CPR Revival

Long, long ago, in a universe far far away, I was an Orthodox pop star, traveling all over the USA, lecturing, running seminars on things like “The Spiritual Warfare of the Church,” etc. One time, I was invited to do a week-long series in Cleveland. Arriving in the airport in Cleveland (can’t remember which airport that might be), debarking from the plane, in a waiting area or something, a middle-aged man collapsed right in front of me. He dropped on the floor at my feet. He looked dead.

From somewhere, two uniformed men (cops? security officers? EMT? what?) appeared. They began, in tandem, working on the man. One would press on his chest, the other would blow into his mouth. No response. They kept it up. On it went, push-blow, push-blow, push-blow. No response.

Then, after at least 15 or 20 minutes, maybe longer, the man jumped and became alive again! I was standing right there, sort of frozen, watching what was going on. The man’s family members were standing there, trembling, full of anxiety and then relief. The man was taken away, probably to an ambulance. I hope he survived.

I was totally taken with the efforts of those two officers. They did a good work, a mitzvah.

Later, after Father Alexander had picked me up and we went for dinner, where he very demonstrably figured a huge cross over the table, and we began to eat, I told him my airport story. We both praised God (and the two officers).

(I’ve been told that, in situations like that, it is no longer necessary to do the blowing bit.)


Hawking Into the Fray?

Oh, no, not another lightweight “New Atheism” book that I will have to read just to show that I am intellectually honest!

The following purports to be a statement (or perhaps summary?) of Stephen Hawking’s “argument” (pardon the expression):

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist…. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.”

Now, I am myself quite “frayed” by the past week’s scheduling problems in our department (at Bergen Community College), and my mind (pardon the expression) is dulled to the point of stupidity, but the above statement seems so silly to me. If the universe is the necessary result of physical laws, then it does not “create itself from nothing.” It is produced via the operation of pre-existing physical laws, not from nothing! And then the questions are: (1) What is the ontological foundation of those laws? Are they, too, sui generis? (2) Assuming that Hawking would say that those laws have no ontological foundation – that they just are, always – then why should the universe have originated when it did (about 15 billion years ago)? Why not right from “the beginning” with the laws that produce it? And if there is (was?) no “beginning,” then why is the universe only (about) 15 billion years old and not eternal? Etc., etc., etc.

Oh, I acknowledge that there may be no “God” in whatever sense Hawking is using the word or in any other sense either (although I believe that “God” in the classical theistic sense is, in fact, real). I just find the position stated above as Hawking’s position to be laughably silly.

Maybe he makes a fuller and better case in his new (forthcoming) book, The Grand Design (now available, a/o 2012). However, I dread the experience of reading it for fear of – yet again – being bogged down in a miasma of sophomoric ignorance, illogicality, and triviality as with the Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, and Dennett books. For me, time is growing shorter and shorter. I hate to waste it. But I do, again and again.

Hey! I haven’t finished Hegel!

Postscript from later on (back then, in 2010):

I’ve read a little more about the Hawking-Mlodinow book. Have not read the book itself yet. Hope I don’t have to. It seems to be the same old “multiple-universe” thing – no real threat to classical theism at all. A mathematical construction-speculation that only pushes the “first cause” further back (and completely misses the point of “first-cause” and intelligent design ontological reasoning). Ho-Hum…. Been through it all so often before.

Reminds me of the old story-joke:

William James met an old lady who told him the Earth rested on the back of a huge turtle. “But, my dear lady,” Professor James asked, as politely as possible, “what holds up the turtle?” “Ah”, she said, “that’s easy. He is standing on the back of another turtle.” “Oh, I see,” said Professor James, still being polite. “But would you be so good as to tell me what holds up the second turtle?” “It’s no use, Professor,” said the old lady, realizing he was trying to lead her into a logical trap. “It’s turtles-turtles-turtles, all the way down!”

Perhaps more on this hopeless nonsense in later posts….