I got a big bang out of this one

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jun 15, 2006

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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  • Posted by: Fatimabeliever - Jun. 15, 2006 6:16 PM ET USA

    Normduke Thanks. Also, why not mention the story about two men on a train, one was saying the Rosary and the other was a young unknown scientist who had critized the older man for saying the Rosary When the older man reached his stop he handed him his card. As the younger man looked at the card, he was shocked because the card read, " Louis Pasteur." Perhaps, if more scientist followed Pasteur's example there would be numerous results and all for the good.

  • Posted by: a son of Mary - Jun. 15, 2006 5:32 PM ET USA

    RPP, what a perfect slam! I need to quote you on that. Thanks for your nicely rounded but barbed wit.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 15, 2006 2:39 PM ET USA

    In the teens of the last century there was great excitement over Einstein's field equations, but almost no one understood them. A journalist said to Arthur Eddington "It is said, Sir Arthur, that only 3 men in the world understand the Einstein theory." "Really?", said Sir Arthur. "Who's the other?" At this time the Big Bang was discovered. Not by Einstein, not by Eddington. By Georges Lemaitre. This was a great embarrassment to much of the physics community. Why? Lemaitre was a Catholic priest.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 15, 2006 1:33 PM ET USA

    This guy will be quoted forever and ever...

  • Posted by: rpp - Jun. 15, 2006 12:24 PM ET USA

    Stephen Hawking is a wonderful role-model and example for many people in many situations. As a former astronomer, I have great respect for his intellect. He has struggled with a terrible disability, he dropped out of college then swallowed his pride and returned. He is an example of steadfastness and determination. He has, for as long as I have known him always been a wonderful example that intelligence and wisdom are completely unrelated one another.