Dark matter theorist Rolf-Dieter Heuer, CERN director since 2009, told The European, , that “We Are Crossing the Boundary Between Knowledge and Belief” (17.05.2011), but just what that means is unclear, as is who the “we” are in this case:
The European: Can something as vast and as complex as the universe ever be reduced to the scope of human mental capacities, or are there natural limits to what we can know?Heuer: That is a difficult question. Every time we discover something, we open the door to new knowledge but find new sets of questions that are more complex and dig deeper into the subject. So there is no real limit, the process of discovery never stops. Maybe the time to answer these questions, i.e. to open these new doors, will increase, but eventually we will be able to open them.
[ … ]
The European: Do you think it is conceivable that we will eventually learn something about before the Big Bang?
Heuer: I doubt it.
The European: How do you make sense of that paradox? You want to expand the realm of knowledge but at some point, there is a definite boundary that you cannot cross. Do you simply have to accept the fact that nothing was prior to the Big Bang?
Heuer: I wasn’t saying there was nothing, I am saying that we don’t know anything about what was before – if there was a before. But here we are crossing the boundary between knowledge and belief. I think many famous scientists have struggled with this question and people today also struggle with it.
The interviewer tries frequently to get Heuer to take the bait of talking about science as rational and provable and religion as irrational and unprovable; Heuer is too smart to take the bait, and interviewer Martin Eiermann should probably have found a dumber interview subject.
Curiously, several non-ID and non-theist contributors to The Nature of Nature rtake for granted not only that they can know what lies behind and outside the Big Bang but its general nature and significance. See, for example, Nobelist Steven Weinberg ‘s “Living in the multiverse” and Alan Guth’s “Eternal inflation and its implications”. See also Bruce Gordon’s rebuttal, “Balloons on a string.”
Some wonder what is it about ID and theism that makes people care a lot about evidence.