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May 14, 2008


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No, presumably it's because the aliens didn't eat the apple, and so don't have original sin and don't need Jesus to save them. (Possibly because apple trees don't grow on their planet?) All the other sins, like killing people, stealing, and working on Sunday, aren't as bad as eating fruit.

That's the fun with faith--you can make anything 'real' by pulling random magic explinations out of nowhere. But there's only one completely simple, inarguable, solid evidence against god: God can't be master of the universe...He-man is.

Sooo? Apparently, Hos Only Son visited every one of them... ;)

I suspect this is Vatican ground work for some substantial change in Papal thinking. What does the Vatican know and when did they know it?

This is not a problem for the aliens. Jesus Christ only has to be "born again." Right?

I can’t help thinking that God didn’t think this through very carefully.

Of course, God's omniscient. Thing is, he doesn't always have his omniscience switched on. It's more fun that way. Sure, a few trillion souls will be damned due to pure planning, but live and learn.

Bah, that was me above. Switching to new computer, and it autotyped another pseudonym of mine for some reason. (The "some reason" being that I started to type it and didn't notice to correct it, most likely.)

No, not well planned. I mean .... trees take their clothes off in the winter, and put them on in the summer. Clearly, God didn't think through the issues ....

Obviously, they don't need saving- they haven't gotten thrown out of Eden yet, because when God moved on to other projects he was smart enough to not make a snake this time.

He didn't so much give his only begotten son as lend him for a while.

When we finally make contact with advanced aliens, they couldn't possibly be impressed by our religiousity. "God? Of these fools still believe in that nonsense? We got over that a few hundred thousand years ago."

Well, all those demonic little imps who poke you with sticks when you're burning in hell have to come from somewhere, right? Maybe God is raising life on other planets solely for the purpose of being support-staff for our afterlife.

It'll be interesting if/when ETs are met, and we do a cultural compare and contrast, and we find that they have their own wide variety of creation-myths. The intellectual hoops that folks here will have to do to show that it's all the same Jesus/Mohammed/Whathaveyou will be fun. And sad.

I heard about this on NPR, and the one part of the story I found literally incredible was the part when they said that "The Vatican Astronomer is widely respected in scientific circles." Oh? Really? I mean, I feel sorry for the guy - his head must be at critical from all the cognitive dissonance - but how can you respect someone who's wasting brain-cycles trying to rationalize a bunch of dumb-ass human-centric myths with the potential of other lifeforms? What a waste of time!

For a start I don't like "multiple forms of life". Many forms, yes. Several, lots, loads, multifarious... But not "multiple, because it's pretentious to use mathematical terminology to say some thing simple like "very many", which isn't mathematically precise. /rant

Back to the good Father Gabriel Funes. He said intelligent beings created by God could exist in outer space. You mean he doesn't know? Is he hedging his bets just in case one turns up on his doorstep asking for salvation. Is he saying there are aliens who weren't created by god and he's planning to sue for breach of copyright? Twat?
This is what happens when one partakes too much of the holy grape juice and starts extrapolating from fairy tales as if it were real life. This speculation from fantasy has a technical name. We call it theology!

Its awesome, first the church rejects scientific discovery (heliocentric solar system, evolution, etc) then they embrace it ("mistakes were made") and then actually celebrate it:

"To strengthen its scientific credentials, the Vatican is organising a conference next year to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of the author of the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin."

The sad thing is this proves that the church is only willing to change its opinion after intense external pressure but fails to come to its senses all of its own. Pity. But makes for a good laugh :)

Am I the only one getting sudden terrible flashbacks to C.S Lewis' "Voyage To Venus"?

What a minute... the Bible wasn't aware of, didn't even mention, people in New Jersey.....

Let's not get too exercised over this, guys and guyesses. First off, the Vatican really does have a respectable history of astronomical research extending back centuries (hence all those Moon craters named after Jesuits), and Vatican-employed astronomers' papers get peer reviewed and published (or not, if the reviews are unfavourable) in mainstream astronomical journals just like other astronomers' research.

Secondly, the Roman Catholic church has been seriously considering the possible existence - and the theological implications - of intelligent extra-terrestrial life-forms* since the 19th century. For one take on this, see the rather well-known SF novel A Case of Conscience by the (non-Catholic) SF author James Blish.
*And yes, I know that's what they burned Giordano Bruno at the stake for, but it was really quite a long time ago, and Society as a whole was a bit more, err, vigorous about the intellectual cut and thrust (ouch!) back then.

Thirdly, don't assume that the Roman Catholic church has the same wilfully blind attitude to scientific discoveries as, for example, the US-based Protestant fundamentalist fringe, who make 90% of the noise about 'Creationism.' While naturally more cautious about new theories than the Scientific Establishment, the RC Church authorities (as distinct from some of its lay members) accept that proven facts and well-grounded scientific theories have to be incorporated into their world view, not wished away.

Before you leap to unwarranted assumptions, let me mention that I'm not, nor have I ever been, a Roman Catholic, or for that matter any kind of believing Christian since the age of about 10 - I'd describe myself as an active agnostic Pagan with Wiccan leanings. Ordinarily I'd be the first person to take issue with Catholic thought, but some of the above comments are obviously made in sheer ignorance of astronomical (and Church) history.

It's also a little hypocritical to criticise the Vatican for changing its views in the light of new evidence - isn't that supposed to be a scientific approach, of which we approve? By all means disagree with it when it's wrong - the gods know that's often enough - but damning it when it's right, and for the right reasons, just weakens one's own credibility.

Just as emperors need to get bridges right, the Pope needed to get Easter right. As a result, good astronomy. The Vatican astronomy is the good guy in Rome ans is one of the reasons that the Roman Catholic Church does not reject General Relativity, evolution, or take other absurd stances in the way that the religious right does. There is, of course, nothing unscientific about the possibility, even likelihood, of extraterrestial life.

This parallels progress on other fronts. As late as the 19th century, the Pope presided over executions in Rome. Now, the Vatican is strongly opposed to the death penalty.

Theologically, even prior to the issue of original sin is the issue of whether or not alien life would have souls that need to be saved. I'll save that issue for theistic deep ecologists.

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