In honor of Stephen Hawking, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh spent part of his show yesterday casting doubt on one of the ideas Hawking dedicated his life to understanding: The Big Bang.
Limbaugh basically argued that because he couldn’t understand it, it must be some sort of conspiracy.
… I’ll admit I’m just a college dropout radio guy, okay? I’m not a professional physicist. I’m not a professional scientist. I do not own a lab coat, white or light blue. So they tell me that the Big Bang is where everything began. Hawking says it’s the Big Bang and we’re still expanding.
Okay, the Big Bang. There was this whatever-size — call it a golf ball-, tennis ball-size of matter that banged and we’re all here. Where was it? Where was this glob of matter that banged that created the universe? Where was it? No, no, no. You can’t say, “It was in the void.” You can’t say it was in another dimension, parallel or otherwise, astral plane. It had to be somewhere. Where was it? What was around it? Could you see it? Could somebody see this golf-ball-size bit of energy if they were not part of that? Could you be somewhere and see it? Could you be somewhere and witness this Big Bang instead of being a part of it? If so, where were you? Well, since nobody could see it, how the hell do they know it really happened? But I’m not supposed to ask that.
That’s the sort of academic rigor that makes Creationist Ken Ham look smart. Limbaugh’s “Where were you?” is the equivalent of Ham’s “Were you there?” And the response to both is identical: Just because there were no witnesses at the time doesn’t mean we can’t piece together what happened using the overwhelming amount of evidence available to us.
(By the way, no one saw God creating the heavens and the earth either. Just sayin’.)
And as to that last line about not being able to ask these questions, Limbaugh is always welcome to ask. What he doesn’t understand is that scientists have answered them. To the best of their abilities, we have answers.
Someone with a popular radio show could even ask an astrophysicist to come on air to explain it if he were so inclined.
But this is what conservative Christians do when it comes to science. They pose questions that seem difficult, claim scientists don’t know the answers either (without ever asking them directly), then just to the conclusion that God did it.
It’s a celebration of ignorance, which is nothing unusual for Limbaugh, and it’s particularly sad in this case because that’s what Hawking spent his life trying to fight.