Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking 8 January 1942 – 14 March 2018

In an interview with the Times (7 March, 2017) world-famous scientist Stephen Hawking opined:
'"Since civilisation began, aggression has been useful inasmuch as it has definite survival advantages," he said. "It is hard-wired into our genes by Darwinian evolution. Now, however, technology has advanced at such a pace that this aggression may destroy us all by nuclear or biological war. We need to control this inherited instinct by our logic and reason."'
He may know a lot about theoretical physics but in stating that human aggression is 'hard-wired' and an 'inherited instinct' he has merely echoed popular prejudices cultivated by certain scientists, as this extract from our pamphlet Are We Prisoners of Our Genes? explains.
Yet, even so, he does talk some sense on some matters outside his area of expertise 
"If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality."

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