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|Aliens did it...|
|... and ran away|
The Vatican Observatory is an astronomical research group with telescopes at Castel Gandolfo in Italy and Mount Graham in Arizona, United States. It is one of the few arms of the Vatican City (and, by extension, the Roman Catholic Church) that is actually dedicated to scientific research.
José Gabriel Funes
In 2008, Funes asserted that the possibility of the existence of extraterrestrials did not contradict the teachings of God, particularly since the Vatican had already reversed its decisions on denying the research of Copernicus and Galileo as blasphemous. According to Funes, to deny the existence of aliens would be to place limits on the creative powers and abilities of God.
Furthermore, because such extraterrestrials are (most likely) not human, and therefore not descended from Adam and Eve, said extraterrestrials could be free of original sin...which is kind of a kick in the ass to all of us humans, doncha think?
- Not to be confused with Jerry Coyne
George Coyne is Funes' predecessor, also a Jesuit priest. During his purview, he published multiple papers on astronomical observances, radiometry, and space dust.
While being a priest, it is clear from his research that he is a scientist first. In addition to criticizing the Vatican for their meager apology for the excommunication of Galileo in the 1600s, he has been a vocal opponent against intelligent design, especially as being taught in schools.
“”"Intelligent design isn't science even though it pretends to be. If you want to teach it in schools, intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science."
Coyne also appeared in the Bill Maher film Religulous, speaking out against the viewpoint that the Bible contains scientific facts and going so far to say that the scriptures contain no science whatsoever.