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Thread: Vatican and Astronomy

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    Vatican and Astronomy

    So I have read up on the Vatican owning a telescope in Arizona. Which brings up questions. If Catholics do not believe in most science about creation then what is it’s real purpose. Is this location secluded to only Vatican members or can anyone visit it?

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    wikipedia

    The Vatican Observatory (Italian: Specola Vaticana) is an astronomical research and educational institution supported by the Holy See. Originally based in the Roman College of Rome, the Observatory is now headquartered in Castel Gandolfo, Italy and operates a telescope at the Mount Graham International Observatory in the United States.[1]

    The Director of the Observatory is Brother Guy Consolmagno, an American Jesuit. In 2008, the Templeton Prize was awarded to cosmologist Fr. Michał Heller, a Vatican Observatory Adjunct Scholar. In 2010, the George Van Biesbroeck Prize was awarded to former observatory director, the American Jesuit, Fr. George Coyne.[2]
    From independent.co.uk (2017)

    The Vatican has invited the world's leading scientists and cosmologists to try and understand the Big Bang.

    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 – which runs through the week – is part of an increasing admission by the church that scientific theories were real and not necessarily in contradiction with theological doctrine.
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    Visiting Mount Graham Observatory

    Curious about astronomy on Mount Graham? Do you wish to see the telescopes on Mount Graham!?

    Eastern Arizona College's Discovery Park Campus is the the official visitor's center for the telescopes on Mount Graham. They conduct weekend tours of the Mount Graham International Observatory. Weather permitting, the tours begin in mid-May and go through October. Because permits are required to enter the endangered red squirrel refugium, advance reservations are required.

    The tour features a trip up scenic Mount Graham, focusing on the mountain's rich geology, history, and diversity of life; a lunch near the summit of the mountain; and a guided tour of the observatories -- The Submillimeter Telescope, the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope, and the Large Binocular Telescope!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    So I have read up on the Vatican owning a telescope in Arizona. Which brings up questions. If Catholics do not believe in most science about creation then what is it’s real purpose. Is this location secluded to only Vatican members or can anyone visit it?
    The Vatican Observatory dates from the eighteenth century - Arizona is its third location. The present Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope is operated in association with the University of Arizona, so I would guess you don't actually need to be a Jesuit to get observing time.
    We need to be cautious to avoid the "no religion" rule here, but I think it's fair to say that "Catholics" are not necessarily opposed to the findings of modern cosmology. Lemaître, for instance, was a Jesuit-trained Catholic priest who was involved in the discovery that the Universe is expanding. And the Vatican Observatory hosted a conference entitled "Black Holes, Gravitational Waves and Spacetime Singularities" a couple of years ago, in part to dispel the idea that the Church was opposed to science.

    Grant Hutchison

    ETA: Swift managed to post twice while I was typing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinbad View Post
    So I have read up on the Vatican owning a telescope in Arizona. Which brings up questions. If Catholics do not believe in most science about creation then what is it’s real purpose. Is this location secluded to only Vatican members or can anyone visit it?
    The premise of your first question is false; Catholics probably believe in science in about the same proportion as non-believers. Incidentally, what does the term "Vatican members" mean? One can be a resident or citizen of the Vatican, which is a sovereign state, but it's not some sort of club of which one may be a "member." If you're referring to just wandering over and walking into the observatory, I really doubt you can do that with most working observatories.
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    Adherents to various faith groups are known to differ strongly from the declared official position of their faith leaders, when it comes to matters of "origin science" (ie, evolution and cosmology). At least, that's known to be so in the USA.
    Here's a link to The MIT Survey on Science, Religion and Origins: the Belief Gap (2013). It's not without its flaws, but it makes interesting reading, I think. Note that Catholicism is judged by the authors to have no conflict with accepted theories of origin science according to the declared precepts of the Church.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    The premise of your first question is false; Catholics probably believe in science in about the same proportion as non-believers.
    Yes, that's especially true, no doubt, for the vast majority of Catholics (and Protestants) with science degrees. Wiki's page for Guy Consolmagno (Dir.) notes that...

    He believes in the need for science and religion to work alongside one another rather than as competing ideologies. In 2006, he said, "Religion needs science to keep it away from superstition and keep it close to reality, to protect it from creationism..."
    [my bold]
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    Yes, that's especially true, no doubt, for the vast majority of Catholics (and Protestants) with science degrees. Wiki's page for Guy Consolmagno (Dir.) notes that...

    [my bold]
    Well, official Catholic doctrine has no conflict with modern science; evolution, "Big Bang," heliocentricism, plate tectonics, estimated age of the Earth and Universe, etc. do not conflict with any Catholic precepts. There may be individual believers who are creationists, geocentrists, or flat-earthers, but these are in conflict with official positions.


    If you walk into a Catholic high school, you will not find creationism or intelligent design in a science class.
    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Well, official Catholic doctrine has no conflict with modern science; evolution, "Big Bang," heliocentricism, plate tectonics, estimated age of the Earth and Universe, etc. do not conflict with any Catholic precepts.
    Yes, that's my opinion as well, but note that Guy goes the extra step to defend against creationism. That's kind-of an impressive position.

    If you walk into a Catholic high school, you will not find creationism or intelligent design in a science class.
    My experience is on the Baptist side of the fence, which is a little more interesting. There are a few that fall into the YE creationists camp but they rarely get much traction within most (not all) churches as the church is more about, as Galileo once said, "how to go to Heaven not how the heaven's go."

    [Added: I think Galileo was quoting Cesare Baronio.]
    Last edited by George; 2019-Aug-19 at 08:46 PM.
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  10. #10
    Under the category of well loved places you never return to, is this place which was named after the Jesuit Priest who got the originally observatory built in the '70s.
    http://www.ap.smu.ca/pr/bgo
    The last Jesuit at St. Mary's was an astronomer he passed a number of years ago. I think nowadays it is pretty much a personal beliefs that determine what you think the age of the universe, life in the universe and such, depending on the church a person belongs to.
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    The Catholic church has been using astronomical calculations for Easter for nearly 2 millennia and the Vatican library holds the earliest written astronomical records in the western world. It would be a valuable resource for research purposes.

    http://astroblog.cosmobc.com/2016/12...ans-treasures/
    The Vatican has partnered with the European Space Agency (ESA) to preserve religious and cultural manuscripts, documents and books.

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