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Space Science

The Vatican Invites World's Leading Scientists To Discuss Cosmology (independent.co.uk) 305

In 2014, Pope Francis declared that God is not "a magician with a magic wand" and that evolution and the Big Bang theory are real. Now, the Vatican has sent an invitation to the world's leading scientists and cosmologists to try and understand the Big Bang. The Independent reports: Astrophysicists and other experts will attend the Vatican Observatory to discuss black holes, gravitational waves and space-time singularities as it honors the late Jesuit cosmologist considered one of the fathers of the idea that the universe began with a gigantic explosion. The conference honoring Monsignor George Lemaitre is being held at the Vatican Observatory, founded by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 to help correct the notion that the Roman Catholic Church was hostile to science. In 1927, Lemaitre was the first to explain that the receding of distant galaxies was the result of the expansion of the universe, a result he obtained by solving equations of Einstein's theory of general relativity. Lemaitre's theory was known as the "primeval atom," but it is more commonly known today as the big-bang theory. The head of the Vatican Observatory, Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, says Lemaitre's research proves that you can believe in God and the big-bang theory.

The Vatican Invites World's Leading Scientists To Discuss Cosmology

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @11:38PM (#54389831)

    If you're going to be Christian and don't want to be a retard, Catholicism is where it's at.

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @11:59PM (#54389941)
      So long as you don't use a condom. But touching little boys is ok.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 10, 2017 @01:58AM (#54390333)

        So long as you don't use a condom. But touching little boys is ok.

        The main reason that there is so much pedophilia in Catholicism is because the Catholic church has created its own traditions which go against the teachings of the Bible. They do not allow priests or the pope to get married, yet Peter, the guy they claim to be the first pope was married. An example of one such passage that is ignored by the church is 1 Corinthians 7:

        "Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband."

        and

        "But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion."

        If the Catholic church allowed its priests to follow the teachings of these scriptures there would be far less sexual immorality and abuse in the church.

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2017 @12:06AM (#54389969)

      The Catholics accept that nearly every falsifiable statement in the Bible is wrong, but still demand that you accept the other stuff on faith. How is that not retarded?

      • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2017 @12:12AM (#54389993) Journal

        How is that not retarded?

        Take a look at their bank accounts and other holdings.

        • Take a look at their bank accounts and other holdings.

          That just means they are talented at scamming the credulous and are huge hypocrites. Take one look at Vatican City if you need proof that of their hypocrisy about "helping the poor". They are only interested in finding new angles to take advantage of people.

          The church wanting to "talk" about cosmology is a waste of everyone's time because they have nothing useful to add to the discussion. Their idea of cosmology ends with the writings of primitive men who died thousands of years ago. The only interest t

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            I am not a Catholic and do disagree with some of their beliefs. I do not take the Bible literally or any other religious document, and I concentrate more on the moral and ethical teachings of religions instead of the god concepts. And there is no doubt that the Catholic Church can be criticized for how they spend some of their money. On the other hand, in many communities Catholic Charities provide much needed help to the poor. Often a sizable majority of the people needing help in the U.S. are not Catholic

        • How is that not retarded?

          Take a look at their bank accounts and other holdings.

          Nothing like using religion to validate that Greed is Good.

          Gee, isn't that refreshing...

      • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2017 @12:18AM (#54390021) Journal

        I wouldn't quite put it that way. I'd say rather that the Church's official doctrine doesn't explicitly bind itself to any particular scientific theory, viewing science as simply another kind of revelation, another kind of truth, apart from Scripture, and that both cannot be wrong. Therefore, if there is an apparent conflict between science and scriptural interpretation, the fault is with the interpreter.

        That being said, one can still be a Catholic in good standing and reject evolution, the Big Bang and other scientific theories that are viewed by the scientific community as being confirmed and as true as anything can be in science (keeping in mind science's fundamentally provisional nature). I do believe that Sola Scriptura is considered, if not heretical, then at least theologically unsound. You aren't going to get excommunicated for being a Creationist

        • by Empiric ( 675968 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2017 @12:53AM (#54390187)
          Similarly, on the Protestant side, Sola Fide and, particularly, John 3:16 within Sola Scriptura makes one's stance on creationism versus evolution not a criterion for salvation.
        • Curious how they interpret genesis then. If the big bang theory is accurate, then a god simply cannot have created the universe. It all comes down to relativity: If the universe started as a single dimensionless point, then the gravity would have been so strong that time didn't exist. If time didn't exist, then there was no time for a god to create the universe.

          I suppose that one could argue that a god created "the heavens and the earth" after the fact, with heavens referring to places immediately visible t

          • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2017 @02:22AM (#54390439)

            If time didn't exist, then there was no time for a god to create the universe.

            Does a God need it?
            You (and the creationist idiots for different reasons) are looking at things the wrong way IMHO. As I see it science and religion are orthogonal unless it's dumbed down Christianity-Lite that sees science as a direct threat to it's very financial business model.
            Mendel was quite happy working out a few things about genetics as well as being a monk, they didn't conflict. In geology four out of the five that disproved the "Noah's flood" theory of fossils were ordained. They didn't have so narrow an idea of religion that reality could get in the way.

            • As I see it science and religion are orthogonal unless it's dumbed down Christianity-Lite that sees science as a direct threat to it's very financial business model.

              They are not orthogonal unfortunately because for religions to work they have to manipulate how people think. Science is really nothing more than a rigorous method of thinking and it routinely comes into conflict with religions on this point. Islam, Christianity and the rest are also methods of thinking primarily used to control people by received "wisdom". To accomplish this they insist that followers believe certain tenets which are routinely in direct conflict with scientific methods, objective eviden

              • by dbIII ( 701233 )
                You have a point but not really about the topic at hand. Christianity-lite has a lot to answer for. The topic here is the Vatican so perhaps you should consider it from that perspective and not what the lay preacher on your radio asking for cash is going on about. Science threatens the business model of the latter which is why they have attacked geology, biology and now any science related to climate.
                It kind of make sense with a bunch that started off by claiming that the San Francisco earthquake was an
          • by getuid() ( 1305889 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2017 @02:22AM (#54390441) Homepage

            Simple. Genesis is a creation myth invented few thousands years ago around a camp fire. The idea was not to answer the question "what's truth", but to convey the meaning of "how we're all in this together and why should look after one another."

            The myth, BTW, was likely put together from several (at least 3) stories that circulated orally between nomad tribes in the middle east. At that time, each tribe was having its own "one true God" - a contrast to the polytheistic ideologies of the time, formed simply from the necessity of not being able to carry around many artefacts for several gods around when you're nomad. Eventually the families (of Israel) evolved into all worshipping the *same* "one true God" - Jahwe, the god of the old testament.

            God image and perception changes from the forefather tribes of Israel, to BC-Israel people (old testament), to Jesus / AD humanity (new testament).

            That's essentially the official teaching stance of the Catholic church. (Source: 8 years of highschool religion lessons in Bavaria, under several catholic priests.)

            Why on earth anyone would try to interpret the bible lierally, in 2017, is beyond me - let alone mistake it for a physics book. But then again, stranger things do happen in the US education system...

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Simple. Genesis is a creation myth invented few thousands years ago around a camp fire. The idea was not to answer the question "what's truth", but to convey the meaning of "how we're all in this together and why should look after one another."

              The myth, BTW, was likely put together from several (at least 3) stories that circulated orally between nomad tribes in the middle east. At that time, each tribe was having its own "one true God" - a contrast to the polytheistic ideologies of the time, formed simply from the necessity of not being able to carry around many artefacts for several gods around when you're nomad. Eventually the families (of Israel) evolved into all worshipping the *same* "one true God" - Jahwe, the god of the old testament.

              God image and perception changes from the forefather tribes of Israel, to BC-Israel people (old testament), to Jesus / AD humanity (new testament).

              That's essentially the official teaching stance of the Catholic church. (Source: 8 years of highschool religion lessons in Bavaria, under several catholic priests.)

              Why on earth anyone would try to interpret the bible lierally, in 2017, is beyond me - let alone mistake it for a physics book. But then again, stranger things do happen in the US education system...

              Organized religion has always been used as a tool to control and manipulate the masses, which continues to be demonstrated thousands of years later. A man may find himself incapable of killing another man, but give him a God, and he suddenly validates bloodshed defending a belief system.

              Why anyone would not understand this, in 2017, is beyond me.

              • Political ideologies have been used to the same end. Use of such social levers to accomplish vile things is hardly unique to religion, and whether you're killing in the name of Yahweh or Marx, the use of such symbols and imagined authority are symptoms of tribalism.

            • At that time, each tribe was having its own "one true God"

              I don't think we have any reason to believe that the tribes of Israel believed in just one god at that time - there are indications, as far as I remember, of them admitting to the existence of other gods; the ten commandments start with 'you must not have other gods ...' or something to that effect, which rather implies that although there were other gods, Yahwe would not tolerate playing second fiddle. Theology later retrofitted the monotheistic view onto the story. I think this is more plausible than imag

              • The evolution of monotheism is an interesting subject, and indeed, the early Hebrew tribes were simply a group of Canaanites who originally took on Yahweh as their main deity, while still accepting the existence of other gods (traces of this can be seen in Genesis 1:26 "Let us make man in *our* image...", and indeed the mention of Elohim in Genesis is an indication that the original creation myth was born out of an either polytheistic or henotheistic phase.

          • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2017 @02:28AM (#54390455) Journal

            I heard a quantum astro physicist speak on this recently. It was interesting that what he said the requirements for the big bang would be just happened to match up to some things outside of physics.

            You mentioned:
            > It all comes down to relativity: If the universe started as a single dimensionless point, then the gravity would have been so strong that time didn't exist. If time didn't exist

            If time didn't exist within that point, if the gravity was so strong nothing could escape, then *nothing* could happen, within a basic understanding of relatively. For anything to happen, for the big bang to happen, you need either something outside pf physics (something meta-physical) or certain laws of quantum physics must be present in a very particular way.

            Biblically, when God is asked who he is, the answer is basically "I am what it timeless" or "I am what has always been and always will be" (English doesn't have exactly the right words because we give several meanings to the word "is/am" Spanish comes closer with es vs esta). Also "I am the truth". So God states he is, essentially, timeless truth. Whatever has always been true, that's God.

            And the physicists say that *before* the big bang can happen, quantum physics must *already* be true. Quantum physics must be timeless truth in order to get the big bang, or else the big bang has to be caused by something beyond physics, something meta-physical.

            Therefore reading the plain words, the laws pf physics are timeless truth that must have existed before the big bang, and that's what God is - timeless truth that existed before the big bang. The founders of the US would then have been correct to call the laws of nature the laws of God, acts of nature are called acts of God. They are one and the same. They are timeless truth.

            • by getuid() ( 1305889 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2017 @04:00AM (#54390661) Homepage

              Highly interesting (I'm a physicist myself, versed in quantum mechanics, but I don't know jack about cosmology and big bang besides from what I've heard on discovery channel...).

              But you shouldn't start looking for God where the physics fails -- that's a recipe for misunderstanding. Essentially, that's what everyone before already did: ancient times looked for god in nature catastrophes and anomalies, middle ages looked for him in the stars and (by today's standards) simple chemistry, and now we're looking for him at the inception of big bang or in "quantum physics" -- in other words, always at the boundary of our scientific understanding. The concept failed before, and it will fail us, as our understanding of the world inevitably advances. (I'm shamelessly assuming that one day we'll understand how the universe holds together, physically... ;-) ).

              Don't mix god and science. God is not there to fill the gaps in physics books. It's the humanistic side of things rather than the scientific, he's there to help us understand the "why" rather than the "how." Every time God or religion appears to meddling with scientific education, it's because somebody's not asking the right question.

              Religion and science go together wonderfully as long as the other doesn't try to diletantly invade the domain of the other. (BTW, this view is not new in the Catholic church, I've learned this in religion classes since the 6th grade. It's just that the current pope is now being explicitly clear about it. And judging by the number of misunderstandings that bubble to the surface I'd say it was about f#@%$ing time, too.)

              • Religion and science go together wonderfully as long as the other doesn't try to diletantly invade the domain of the other.

                They do not go together wonderfully because religion cannot help but attempt to instruct people about the world around them. There is no way to entirely separate the claims religion makes regarding the material world around us and the human experience from those that science makes. This is why religion continues to try to limit scientific thinking because it reduces the ability of organized religions to dole out made up explanations for how the world works. Their "business model" depends on it. The prob

              • by Evtim ( 1022085 )

                And yet, science can actually give an answer to some of the "why" questions or at least attempt an answer - to me 5% truth is still better than 0% which is offered by religious answers.

                For instance "why do we die?" - because unchanging organisms in a forever changing environment cannot adapt. You need death to promote life in this Universe we live in. Even the "eternal" microorganisms change when cloning so after a time it is not the same organism; the previous version disappeared [i.e. died].

                "Why are we he

              • Don't mix god and science.

                I completely disagree with this statement. To understand science is to understand God.

                God is not there to fill the gaps in physics books.

                God is not only in the gaps of the physics book, but everywhere else in that book as well. The laws of physics are God's creation, both the ones we know and the ones we have yet to discover.

            • If time didn't exist within that point, if the gravity was so strong nothing could escape, then *nothing* could happen, within a basic understanding of relatively. For anything to happen, for the big bang to happen, you need either something outside pf physics (something meta-physical) or certain laws of quantum physics must be present in a very particular way.

              Sigh... Just because you don't understand the physics of something doesn't mean that you need to invoke a deity to explain it. You are thinking of the big bang like a conventional explosion. It isn't. This is well trodden ground by physicists and no meta-physics is required.

              Biblically, when God is asked who he is, the answer is basically "I am what it timeless" or "I am what has always been and always will be" (English doesn't have exactly the right words because we give several meanings to the word "is/am" Spanish comes closer with es vs esta). Also "I am the truth". So God states he is, essentially, timeless truth. Whatever has always been true, that's God.

              So you are making a god of the gaps [wikipedia.org] argument. Whatever we cannot explain currently must be god. Curious how "truth" from religions only seems to come in the form of 2000 year old holy books full of preposterous stories.

              And the physicists say that *before* the big bang can happen, quantum physics must *already* be true.

              No physicist

          • If time didn't exist, then there was no time for a god to create the universe.

            Deities have to be timeless - at least I won't settle for anything less. If an entity has apparent super powers, but is still subject to the passage of time (and thereby to the second law of thermodynamics), it is merely technologically more advanced.

            Time, to a deity, has as much meaning as page numbers in a book. Or CPU clock cycles to a programmer who is able to observe, preserve and set every single state of the machine, t

          • Curious how they interpret genesis then. If the big bang theory is accurate, then a god simply cannot have created the universe. It all comes down to relativity: If the universe started as a single dimensionless point, then the gravity would have been so strong that time didn't exist. If time didn't exist, then there was no time for a god to create the universe.

            It is unlikely that the big bang presents any sort of theological problem for the church. The theory was put forward by a Catholic priest teaching at a Catholic university after all.

            Keep in mind that communications between two parties needs to be a least common denominator sort of thing. An all powerful God has to use concepts that humans can understand. The pre-scientific farmers and shepherds of the bible's day needed something a bit simplified compared to a modern astrophysicist. Perhaps if God were t

        • Evolution and theory of origin of species are related but significantly different statements about two different things.

          Evolution is an experimental observation of biological organisms changing in generations.

          Theory of origin of species uses this observation to claim universality of evolution and that it can explain all diversity of current species by deriving it from a single primordial organism.

          Evolution is an undisputable fact, while theory of origin of species is not even a scientific theory. It fails P

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by quenda ( 644621 )

      If you're going to be Christian and don't want to be a retard, Catholicism is where it's at.

      Anglican (Church of England) is better. Only a minority of self-described Anglicans believe in God.
      Even some of their priests openly doubt the existence of God, or Jesus as a literal truth.

    • by Boronx ( 228853 )

      This is only a relative statement. The Catholic church finally acknowledged Darwin a couple of decades ago, and still hasn't come to terms with him. For instance, man isn't fallen creature in need of redemption, but an uplifted one.

      Their acknowledgement puts them ahead of the least intellectual protestant branches, and the Muslims, the world's two worst religions, and that's about it.

      • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

        Evolution does not rate various species. It says nothing about whether man is damned or uplifted.

    • If you're going to be Christian and don't want to be a retard, Catholicism is where it's at.

      But if you accept the Big Bang Theory and Evolution, you presumably have to accept that the first few books of the Bible aren't literally true, which means that the whole Christian belief system is built on sand.

    • Personally I find the word "retard" a bit offensive, as I had a brother with Down's syndrome who really was a retard. So instead of that word, let's be more specific and less pejorative.

      In order to judge either the ethics of belief or the quantitative quality of belief, one needs an ordinal system of ranking belief(s) and belief systems. These need not be complex -- they can be as simple as: "It is best to believe the most that which you can doubt the least, given the evidence and the (Bayesian) network

  • by kamapuaa ( 555446 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @11:52PM (#54389909) Homepage

    Now that the Pope has lured them in, he should put them all on trial for heresy.

  • Sadly, the US Catholic church is mired in the 15th century.
  • by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2017 @12:19AM (#54390023) Journal
    Just give the Universe ID a GUID, Then, how you label the "was_created_by" field can then change at will, without affecting the fact that it IS.

    Notice, it is an ID, not necessarily a UniqueID... "This is my universe. There are many like it, but this one is mine. It is my life."
  • Is it anything like this one?
    http://www.hwdyk.com/q/images/... [hwdyk.com]

  • I just figured it out why the Pope has been so progressive: it's all been a lure for this moment! You see, when they arrive in the Vatican, the world's most prominent cosmologists will be put on trial for heresy. It's too bad this warning won't reach them in time because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! ;)

    • I just figured it out why the Pope has been so progressive: it's all been a lure for this moment! You see, when they arrive in the Vatican, the world's most prominent cosmologists will be put on trial for heresy. It's too bad this warning won't reach them in time because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! ;)

      "It's a trap" my fist thought. Nobody knows what happened till 378,000 years after the Big Bang. That's when the cosmic microwave background radiation is dated to. Earlier is most agreed upon scenario.

  • The head of the Vatican Observatory, Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, says Lemaitre's research proves that you can believe in God and the big-bang theory.

    It sounds like Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno is experiencing some cognitive dissonance. He has to believe in God to keep his job, but he has to also believe in the Big Bang theory to be a real astronomer.

    I imagine it's a pretty sweet gig, but there are other jobs out there.

    • by skam240 ( 789197 )

      God couldnt use the Big Bang to create the universe?

      Quite a lot of Catholics and pretty much all Jesuits take a lot of the bible as metaphor. The big bang or evolution isnt incompatible to the faith for these people.

      • Only if you want to be abstract. I can create a Big Bang and then be "God" of that universe. But I wouldn't exist in the same space-time and I certainly wouldn't be impregnating a woman from a particular planet 14B years later or answering prayers. These are things that Catholics are required to believe.
        • by skam240 ( 789197 )

          Well no one really cares what you would do so your points are irrelevant.

        • by skam240 ( 789197 )

          Also, God is inherently abstract. If something has the power to create the universe a human most certainly cant conceptualize it.

          • Exactly. Maybe the creator makes universes every day and just tosses them in a sock drawer. There are infinite possible scenarios which means a Catholic world-view is infinitely unlikely.
      • God couldnt use the Big Bang to create the universe?

        Quite a lot of Catholics and pretty much all Jesuits take a lot of the bible as metaphor. The big bang or evolution isnt incompatible to the faith for these people.

        The trouble is that once you start to say that parts A and B of the Bible are metaphors it becomes unconvincing to say that parts C and D are divinely revealed truth.

  • Of course it is real. You need to be a complete idiot to deny that such a theory exists.

  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2017 @06:21AM (#54390995)

    The Vatican has maintained an astronomy office since 1774: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] .

    In 1993 the Vatican Observatory saw first light on one of the world's premier large telescopes on Mt. Graham in Arizona (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatican_Advanced_Technology_Telescope), a project which was almost killed off by the same Greens who are trying to prevent the Thirty Meter Telescope in Hawaii from being built, on the same excuse of "sacred to my people" that is being used now in Hawaii.

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