A really bright guy gets it wrong

Stephen Hawking, regarded as one of the world's leading physicists, has become more and more vocal about his atheism the closer he gets to the time when he will have to stand before his Maker to give an account of himself.

In The Grand Design, a book published last year, he stated that it was "not necessary to invoke God...to get the universe going." Right...because we all know that something can come from nothing. Happens all the time.

Recently, in an interview published in The Guardian, he said, "There is no heaven or afterlife...; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." 

And how, exactly, does he know there is no heaven or afterlife? Is he speaking as a scientist? Then tell me, what experiments has this man of science performed in order to substantiate his claim? And have these experiments been repeated by others in order to verify the results? 

What's that you say? No experiments have been performed? And why is that, exactly? Oh, I see, it's because by the very nature of the case the claim is unverifiable by means of the scientific method. The soul is not a material object. Neither is heaven. They are not subject to empirical investigation.

On what basis then does he make so bold a claim? On the basis of his faith. He simply believes the natural world is all there is. And  if you grant the premise you must necessarily grant the conclusion. 

The physical world is all there is.
The soul is not a part of the physical world.
Therefore, the soul does not exist.
The logic is tight. If the premises are true, the conclusion is true. He and I agree on the second premise. It's the first premise where we differ. He says that the physical world [the cosmos] is a self-contained unit. It explains itself. I say it can't possibly explain itself.

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