(Pocket-lint) - Professor Stephen Hawking has dismissed the idea of heaven or an afterlife as a "fairy story", and admits that while he has no desire to die yet, he is not afraid of the idea either.
Talking to the Guardian newspaper, the world famous physicist Hawking, who has incurable motor neurone disease, said, "I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.
"I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark."
It's not a massively surprising quote from the 69-year-old, however, who has previously suggested, in his book The Grand Designs, that it is possible to explain the existence of the universe without the need for an almighty creator. But this new public statement will no doubt draw greater heat from church leaders globally.
Professor Stephen Hawking will also be hosting a keynote speech titled "Why are we here?" at the Google Zeitgeist thinktank currently being held in London.
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