No design in our universe
Religious believers have long seen evidence of a designer in the complexity of the natural world and the apparent fine tuning of the universe.
That notion was shaken by Charles Darwin, who demonstrated that evolution by natural selection accounted fully for the origin of species.
And now the most famous British physicist since Isaac Newton is suggesting how the universe could likewise have come into being from nothing without any need for supernatural intervention.
Stephen Hawking's book The Grand Design, co-written by Leonard Mlodinow, the American physicist, suggests the big bang was the inevitable consequence of the laws of physics and that it is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and start the universe.
Professor Hawking states that the first blow was the confirmed observation in 1992 of a planet orbiting a star other than our sun.
"That makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions -- the single sun, the lucky combination of Earth, sun distance and solar mass -- far less remarkable, and far less compelling as evidence that the Earth was carefully designed, just to please human beings. Not only other planets, but whole other universes, known collectively as the multiverse, are likely to exist."
Professor Hawking said there was a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which was based on observation and reason.
No wonder religious preachers could never answer my queries as to who created God, what He looks like or what He was doing before He created the universe.
Gordon Cunningham, Donaghmede, Dublin 13