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Stephen Hawking on the Camino? or how the SJ told porky pies

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Caminando

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On the 22nd Feb, coming out of the cathedral, I saw a poster for a talk that evening, in a building on a square (Immaculada?) next to the cathedral. It said "A Talk with Stephen Hawking and Professor X ?; -Confessions of Faith by Scientists-, presented by (I forget the name) someone of the Society of Jesuits.

Surprised to see such a poster inside the cath, I nevertheless was quite pleased at the thought of hearing/seeing Hawking.The Univ here must have invited him, I innocently thought. I was surprised at the Church too, because the last time they got a confession from a major scientist, it was wrung from Galileo.

At the venue in a lovely hall, the SJ man spoke to a packed audience for more than an hour, with some of the audience visibly becoming more restless at the non appearance of Prof. Hawking. Some left ASAP. The SJ man finished the talk and that was it. We got done! No S Hawking, no Prof X.

You´ve got to remember the reputation of the Jesuits. Caveat emptor?
 
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colinPeter

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Caminando said:
I was surprised at the Church too, because the last time they got a confession from a major scientist, it was wrung from Galileo. [/i]
Gregor Mendel - often called the "father of modern genetics"
Louis Pasteur - best known for his remarkable breakthroughs in microbiology
Georges Lemaître - Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe
Alexander Fleming - discovered antibiotic substance penicillin & Nobel Prize.
Erwin Schrodinger...Andreas Vesalius...Enrico Fermi...Marcello Malpighi....
 

CJ Williams

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The Jesuit to whom you are referring is undoubtedly Fr. Manuel Carreira, SJ, a Jesuit priest and astrophysicist who obtained his doctorate in Astrophysics with a thesis on cosmic rays that was directed by Dr. Clyde Cowan, one of the two men credited in 1959 with the discovery of the neutrino. In addition to his work with the Vatican Observatory, from 1970-1975 he collaborated with NASA in various investigation projects funded by NASA involving the development of gamma ray detectors for use in artficial satellites.

The talk that he has offered on various occasions, including in Santiago de Compostela, is entitled "Diálogo con Stephen Hawking sobre la creación". In the title here, dialogue is clearly being used in the literary sense of the term, a common rhetorical and literary device in which the speaker engages ins a "dialogue" with someone who is not present, has been dead for centuries or even with inanimate objects in order to contrast or refute a thesis. The fact that the talk was entitled "Dialogue with Stephen Hawking" didn't mean that Hawking would be present, nor that the "SJ told porky pies".

As for what sounds like a couple of gratuitously bigoted swipes at the Church ("the last time they got a confession from a major scientist, it was wrung from Galileo") and the Jesuits ("You've got to remember the reputation of the Jesuits), if you believe anything was "wrung" from Galileo, you know very little about the historical facts surrounding the case, since Galileo was never tortured by the Church, despite the legends. And as for why he got into conflict with the Church in the first place

Anti-Catholics often cite the Galileo case as an example of the Church refusing to abandon outdated or incorrect teaching, and clinging to a "tradition." They fail to realize that the judges who presided over Galileo’s case were not the only people who held to a geocentric view of the universe. It was the received view among scientists at the time.

Centuries earlier, Aristotle had refuted heliocentricity, and by Galileo’s time, nearly every major thinker subscribed to a geocentric view. Copernicus refrained from publishing his heliocentric theory for some time, not out of fear of censure from the Church, but out of fear of ridicule from his colleagues.

Many people wrongly believe Galileo proved heliocentricity. He could not answer the strongest argument against it, which had been made nearly two thousand years earlier by Aristotle: If heliocentrism were true, then there would be observable parallax shifts in the stars’ positions as the earth moved in its orbit around the sun. However, given the technology of Galileo’s time, no such shifts in their positions could be observed. It would require more sensitive measuring equipment than was available in Galileo’s day to document the existence of these shifts, given the stars’ great distance. Until then, the available evidence suggested that the stars were fixed in their positions relative to the earth, and, thus, that the earth and the stars were not moving in space—only the sun, moon, and planets were.

Thus Galileo did not prove the theory by the Aristotelian standards of science in his day. In his Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina and other documents, Galileo claimed that the Copernican theory had the "sensible demonstrations" needed according to Aristotelian science, but most knew that such demonstrations were not yet forthcoming. Most astronomers in that day were not convinced of the great distance of the stars that the Copernican theory required to account for the absence of observable parallax shifts. This is one of the main reasons why the respected astronomer Tycho Brahe refused to adopt Copernicus fully.

Galileo could have safely proposed heliocentricity as a theory or a method to more simply account for the planets’ motions. His problem arose when he stopped proposing it as a scientific theory and began proclaiming it as truth, though there was no conclusive proof of it at the time. Even so, Galileo would not have been in so much trouble if he had chosen to stay within the realm of science and out of the realm of theology. But, despite his friends’ warnings, he insisted on moving the debate onto theological grounds. Catholic Answers, "The Galileo Controversy" San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2004

There is more, but I leave it to you to find out the facts. There's plenty of resources available on the internet. Just didn't like the unkind comments. Pax et bonum.
 

PilgrimChris

Active Member
Re:Stephen Hawking on the Camino? or how the SJ told porky p

Caminando having a dig at the Church and getting his 'facts' wrong in the process? Surely not! *wink :)
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
Re: Re:Stephen Hawking on the Camino? or how the SJ told porky p

PilgrimChris said:
Caminando having a dig at the Church and getting his 'facts' wrong in the process? Surely not! *wink :)


You cant deny history - well you can actually but it's a futile process. Are you telling me that the Jesuits dont have a reputation for manipulation? Are you really saying that Galileo didnt have a very rough time and had to deny his findings? Oh ye of little knowledge.

(The post above yours offers a quote which begins "Anti-Catholics.... etc". This bigoted assumption instantly makes the rest of the ahistorical polemic not worth reading).

And on the evening in question, many of the audience upped sticks and left during the talk when it was not as advertised. The hall was packed to start but many had gone before the end. So tell them about the SJ poster, which they read in "the literary sense of the term". Finally, have you no sense of humour at all? Surely not! :wink:
 
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It took me quite a while to figure out what porky pies were.

All I can say about Jesuits is the ones I have met were great conversationalists. As a longtime bureaucrat who has had to deal with parliamentarians, industry groups, and NGOs, I think that there are a lot of would-be manipulators on the scene, and I wouldn't have classed the SJs with them. Then again, your kilometrage may vary.
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
oursonpolaire said:
It took me quite a while to figure out what porky pies were.

All I can say about Jesuits is the ones I have met were great conversationalists. As a longtime bureaucrat who has had to deal with parliamentarians, industry groups, and NGOs, I think that there are a lot of would-be manipulators on the scene, and I wouldn't have classed the SJs with them. Then again, your kilometrage may vary.

People can make up their own minds, but it's a very common perception, widely acknowledged.
They are indeed great conversationalists, and competent at what they do.

Dont take my word for it - John Adams, 2nd President of the US spoke of their "trickery, cruelty and disturbance". Pope Clement XIV said, " I knew they (the Jesuits) would poison me". There is much more. Surprising that you hadnt heard of the reputation, tho' no-one need agree with it of course.
 

PilgrimChris

Active Member
Re:Stephen Hawking on the Camino? or how the SJ told porky p

Assumptions? Oh dear!

Like any organisation that grows far above its original mandate power struggles can ensue.

The reputation of the Jeruits today is not the same as it was in the 2nd Presidents day nor as in your mentioned Pope's day.

If your assumption is based on past endeavours and your bias is towards the negative history of an 'order' then i imagine you have similar 'assumptions' and bias towards others such as the germans (surely not all still nazis?), the english (surely not all still crushing other nations building an empire?), the mongols (surely not all still raping, killing and plundering there way across the world?) etc etc :)

Better to leave 'assumptions' to the ignorant i think and to get to know an individual for oneself rather than 'label' him or her based on their race, creed or indeed any order or party they may belong to. :)

After all, if anyone was to have assumptions made about them or accusations levelled against them just because of things that happened by others in their geographical, historical or social group then we would all be intolerant of each other :)

If you DO feel the need to judge someone then do it on THEIR merit and not on assumptions.

Better still - don't judge at all less you find yourself judged :)

These are my own opinions and feel free to argue against them if you wish :)

Peace.
 
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