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Pope's Astronomer Would Love To Baptize an Alien 308

Posted by samzenpus
from the where-do-you-keep-the-head-on-this-thing? dept.
Ponca City, We Love You writes "The Guardian reports that Guy Consolmagno, curator of the pope's meteorite collection and a trained astronomer and planetary scientist, says he would be 'delighted' if intelligent life was found among the stars. 'But the odds of us finding it, of it being intelligent and us being able to communicate with it — when you add them up it's probably not a practical question.' Consolmagno adds that the traditional definition of a soul was to have intelligence, free will, freedom to love and freedom to make decisions. 'Any entity — no matter how many tentacles it has — has a soul.' Would he baptize an alien? 'Only if they asked.' Consolmagno dismisses the ideas of intelligent design as a pseudo-scientific version of creationism. 'The word has been hijacked by a narrow group of creationist fundamentalists in America to mean something it didn't originally mean at all. It's another form of the God of the gaps. It's bad theology in that it turns God once again into the pagan god of thunder and lightning.'"
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Pope's Astronomer Would Love To Baptize an Alien

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  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday September 20, 2010 @12:12PM (#33637210) Homepage Journal

    I can see it now... the ships land at the UN and...

    Alien: Greetings. We come in peace.
    UN: Where do you come from?
    Alien: A distant galaxy nearly 10 billion light years away. Our world has no crime, no disease, no wars; we value learning as the pinnacle of achievement. We have been waiting 2,000 of your years for the moment when Humanity is ready for contact. We feel the time is right.
    UN: Why are you here?
    Alien: We came to be baptized. Praise Jesus!

    or not...
    • If that happened, I would hurl.... Or many would suspect it was a hoax by the vatican...

      • by Anonymous Coward
        An octopus has tentacles; does it have a soul? Perhaps "An entity has a soul if it is intelligent enough, and of course if we can see that it is intelligent enough, it must therefore have a soul." Circular logic. Not to mention, such a definition would exclude unborn humans from having souls, and therefore abortion shouldn't be the issue that religions like Catholicism makes of it.

        The most interesting thing about the idea that a soul starts to exist at conception is the logical conclusion that this can
    • It would probably be picked up as a pilot by FOX. They love making faith win at the end of their shows; how many times has the atheist House been outsmarted by a patient who has faith? Multiple episodes.

      • by ComaVN (325750)

        how many times has the atheist House been outsmarted by a patient who has faith?

        Oh please. How boring would that show be if everything happened for logical and fully understood reasons. Of course there's going to be people who disagree with his analytical approach, and of course they're going to be right every once in a while.

        Or would you prefer it if he was somehow always magically correct?

      • by Moryath (553296)

        Uhm... you're joking, right?

        Pay attention. The most House ever gets is a "God sent us to you" bit. The whole "he works in mysterious ways" thing.

        The episode with the nun was hilarious that way.

    • This baptism thing has me confused. If every entity has a soul then why not baptize my dog? Is it because the dog has to ask or at a minimum be cabable of understanding what it means? Well then what about babies then. Is there baptizement meaningless until they reconfirm it later in life? Finally what about all the bacteria in my gut. Do we share a common soul?

      If the sole criteria is that you have to be a sentient entity cable of accepting christ as your savior, at least potentially (to cover the ba

      • by TheLink (130905) on Monday September 20, 2010 @12:54PM (#33637896) Journal
        As the guy said: "only if they asked".

        That's why many Christians disagree with infant baptism.

        So if a dog or gorilla understood the implications of baptism and wanted to be baptised, then I personally see no reason why the dog or gorilla shouldn't.

        Even a reasonable Atheist should allow such a creature the freedom to do so, despite disagreeing with it.

        FWIW, I think it may not be such a great idea to keep creating more and more transgenic animals (or even very advanced AI). It looks like society wouldn't be able to handle/treat such creatures appropriately.

        Just because it can be done now doesn't mean it should.

        Better wait till we grow up first.
        • by fyngyrz (762201) on Monday September 20, 2010 @01:12PM (#33638180) Homepage Journal

          What we care about are the constant invasions of the religious into our non-religious lives. Why can't I buy beer on Sunday? Why can't Linda and Gwen get married? For that matter, why can't Linda, Gwen, Melissa and Steve get married? Why is it expected that I put my hand on a bible in a courtroom? Why does my money say things I cannot possibly agree with (I don't trust in God, you see)? Why has my patriotism, as expressed by the pledge of allegiance, been hijacked into a totally false declaration of subservience "under god"? Why do my kids encounter religious dogma in public schools? Why am I forced to carry the tax load for the religious, when I in no way support their existence, outlook, dogma, or teachings?

          If they want to dunk each other in the water, so what? That's not the problem. That's never been the problem. The problem is they don't limit their religion(s) to themselves. And in turn, that converts my general attitude from "don't care" to "religion is an obstacle to reasonable life."

          • by Jawnn (445279)

            What we care about are the constant invasions of the religious into our non-religious lives. Why can't I buy beer on Sunday? Why can't Linda and Gwen get married? For that matter, why can't Linda, Gwen, Melissa and Steve get married? Why is it expected that I put my hand on a bible in a courtroom? Why does my money say things I cannot possibly agree with (I don't trust in God, you see)? Why has my patriotism, as expressed by the pledge of allegiance, been hijacked into a totally false declaration of subservience "under god"? Why do my kids encounter religious dogma in public schools? Why am I forced to carry the tax load for the religious, when I in no way support their existence, outlook, dogma, or teachings?

            All good questions, but if I may, I'd like to address two in particular. As for the "swearing on the Bible" thing, the assumption is that you will be so frightened of the eternal fiery torment that awaits you, should you fail to tell the truth after touching a book and promising otherwise, that you will, trembling in fear, tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, or..., the book itself is imbued with magical powers that compel the swearer to speak only truth. Judges, trial lawyers, and others who han

        • That's why many Christians disagree with infant baptism.

          Correct. Some sects, like the Amish, don't perform baptisms until the person is an 'adult'. Typically between 16 and 25 years old.

          Personally, I think it carries more significance.

          • by c6gunner (950153)

            It might carry more significance, but really makes no difference. You can baptize a baby and then brainwash it for 16 years, or you can brainwash it for 16 years and then baptize it. The latter might be slightly more moral, but the difference is so minor as to be insignificant.

            • It might carry more significance, but really makes no difference. You can baptize a baby and then brainwash it for 16 years, or you can brainwash it for 16 years and then baptize it. The latter might be slightly more moral, but the difference is so minor as to be insignificant.

              I guess that's why I joined the church when I came of age. Oh wait, I didn't.

              • by c6gunner (950153)

                And if you had been baptized, you may have left when you came of age. As I said, it's largely insignificant, and your personal anecdote doesn't change that.

      • sole criteria

        So in order to have a soul, you have to fulfill the sole criteria?
        "Sole criteria," get it?

        Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week.

      • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

        I suppose this ought to include Gorillas then since they are able to converse by sign language and thus have the potential for religious instruction

        Hey Magilla, if you accept Jesus as your saviour, I'll give you this banana, which is proof of God's existence!

      • by A nonymous Coward (7548) on Monday September 20, 2010 @07:33PM (#33643376)

        How would you baptise an octopus? Raise it out of the water? Sprinkle holy air on it?

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>Alien: We came to be baptized. Praise Jesus!

      You ought to read Sawyer's book, Calculating God.

      It's about an atheist curator of a natural history museum when an alien spaceship lands nearby.

      They get into a long conversation, and the aliens are completely befuddled why he doesn't believe in God. If you look at all the cosmological constants, they say, it seems pretty clear the universe was engineered to support life.

      Atheist: "But if there were multiple universes, we'd naturally be in one that can suppo

      • by Pojut (1027544)

        There is also the ancient astronaut theory, something we've been studying as of late (mainly because it's interesting, and because there is a lot of interpretive evidence supporting it).

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      The more interesting question is why the Vatican astronomer thinks that an alien would need baptism.

      If we grant the fellow his premises(which I in no way agree with; but theism/atheism arguments are boring at this point), humans must be baptized in order to achieve salvation because of original sin and the resultant human concupiscence. That was a particular event that occurred somewhere in the ancient middle/near east on a small rocky planet orbiting a not especially distinguished star.

      Why would an e
    • I find the idea of spawned-again Christians with death rays a bit disturbing.

  • Good read (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Monday September 20, 2010 @12:15PM (#33637264) Journal

    This, believe it or not, is a very good read. It brings up some interesting thoughts on science and how it interacts with religion. It shows that the stereotype of the church is against is untrue. It has some interesting observations on the Catholic church and its views on things.

    But, this being Slashdot, I am afraid all we will see is a mindless trollfest.

    • Re:Good read (Score:5, Insightful)

      by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Monday September 20, 2010 @12:22PM (#33637368)

      I agree, and I'm glad that the Slashdot summary doesn't try to pick out sensationalist statements like a lot of other blogs have.

      For example, the comment about the baptism. A lot of places phrased their summary in an attempt to suggest that he would be running around trying to baptise aliens at the earliest chance. I like that Slashdot included his actual statement which was a response to a question.

      "Only if they asked." seems a perfectly fair and rational response to the question.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MozeeToby (1163751)

        Actually the idea of baptizing an alien brings up some interesting theological questions. You have to remember why Christians get baptized in the first place: to remove original sin. You know, the sin of Adam and Eve eating the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. If you stop and think about that assuming that aliens can be baptized has a few problems to it.

        Is he assuming that any alien's that we meet had a similar fall, and need to be redeemed? Or is he assuming that Adam and Eve's sin has somehow tainted t

        • Re:Good read (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ShakaUVM (157947) on Monday September 20, 2010 @01:00PM (#33637986) Homepage Journal

          >>You have to remember why Christians get baptized in the first place: to remove original sin

          If you consider Original Sin to be a nature that is anything less than perfect (which is what it more or less means these days), it makes sense. Redemption for your fuckups.

          >>Or is he thinking that Adam and Eve were the original ancestors of all intelligent beings

          Doubtful. Back in the middle ages, the question arose if elves and giants could be baptized. They'd been sending missionaries out to the northern reaches of Europe, where everyone knew giants and elves lived. So the pope considered it, and said, sure. They could be baptized, too, if they wanted it.

          So this isn't much of a departure from precedent.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by MozeeToby (1163751)

            If you consider Original Sin to be a nature that is anything less than perfect

            But, according to theology, we were created perfect. It was only the actions of Adam and Eve, going against the will of God [wikipedia.org], that made us imperfect and requiring baptism. So if you're going to say that aliens are imperfect that would mean that they had a fall similar to humanity's.

            That's fine, it answers the question as well as anything, though it does raise the question of why so many of God's sentient creatures chose to disobey him. To paraphrase a Douglas Adams quote: If he the type of guy to go arou

        • by fmobus (831767)

          Or is he assuming that Adam and Eve's sin has somehow tainted the aliens across interstellar distance (after all, it is supposed to taint us across thousands of years of time, why not distance as well)?

          Also, how fast is this taint travelling? It certainly couldn't go faster than light - otherwise we would just build spaceships fueled by taint.

          • by irenaeous (898337)
            Also, how fast is this taint travelling? It certainly couldn't go faster than light - otherwise we would just build spaceships fueled by taint.

            The souls would be subject to quantum entanglement so no travel is necessary.

        • by nschubach (922175)

          Obviously, Adam and Eve had kids, some of them built a space ship and set off to explore space while the others stayed to worship his holiness. The ones who went off to abandon their maker were deformed beyond recognition as punishment. That's why all Star Trek/Wars aliens bear similar resemblance to humans, but are all twisted and deformed by Satan.

        • by swillden (191260)
          Keep in mind that most non-Catholic Christians don't accept the notion that original sin taints all of us. Still, since this article is about a Catholic astronomer, your points are interesting ones.
          • Keep in mind that most non-Catholic Christians don't accept the notion that original sin taints all of us.

            Wait, what? I'm confused by your statement. Original sin is the very foundation of Christianity. Do most non-Catholic Christians choose to ignore Paul?

        • by tacroy (813477)
          Just a clarification: Catholics believe that baptism removes original sin. Many (most?) other Christian style religions believe that Baptism is a SYMBOL of Christs death and is not in any way a salvation issue but instead a way to show that a person is publicly associating with Christ and being a Christian.
        • by magarity (164372)

          the sin of Adam and Eve eating the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge
           
          What if way back when the original aliens naughtily ate the Froob of the Gorblebump? Could modern aliens be absolved by a human version baptism or do they require the alien version?

      • Oh wait, I should have read the title instead of the summary.

        "Idle: Pope's Astronomer Would Love To Baptize an Alien."

        Slightly sensationalist

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheLink (130905)

        Many journalists and "wannabe journalists" are biased against religion, and/or they like to troll (to get more hits/views/purchases).

        So they sensationalize stuff.

        That's why Michael Reiss lost his job- the media kept claiming that he wanted to teach creationism in schools:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Reiss [wikipedia.org]

        With headlines like "Call for creationism in science" and "Leading scientist urges teaching of creationism in schools"

      • Agreed. Great article. Knowledge and faith co-existing...who knew?

        I'd be interested to learn if has he ever read "The Fire Balloons" and what impression it made on him, if any.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Thelasko (1196535)

      It shows that the stereotype of the church is against is untrue. It has some interesting observations on the Catholic church and its views on things.

      It should be pointed out that he is no ordinary priest (actually, he's a monk). He is a Jesuit. [wikipedia.org] An order organized during the renaissance to preach to the more educated people of the time.

      Today they are known for administrating most of the church's universities. One of the requirements is to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree.

  • What about Gingers? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by antifoidulus (807088) on Monday September 20, 2010 @12:16PM (#33637268) Homepage Journal
    Why doesn't he try to baptize a Ginger Kid instead, they are assumed to have no soul and there are a lot more of them then there are aliens.
  • by starfishsystems (834319) on Monday September 20, 2010 @12:19PM (#33637314) Homepage
    Water could be extremely toxic to some life forms. You don't want to start out a first encounter on the wrong foot.

    Christian: Welcome to Earth. Hey, you want to be baptized?
    Alien: Sure!
    Christian: Lean way back. Okay, here we go.
    Alien: [tszzz]
    • by blhack (921171)

      If that was the case, they probably wouldn't come out of their spaceship. Our atmosphere is filled with water.

    • Presumably, before they land, they would notice that our planet is 75% COVERED BY WATER.
  • by suso (153703) * on Monday September 20, 2010 @12:21PM (#33637344) Homepage Journal

    As much as I dislike religion. I've come to accept that probably for a long time to come, we are going to be stuck with it. Because no matter how much we discover and can explain of the universe, no matter how many other worlds and civilizations we discover. There will always be something that can be explained at the time, and people will fear and respect it and even worship it. Probably every generation has had its share of people that thought that they were going to see the downfall of religion in their time.

    • by Suki I (1546431)

      As much as I dislike religion. I've come to accept that probably for a long time to come, we are going to be stuck with it. Because no matter how much we discover and can explain of the universe, no matter how many other worlds and civilizations we discover. There will always be something that can be explained at the time, and people will fear and respect it and even worship it. Probably every generation has had its share of people that thought that they were going to see the downfall of religion in their time.

      People just do religion. Always have and always will.

      Also, I like this astronomer! I think I have heard his position before and liked it then too.

    • by vadim_t (324782)

      Not for very long. Religion is at an all-time low, and keeps decreasing. Also true believers are becoming very rare. Lots of people will tell you they believe but don't read the bible, don't go to church, and can't coherently explain what they believe. They're more going with the flow than anything else. In Europe, religion is a highly private matter and you generally don't know who's a believer or not.

      Irrational beliefs and "there's something higher" probably will be with us for a very long time, but I thi

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by rash (83406)

        You might want to have a look at the downfall of atheistic communism, the rise of paganism in europe and the rise of christianity in asia.

    • The Quantum Lord prohibits such blasphemy! You must bow down to his holy quark and kiss his many gluons of kindess.
  • by Skexis (1744642) on Monday September 20, 2010 @12:21PM (#33637352)
    Even reading just the summary, the title does no justice to Consolmagno's response.
  • Pre-Fallen? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by flogger (524072) <non@nonegiven> on Monday September 20, 2010 @12:23PM (#33637382) Journal
    I've loved the idea of Religion and Aliens. :-) Who knows, maybe Angels/spirits/demons are aliens. (Well they are alien to us, but maybe that are ET-type aliens.)

    I recall having many long conversations with a priest about the possibility of the existence of Aliens. religiously speaking, one of the questions that intrigues me the most is are the aliens corrupted by "Original Sin?" What would society be like if we did not have this tendency to do "wrong" when now one was looking? What if the aliens do not have that tendency? What if they have never "eaten of the forbidden fruit?"

    Are they Pre-Fallen or have they fallen?
    • Pre-Fallen: THey are going to be nice and cure our cancer and help us in any way possible.
    • Fallen: They are going to wipe us out and destroy us in a way that S. Hawkins is going to say, "I told you so."
    • Pre-Fallen: Helpless, scared beings who scuttle around on their little island on a planet theeming with life, but they've yet to explore anything more than the few vegetables on their little island / "garden".

      "Fallen":
      Predators: Enslaving planet after planet, in order to expand its own agendas and territories. Pretty much stuck on the level of humanity the last 500 years.
      Enlightened: Actively monitoring Earth, awaiting the moment humanity is ready for first contact on a global scale. Only allowed to help wi

      • In order to become enlightened, ironically, you have to "fall". If humanity never "fell", the bible, Jesus, everything would become meaningless. Wisdom cannot exist without failure, indeed, it totally depends on it.

        This also highlights the philosophical problem of trying to ban temptation.

    • The simple answer is that every thing any priest has ever told you regarding religion is a lie.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by perpenso (1613749)

      I've loved the idea of Religion and Aliens.

      Good geek fun huh? :-)

      What if they have never "eaten of the forbidden fruit?"

      Their fall may be quite different in nature, angels had a fall unrelated to fruit.

  • by DevConcepts (1194347) on Monday September 20, 2010 @12:27PM (#33637456)

    — no matter how many tentacles it has — has a soul. Ummm... The Flying Spaghetti Monster??

    • by roman_mir (125474)

      what about an octopus or cows or pigs or fish or chickens?

      Those are alien enough, but if they have souls is it correct to eat them? :)

  • by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday September 20, 2010 @12:30PM (#33637500)
    This [smbc-comics.com] seems very appropriate.
    • Um, the Vatican hasn't supported Creationism for as long as I've been alive. That's not meant to be a priest in that comic (unless the artist is as ignorant of modern religious beliefs as you are).

    • Well since the Big Bang was invented by a priest I don't see how is it strange that they don't preach the 7-day story as factual science.
  • ...the aliens should lock up their young. If they don't, the priests will be at 'em sure as the pope dresses like a Fairy Godmother.

  • While the other attributes he lists are inherent in intelligent life, an alien intelligence may not necessarily anything resembling love. Most animals don't mate for life, or are even together more then a few hours. Many animals don't care for their children either.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      While the other attributes he lists are inherent in intelligent life, an alien intelligence may not necessarily anything resembling love.

      Now, not getting too far into this topic as we are discussing his comments in the third person and therefore can't really ask him to expand upon them. I don't think he is referring to the basic emotions assigned to monogamous couples.

      The biblical 'love' has the same definition problems as the biblical 'know'. The words are similar but the meanings are much different. A

  • Firesign Theatre:

    "Domini, Domini, Domini. You are all Catholics now"

    --
    BMO

  • by melted (227442) on Monday September 20, 2010 @01:06PM (#33638094) Homepage

    What if the alien race has their own "Jesus"? And who's to say which "Jesus" is really the "son of good" and which one is the impostor. Aliens might come here to baptize. And pray to god (if you believe) that they don't use the methods employed by crusaders and the Inquisition. ;-)

    Then there's also the issue that the "god created Man in his own image". What if the aliens aren't anthropomorphic?

  • Wrong cross (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bucaro (758451)
    Interesting read, but something is conflicting. Behind Consolmagno is an orthodox cross, and not the papal cross. Anyone else notice this?
  • by macraig (621737) <(mark.a.craig) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday September 20, 2010 @01:15PM (#33638242)

    ... is that the alien would like to know how the Pope's astronomer tastes with a little alfredo sauce.

  • Definition of a Soul (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jason Levine (196982) on Monday September 20, 2010 @01:28PM (#33638466)

    He lists the requirements for having a soul as:

    - have intelligence
    - free will
    - freedom to love
    - freedom to make decisions

    Putting aliens to one side for the moment, as I don't think Lrrr is going to drop in on us tomorrow, I wonder how he feels about some intelligent animals.

    Chimps, gorillas and other primates have been shown to fulfill these requirements to varying degrees. Dolphins have also. Would they baptize a dolphin? (How would you do that? Raise it out of water?)

    I wondered if anyone ever asked Koko what gorillas think about a creator. Thanks to a Google search, I turned up this exchange:

    Francine Patterson: "Who is God?"
    Koko: "Me."
    Patterson: "Who created the world?"
    Koko: "Another woman."
    (Source: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1252/is_12_131/ai_n8569017/?tag=content;col1 [findarticles.com] )

    Somehow, I don't think Koko's religious outlook would gel with the Vatican's. ;-)

  • This sounds like almost every Clifford D. Simak story, plus a few other writers. I wish I could remember which one of them ran into the problem of trans-substantiation being mistaken for cannibalism :-)

  • ... Insha' Allah.
  • Look at history. Whenever a "new world" was discovered within our own planet, missionaries came across the oceans to teach "the heathens" about their god, whether those godless barbarians wanted it or not.

    People take a vast journey usually for one reason: Money. The church comes along because it's politically fortuitous to do so.

    Chances are, any beings from outer space are going to be similarly motivated. They are going to come here to take our natural resources, make slaves of our people, and of course, co

  • Intelligent Design (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chibi (232518) on Monday September 20, 2010 @03:37PM (#33640584) Journal

    Haven't read the article yet, but I'm curious why there isn't more discussion on his comment about intelligent design:

    Consolmagno dismisses the ideas of intelligent design as a pseudo-scientific version of creationism. 'The word has been hijacked by a narrow group of creationist fundamentalists in America to mean something it didn't originally mean at all. It's another form of the God of the gaps. It's bad theology in that it turns God once again into the pagan god of thunder and lightning.'"

    I know the general Slashdot community looks down on religion, but it'd be nice to see greater distinction between fundamentalists and Christians who are probably generally more in the moderate realm. Unfortunately, when most people hear "Christian," the automatic response is to think that the person is a fundamentalist.

  • Guy Consolmagno (Score:4, Informative)

    by jschen (1249578) on Monday September 20, 2010 @04:50PM (#33641594)
    Dr. Consolmagno spoke at our decidedly non-religious institute (The Scripps Research Institute) back in February. He often represents Europe in international astronomy meetings, including when they were deciding whether to demote Pluto. In his seminar, he gave us a preview of his book, The Heavens Proclaim: Astronomy and the Vatican. It was mostly showing us pretty pictures in the book and telling us all sorts of interesting anecdotes from his experiences. He also covered a multitude of other topics, ranging from those of purely scientific concern (e.g. figuring out a way to determine the density of a meteorite) to historical controversies (e.g. the church and Galileo). It was one of the most interesting seminars I've attended this year. If given another chance to attend a seminar of his, I would gladly do so. In fact, if I were to know about it in advance, I might even buy a copy of his book for him to sign.
    • by Hartree (191324) on Monday September 20, 2010 @08:13PM (#33643772)

      Absolutely. Several years ago, I heard him talk on the prospects for finding more exoplanets in the future. He's a serious and highly competent scientist.

      He also is a Jesuit monk. The two aren't mutually exclusive.

      (And, he seemed like a heck of a nice Guy. Forgive the pun. :)

      See:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Consolmagno [wikipedia.org]

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jschen (1249578)

        (And, he seemed like a heck of a nice Guy. Forgive the pun. :)

        Yes. He was quite popular with the chemistry and biology crowd at my institute. People always go to post-seminar receptions for the free food and beer. But in this case, much of the audience also chose to go so that they could continue to talk with him after the question-and-answer time had already run out. Nobel laureates excepted, I can't remember another time when so many people spent so much time with the speaker at the reception. It seemed as if it could be interesting talking with him for the whole af

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