From Brian Gallagher at Nautilus:
Colbert, an idiosyncratic but sincere Catholic, was not really playing devil’s advocate when he challenged Gervais to an argument about the existence of God on his show. Gervais is outspoken about his disbelief and is fond of tweeting the reductio ad absurdum of various religious arguments, yet initially he seemed at a loss for how to deflect Colbert’s skepticism of the Big Bang.
Stephen Colbert: “You’re just believing Stephen Hawking, and that’s a matter of faith in his abilities. You don’t know it yourself—you’re just accepting that because someone told you.”
Ricky Gervais: “Well but science is constantly being proved all the time,” Gervais said. “If we take something like any holy book and any other fiction, and destroyed it, okay, in a thousand years time it wouldn’t come back just as it was. Whereas if we took every science book, right, and every fact, and destroyed them all, in a thousand years they’d all be back, because all the same tests would be the same result.”
Gallagher begs to differ.
As David Deutsch, an Oxford quantum physicist with an affinity for philosophy of science once said in his “Ingenious” interview with Nautilus, “If you see why the criticisms fail, then you can be comfortable—not that [the Big Bang theory] is true—but that the rival ideas that you might have entertained are false,” Deutsch says.
Deutsch calls this philosophy, much inspired by Karl Popper, “fallibilism.” All attempts to create knowledge, he says, “are subject to error.” We may never know when we’re right, but we can at least know when we’re not completely wrong. Science isn’t constantly being proved right, but it is failing to be shown inferior to any other way of understanding nature. More.
Strictly speaking, of course, life is never that simple. Most religious books could probably be replicated, if not in detail, then certainly in substance. People would have the same basic experiences and come to the same sets of conclusions. The exception is, of course, explicitly historical information. The same would be true of science works. They would not be replicated in detail because different experiments would be done, but the same general picture would be discovered.
Some call it reality.
See also: The Big Bang as a theory no one really wanted. Except nature maybe?
It is routine among naturalist atheists to hate the Big Bang, not so much among Catholics. See Big Bang exterminator wanted, will train
Pope Francis should not be addressing a nuanced subject like “the Big Bang” or “evolution,” especially in a time of ferment within those fields.