I got a big bang out of this one
Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking is copping dozens of headlines with a cheap shot at Pope John Paul II.
As Hawking tells the story, the late Pope encouraged scientific study of the universe, but warned scientists that "we should not inquire into the beginning itself because that was the moment of creation and the work of God."
Does that sound like something Pope John Paul might have said? No. Is there any record of his having said anything like that? No.
Did Hawking cite the time and setting for the alleged statement? Well, yes; it was "a cosmology conference at the Vatican." Oh, really? A conference? Then other people heard the Pope's statement. How odd that nobody remembers it the way Hawking does.
Naturally Hawking followed up with a crack about how he didn't want to offend the Pope, for fear of being dragged before the Inquisition. Hohoho. What a funny guy.
But in fact he didn't face the Inquisition. Instead he faced the fawning mass media, whose editors are always ready to pass along any criticism-- however preposterous-- of the Holy See.
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