors beyond the prevailing of individual motives. Our bodies thrive and decay, as does our planet, in amazing indifference to our efforts. But those efforts, however prone to ruin, entail phenomenal impacting quite equal to that of the precincts verging on monstrosity. It should be needless to say, that there is no manifestation of brutal nature disconnected from individual discernment as awash in effort. Extrapolation "backward," from the phenomenal region of inertial mechanics to a land of nothing but mechanics is indulgence in nonevidential inference, which is to say, fantasy – a leap of faith or (when chronicling a chemical occupation of consciousness) revenge. To understand omnipresent mechanics one must understand omnipresent effort.