I was listening to the audiobook version of The Grand Design
by the brilliant Stephen Hawking in my car. Every once in a while I get an urge to know more about quantum physics. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen often, because pretty much every time, it goes right over my head. Even though Hawking made this accessible for ordinary people, my brain is not really wired for science. I did and appreciate the color illustrations in the book form.
And this story from Chapter 2, which is about the history of scientific theories, struck me funny:
“In 1277 Bishop Tempier of Paris, acting on the instructions of Pope John XXI, published a list of 219 errors or heresies that were to be condemned. Among the heresies was the idea that nature follows laws, because this conflicts with God’s omnipotence. Interestingly, Pope John was killed by the effects of the law of gravity a few months later when the roof of his palace fell in on him.”
I don’t know exactly why, but this made me laugh so hard, I had to pull over to the side of the road. If they had had Saturday Night Live back in 1277, for sure this would have prompted a comedy sketch. Read the rest of this entry