A strange request

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Richard Mullany
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A strange request

Post by Richard Mullany » Sat Jun 17, 2006 10:46 am

Thursday this week on CNN there was an item, running on the bottom of the screen, that reported that during a symposium on cosmology held at the Vatican recently the pope had an audience with Stephen Hawking.
In that meeting the pope asked Hawking and his fellow physicists to not deal with such topics as the origins of the universe during the meeting.
I was curious as to whether this news had any other coverage that anyone here was aware of.
My first reaction was that it couldn't be true but then I came to. I'd love to have heard Hawking reply.
Anyone know about this?

jbuck919
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Post by jbuck919 » Sat Jun 17, 2006 10:54 am

I believe you mean that Stephen Hawking had an audience with the pope, not the other way around, and I'm taking your word for it.

The current pope is lacking nothing in intellect (he is in fact extremely brilliant) and would not consider any scientific finding inconsistent with basic ideas about God based on faith. It is inconceivable that he would put the kabosh on any scientific study and he would in fact encourage everything in that direction. In case anyone does not know, the Vatican has its own observatory.

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Haydnseek
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Post by Haydnseek » Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:01 am

"The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be." - Raymond Chandler

Richard Mullany
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Post by Richard Mullany » Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:23 am

Thanks for the info. That practice of scrolling news bits minus any depth drives me crazy plus i find myself missing the program trying to follow them.

Gary
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Post by Gary » Sat Jun 17, 2006 8:08 pm

From Hawking’s A Brief History of Time:
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 not 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!
"Your idea of a donut-shaped universe intrigues me, Homer; I may have to steal it."

--Stephen Hawking makes guest appearance on The Simpsons

Richard Mullany
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Post by Richard Mullany » Sun Jun 18, 2006 4:19 pm

The only mystery remaining is why, after all the years since Hawkings book, CNN revives it as news.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Jun 18, 2006 5:05 pm

I don't think CNN was the one who revived it:

Friday, June 16, 2006 - 12:00 AM

Stephen Hawking says John Paul told him not to study beginning of universe

By MIN LEE
The Associated Press

HONG KONG — Famed physicist Stephen Hawking said Thursday that Pope John Paul II tried to discourage him and other scientists attending a cosmology conference at the Vatican from trying to figure out how the universe began.

The British scientist joked he was lucky the pope didn't realize he had already presented a paper at the gathering suggesting how the universe was created.

"I didn't fancy the thought of being handed over to the Inquisition like Galileo," Hawking said in a lecture to a sold-out audience at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. John Paul died in 2005; Hawking did not say when the Vatican meeting was held.

Galileo ran afoul of the Roman Catholic Church in the 17th century for supporting Copernicus' discovery that the Earth revolved around the sun. The church insisted the Earth was at the center of the universe.

In 1992, John Paul issued a declaration saying the church's denunciation of Galileo was an error resulting from "tragic mutual incomprehension."

Hawking said the pope told the scientists, "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."

The physicist, author of the best seller "A Brief History of Time," added that John Paul believed "God chose how the universe began for reasons we could not understand."

John Paul insisted faith and science could coexist. In 1996, in a message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, he said that Darwin's theories were sound as long as they took into account that creation was the work of God and that Darwin's theory of evolution was "more than a hypothesis."

But Hawking questioned whether an almighty power was needed to create the universe.

"Does it require a creator to decree how the universe began? Or is the initial state of the universe determined by a law of science?" he asked.

Hawking's groundbreaking research on black holes and the origins of the universe has made him one of the best-known theoretical physicists of his generation. He proposes that space and time have no beginning and no end.

The scientist uses a wheelchair and suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurological disorder. But he said people shouldn't let physical disabilities limit their ambitions.

"You can't afford to be disabled in spirit as well as physically," he said. "People won't have time for you."

Hawking must communicate using an electronic speech synthesizer, and he was asked why he used a voice with an American accent.

"The voice I use is a very old hardware speech synthesizer made in 1986," Hawking said. "I keep it because I have not heard a voice I like better and because I have identified with it."

But Hawking, 64, said he's shopping for a new system because the hardware is large and fragile. He also said it uses components that are no longer made.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/n ... ing16.html
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Gary
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Post by Gary » Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:22 pm

Richard Mullany wrote:The only mystery remaining is why, after all the years since Hawkings book, CNN revives it as news.
Hawking’s A Brief History of Time is one of those popular books that most people never finish reading. Apparently, the reporter of the article was among the majority of readers, if, in fact, he/she has read it at all. Therefore, old news has become new news.
"Your idea of a donut-shaped universe intrigues me, Homer; I may have to steal it."

--Stephen Hawking makes guest appearance on The Simpsons

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