Dr. Stephen Hawkings says that Earth could become like Venus. I don't know why he said such a thing. I don't know what his logical reasoning for it is. The article didn't explain his reasoning, so I have nothing to argue against. All I will say is that this is an absurd statement, and if he is going to make statements like these he had better have some very firm reasoning. As for myself, I have seen nothing to even hint at this, and a mountain of reasoning to hint against it.
Let me explain how I feel about Dr. Hawkings. Perhaps it will give you some insight into why physicists cringe when you mention his name.
As a physics major, I had a unique view into the world of academic physics. It is a small society of some of the brightest minds in the world. Dr. Hawkings is but one of many shining stars.
To call him the smartest man in the world, or even the smartest physicist, is really a stretch of the imagination. There are physicists out there that are so mind-bogglingly smart that even physicists have a hard time keeping up with them. Dr. Hawkings is not one of them.
Physicists are a very conservative breed. They answer questions honestly, even if that answer is, "maybe or maybe not; I can't tell." In one instance, I remember reading an article about a new high-energy particle collider coming online. "This is so powerful," said the physicist being interviewed, "that we may even create micro-black holes the size of sub-atomic particles." (Of course, I am paraphrasing.)
"What if the black holes created swallowed up the earth? Is that a possibility?" asked the reporter. "Of course," said the physicist.
It was a possibility. Physicists have stopped trying to rule out scenarios long ago. Did Jesus walk on water? Well, we can't say for sure that he didn't, so it could have happened. So when a physicist doesn't know for sure, anything's a possibility. (And when physicists think they know for sure, they are usually wrong.)
It wasn't a probability. That word means something completely different. Were they likely going to create black holes? Who knows? One theory says it will happen, and another says it won't. Will those black holes consume the earth? Again, we can't tell for sure, having only recently discovered the possibility of micro-black holes existing at all. Suppose that we do accidentally create a black hole that will consume the entire earth. How long will it take? Seconds? Minutes? Hours? Years? Centuries? Millenia? Maybe it will take longer than the lifetime of the universe? Maybe that tiny black hole created will begin to consume the earth long after the heat-death of the universe. Again, we don't know.
The point of all of this conversation is that physicists as a group have grown wise in the same way that Socrates was the wisets man in the world. He only knew that he didn't know. As physicists, we know a lot of things, but we don't know a far greater number of things. Let me take that back. Even things we think we know for sure we know are wrong in some minor way. You won't see physicists hanging on to modern theories when a better and more complete theory comes along. Ultimately, we know nothing. And physicists aren't afraid to admit that.
Dr. Hawkings doesn't behave that way. He is like the teeanage kid with his dad's car keys. He knows how to drive really fast, and he knows where all the great make-out spots are. But he doesn't drive very safely, and he is causing a lot of trouble for others on the road. He makes these statements about the current understanding of the physical universe that are not only wrong, but provably wrong. And he never states that we know nothing after everything is said and done. And he likes to focus on the points in physics that are popular with laymen yet uninteresting to the academics.
Dr. Hawkings has gotten a lot of press in the past, and he is getting more today. People outside the academic physical world like to try and put him at the top of that crowd, but people inside that circle will have none of it.
Do we respect Dr. Hawkings and his work? Yes, what work he has done has been pretty reasonable. But do we hold Dr. Hawkings above the rest? No, no one is held above anyone. And if you did try to rank physicists based on their performance, Dr. Hawkings isn't even near the top, even among living persons.