Magazine November 29, 2010, Issue

Mad Scientists

Professor of mathematics at Cambridge University Stephen Hawking speaks at Berkeley, Calif., March 13, 2007. (Kimberly White/Reuters)
The Grand Design, by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow (Bantam, 199 pp., $28)

The English philosopher C. D. Broad once noted that “the nonsense written by philosophers on scientific matters is exceeded only by the nonsense written by scientists on philosophy.” You might think there could be no better illustration of Broad’s dictum than Richard Dawkins’s unhappy forays into the philosophy of religion. If so, you should take a look at the latest volume from Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.

To be sure, the bulk of The Grand Design is devoted to a fairly lucid exposition of the central theories of modern physics. Had Hawking and Mlodinow stuck to science, there would have been

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