George Coyne, Vatican astronomer obituary (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Sunday, February 16, 2020, 15:24 (343 days ago)

He did not follow my views about God, opposed ID theory:

"The Rev. George C. Coyne, a Jesuit astrophysicist who as the longtime director of the Vatican Observatory defended Galileo and Darwin against doctrinaire Roman Catholics, and also challenged atheists by insisting that science and religion could coexist, died on Tuesday in Syracuse, N.Y. He was 87.


“'One thing the Bible is not,” he told The New York Times Magazine in 1994, “is a scientific textbook. Scripture is made up of myth, of poetry, of history. But it is simply not teaching science.”


"In an article in the English Catholic weekly The Tablet in 2005, Father Coyne sought to reconcile religion with evolution.
“God in his infinite freedom,” he wrote, “continuously creates a world that reflects that freedom at all levels of the evolutionary process to greater and greater complexity. He is not continually intervening, but rather allows, participates, loves.”

"He went further by finding fault with intelligent design.

“If they respect the results of modern science, and indeed the best of modern biblical research,” he wrote, “religious believers must move away from the notion of a dictator God or a designer God, a Newtonian God who made the universe as a watch that ticks along regularly.”
He added, “Perhaps God should be seen more as a parent or as one who speaks encouraging and sustaining words.”


“'George was one of the pre-eminent figures in the Catholic world who could speak intelligently and articulately about both science and faith,” said the Rev. James Martin, editor at large of America, the Jesuit magazine. “And George, by nature a humble man, could often dazzle.”

"In the Times Magazine interview, Father Coyne was asked, “How can you describe the universe as a vast empty infinitude, largely uninhabited, and still believe in — ”

“The centrality of man in the universe?” he interjected, completing the reporter’s thought.

“'There’s no doubt about it,” he went on. “To our own knowledge of ourselves, we are unique in creation because of our self-reflexivity. I can know myself knowing. I am having a conversation with you, and I can remember that conversation. To this, the Catholic Church comes along and says, ‘The reason this is true is because you have an individual soul.’”

Comment: His view of God is not mine, and perhaps closer to dhw's in his theistic mode..

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