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Dying with a big bang


Some people die with a bang, albeit not a big bang. In his final paper, A Smooth Exit from Eternal Inflation?, Stephen Hawking (1942-2018) formulates strict limits to the kind of universes that populate the multiverse.

With this he gave a new pendulum swing in the direction of theists  to the fine-tuning argument, i.e. Brandon Carter's the anthropic principle, the argument no self-respecting atheist can ignore according to one of the Four Apocalyptic Horsemen Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011). Christopher Hitchens  admitted that the fine-tuning argument is not a trivial argument. "You have to spend time thinking about it, working on it. We all say that." 

Hawkings  earlier tried to defuse the fine-tuning argument in his book The Grand Design (published 2010) with a more naturalistic explanation in which he developed  the heterogeneous multiverse hypothesis according to which we perhaps live in an infinite number of universes.  

In his final paper he formulates strict limits to the kind of universes that populate the multiverse. Hawking postulates that all of the universes have exactly the same laws. Therefore the problem of a fine-tuned universe returns with a vengeance. One can argue that the discovery during our generation by astrophysicists of the so-called anthropic coincidences in the initial conditions of the universe, and the vertiginous volte-face of Hawking on this subject matter, has given a new lease of life to the teleological argument.

And thus the debate about the existence of God once again became the ultimate Rorschach test in a hyperpartisan disenchanted world.