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Fraser
2009-Nov-11, 03:40 AM
Though it may seem an unlikely location to happen upon a conference on astrobiology, the Vatican recently held a "study week" of over 30 astronomers, biologists, geologists and religious leaders to discuss the question of the existence of extraterrestrials. This follows the statement made last year by the Pope's chief astronomer, Father Gabriel Funes, that [...]

More... (http://www.universetoday.com/2009/11/10/vatican-holds-conference-on-extraterrestrial-life/)

ravens_cry
2009-Nov-11, 07:20 AM
This is a delicate topic to discuss without bringing religion into it, but it seems to me that if God(s) did create the Universe, it could considered to be the height of arrogance to think that we are His/Her/Their only project in this vast universe we call home.
To quote the movie Contact, "If it is just us... seems like an awful waste of space."

GOURDHEAD
2009-Nov-11, 03:03 PM
To quote the movie Contact, "If it is just us... seems like an awful waste of space."Hey, the remainder is just for our entertainment including fireside chats.

If there were more than one God, it means the universe was designed by committee. No wonder we're having such a tough time figuring it out.

Argos
2009-Nov-11, 03:24 PM
If only we could trust their scientific intentions...

IsaacKuo
2009-Nov-11, 03:43 PM
Surely there has to be some flexibility on the "religion rule" if the discussion explicitly involves the Vatican.

The Narnia solution would be that Jesus also visited all other worlds in various forms appropriate to those worlds.

But what if he hadn't? What if we discover alien life forms and they have not yet been visited by Jesus the savior? That wouldn't be a religious crisis either; I'd expect it to be even less of a religious crisis than if they had. It would merely be like the way native american cultures had no Jesus figure. No Jesus figure? No problem! We're here to export our Jesus figure to you anyway!

But imagine the other situation--that aliens were visited by their own alien Jesus. That would lead to a lot of "debate" about whether the alien Jesus was the same Jesus as our own, and whose Pope has authority over the other...

swampyankee
2009-Nov-11, 04:04 PM
Given that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, it would be an arbitrary and strictly human restriction on His power to assume that He wouldn't have created extraterrestial life, and even extraterrestrial intelligent life.

The Vatican kind of gave up on arguing about factual discoveries a few years after the debacle with Galileo ;), which is why (for example) the teaching of evolution in Catholic schools doesn't incite anywhere near as much controversy as it does in secular schools in, say, Kansas.

I will agree that this is an intrinsically religious topic, and it will be impossible to comment upon it without some level of religious discussion. I would hope the moderators don't have a problem with it as long as the discussion remains civil.

Certainly, there has been a significant increase in serious scientific discussion about extraterrestrial life, and the Vatican is certainly as qualified to discuss the moral issues that would arise from the discovery of life in places other than Earth's ecosystem as is any other group, and likely more qualified than most.

GOURDHEAD
2009-Nov-11, 06:48 PM
Given that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, it would be an arbitrary and strictly human restriction on His power to assume that He wouldn't have created extraterrestial life, and even extraterrestrial intelligent life. Only if he wished it so; He may have reserved that task for us. He can get more diversity through our mistake making.

danscope
2009-Nov-11, 07:52 PM
And don't call us ' Shirley ' .

publiusr
2009-Nov-13, 10:01 PM
I think this is a good thing for the Vatican to do, what with many evangelicals claiming that any aliens would actually be demons to be shot on sight by some half-wit farmer.

Friends of the Vatican gave us the Summa Theologica. The most famous of American evangelicals, Jerry Falwell, on the other hand, talked about wicked teletubbies. Worse yet, C.S. Lewis put down spaceflight, though I still think his term for Venus--Perelandra--is still lovely.

Strange how it is always a philologist that makes contact in these early sci-fi attempts--from Lewis' character to Morbius in Forbidden Planet.

publiusr
2009-Nov-13, 10:04 PM
...the Pope's chief astronomer, Father Gabriel Funes
, his memory...

Fitting, a name from Borges...

trinitree88
2009-Nov-15, 03:52 PM
Given that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, it would be an arbitrary and strictly human restriction on His power to assume that He wouldn't have created extraterrestial life, and even extraterrestrial intelligent life.

The Vatican kind of gave up on arguing about factual discoveries a few years after the debacle with Galileo ;), which is why (for example) the teaching of evolution in Catholic schools doesn't incite anywhere near as much controversy as it does in secular schools in, say, Kansas.

I will agree that this is an intrinsically religious topic, and it will be impossible to comment upon it without some level of religious discussion. I would hope the moderators don't have a problem with it as long as the discussion remains civil.

Certainly, there has been a significant increase in serious scientific discussion about extraterrestrial life, and the Vatican is certainly as qualified to discuss the moral issues that would arise from the discovery of life in places other than Earth's ecosystem as is any other group, and likely more qualified than most.

swampy. Well put. They are being pretty pragmatic about a very controversial issue. pete

Lindon
2009-Nov-16, 07:21 PM
I read an opinion piece somewhere on the internet that speculated the reason behind the Vatican's position on this topic is to prepare their devout followers for the inevitable discovery that we are not alone in the universe. Like all good politicians, they see a looming crises and are laying the public relations groundwork to deal with it now. The article also speculated -- based on informed sources, if you can believe it -- that the looming crises is NOT the concern that we will discover microbes on Mars or Europa, but the near certainty of those tricky UFO aliens making their presence known to earthlings in a way that leaves no doubt or room for deniability.

On another note, my father is not Catholic but is devoutly religious. He denies firmly -vehemenently -- that life exists anywhere else in the universe, period. There are a lot of people like my father who's version of reality would simply come unhinged if even microbes were discovered, forget about the little green guy from Mars.

I've read several articles on this very interesting development. It's not a big leap in logic to speculate that the Catholic leadership knows something the rest of "the flock" do not know, and they are preparing their flock -- and perhaps by extension all humanity -- for future shock now.

Back from lunch, a little more:

I am trying to find the article originally published by Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, I believe, but have to actually get some work done today on the job. But as the story goes, Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes wrote an article on the possibility of our "extraterristrial brothers" which the Vatican reviewed and thought, hey, this looks like a good thing to publish and announce.

You have to wonder if it really happened that way, or if this is an orchestrated effort by the Vatican.

It is interesting to note in Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes' article, and write-ups on it, that he's focused on the likelihood of intelligent life. He calls them "brothers", and speculates that humanity may have been separated from their brothers long ago. He also speculates -- or philosophizes perhaps -- that humans are the lowest form of intelligent beings in the universe because we choose evil over righteousness. That's my memory from reading his article the first time, someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Just do a Google search on "Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes". I've been interested in this since it first hit the news, and that was a while back.

I graduated with a degree in Public Relations from a national leading univeristy in PR. For the Catholic Church to come out with this is HUGE, in my opinion. There is more to this announcement than meets the eye, also in my opinion.