July 8, 2006


Stephen Hawking has a question for you (AP, 7/07/06)

Some questions even stump Stephen Hawking.

The famed British astrophysicist and best-selling author has turned to Yahoo Answers, a new feature in which anyone can pose a question for fellow Internet users to try to answer. By Friday afternoon, nearly 17,000 Yahoo Inc. users had responded to Hawking.

Hawking's question: "In a world that is in chaos politically, socially and environmentally, how can the human race sustain another 100 years?"

As if it weren't amusing enough that he asks at a time of unprecedented order in human history, the question is nothing but a mark of utter self-absorption.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 8, 2006 9:16 AM

Now, now, Hawking is a physicist, so it seems likely that he's just asking a hypothetical question, doing a collaborative gedanken experiment.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at July 8, 2006 9:48 AM

Except that the form of (or even asking) the question draws an unsupprtable conclusion.

Posted by: oj at July 8, 2006 9:52 AM

"sustain another 100 years" of what? And of "chaos politically, socially and environmentally"? That's an opinion, and to base conclusions based on an opinion is fatally bias them. And for a guy immobile in a wheelchair to suppose all the trends are bad and getting worse has got to be an ironic joke of cosmic proportions.

It really is sad to see him join the ranks of Erlich, Gould, Sagan, Chomsky and a host of others who think that their scientific expertise coupled with a little celebrity makes them instant experts on all subjects. He'd never accept someone took their success in politics or sports or even a releated scientifc field like biochemistry and use that success to claim they were then able to discuss and amend his theories.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 8, 2006 12:40 PM

Ease off on him a little. He's really only asking the same question James Lovelock was asking, namely: given that Stephen Hawking is in his 60's and gravely ill, how can Stephen Hawking sustain another 100 years? The answer is that he can't, but you have to expect the question. Dying isn't easy.

Posted by: joe shropshire at July 8, 2006 1:21 PM

For Hawkings, living isn't easy either. He was the speaker at my son's graduation from Princeton in the early 80's. Imagine I can't remember the year. It's scary, I tells ya.

Anyway, when he was introduced, the physics department stood and cheered for at least five or ten minutes and when they finally were quieted down enough to let him "speak," there wasn't a dry eye in the joint.

Posted by: erp at July 8, 2006 5:22 PM