Thursday, June 15, 2006

Hawking: John Paul weighed in on universe - Yahoo! News: "Hawking: John Paul weighed in on universe By MIN LEE, Associated Press Writer
58 minutes ago

HONG KONG - World-renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking said Thursday that the late Pope John Paul II once told scientists they should not study the beginning of the universe because it was the work of God.

Hawking, author of the best-seller 'A Brief History of Time,' said John Paul made the comments at a cosmology conference at the Vatican. He did not say when the meeting was held.
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.'
The scientist then joked that he was glad John Paul did not realize that he had presented a paper at the conference suggesting how the universe began.
'I didn't fancy the thought of being handed over to the Inquisition like Galileo,' Hawking said during a sold-out audience at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
The church condemned Galileo in the 17th century for supporting Nicholas Copernicus' discovery that the Earth revolved around the sun. Church teaching at the time placed Earth at the center of the universe.
But in 1992, Pope John Paul II issued a declaration saying the church's denunciation of Galileo was an error resulting from 'tragic mutual incomprehension.'
Hawking is one of the best-known theoretical physicists of his generation. He has done groundbreaking research on black holes and the origins of the universe, and he proposes that space and time have no beginning and no end.
During a question-and-answer session, Hawking "


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