. . . We see the Universe as we do, regardless of whether our perception of it is objectively correct. But for the purposes of science, these are untestable propositions, so science rightly dismisses them. That is to say, it puts them aside, and declares them ‘unscientific’. A scientific concept is understood today as being one that is ‘falsifiable’: something that the right experiment could theoretically disprove (even if the experiment can’t yet physically be carried out). The notion that God might have created the Universe in its full present-day majesty in just the last ten minutes could not ever be disproved through experiment; so it is unscientific, and science does not – and should not – consider it. If we hypothesise that there is a ‘Heaven’ realm, where souls (the entities that perceive) go after the body dies, then it need not be a physical place within the reach of our instruments. Our instruments, our science, cannot then tell the difference between a Heaven that exists in an undetectable state and a Heaven that doesn’t exist. Therefore, Heaven is an unscientific concept, and one on which science can – or should – offer no legitimate, empirical opinion.
No-one doubts that the Shroud of Turin exists; nor that it has a face imprinted on it. But whose face is it? Those who believe that a man born of Jewish stock in Roman Judaea would have been a white European male might well argue that it is the face of Jesus, and that this proves Christianity. But the actual evidence can go only as far as showing us that there is a shroud, and that it carries the image of a face. Oh, and that it dates to somewhere around the eleventh century. Beyond that, all is speculation.
Eleventh century? I’m surprised after reading your section on nitpicking. Not even the skeptics say eleventh century.
Full post: Professor Hawking on Heaven « The Wild Road