Saturday, July 08, 2006

Galileo J. Hawking?

Here's an interesting story I just got from eSkeptic, the online site of the Skeptics Society.

We've heard how the Catholic Church has come around, decided it's okay to believe in evolution, and even pardoned Galileo. (Although I think the previous Pope, JPII, tried to weasel out of true responsibility for the persecution of Galielo by claiming that it arose out of a tragedy of "mutual incomprehension". I don't for a second believe that there was any incomprehension, just the church's refusal to tolerate disagreement.)

Actually, that brings us up to the present, or close enough. It seems that Stephen J. Hawking, the renowned physicist, had occasion to meet JPII at a cosmology conference at the Vatican. On this occasion Hawking quoted the pope as saying, "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." Now most people wouldn't care too much about disturbing the superstitions of others but, as Hawking put it, "I didn't fancy the thought of being handed over to the Inquisition like Galileo," After all, these guys do have a track record.

Maybe we don't have to worry about Hawking being burned at the stake, wheelchair, electronic voicebox, and all. Still, it is emblematic of religions, and the monotheistic religions in particular, to be intolerant of disagreement, so when they tell you you shouldn't even be asking certain questions or trying to find out certain information, it should be chilling. After all, if you believe their story, Adam and Eve got kicked out of Paradise because they tried to know too much.

Nice guys!


Anonymous haley said...

Makes you realize just how cruel monotheistic religions can be. At the same time, it exhibits the power of a single idea, that with enough people who believe in it, some will be willing to kill for it.

July 11, 2006 10:56 AM  

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