Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Haw, Haw, Hawking

Stephen Hawking has told a crowd in Hong Kong that the late Pope, John Paul II, once told him and other cosmologists they should not study the beginning of the universe. He quotes the Pope:
It's OK to study the universe and where it began. But we should not inquire into the beginning itself because that was the moment of creation and the work of God.
It's hard to imagine that the Pope, who was a highly inquisitive and deeply faithful man, actually said that. I'm sure he was convinced that if Hawking & Co. had succeeded in their quest, they would have found God shining brightly at the end of the final equation.

Even harder to imagine is Hawking's quip:

The scientist then joked that he was glad John Paul did not realize that he had presented a paper at the conference suggesting how the universe began.

"I didn't fancy the thought of being handed over to the Inquisition like Galileo," Hawking said during a sold-out audience at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. (Fox News)

"Inquisition" is quite an overstatement. And besides, in 1992 the very same John Paul II apologized for the denunciation of Galileo.

Lesson: Smart guys are not necessarily good comedians or good historians.

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