Take the European Space Agency for example. They spend ten years driving to a comet 10 billion miles away and when they get there they park in the shade where no one can see them.
What are they doing that they don’t want anyone to see?
Comet 67P (what sort of comet costs less than a pound?) has been going around the sun for over four billion years and in all that time it has never had a visitor. Now the neighbours come to have a look round and the whole thing goes pear shaped at first contact.
They should have brought Matthew McConaughey along. Matthew McConaughey is the star in a new remake of ‘2001, A Space Odyssey.’ It is a superb film and with all the modern computer graphics and ways of doing stunts, Interstellar, the picture’s name, is far superior to the original.
There are several references to the first movie which only a dedicated science fiction buff would know, but you don’t have to have seen ‘2001’ to appreciate this film.
Anyway, in the movie there is one scene where Cooper, played by McConaughey, connects his spaceship, which is spinning very fast, to a much larger ship: he would have no bother parking in the sunlight on Comet 67P (13/6 in old money).
We are a wonderful species; our quest for knowledge is never ending. One of the main reasons we are heading out billions of miles and landing on comets is that some people reckon that life here came from microbes that were on a comet that collided with earth.
I hope they find it; a ‘petite’ microbe about the size of your wee toenail, sitting looking up into the strange lens of the camera on The Philae Lander, the car that parked in the wrong place on the cheapest comet in the universe. Perhaps it will look up and shout, “I was here before you.”
Actually, Comet 67P is not the cheapest comet in the universe: I saw one on eBay last week at 65P, but it had no tail, and what good is a comet without a tail.
Human beings have an insatiable need to ‘know.’ It is what drives us and makes us great. Christopher Columbus had to find out whether or not he would fall off the edge of the world (he didn’t) and Dr Livingstone searched for years, dying in the effort, to find the source of the Nile. It starts just off the M1 at the Sprucefield roundabout.
Where would we be without that quest for knowledge? Still living in caves!
The problem today is not that scientists are finding out too much. It is that they have usurped the right of other people to have any opinion at all. They speak as if any person who does not accept all the opinions of science with the dogged faith of the rigorist fundamentalist, is some sort of imbecile.
“If we find microbes on a comet that shall prove that life on earth began somewhere else in the universe.”
Good point: but where did that life come from?
For me, the most wonderful thing about the universe is that every time the scientists make a ‘great discovery’ they only end up with more questions than answers.
Does it never dawn on the scientists that maybe God has made the universe in such a way that no amount of human figuring out will tell us all about it?
Perhaps the world will end before we get the great equation that tells us everything: then they would be disappointed.
Where did life come from appears to be the new golden question for the scientists. It used to be ‘where did the universe come from,’ that was the big question.
The theory, which everyone now appears to accept, that the universe began about 14 billion years ago with a ‘Big Bang’ was first put forward in 1927 by a Belgian scientist called Georges Lemaître.
Lemaître was a Belgian astronomer and professor of physics at the French section of the Catholic University of Leuven. But wait: he was also a Monseigneur and a Jesuit priest, same order as our dear Pope Francis. This little inconvenient fact is why when Lemaître is being mentioned in scientific journals the detail that he was a priest is somehow seldom mentioned.
But the detail that the universe started with a big bang should be no surprise to Catholics because we have known it for ages. Let me explain.
Before Lemaître came along, most scientists believed that the universe had been around forever; essentially they believed that it had no beginning. The most popular form of this belief was the ‘steady state’ theory.
According to the ‘steady state’ theory, new matter is continuously created as the universe expands, thus holding the universe in perfect balance.
The steady state theory is now as dead as poor old Hector and sure we knew it was nonsense anyway.
“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light,” Genesis Chapter 1 verse 3.
What better way is there to create light than by having a Big Bang?
The bible is full of references to God creating the universe. For three thousand years the Jews and the Christians after them were screaming that the universe was created in an instant by a God who gives being to all.
Now the ‘Johnny-come-latelys’ of the scientific community come along and tell us that they have found out something new.
The most honest of them will admit that Monseigneur Lemaître was a great scientist but that for most of history everyone believed the world was flat.
Well not exactly. In the 13th century, 250 years before Columbus sailed to America, Thomas Aquinas wrote that the world was round.
Isaiah (40:22) says that “He who sits above the circle of the earth, stretches out the heavens like a cloth.”
Can you think of a better way of describing a round world and an expanding universe to a desert dwelling nomadic people 3,000 years ago.
Oh, and there is an extra line in that quote from Isaiah. It says something about ‘the inhabitants of which are like grasshoppers’ but I didn’t put it in as I didn’t want to insult the scientists.
For centuries scientists and everyone else believed that the earth was the centre of the universe. The first man to seriously and scientifically put forward the idea that the earth went round the sun was Nicolaus Copernicus, who just happened to be an Augustinian canon.
There is some doubt as to whether or not he was ever ordained a priest, but he was certainly a member of the Augustinian order.
People who attend counsellors and the like will know that when an individual is being asked to shift their attitude from them being the centre of the universe to thinking of others besides themselves, they are told to have a ‘Copernican Revolution.’
You know, being smart runs in our family. It is in our genetic code. There are so many things in our genetic code: the colour of our hair, our height, our build and even our temperament. Yip, it is all in our genes.
Gregor Mendel, 1822-1884, was the first scientist to work in the field of genetics and he is known as the ‘father of genetics.’ His work from the 1860s and 1870s was so far ahead of its time that it was not until the 1920s that his brilliance was recognised.
Mendel was another Augustinian monk, who did his research work in the gardens of his monastery in St Thomas’ Abbey in Austria.
Moving right up to last month, here is the obituary of a scientist priest who died in the USA. His name was Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete.
“Albacete was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1941 and was a physicist by training. He held a degree in Space Science and Applied Physics as well as a Master's degree in Sacred Theology from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Albacete was ordained to the priesthood in 1972 for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington. He held a doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. He taught at the John Paul II Institute in Washington, D.C., and the St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y., and from 1996 to 1997 served as President of Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce. He was advisor on Hispanic Affairs to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Monsignor Albacete lived in Yonkers, N.Y. He died on October 23, 2014 in Dobbs Ferry, New York.”
Where do scientists come off claiming that they have a monopoly on science and knowledge?
Actually they don’t.
Now, I do not move in scientific circles but I would bet my bottom dollar that most scientists, like the rest of the population, believe in a God of some sort.
It is the media in the UK that suffers from a very strong Christophobia, that is, a fear of any mention of Jesus Christ. Let them at it, let them live in their fear; it speaks volumes.
Scientific enquiry is wonderful. Think of all the great progress we have made in these past couple of hundred years. Think of the benefits we have received in our own lifetime, particularly in the ability of doctors to relieve the pain of people coming near to death.
Genuinely, I believe it is the media in our land that wants to throw God out of every conversation.
A few months ago I was driving my car to some place and I was listening to the radio. There was a programme on about the health service and how people are travelling from Northern Ireland to Britain for operations.
This well-spoken, obviously educated woman from Belfast was telling how she had gone over from Northern Ireland to London for medical care and much it had improved her life.
Then in the middle of a sentence which I don’t remember but which didn’t require the phrase, she said something like, “Of course I don’t believe in God or an afterlife or anything like that.”
It suddenly dawned on me that it is almost a prerequisite of appearing on any radio or TV station to be an atheist. If I was in doubt, listening to an Irish radio station a few weeks ago confirmed my hypothesis.
It was the Sunday that the synod on marriage opened in Rome. There were four people on the programme discussing the synod. All of them were lapsed Catholics and openly hostile to all the teachings of the Catholic Church. There was not a practicing Catholic anywhere to be found.
What has happened in the world that we have become so afraid of God? Why does the media have to portray this image that there is no God and that science and faith are incompatible? As I say, I do not believe it is the ordinary scientists who try to portray this image.
Think about the origin of life which is the big issue at the moment. The problem arises immediately when you ask a scientist to define life. For a scientist life is a succession of chemical processes that lead to movement and reproduction.
Do you feel like a collection of atoms, aimlessly going nowhere, heading towards oblivion, living a life that has no meaning?
I don’t: my belief in God and in mankind fills my life with meaning and joy. What does the modern fad of secularism offer us? Nothing.
Science offers us progress and promises to bring about great improvements in our lives, as it has done in the past. But science is limited to material things, atoms, molecules and such like. It does not deal with issues of the spirit.
What about our dreams, our desires, our hopes, our ambitions and our love of people? These are not material; they transcend us and go out to others.
Scientists say that we are just computers that have learnt to think. Then why hasn’t any other computer learnt to think.
Do you know any CD players that enjoy the music they play: does my computer understand this story that I am writing on it?
Of course not. Life is about much more than atoms and molecules. Life is about love and dreams and other things like that; as well as having the spirit of God in us.
The most important point about life is that it always has a definite end in mind: a flower gives nectar, an oak tree produces seed, a fish swims and we look forward to eternal life.
Have you ever seen a lump of rock with an end in mind?
Meanwhile, the poor Philae lander is in bother:
“The Philae lander on the distant comet 67P has sent another stream of data back to Earth before losing power. The little probe delivered everything expected from it, just as its failing battery dropped it into standby mode.
Philae is pressed up against a cliff. Deep shadows mean it cannot now get enough light on to its solar panels to recharge its systems. The European Space Agency (Esa) fears this contact may have been the robot's last - certainly for a while.” (BBC News)
If these scientists are the gods that our media make them out to be, why can’t they resurrect the Philae lander?
Surely any god worth his salt could resurrect a dead machine even at 10 billion miles.
Come to think of it, I wonder could any of these god scientists raise themselves from the dead.
The views expressed are not necessarily those of
the editor but are the views of the writer.
Any comments, please submit to ...