Separation of Church and Space?

(photo courtesy of NASA)

(photo courtesy of NASA)

via University of Dayton:

Whether you believe the Philae probe’s landing on a speeding comet is a monumental advance or a colossal waste might depend on your religion, according to a University of Dayton researcher.

Many in the space community see the landing as a critical step in colonizing the solar system, such as NASA Planetary Science Division Director Jim Green who said, “I truly believe that a single-planet species will not survive long. It’s our destiny to move off this planet.” (see CNET article)

Yet Evangelical Protestants are much surer Jesus will return in the next 40 years than that humans will make significant strides in space exploration, according to research by University of Dayton political science assistant professor Joshua Ambrosius.

“Evangelicals have been hesitant to recognize the discoveries of modern science — from evolutionary origins to climate change,” Ambrosius said. “The data show that this overall attitude extends into space.”

Ambrosius used data from the General Social Survey and three Pew surveys to compare knowledge, interest and support for space exploration among Catholics, Evangelicals, Mainline Protestants, Jews, Eastern religions and those with no religion.

Read More: https://www.udayton.edu/news/articles/2014/11/church_and_space.php

  • Tchoutoye

    I truly believe that a single-planet species will not survive long. It’s our destiny to move off this planet.

    That’s a belief that is just as unscientific as the argumentation of the evangelicals.

    • Simon Valentine

      or such a statement as you make takes as a hidden variable the Theseus paradox?

      or perhaps again we backtrack to the word destiny; is it your destiny to discover the definition and semantics of vocabulary components?

      anyway…

    • SpaceCaptainWarlock

      Just as unscientific? Really? We know that we have not discovered signals from other intelligent life (an indication of its scarcity in the universe). We know that a meteor could wipe out all life on earth in an instant. And we know that humans have the capability to destroy themselves in a variety of ways (e.g. nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, climate change, etc). When Green says “will not survive long” he’s likely talking about geologic time scales.

      Compare that to “[Our white-skinned, blue-eyed] Jesus will come in the next 40 years” based on absolutely nothing other than rampant speculative interpretations from a book of fiction.

      • Echar Lailoken

        Just as unscientific? Really? We know that we have not discovered signals from other intelligent life (an indication of its scarcity in the universe).

        They may not be scarce, we may be unaware of the frequency or other modalities.

      • Law ‘n order

        “Destiny” is not a very scientific term; indeed, it is arguably a religious term.

        Further, history says that primates generally, and genus homo specifically, evolve rapidly. Single planet or multi-planet, homo sapiens is not likely to last long on geologic time scales; either we will become extinct leaving behind no descendants, or we will evolve and leave behind descendants that are NOT homo sapiens. In fact, the rapid development of genetic engineering suggests that we will deliberately replace ourselves with non-human descendants.

      • Leester

        “We know that we have not discovered signals from other intelligent life”

        And if you were to stand in a forest looking for smoke signals you might conclude there was no intelligent life on Earth either.

      • lastsoldier

        When one considers the vastness of space and the technology that is currently available it is a fantasy to believe that we will ever reach other habitable planets let alone successfully colonize them. Learning to cooperate, and managing the resources available here should be the priority.

    • $20756863

      Tell that to the dinosaurs.

  • BuzzCoastin

    if I’m not mistaken
    many Evangelicals are awaiting space travel
    in the form of the Rapture
    when after 2000 years speculative anticipation
    Jesus returns
    better late than never is their moto

  • Andrew

    What do the evangelical Christians believe the comet landing is a colossal waste of, Mammon?

    • Echar Lailoken

      The return of the city of Enoch.

  • SpaceCaptainWarlock

    Yeah, you know, any time science makes a positive mark on history, the wingnut religious folk always love to come out and talk about how it’s a waste of money. Forget that this particular achievement used Europe’s money. Forget that these same people were likely cheering “4 more years” when George Bush was spending 1 trillion+ dollars blowing up Iraq. Forget that investment in a space program brings with it amazing technology that has a measurable positive effect on society.

    I’m sure they would rather see that money spent oppressing gays, indoctrinating children, burning books and rewriting history. They deserve all the ridicule they get.

    • terrasodium

      I’ll make a leap of logic here and consider that you are in fact not a scientist , instead you do have a book or two writen by a zooalogical biologist who has rhetorically requested that you become militaristic in your worldview towards the people of the “flying spagetti monster” , bravo you , don’t forget your helmet and armband at the next rally!

      • SpaceCaptainWarlock

        That was incoherent, but I liked how you went from 0 to Godwin in under 3 seconds. Well done.

        • terrasodium

          not a surprising response

          • SpaceCaptainWarlock

            Shouldn’t you be throwing slop at a wall somewhere to see what sticks? I don’t get why you’re still here.

          • terrasodium

            very existential, no?