Does Thunderdome offer a pre-Rapture discount rate? Because former "Growing Pains" pinup-turned-evangelical proselytizer Kirk Cameron is ready to square off against Stephen Hawking on the subject of the hereafter.
Seems the onetime comedic foil of Alan Thicke didn't take kindly to the world-renowned genius's recent comments to the London Guardian about heaven, which he called "a fairy story for people who are afraid of the dark."
Hawking, 69, who prefaced his remarks by pointing out that, because of Lou Gehrig's disease, he's "lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years," also put forth the notion that "tiny quantum fluctuations" in the early stages of the universe provided the genesis for the emergence of stars, galaxies and human life.
"Science predicts that many different kinds of universe will be spontaneously created out of nothing," explained the "Brief History of Time" physicist. "It is a matter of chance which we are in."
"To say anything negative about Stephen Hawking is like bullying a blind man. He has an unfair disadvantage, and that gives him a free pass on some of his absurd ideas," he says. "Professor Hawking is heralded as 'the genius of Britain,' yet he believes in the scientific impossibility that nothing created everything and that life sprang from non-life."
(Hmmm, we're not sure that's exactly what Hawking posits, but moving on …)
"Why should anyone believe Mr. Hawking's writings if he cannot provide evidence for his unscientific belief that out of nothing, everything came?" continues the erstwhile Mike Seaver, who doesn't mention whether he plans to provide evidence to back up his own belief system.
Alas, instead of simply agreeing to disagree on matters of faith (or -- and we're really sorry for this -- quantum leaps of faith), Cameron plunges forward by taking a swipe at John Lennon over the lyrics to "Imagine," a song that came out in -- wait for it -- 1971.
"[Hawking] says he knows there is no heaven. John Lennon wasn't sure. He said to pretend there's no heaven. That's easy if you try," quoth the Kirk. "Then he said he hoped that someday we would join him. Such wishful thinking reveals John and Stephen's religious beliefs, not good science."
And Cameron knows all about science. In 2009, he helped distribute free copies of Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" to dozens of colleges, only these copies included a 50-page, creationist-centric introduction by fellow evangelical Ray Comfort.
Meanwhile, in addition to facing much ado about being and nothingness from Kirk, Hawking should expect some angry, existential emails from philosophy majors the world over after he pronounced their field obsolete.
"Almost all of us must sometimes wonder: Why are we here? Where do we come from? Traditionally, these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead," he said during a Google conference this week. "Philosophers have not kept up with modern developments in science."
But at least they have former sitcom stars to keep 'em company.