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Vatican Astronomer on the Colbert Report

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The curator of meteorites at the Vatican, Guy Consolmagno, SJ was on the Colbert Report Tuesday to talk about the existence of extraterrestrials with Colbert. Consolmagno is author of a book about astronomy and its relation to the Catholic faith. Of course, Colbert handled the discussion in his own tongue-in-cheek joking manner, but Consolmagno was a good sport. This is just another in a series of public media events illustrating the Vatican’s position on the possibility of alien existence.

The Pope’s chief astronomer, Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, announced last May that belief in the existence of extraterrestrial life is not in conflict with faith in God. Last month, the Vatican held a 6-day international conference to examine the likelihood of finding extraterrestrials, and discussing the impact such a finding would have on faith in God. During the conference, many scientists presented on the scientific evidence available on the possibility that aliens exist.

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  • tacitus December 3, 2009, 1:35 PM

    Am I the only one who thinks this Colbert completly not funny and a terrible interviewer?

    Probably. Much of the humor of the interview is predicated on the fact that Colbert is taking exactly the position that many right-wing Christians take. I have had debates on religious message boards where these people say exactly the same thing as Colbert does. I can understand that you might not find him funny if you are either not familiar with right-wing politics in the US or sympathetic towards right-wing politics, but I find Colbert to be a constant source of amusement. I was very skeptical when the show first started that he could keep it up, but if anything, he has improved over the last few years and I now find I prefer his show to The Daily Show from which his spawned.

    interestingly enough Colbert is a practicing Catholic himself and teaches Sunday School at his local church.

  • Savino December 3, 2009, 12:27 PM

    Am I the only one who thinks this Colbert completly not funny and a terrible interviewer?

    Geez, the interview with Seth Shoastak was terrible and this one wasnt better.

  • astrofizix December 3, 2009, 12:38 PM

    I agree to some degree Savino, he does tend to take the comedy aspect of his show to the extreme, especially when interviewing such intellectuals as the vatican astronomer. But that’s why it’s on Comedy Central and not CNN. However it is nice to see the church taking some initiative. It seems they are coming to realize that they’re ancient ideals are crumbling under the power of science. It was only a matter of time.

  • Savino December 3, 2009, 2:33 PM

    @Tacitus:
    My point isnt about the Priest or religion, is all about this Colbert.

    I really think he isnt funny at all, look at John Stewart, he, at least, make me laugh a little. He is way much clever and sarcastic than this colbert guy, IMO!

  • Mike Jackson December 3, 2009, 3:43 PM

    ” It seems they are coming to realize that they’re ancient ideals are crumbling under the power of science.”

    I’m pretty sure that vast majority of the human population had the same “ancient ideal” that we are unique in the universe. Certainly all major religions.

    Just taking a shot?

  • Dave24 December 3, 2009, 3:56 PM

    The Vatican is trying to hedge its bets should we discover alien life. It’s trying to maintain a monopoly on life in the Universe just as it tries to hold on Earth a monopoly on truth, morality, and expected human behavior.

    When science erodes the false, unfounded claims of religion, the new tactic employed by the religious is to usurp credit for the existence of science in the first place. Science came about in spite of religion: because science endorses critical thinking while religion discourages it.

    Life elsewhere in the Universe, which is statistically quite likely, shows that our genesis on this planet could very well be a routine occurrence, diminishing our objective significance. (In other words, it’s arrogant to think we’re “special” or intentionally created, rather than merely emergent.)

    If the church had its way, the world would have remained the same these past millennia, considering the church proclaims to know the truth: the very word of God.

    The Vatican fabricates the justification of their own existence as they go, and employing in-house astronomers ironically shows that the church has a lot of catching up to do, especially when it rides the coattails of science: the medium toward gaining real truth.

  • Dark Gnat December 4, 2009, 6:34 AM

    Politically correct hate?

  • lomitus December 4, 2009, 9:18 AM

    I find it rather interesting that I keep seeing “a belief in the existence of extraterrestrial life is not in conflict with faith in God”…I’ve ran across this a few times recently. The problem is that it -does- seem to conflict with everything the collective entity known as “The Church” has been saying for several centuries now. I have to agree with Dave24 in that this really seems like nothing more than “the Vatican trying to hedge it’s bets”.

    The truth of the matter is that the Church has been so completely wrong about so many things particularly in regards to issues regarding our own planet…the Earth is -NOT- flat, the sun does -NOT- revolve around the Earth and we are -NOT- at the center of the universe. Clearly the Church doesn’t know all that it pretends to know. What’s worse is that instead of admitting their mistakes, now they simply change their story to loosely reflect the facts. For centuries the Church adamantly claimed that humankind was “created by God” but with the ever increasing evidence in favor of evolution, now they use terms such as “intelligent design”…because life is so complex, there MUST be some grand designer and plan. To me the issue of the existence of alien life really seems to be the exact same thing…with the regular finding of extra solar planets and galaxies considerably older than our own and all of the other wonderful and incredible things we’ve discovered…and continue to discover in our universe, the church is again changing it’s story. In this case though while the belief in extra terrestrial life may not be in conflict with a belief in God (which in and of itself I can accept), it -is- in conflict with virtual everything else the Church has had to say on the matter over the past several centuries.

    To me this is no different than an individual who gives you a line of complete BS and then when you correct him (her) with indisputable facts they say something like “oh…yea…I already knew that”. How exactly does one trust a person who is so utterly prone to “mis-information” let alone put so much “blind faith” in an institution that has been proven wrong on so many occasions? How do you believe someone that keeps changing their story?

    +1 to Dave24 for “telling it like it is”.

  • cobra December 4, 2009, 10:40 AM

    - SECRETS OF THE VATICAN: UFO’s in the Ancient Art… Messiah – His Spaceships… Vatican and Planet X…
    – Pope’s star watcher to visit Nasa (12th February 2009) and talk aliens… The Vatican is to go head to head with Nasa over the possibility of life existing anywhere else in the Universe except Earth…
    – FILM: UFOs in the Bible… How celestials assist humanity with extraterrestrial life… ABRAHAM… MOSES AND THE SPACESHIPS OF THE GODS… THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM MYSTERY:
    http://cristiannegureanu.blogspot.com/2009/11/when-et-phones-pope.html

  • Torbjorn Larsson OM December 6, 2009, 12:23 PM

    The truth of the matter is that the Church has been so completely wrong about so many things

    Quite so.

    Except for The Myth of the Flat Earth, since “1945 [...] listed by the Historical Association (of Britain) as the second of 20 in a pamphlet on common errors in history.”

    This age old viral originated in “the publication of Washington Irving’s fantasy The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus in 1828.”

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