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Pope's Astronomer Addresses Science and Faith

Monday October 28 2019


The Pope’s stargazer is visiting Scotland this week to attend a series of events looking at the evidence for God’s existence.

Brother Guy Consolmagno, an American research astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory, is appearing as the guest of Grasping the Nettle, the interdenominational  movement exploring issues of science and faith.

He will speak at events in Glasgow, Motherwell, Broughty Ferry and Dundee before attending the Grasping the Nettle national conference in Edinburgh on Saturday.

Brother Consolmagno, a Jesuit religious brother, said: “I am thrilled to be coming to Scotland to participate in the “Grasping the Nettle” programme. It’s so important to dialogue with students and the general public, of all faiths and sciences, how faith enhances our science and science our faith. Both seek truth, and find it in joy.

“The claim that somehow a scientist must be atheist is a holdover from the Victorian idea of materialism. But consider the 19th century physicist James Clerk Maxwell, whose famous equations led to the overthrow of that misconception and opened the door to modern physics. He was a man of deep faith; and, of course, a Scotsman. I am honoured to visit the land of his birth.”

Grasping the Nettle was launched in 2015. Its steering group is made up of leaders from across Scotland’s major denominations, including two former Moderators of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland as well as the new Moderator-Designate, the Rev Dr Martin Fair.

Chairman, the Very Rev Dr Angus Morrison, said: “The current secularist narrative in our society is that belief in God in an age of science can only be for the feeble minded.  Having an erudite astronomer, who is also a man of faith, visit us helps underscore the fundamental message of Grasping the Nettle: at the Christian interpretation of our existence makes the best sense of the big questions that lie behind it.”

Dr Consolmagno’s programme includes addresses to the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow and the Institute of Physics, as well as schools conferences in Lanarkshire and Angus.

The following events are open to the public:

Wednesday October 30, 2.30pm, Glasgow University Memorial Chapel – talk: 'The Adventures of a Vatican Astronomer' (in association with the Presbytery of Glasgow). Free but reserved places.

Friday November 1, 7.30pm, Dundee Science Centre – illustrated talk: 'Discarded Images: The History of Strange Ideas (including God?)'. Tickets £5.

Saturday November 2, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh – Grasping the Nettle national conference - All is One? Tickets £30.


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Brother Guy Consolmagno speaking at Grasping the Nettle events

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