animal has achieved. Free-moving life in general contains tendencies that exist, dormant, as potentialities. Man achieves nothing that is not achievable by life as a whole.

animal has achieved. Free-moving life in general contains tendencies that exist, dormant, as potentialities. Man achieves nothing that is not achievable by life as a whole. – Man and Technics by Oswald Spengler, 1931






Virtually all laws involve “legislating morality.” When people use this phrase they often really just mean “I want laws to back my version of morality, not yours.”

Every Law “Legislates Morality” — From Abortion to Minimum Wage


Listen to the Radio Rothbard version of this article.

With the heating up of the abortion debate, the phrase “legislate morality” has come back into more frequent use. This week, the Washington Post printed a letter to the editor with the headline “Anti-abortion legislation is Prohibition all over again.” The author complains: “Prohibition was an attempt by government to legislate morality.”

Similarly, state legislator Kirk Hatcher of Montgomery, Alabama, who opposed the state’s legislation that nearly bans abortion, states “We can’t legislate morality … We can’t legislate hearts.”

And last week, DNC activist Marisa Richmond declared the problem with the GOP these days is it’s “trying to legislate morality … That’s not the role of government.”

When used, the general formula is this: “that law I don’t like amounts to legislating morality! And we all know you shouldn’t do that.”

The problem with this inane line of argument, of course, is that nearly every law involves legislating morality of some sort.

It doesn’t exactly require an outlandish amount of study to see that laws against murder and theft are cases of “legislating morality.” Courts, legislators, and lawgivers in most times and places have declared murder and theft (variously defined) to be illegal acts precisely because most considered these acts to be immoral. Laws against fraud exist because cheating people is regarded as immoral. Laws against rape exist because it’s morally repugnant. Certainly, there may be other reasons also given for making these activities illegal. Outlawing theft and fraud are good for economic growth, for example. But if the opposite were shown to be true, it’s hard to image many people deciding that swiping a child’s bike from his driveway ought to be perfectly legal.

But we don’t have to limit our analysis to big and obvious cases like murder. How about laws regulating minimum wages? Is not the argument here that it’s somehow immoral to pay people below a certain amount? Certainly, proponents of minimum wage laws are known to denounce opponents as “greedy,” “inhumane” and a number of other things, all of which amount to calling the people in question immoral. If creating a minimum wage is not a matter of legislating morality, then why are the laws’ opponents immoral for doing so?

The welfare state is similarly based on calls for legislating morality. The claim is that it’s immoral to leave families without some sort of taxpayer-funded safety net. Opponents of such schemes, of course, “just want people to die!” That is, they’re immoral.

Indeed, it’s difficult to think of many laws at all that aren’t justified in some way on a moral foundation. Consider, for example, a local law on whether or not County X will have three DMV locations or two. This might seem at first like a mere administrative question, but the argument for there being three locations could be this: “Don’t the people of Tinyville deserve a DMV location that is convenient? Do the proponents of only two DMV locations think the rural people of this county have all day to drive to Bigsville to register their cars? We rural folk have families and jobs too!”

The retort to this could then be “the people of Tinyville want to steal even more money from the taxpayers of Bigville to fund their unnecessary extra DMV location!”

And so on.

So, when proponents of abortion declare anti-abortion laws to be matters of legislating morality, what they really mean is “these laws are based on a version of morality I don’t like.”

After all, there’s nothing “morality-free” about the pro-abortion position. The position is that it’s immoral to restrict a woman’s freedom to get a legal abortion. This is so immoral in their minds, that they denounce anti-abortion activists as being hatemongers, enemies of women, or worse.

For them, the answer lies in — you guessed it — legislating morality through federal laws prohibiting state and local governments from enacting abortion restrictions.

Meanwhile, anti-abortion activists think the unborn baby is a person who deserves legal rights. Thus, theirversion of legislating morality involves prohibiting what they see as the killing of a person.

The fundamental difference between the two sides is not that one of them legislates morality while the other doesn’t. Both sides want laws that reflect their own moral views.

Does the “Crime” Have a Victim?

The abortion debate helps to illustrate that the real issue behind whether or not a law legislates morality is whether or not there is an identifiable victim.

From the pro-abortion point of view, if the unborn baby is not really a person, then the “crime” has no victim. On the other hand, the anti-abortion position is that there is a clear and identifiable victim.

This distinction comes into play in other contexts where the term “legislate morality” is used. In the case of the Drug War, for example, those who oppose drug prohibitions claim there is no identifiable victim. That is, the drug user is using potentially harmful substances of his own free will. Similarly, opponents of prohibitions on prostitution argue that both the prostitute and his or her client are willing participants in a contractual relationship.

Thus, in these cases, it is argued, there is no victim, and it would be immoral to prevent these people from doing as they please.

The other side, of course, might argue that there are real victims in these cases. They might argue that prostitutes aren’t really willing participants, or that drug users aren’t making free choices due to ignorance or addiction.

Thus, when the author of the Washington Post letter compares alcohol prohibition to anti-abortion laws, he’s missing an important point. Nearly everyone today regards alcohol prohibition as foolish because most regard the drinking of alcohol (in most cases) as a victimless activity. But opponents of abortion maintain that is not the case when it comes to deliberately terminating a pregnancy.

But in all these cases, the argument hinges on whether or not there are victims — and not whether one side is legislating morality.

CK Raju Criticism of Hawking

The Christian propaganda in Stephen Hawking’s work

What do the Pope and Stephen Hawking have in common? Both propagate a Christian view of how the universe came into being.

Stephen Hawking

 , Twitter

This article was originally published on January 16, 2011. 

What do the Pope and Stephen Hawking have in common? Both propagate a Christian view of how the universe came into being: While the Pope is direct, seeing the hand of God in the Big Bang, Hawking does it more subtly. His popular books provide a scientific veneer to Christian theology, while projectingnon-Christian views of creation as unscientific, reveals Professor CK Raju, who is currently with the School of Mathematical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Book: The Grand Design: New Answers To The Ultimate Questions Of LifeAuthors: Stephen Hawking and Leonard MlodinowBantam Books199 pagesRs599

Stephen Hawking’s new book, The Grand Design: New Answers To The Ultimate Questions of Life, has a misleading subtitle. It aims to answer the ultimate questions not of life, but of theology.

Those concern creation and God.

Science, too, has a big bang theory of the origin of the cosmos. How does that compare with the religious account of creation given by (Christian) theology?

This question has preoccupied Hawking since his first book in 1973. (That was not the Brief History Of Time, but a book on general relativity called The Large-Scale Structure Of Space-Time.) The concluding sentence of that book spoke of a “moment of creation” (called a “singularity”) when the laws of physics break down (see box). Hawking claimed to have proved that the “laws of physics” imply creation.

Does the big bang (a dense state of the cosmos) coincide with creation (a true beginning of time)? People commonly confound the two; that includes scientists—the website of the Large Hadronic Collider also speaks of creation. But a dense state of the cosmos need not be a moment of creation. In the Hindu view of a quasi-recurrent cosmos, the cosmos periodically goes through a dense egg state (hiranyagarbha).

The same is true of general relativity. If the cosmos rotates, for example, the big bang might not be a beginning of time, but only the other side of a big crunch. So, while the observed cosmic microwave (millimeter) background might be evidence for a past dense state of the cosmos, it is no evidence for creation or a beginning of time. The whole point of Hawking’s singularity theory was to try to settle this doubt whether the big bang did amount to creation. Strangely, this book never comes to grips with the common confusion between the big bang and instantaneous creation.

Creation and the BibleNow instantaneous creation, a few billion years ago, is not exactly the Bible story of creation in 7 days, some 6,000 years ago. But Christian theologians explained long ago how the two are compatible!  Hawking’s earlier view coincided with those of Thomas Aquinas, a key 13th century church theologian, who stated in his Summa Theologica that after creating the world, God ruled it with eternal laws.

Theology is about power, not the Bible. This was renamed “soft power” by Huntington, a modern strategist, who recognised its role in the US agenda for global hegemony.

The politics of “science and creation” relates to the civilisational clash between Christianity and Islam. Creation at one instant in the past is opposed to the Islamic view of continuous creation, or the Buddhist view of non-creation, or even the Hindu view of a quasi-recurrent and long-lived cosmos.

So, the subtle propaganda point in Hawking’s work has all along been that science is opposed to all non-Christian views of creation, which are hence false. This influences large numbers of people who implicitly believe in science, especially if they don’t understand it.

FJ Tipler even argued that singularity theory shows that “Judeo-Christian theology is a part of physics”.  The book under review obliquely refers to that argument through the Hollywood film, The Matrix, which combines Tipler’s idea of humans as characters in a computer-generated virtual reality with the story of Christ as saviour.

The weaknesses of singularity theory were pointed out by various people including CJS Clarke and this reviewer. The theory had no experimental consequence, and hence was not science. A singularity is merely a mathematical infinity which can be easily eliminated by changing a mathematical definition.

In a public debate with this reviewer, Roger Penrose, the originator of singularity theory, could not defend the physical interpretation of a singularity (it might be just a common shock wave, as this reviewer argued). The proofs of Hawking’s singularity theorems used biased assumptions about time, called the “chronology condition” (that time is not ‘cyclic’) which are central to the revised Christian theological dogma from the 4th century.

Hawking justified those assumptions using arguments very similar to Augustine’s (a 4th century theologian). This was explained in this reviewer’s book The Eleven Pictures of Time. In an indirect acknowledgment of this critique, Hawking’s latest book has only a single passing line on singularity theory: “It seems the laws of evolution of the universe may break down at the big bang”.

The Brief History Of Time pushed that creationist idea, and gave Hawking the image of a super-scientist, among laypersons. But the weakness of singularity theory, combined with its proximity to Christian theology, damaged Hawking’s image among scientists. The inspired (if devious) marketing line for the present book is that, according to Hawking, God is not needed for creation.

So, what is the new answer to the mystery of creation? This is never explained in the book, surely by design. That subtlety has also been missed by reviewers, so it needs to be made explicit.Hawking’s earlier answer (like Aquinas’ theology) had a defect. If the “laws of physics” break down at the moment of creation, then how can they be eternal? So the new answer given (implicitly) by Hawking is that God created only the laws of physics, which are “eternal” in the sense of being outside time. The cosmos was created according to these laws, and hence does not (directly) require God for its creation. That is, Hawking, the scientist, can speak comfortably only of the “laws of physics”, while the Christian theologian can say those “laws” were created by God just as they had been saying all along.

Patchwork models, not realityHow do we know that there are “laws of physics”, or that they do not change capriciously with the epoch? Or that they exist when/where the cosmos does not? Hawking appeals to “model-dependent realism”: only models matter, there is no reality.

Even a comprehensive model is not needed, a patchwork will do. Hawking advocates this “philosophy” since he needs to patch general relativity (which models the cosmos at large scales) with quantum field theory (which models the cosmos at very small scales). Though Hawking suggests that the two can be patched together, the lay reader is never warned that no one has quite succeeded in doing that so far.

How did the “laws of physics” create the cosmos? The authors use Feynman’s idea of alternative past histories without pointing out its key lacuna. (Feynman’s idea was that all that could have happened did happen.) That formulation can make predictions, like astrology, but those predictions cannot be refuted by experiment. Science must be refutable, but Hawking has changed that to mean that it must be reputable.

Why did God create the world he did? The new answer (using alternative past histories) is that he just haphazardly created all possible worlds — billions of them — of which we are aware of only one. The final leap in the book is into M-theory, which supposedly explains everything, but is never explained in the book. Instead, the book just concludes by passing it off as the unified theory Einstein was looking for. The authors apparently think this is a book in the Complete Idiot’s series.

Hawking’s claim—that he has no need for God in his system—is not original: a similar claim was made long ago, in a similar context, by Laplace. Not only al Ghazali, but also Isaac Newton thought that God intervenes in the cosmos from time to time. The universe may be like a giant piece of clockwork, but it was necessary to wind up the clock (or recharge the batteries) occasionally. Newton needed God’s intervention since he was unable to prove the stability of the planetary system. Laplace did so, hence his boast that he had no need for God in his system.

So what does that mean for the layperson? This iron “rule of law” not only eliminates divine intervention, it also eliminates any creative human intervention, to bring about a particular future. This not only makes life utterly pointless, it cuts out the basis of the belief in science. In contrast, the Islamic belief in continuous creation allows human creativity, like the Buddhist belief in conditioned coorigination (paticca samuppada) or the Hindu belief in creative action (karma).  Hawking’s answer to this is very very old hat—something called Conway’s “Game of Life” which shows how complexity may give rise to the illusion of creativity. The authors neglect the whole host of difficulties with that, perhaps because they believe “philosophy is dead”. But what they give in its place is half-baked science to support full-blown theology which suits the pursuit of world power by one superpower.

Stephen Hawking: Genius or crook?

Hawking singularities

Though Stephen Hawking seems to have moved on from singularity theory in his latest book (, there is one point about singularities which still needs to be clarified, since even the Large Hadronic Collider website confounds a singularity with a moment of creation.

Hawking\'s Grand Design

The question is what sort of singularity? Most physicists think of a singularity as a Robertson-Walker singularity, or a point of infinite mass-density.

There are three key points to notice here.

A Robertson-Walker singularity is readily avoidable, if the cosmos rotates, for example. The whole point of Hawking’s singularity theory was to try to show that a singularity (or a true beginning of time, or creation) is somehow inevitable.

Second, to achieve this agenda, Hawking redefined the term  ’singularity’ in such an abstract way, that it need not even be a point of infinite density but only an infinity that arises because of a shock wave, for example. That is, what one might meet at a singularity maybe just a firecracker and not the Christian God. (A shock wave corresponds to a discontinuity in the second derivative of the metric tensor, a shell of matter to a discontinuity in the first derivative, and a gravitational screen to a discontinuity in the metric tensor.) The infinites here arise because one differentiates a discontinuous function.

Now that is a very old-fashioned definition of the derivative to use, which arose from Newton’s confusion about fluxions, and his inability to understand the Indian calculus. Calculus students are indoctrinated that a discontinuous function is not differentiable. At a later stage, some students are taught that discontinous functions can be differentiated using the (distinct) theories of Sobolev or Schwartz, or Mikusinski.

Formal mathematics being metaphysics, discontinuous functions are differentiable or not, exactly as one pleases (or exactly as it pleases some authoritative Western mathematicians).

Now both definitions of the derivative do not work for the equations of physics (the one because discontinuous functions are not differentiable, and the other because the equations of physics are nonlinear and Schwartz distributions cannot be multiplied or convolved). It is possible to get around this as well, but it requires empirical inputs into mathematics as I have pointed out. (See my paper, “Distributional Matter Tensors in Relativity,” from the days when I still believed in formal mathematics;

The point is that the “laws of physics” (i.e. the equations of general relativity) need NOT break down at a singularity (whether infinite matter density or a shock wave).

So, confounding a singularity with a moment of creation, or a beginning of time, as most physicists still seem to do, is just another piece of evidence of how physics is influenced by theology coming down from the Crusading times of Aquinas, who said exactly the same thing in his Summa Theologica (that laws of physics break down at the moment of creation).