The Cosmic ‘Free Lunch’: Stephen Hawking v. David Birnbaum

August 19, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

University of Cambridge physicist Stephen Hawking views the existence/emergence of our universe as fundamentally a ‘free lunch.’ This means that, according to Hawking, there is no need for God or for a divine spark – or indeed, for any unseen dynamic to have created the universe. Citing the physics of dark matter, he notes that the universe can be theorized to simply appear out of nothing; more precisely, he asserts that so long as ‘regular matter’ and ‘dark matter’ are theorized to be equal (a Net Zero situation) then there’s no need for any extraneous force – whether supernatural or natural. Meaning, per Hawking, if the positive and negatives (of matter in particular) cancel each other out, there is no need for an initial prime spark. Note that Hawking’s particular logic here will be challenged by many – both inside the physics field and out.

Metaphysicist and conceptual theorist David Birnbaum of Manhattan formidably challenges the Hawking ‘logic’. The Manhattan cosmologist is the author of a compelling metaphysics treatise which trumps key assertions of Hawking. Birnbaum’s critically acclaimed Theory of Potential will demonstrate that the illustrious Hawking’s position is a perhaps too simplistic a reading of a quite-sophisticated universe (see
Birnbaum’s theory is expounded via his 3-part treatise Summa Metaphysica (1988, 2005, 2014).

The theory does not posit God or the divine, but it does leave open the possibility of same. The centerpiece motif of the Birnbaum metaphysics is that infinite divine potential (Birnbaum’s term) drives the cosmic order.

The three volumes of Birnbaum’s treatise are Summa I: Religious Man (November 1988, Ktav Publishing), Summa II: Spiritual Man (March 2005, New Paradigm Matrix), and Summa III: Secular Man (January 2014, New Paradigm Matrix). Per Birnbaum’s well-acclaimed treatise, all three typologies – Religious, Spiritual and Secular Man – are metaphysically valid. See

In our first paragraph above we noted the Hawking position. Note that there are four inter-related fundamental challenges to the Hawking stance: (1) A Net Zero physical universe certainly does not preclude the spiritual or the divine. (2) Just what ignited and drives this Net Zero universe? (3) Hawking does not explain the wondrousness and rich complexity of the universe (4) We do not know at all conclusively that ‘regular matter’ and ‘dark matter’ are indeed in precise equal balance – nor will we probably ever know.

Challenge 1: The Hawking so-called logic is a non-sequitur (Latin for “it does not follow”). Why? Because a possible balance in matter, does not logically mandate the never-existence of God; there is no logic-imperative from the assertion (a Net Zero universe) to the alleged conclusion (a never-ever God universe).

Challenge 2: Hawking blesses his Net Zero universe as “God-free”; but just where did his little Net Zero universe come from? What ignited it? What drives it forward? What/who brought all this ‘matter’ – regular and dark – into existence in the first place? For a top physicist who is playing cosmologist – who then dismisses the possibility of an infinite divine – Hawking does not seem to have serious answers to serious key questions.

Hawking is known as sometimes hard-line Atheist. Has the great Hawking indeed checked-out the far corners of the cosmic order on which to base his definitive conclusion that there is definitely no overarching drive or spirituality to the extraordinary Cosmic Order? Has he indeed ‘checked every closet’? Is the scientific method now hinged on cavalier shoot-from-the-hip conclusions? On what scientific basis has the Cambridge scientist cavalierly proven a negative – to the effect that there is no divine across the Cosmic Order?

Hawking uses a sketchy, at best, entirely unsupported side theory of quantum mechanics – “spontaneous matter” – to explain the entirety of creation; a dubious side theory which is wholly inadequate to explain the rich complexity of the universe we live in. To plug the gap in his theorizing, Hawking disingenuously throws around this ‘fringe’ side theory of ‘spontaneous matter’; but this little concept is but a theoretical tangent of the larger more accepted theory of quantum mechanics. Readers should bear-in-mind that over the span of scientific/intellectual history, ‘spontaneous emergence’ theories have tended to have short ‘shelf-lives’; indeed, none have survived eventual careful scrutiny.

Challenge 3: Hawking fails to address – or even acknowledge – the full complexity of the universe itself. Don’t misunderstand, Hawking does an excellent job of describing a sun, a planet, a black hole – but these are all physically complex systems. How does Hawking describe art, love, consciousness, morality, and any number of abstract, esoteric concepts; indeed, how does he account for our beyond-extraordinary universe which has been inexorably advancing for billions of years? Simply put, he doesn’t. Hawking fails at the same turn most every physicist does. In order to present his system, he simply has to ignore large, gaping swaths of reality. And that, in a nutshell, is why Hawking falls short compared to Potentialism; he is missing the conceptual metaphysical tools to truly understand the totality of the universe.

Birnbaum proposes a natural dynamic – infinite quest for potential – driving the cosmic order towards greater and greater complexification (see Many have made-the-case that there is an unseen hand – whatever exactly that unseen hand is – expressed in our extraordinary universe. Why is Hawking totally ruling-out any ‘direction’ to the universe. Has his local Oxford ‘other directed’ Group-Think mentality of the (ruling) British Randomness/Atheist academic junta compromised Hawking’s typically astute vision?

Challenge 4: No one that we are aware of has actually measured either all the ‘regular matter’ or all the ‘dark matter’ in our expanding universe. But, in any event, as far as Net Zero goes, the current scientific community consensus is that the figure is not actually zero. There is apparently a slight imbalance in the equation. According to Hawking’s own logic, does a slight differential then actually mandate a divine – or, at a minimum, an unseen hand?

Context & Summary:

In his 2010 work (see The Grand Design, Bantam Press, by Hawking and Mlodinow), Cambridge physicist Hawking invalidates a religious approach, a spiritual approach, a philosophical approach, or even a direction-oriented approach towards the universe. Hawking is actually emblematic of the 20th century pinnacle British academic crew which has politically hyper-aggressively championed Randomness/Atheism across global academe. To the Oxford-Cambridge elite, all is random chance: the universe, life, consciousness….everything. “Randomness and decay” is their (implausible) central motif.

Maverick Manhattan metaphysicist Birnbaum, to the contrary, posits a concrete metaphysical theory of a direction-oriented universe; via his core theme of Infinite Potential he validates the possibility of a religious approach – or a spiritual approach – or a totally secular approach. He posits and comprehensively develops his Theory of Potential – a purpose-oriented view of the universe. Per Birnbaum, the universe (instinctively?) seeks-after its greatest possible/maximal potential – short term, medium term and long term.

Summa I, the first book of Birnbaum’s seminal series was published in November 1988; the work would be deployed as a Course Text at over a dozen institutions of higher learning globally in the 1990s (see At that point, Birnbaum did not have significant ‘covering fire’ in contemporary academic scientific/philosophical literature.

Per Birnbaum, there is indeed ‘no Free Lunch’. Rather, Infinite Potential – in concert with the eternal components of Physics-Math – ignited our cosmos – and propels it onward; this cosmic ignition/Big Bang ultimately delivered-forth both the ‘regular matter’ and ‘dark matter’ which Hawking focuses on (see

Subsequent to the turn-of-the-21st century, at least three key academic books have been published which directly or indirectly support and/or dovetail with intellectual maverick Birnbaum’s Theory of Potential hypothesis:

Programming the Universe (Knopf, 2006) by Professor of Quantum Mechanics Seth Lloyd of MIT. Mind & Cosmos (Oxford Press, 2012) by Professor of Philosophy & Law Thomas Nagel of NYU.

Our Mathematical Universe (Knopf, 2014) by Professor of Physics Max Tegmark of MIT.

Initially, from 1988-2006 Birnbaum ‘stood alone’ against the Randomness/Atheist British hierarchy which held sway across global academe in physics/philosophy. The British group vainly (and bizarrely) exerted extreme pressure to attempt isolate and invalidate Birnbaum. Their egregious gambit backfired however, and only served to draw important global media focus on the Theory of Potential. Then, as noted above, between 2006-2014 the publication of the important books of the two formidable MIT ‘physics guns,’ plus the philosophy book of NYU’s Nagel, all de facto vindicated Birnbaum’s conceptual approach. All of a sudden, in 2014, Birnbaum has quite-formidable academic firepower backing him up. Note that MIT – the academic base of Birnbaum’s two key physics ‘allies’ – is widely rated as the world’s #1 university.

On the global cosmology chessboard, no flaw has been discerned in Birnbaum’s Summa Metaphysica since first published by Ktav in 1988. Originally the challenger, Birnbaum currently holds a formidable position in the global cosmology field. After 50+ journal articles focused on his vibrant and fully-integrated Theory of Potential in the past 15 months alone, the opposing (20th century British) theory of Randomness appears increasingly anachronistic. See

Per Hawking and the (British) Randomness crew there is a ‘Free Lunch’ – our little universe just-happened to pop into existence. Per Birnbaum we should always be vigilant against politically correct ‘Emperor’s Clothes’ scenarios – no matter who is championing the gambit. Rather, there is no ‘Free Lunch,’ but there is, indeed, an unseen hand to the cosmic order; and it is, indeed, a totally natural dynamic – Summa Metaphysica’s proposed Infinite Quest for Potential.

* For the record & personal disclaimer: While it’s interesting to to research such science, I personally believe that God created all.