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Guest: Brother Guy Consolmagno; The Vatican observatory, science, faith, belief, astronomy, cosmology, God and so much more. Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.
We welcomed Brother Guy Consolmagno, Director of The Vatican Observatory, to the program. During our two segment 88 minute discussion, we covered many topics, both scientific along with topics focusing on faith, religion, and God in the context of science. During the first segment, I asked Brother Guy about the purpose of having Catholic observatories plus I asked about the telescopes used by the observatories. This opened up a fascinating bit of history as Brother Guy talked about the various telescopes near Rome and in their Stuart Observatory in Tucson with the 1.8 meter scope. This also took him into a discussion about the newer technology for making telescope mirrors used for the 1.8 meter telescope and engineered at the Univ. of Arizona. You do not want to miss this bit of history.
I asked Brother Guy about faith and belief in God for scientists given I have interviewed so many scientists that claim they do not believe in God. Brother Guy had much to say on this topic as he was no stranger to the subject. Rather than trying to summarize what he said, I urge you to listen carefully to this part of our discussion. In addition, parts of it carried over into other discussions we had during the rest of today’s program. You want to note what our guest said about faith, belief, searching and exploration.
Listener Sara by email asked about life in the solar system or in the universe. During our 88 minute discussion, the subject of life in the universe came up many many times. You might be very surprised by what our guest had to say on this topic throughout our discussion which covered both segments. No spoiler alerts here, just listen to what our guest had to say on the topic of ET life in the solar system and the universe.
Matthew from Germany sent in multiple email questions on a variety of topics. For the first segment and his first question, he wanted to know if detection of advanced alien life form with a human like consciousness/mind would destroy Christian believe if the aliens do not know the Jesus story. You will want to hear how Brother Guy responded to Matthew’s question.
Another listener Ben wanted to talk about efficient ways to explore and develop space using either humans or robots and technology. Brother guy had much to say about the efficiency mode for space. Don’t miss it because what he said was important and I believe it will carry through with me for future Space Show discussions. Spoiler Alert: We do not explore and work to learn from space and the universe for the sake of being efficient.
Space settlement came up for discussion. As you will hear, Brother Guy would like to go to the Moon and thought that was readily doable. Not so with Mars. In addition, he was very concerned about human contamination on Mars which would ruin science discovery there. He said he certainly supported planetary protection rules. He said it was too soon to go to Mars. Don’t miss all of what he had to say about humans to Mars anytime soon.
Before the segment ended, Larry asked about a possible conflict in using public money for humanitarian reasons as opposed to space exploration. This started an entire discussion with serving and ministering to the poor, what constitutes the poor and related topics. We talked about Brother Guy’s Peace Corps experience in Kenya as an example. Brother Guy also referenced a story he knew about with the late Michael Todd. He talked about goals for serving the poor and humanity and not misplacing such goals or forgetting about them.. The segment which is a must hear segment, ended with another question from Matthew in Germany asking about the theory of potential fine-tuning of constants which can be found in natural laws (“God’s work”) and wondering why God cannot identify with Nature itself?
In the second segment of the program, we started off by talking about his recent retreat in Los Altos, CA focusing on “Science, Religion, and Beauty in the Starts.” Not only did I want to know about the subject, but I was interested in the audience that attended the retreat. We spent several minutes talking about the subject and then some more time examining the audience which was diverse, including some space aware and very well informed participants.
Penny wanted to know about searching for ET and the types of searches that were being done. Brother Guy said he was on the Science Advisory Board for SETI. Instead of focusing on the search technology employed by SETI, he suggested we need lots more people searching.
Matthew sent in more questions challenging religion. I also inquired about searching for answers which for me included searching through space. This was an interesting discussion so please don’t miss it. Our guest suggested we shift our focus from looking for answers.
Near the end of the program, Ellen asked about the potential for human interstellar flight. Brother Guy said that was likely not possible given our physics. He also talked about what such flight might mean for going backward in time which would mean there was a failure of causality. He said his focus was on more of the tangible that was here now.
Linda asked him about recent ESA news articles suggesting a lunar church might be built. Our guest was not surprised by that and said humans will take their culture and way of life with them to space, good and bad. He had more to say on this topic including a reference to Buzz when he was on the Moon.
Before the program ended, he talked about the blog The Catholic Astronomer. You can find this blog at www.vofoundation.org/blog. It has some very interesting stories and articles so you may want to bookmark and follow it.
The final question to our guest dealt with the politics of space and space policy. He talked about his experiences having worked with both American political parties to work together to get good done. He said it was a fact life and the goal was to work together for good. Politics and space are there together, that will not change. This was similar to what he talked about earlier in our discussion with understanding the universe, accepting its rules and working to under more about the universe and how it works.
Please post your comments/questions for Brother Guy on The Space Show blog for this program. You can reach Brother Guy through me using email@example.com. I will make sure he sees the blog comments.