Sorry about my last post. I’ve been informed that it doesn’t make any sense. I still like it, though, so I’m not changing it. Instead, I’ll just offer my apologies to anyone whose IQ was lowered because of reading it, and I’ll try to give you a serious related post to try and make up some of those lost brain cells.

I’m not very far into Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time”, but I have noticed something about the way he explains some of the more controversial scientific ideas (such as the big bang). He never insults or discredits religious ideas because of scientific discovery. He is especially courteous and careful about it, trying to be clear that science does not discredit religion, but just adds new understanding.

Take the following excerpt for instance. Hawking has just explained that we can observe that the universe is expanding. From that we know that the universe was once closer together than it is now, and from that we can deduce that there was once a time when the universe was “all at exactly the same place”. Now the big bang (when the universe started expanding from being all in exactly the same place) is often treated as being at odds with the idea of divine creation, but Hawking doesn’t explain it that way at all.

One could still imagine that God created the universe at the instant of the big bang, or even afterwards in just such a way as to make it look as though there had been a big bang, but it would be meaningless to suppose that it was created before the big bang. An expanding universe does not preclude a creator, but it does place limits on when he might have carried out his job!

I’m very impressed that Hawking doesn’t try to say that the big bang discredits the creation, and even offers an explanation of how they can both be true.

One of the reasons that this is so thought-provoking to me is because I realize that the scientific community seems to be much more considerate of the religious community than we are of them. Hawking (himself an atheist) is very careful not to discredit the religious views of his readers, but it seems common to me that religious people are eager to discredit science as “just a theory” and to disbelieve the whole of scientific discovery rather than figure out how to reconcile their beliefs with the new knowledge that mankind is developing.