• Photo Credit: (NASA/Paul E. Alers) In an interview published Monday by The Guardian newspaper, the 69-year-old says the human brain is like a computer that will stop working when its components fail. He says: “There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” In “Grand Design,” a book published last year, Hawking had declared that it was “not necessary to invoke God … to get the universe going.” Hawking is nearly totally paralyzed by motor neurone disease, diagnosed when he was 21. Hawking says he is not afraid of death, but adds: “I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.”