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Space Science

Talking Science and God With the Pope's New Chief Astronomer 269

sciencehabit writes: On 18 September, Pope Francis appointed Jesuit brother Guy Consolmagno as the new director of the Vatican Observatory, which employs a dozen astronomers to study asteroids, meteorites, extrasolar planets, stellar evolution, and cosmology. The observatory is based at the pope's summer residence south of Rome and operates a 1.8-meter telescope in Arizona, where the skies are clearer. Science Magazine chatted with Consolmagno about a variety of topics, including whether God gets in the way of doing good astronomy. Consolmagno said, "First of all, I want to provide space for other astronomers to do their work. And I also want to show the world that religion supports astronomy. It is often religious people who most need to see that; they need to know that astronomy is wonderful and that they shouldn't be afraid of it. I often quote John Paul II, when he said [of evolution] that "truth cannot contradict truth." If you think you already know everything about the world, you are not a good scientist, and if you think you know all there is to know about God, then your religious faith is at fault."
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Talking Science and God With the Pope's New Chief Astronomer

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  • Brother Guy rocks: (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hartree ( 191324 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @01:38AM (#50624671)

    In addition to now being the director of the Vatican Observatory, he's a scifi fan and a regular speaker at scifi cons on astronomy. Very enjoyable and very informative.

    He's a serious scientist who also is a Jesuit Brother. That's not a conflict for him.

    Here's more info at Wikipedia: Guy_Consolmagno []

    The Vatican Observatory also runs the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope on Mount Graham near Tuscon. Vatican_Advanced_Technology_Telescope []

    It's optimized for photometry so it's a good fit with Brother Guy's research on asteroids and other small objects in the solar system.

    • The Vatican Observatory also runs the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope on Mount Graham near Tuscon. Vatican_Advanced_Technology_Telescope

      God has been quiet for a while, they're just trying to figure out where he went.

    • When the Vatican built its observatory here, it ran smack into the advocates of real superstition: the flat-earth lobby, which used the identical set of arguments (native rights and endangered species) against putting telescopes on Mt. Graham that it is using now in Hawaii. The Arizona location was saved because around here native rights adhere to specific pieces of land, rather than being a claim on the state as a whole. Since Mt Graham is not on a reservation and nobody believed that squirrels - yes, squi

    • It doesn't have to be a conflict for ANYBODY.

      Don't buy into the lie that Dawkins, et al are selling that science and faith are ideologically opposite and utterly incompatible.

      In fact, we could use more people questioning why it's so important that these two things be narratively placed in opposition.

  • James Blish's After Such Knowledge [] series.

    The first volume, A Case Of Conscience, won not just one, but two Hugo awards.

    I recently discovered that these are once again in print. Awesome.

  • Is there a real stance on aliens from the Catholic Church other than "we don't know". How does the end of the world work out when there are other life forms? Does all of the universe end at once? What lies beyond the universe and does it escape this fate? It doesn't seem plausible that humans and ET live together on a bed of clouds and the more that we discover it seems that animals that we share this Earth with have more feelings and awareness than has been credited them. How is it then that humans hold do
  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @04:37AM (#50625319)

    " Arizona, where the skies are clearer."

    Also, the meth is cheaper, to stay awake at night.

  • They need to be asked 'which god' more often. Humanity has invented many. Fans of the abrahamic faiths like to pretend there has only ever been one on the table. Don't let them.
  • God doesn't exist. That's about it.

    Now, back to science so I can learn more about the world.

  • 148 comments, and no "almost fanatical devotion to the Pope"? This place is really going downhill...

    • by neminem ( 561346 )

      Well, they did say that "nobody expects" it... so what are you doing, going around expecting it for?

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM