The Best of Disability Blogs and Banter

On Stephen Hawking, Vader and Being More Machine Than Man
Stephen Hawking has become a kind of a “brain in a vat.” Since acquiring amyotrophic lateral sclerosis almost 50 years ago, his muscles have stopped working, though his mind and senses remain unaffected. In some ways Hawking is, to borrow from Obi-Wan referring to Darth Vader, “more machine now than man.”

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking

In one version of Hawking’s eulogistic story, we praise the smartest person in the world, one of the greatest cosmologists of our time. He fits perfectly well with our conception of how science and its heroes work: To be a genius all one needs is a powerful — a “beautiful” — mind. And indeed, because of his disabilit