Friday, January 13, 2006

Last Thursday

In Hawking's A Brief History of Time, he spends much of the time talking about the origin of the Universe, and the history of the thinking that has brought science to current theories. Along the way, he talks about Last Thursdayism. In Last Thursdayism, one believes that God created the Universe the way it looks now, in particular, it looks as if it were billions of years old, and you remember your childhood that you never had (unless you are a child currently). You never had a childhood, because, since you were created last Thursday, all of those memories were created by God.

Now, it can be argued that an Omnipotent God could certainly have created the Universe in this manner. And, this theory can never be disproven. In particular, since God is omnipotent and flawless, there will never be any evidence that God made some mistake, for example, in creating the fictitious past. One might question the motives of God, for example that she was impatient to enjoy the Universe of this moment, rather than wait the eons. One might speculate that God was too lazy to create the complete Universe, that creating a Universe that is just a light week in radius is easier, since the Universe will be recreated next Thursday, or something. These speculations could never be proven or disproven either.

Some would suggest that this theory implies a God that is devious. God created the Universe last Thursday, but with fossils and astronomical phenomenon that appear to be millions or billions of years old. Why would God invent a Universe that appears to evolve when it actually doesn't? Frankly, it strikes me as evil. Some would say that it isn't my place to judge God. But this isn't the kind of God I care to believe in. Its not the kind of God that I would find worthy of praise.

While Last Thursdayism is absurd, it isn't really different from Creationism, where some, at least, consider the Universe to be less than 10,000 years old. The same arguments apply. All of them.

Galileo told the Vatican that where the Bible contradicts common sense, it is generally understood that it should be interpreted as allegorical. It took the Catholic Church a long time to officially see this point, but it has happened. I find it very odd that it is factions of Protestantism, invented theologically because the Catholic Church was so slow in seeing reason, is the last bastion of stick in the mud theology. Martin Luther would not be pleased.

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