Vatican astronomer Bro Guy Consolmagno, Director of the Vatican Observatory – Specola Vaticana, joined us by Zoom from Tucson, Arizona to talk on the harmonious relationship between science and religion.
Bro Guy argued that logic and reason must always start with assumptions, and the assumptions behind science are, at their root, religious assumptions. Our core beliefs not only determine how we expect the universe to work; they supply the motivation for the science we do, and determine why we choose to look at the stars. How we understand this relationship has changed radically from the time of Galileo, when science was still being invented; and that change continues to this day, as can be seen in the way Pope Francis has blended science and faith in his recent encyclical Laudato Si‘
Modern science required three fundamental shifts which were just beginning in Galileo’s day:
> discard the Golden age mentality (the ancients knew more than us, knowledge has faded)
> use of instruments in discovery
> abandon attempt to seek deductive proof of scientific facts, instead accept probable cause, to be improved on by scientists of the future .
Bro Guy was a most attentive host when Cork Astronomy Club members visited the Vatican Observatory at Castel Gandolfo in 2019. He has family connections in Cork and we look forward to welcoming him back here in what we hope will be the not too distant future.