Hawking vs the Pope

c: | f: /

In the blue corner we have the most powerful religious puppet on the face of the earth. In the red corner the most intelligent man on the planet with neuro-muscular dystrophy. Let the bun fight commence.

The typical media furore surrounding Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Britain this month has been hyped further with the (coincidental? Hmmm…) release of Professor Stephen Hawking’s book The Grand Design in which he purportedly denounces God.

The predictable stance of the mainstream media has been science vs religion. As usual that’s the na├»ve argument intended to deflect free thought and divide us as a people. As far as I can tell, nobody who sells news to us has yet recognised that science is a religion.

These two particular branches of faith are not mutually exclusive — I know at least one Father with a degree in physics, and I’m sure there are more. Where conventional religion relies on control, deity, myth, and a book of questionable origin, science has experiment, logic, reason and unprovable hypotheses. Both are guilty of relying on propaganda to further their own goals.

As faiths, neither is right and neither is wrong. Or they’re both right, depending on your viewpoint. The key thing is to recognise they have a different approach to so-called proof: Christianity (for example) cites miracles and defends words in a book, snubbing anyone who questions their authenticity. Science cites observations and challenges someone else to come up with a better argument — which they invariably do, amid much snubbery until the theory is more widely accepted.

Neither is proof, neither can claim ‘facts’ because so little is understood about the origins of this lump of rock we inhabit and the cosmic dust we swirl within. The quicker everyone realises that, chooses the best fit set of beliefs for their own life and stops fighting over who is right, the sooner we become empowered as individuals.

And who says Philosophy is dead? :-)

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