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Friday, September 3, 2010

Stephen Hawking: God didn't create universe

LONDON, England -- God did not create the universe, world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking argues in a new book that aims to banish a divine creator from physics.

Hawking says in his book "The Grand Design" that, given the existence of gravity, "the universe can and will create itself from nothing," according to an excerpt published Thursday in The Times of London.

"Spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist," he writes in the excerpt.

"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper [fuse] and set the universe going," he writes.

His book -- as the title suggests -- is an attempt to answer "the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything," he writes, quoting Douglas Adams' cult science fiction romp, "The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

His answer is "M-theory," which, he says, posits 11 space-time dimensions, "vibrating strings, ... point particles, two-dimensional membranes, three-dimensional blobs and other objects that are more difficult to picture and occupy even more dimensions of space." He doesn't explain much of that in the excerpt, which is the introduction to the book.

But he says he understands the feeling of the great English scientist Isaac Newton that God did "create" and "conserve" order in the universe.

It was the discovery of other solar systems outside our own, in 1992, that undercut a key idea of Newton's -- that our world was so uniquely designed to be comfortable for human life that some divine creator must have been responsible.

But, Hawking argues, if there are untold numbers of planets in the galaxy, it's less remarkable that there's one with conditions for human life.

And, indeed, he argues, any form of intelligent life that evolves anywhere will automatically find that it lives somewhere suitable for it.

From there he introduces the idea of multiple universes, saying that if there are many universes, one will have laws of physics like ours -- and in such a universe, something not only can, but must, arise from nothing.

Therefore, he concludes, there's no need for God to explain it.

But some of Hawking's Cambridge colleagues said the physicist has missed the point.

"The 'god' that Stephen Hawking is trying to debunk is not the creator God of the Abrahamic faiths who really is the ultimate explanation for why there is something rather than nothing," said Denis Alexander.

"Hawking's god is a god-of-the-gaps used to plug present gaps in our scientific knowledge.

"Science provides us with a wonderful narrative as to how [existence] may happen, but theology addresses the meaning of the narrative," said Alexander, director of The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion.

And Fraser Watts, an Anglican priest and Cambridge expert in the history of science, said that it's not the existence of the universe that proves the existence of God.

But, he said, "a creator God provides a reasonable and credible explanation of why there is a universe, and ... it is somewhat more likely that there is a God than that there is not. That view is not undermined by what Hawking has said."

Hawking's book will be published on September 7 in the United States and September 9 in the United Kingdom.

Source : CNN

Iranian opposition leader absent at anti-Israel rallies

Protesters gathered in Iran on Friday for a demonstration to observe an annual holiday that marks the country's solidarity with Palestinians and calls for the end of Israel occupation.

One notable absence was Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karoubi, whose security force feared for his safety and advised him to stay away, his son said.

About 50 people surrounded Karoubi's home Friday morning -- shooting paint balls and shouting chants against him and the opposition movement, the son said.

Attackers targeted his father's house repeatedly to stop him from participating in Friday's events, said Mohammad Taghi Karoubi.

The opposition leader's website said his apartment had come under attack four times in four consecutive days.

The site said the head of his security team was in a coma after being beaten as he tried to talk with a group of attackers who broke into the apartment complex Thursday.

His son told CNN the attackers fired shots, set small fires in the courtyard and lobby and vandalized parts of the building.

But around the country Friday, Quds Day demonstrations continued.

Large crowds chanted "Death to Israel" and "Death to America" in Palestine Square near Tehran University.

In the city of Kerman, a man with a loudspeaker chanted the slogans, with the crowd repeating after him.

Some were carrying Iranian flags and banners supporting Palestinians while others waved cartoon caricatures of U.S. President Barack Obama.

Speaking at Tehran University, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denounced Israel, repeatedly referring to the "Zionist regime." He said this week's direct Middle East peace talks in Washington were doomed to fail.

"These talks are death. There is no reason to hold talks," he said.

"The fate of Palestine will be determined on the ground in Palestine, not in Washington and not in London," he added.

Ahmadinejad said Iranians sympathize with Palestinians.

"We know how hard it is for them to resist," he said.

As he spoke, the crowd chanted, "Death to Israel."

Security forces lined the streets near Haft-e-Tir Square in central Tehran, and at least two people were detained. There were no reports of opposition clashes.

Last year, demonstrators took the streets in anti-government protests, shouting "Death to the dictator" in particularly tense rallies following the unrest over Iran's disputed presidential elections in June.

Clashes between security forces and protesters were reported around the university during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech last year.

On Thursday, Mohammad Taghi Karoubi told CNN that attackers had repeatedly come to his father's house because he had expressed his desire to take part in Friday's events.

He said he was inside his father's fifth-floor apartment when about 20 Basij broke into the courtyard Thursday. Several of the men threatened to kill his father, he said.

"When we asked the police to come to help...nobody came," he said.

Asked who was responsible, he said, "They are in the name of the Basij, but in my opinion they are hooligans. The government tries to use these hooligans against the opposition and against the people."

Several members of his father's security team were injured -- but not shot -- and were taken to a hospital, he said.

Asked if he and his father planned to attend Quds Day events on Friday, he said, "Do you think we'll still be alive tomorrow morning to take part?"

International Quds Day, or "Jerusalem day" is observed on the last Friday of Ramadan.

The government sponsored holiday was established in August 1979 by the late founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini shortly after the Islamic Revolution.

Khomeini called for all Muslims worldwide to participate in the events that denounce Israel and show support for the Palestinian cause.

"The day for those nations suffering under the pressure of American oppression and oppression by other powers to confront the superpowers; it is the day when the oppressed should arm themselves against the oppressors," he said in a speech in August of 1979.

Anti-Zionist demonstrations, parades, and seminars are held in some Muslim and Arab countries, but are especially large in Iran.

A senior Iranian commander says the massive participation proves the global support for Palestinians.

The Quds Day "appears to pave the way for the collapse of Israel and its allies, namely the U.S. and Britain," Brig. Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, the deputy head of Iran's armed forces joint chiefs of staff, told the Islamic Republic News Agency on Thursday.

Source : CNN

Presiden Lebanon Jadi Target Operasi Mata-Mata Israel

Duta Besar Lebanon untuk PBB Nawaf Salam secara resmi menyampakain keluhan negaranya pada Sekretaris Jenderal PBB Bank Ki-moon terkait dengan kegiatan mata-mata yang dilakukan Israel di Lebanon.

Pengaduan itu juga disampaikan Salam pada Duta Besar Turki untuk PBB Ertugul Apakan, yang sedang menjabat rotasi posisi ketua Dewan Keamanan PBB. Dalam pengaduan tersebut, Salam menyatakan bahwa kegiatan mata-mata yang dilakukan agen-agen Israel di Lebanon merupakan agresi terhadap negara dan kedaulatan Lebanon.

"Tindakan itu jelas melanggar resolusi internasional, terutama resolusi 1701," kata Saam.

Resolusi 1701 adalah resolusi PBB untuk mengakhiri agresi Israel ke Lebanon pada tahun 2006 lalu. Agresi itu menewaskan sekira 1.200 warga Lebanon dan mayoritas warga sipil.

Salam juga mengatakan, jaringan mata-mata Israel bertanggung jawab atas sejumlah kasus pembunuhan di Lebanon. Para agen mata-mata Israel, tambah Salam, juga mengintai Presiden Lebanon Michel Suleiman dan pejabat pemerintah Lebanon lainnya.

Dalam pengaduannya pada Sekjen PBB dan Ketua Dewan Keamanan PBB, Salam menyertakan daftar berisi 100 nama orang yang menjadi bagian jaringan mata-mata Israel. Agen mata-mata Israel itu melakukan penyadapan telepon bahkan memalsukan dokumen-dokumen resmi pemerintah Lebanon dalam melakukan operasinya.

Setahun belakangan ini, Lebanon melakukan operasi besar-besaran untuk menumpas kegiatan mata-mata Israel dan sudah menangkap belasan orang yang dicurigai sebagai mata-mata Israel, beberapa diantaranya adalah aparat keamanan dan pegawai kantor telekomunikasi Lebanon.

Selain melakukan kegiatan mata-mata, pesawat-pesawat tempur Israel juga berulang kali memasuki wilayah udara Lebanon tanpa izin, yang merupakan pelanggaran terhadap resolusi Dewan Keamanan dan kedaulatan negara Lebanon. (ln/prtv)

Source : eramuslim

Partai Politik di Austria Buat Game Online Anti-Islam Buat Kampanye Pemilu

Partai Kebebasan (FPOe) di Austria membuat sebuah video game online anti-Islam untuk kepentingan kampanye politiknya. Dalam video game yang diunggah di situs resmi partai tersebut, para pemainnya diajak menembaki muazin dan menara-menara masjid.

Permainan yang diberi nama "Moschee Baba" atau "Bye Bye (Selamat Tinggal) Masjid" ini berdurasi satu menit, dimana pemainnya bisa mengumpulkan poin setelah berhasil menghancurkan "target" berupa gambar sosok muslim, masjid dan menara masjid. Lalu muncul tanda "stop" dan tulisan "Permainan Selesai. Sekarang Styria penuh dengan menara dan masjid!", lalu muncul pula ajakan agar pemain game itu memilih Gerhard Kurzmann dalam pemilu lokal yang akan digelar 26 September mendatang. Kurzmann adalah salah satu kandidat dari Partai Kebebasan di kota Stryria

Selain menghadirkan permainan anti-Islam. Situs partai itu juga membuat survei. Para pengunjung situs tersebut ditanya apakah pembangunan menara dan masjid di Austria selayaknya dilarang, dan apakah warga Muslim harus menandatangani sebuah deklarasi bahwa mereka lebih mengutamakan hukum Austria diatas Al-Quran. Padahal menurut laporan kantor berita Austria, di kota Styria tidak ada masjid bermenara. Di kota yang jumlah komunitas Muslimnya cuma 1,6 persen dari total jumlah penduduk kota itu, hanya ada empat bangunan yang difungsikan sebagai masjid.

Tindakan Partai Kebebasan membuat survei dan game online anti-Islam itu menuai kecaman dari pemuka muslim di Austria, Anas Schakfeh serta para politisi dari Partai Hijau dan Partai Sosial Demokrat.

"Video game online itu menunjukkan sikap kebencian terhadap agama tertentu dan ketakutan yang tidak beralasan," kata Anas.

"Target serangan PFOe, menara-menara masjid, bahkan tidak ada (di kota Styria)," tukas Wemer Kogler, kandidat dari Partai Hijau di kota Styria.

Komunitas Muslim dan Partai Hijau sudah melayangkan gugatan hukum atas apa yang dilakukan Partai Kebebasan. Mereka menilai Partai Kebebasan telah menghasut untuk menimbulkan kebencian dan melecehkan agama yang bisa diancam dengan hukuman penjara sampai dua tahun.

Kantor kejaksaan di Graz--ibukota Styria--sudah melakukan penyelidikan dan akan memutuskan apakah akan memerintahkan agar game online anti-Islam itu dihapus.

Partai Kebebasan merupakan salah satu partai di negara Eropa yang gencar melakukan kampanye anti-Islam. Partai ini juga mengusulkan agar dilakukan referendum untuk melarang pembangunan masjid yang dilengkapi dengan menara dan melarang penggunaan cadar.

Pemimpin Partai Kebebasan Heinz-Christian Strache bahkan menyatakan ingin melihat adanya aksi unjuk rasa di Austria seperti aksi unjuk rasa di New York yang menentang rencana pembangunan masjid dan Islamic Center di dekat Ground Zero.

Game online "Bye Bye Mosque" kata Partai tersebut, merupakan respon atas komentar Thilo Sarrazin--tokoh Partai Sosial Demokrat di Jerman--yang mengatakan bahwa imigran muslim telah mengganggu kehidupan masyarakat Jerman.

"Kami lebih menyukai Sarrazin daripada muazzin di Austria," demikian pernyataan Partai Kebebasan yang para pendukungnya kebanyakan anak-anak muda Austria. (ln/aljz)

Source : eramuslim

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