[extropy-chat] Re: Religion: Subject Change! How can you Trust

Major extropy at audry2.com
Wed Feb 11 21:14:38 UTC 2004

Alfio Puglisi <puglisi at arcetri.astro.it> wrote:

> I read somewhere some years ago that, in a meeting with some scientists,
> the Pope pretty much acknowledged the Big Bang as the creation, and that
> studying the Universe using science from that moment on was OK. Sorry, but
> I don't have specific references.

Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, 115-116:

| Throughout the 1970s I had been mainly studying black holes, but in
| 1981 my interest in questions about the origin and fate of the
| universe was reawakened when I attended a conference on cosmology
| organized by the Jesuits in the Vatican. The Catholic Church had made
| a bad mistake with Galileo when it tried to lay down the law on a
| question of science, declaring that the sun went round the earth. Now,
| centuries later, it had decided to invite a number of experts to
| advise it on cosmology. At the end of the conference the participants
| were granted an audience with the pope. He told us that it was all
| right to study the evolution of the universe after the big bang, but
| we should not inquire into the big bang itself because that was the
| moment of Creation and therefore the work of God. I was glad then that
| he did know the subject of the talk I had just given at the
| conference, the possibility that space-time was finite but had no
| boundary, which means that it had no beginning, no moment of
| Creation. I had no desire to share the fate of Galileo, with whom I
| feel a strong sense of identity, partly because of the coincidence
| of having been born exactly 300 years after his death!


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