brotherguy (brotherguy) wrote,

Br. Guy Consolmagno, the Vatican, Alien Extraterrestrial UFOs, and stuff...

The title is designed to reach anyone who has heard about me from a web site or book purporting to express my views on these subjects.

About a year ago, an author (whom I will not name or link to) conducted an extensive interview with me by email. I thought he was a legitimate journalist. However, seeing the ways in which he has twisted, misquoted, and invented utter falsehoods from the things I said, I have come to suspect that he is either a knave or a fool.

There are no Vatican secrets about UFOs. Neither I nor anyone I know has any evidence that extraterrestrials exist. We do not believe that "Jesus is a hybrid" or any of the other bizarre claims that this author makes. He is either seriously deluded, or a deliberate con-man.

Let me phrase this as strongly as I can: I do not know of any credible evidence at all that there has ever been contact of any form between extraterrestrial aliens and Earth. Period. I cannot imagine a circumstance where such contact could be kept secret for very long. And I say this, not only as an active astronomer for 40 years, but also as someone who knows lots of people in the SETI community (who would love to have such evidence), and as someone who's been an officer in the American Astronomical Society and in the International Astronomical Union. If there was something like this going on, we'd all be talking about it. There isn't, and we aren't.

That is a quote taken directly from one of the emails that I sent this author!

Here are some other things that I sent him in my emails:

… talking about Unidentified Flying Objects, which is to say, odd things seen in the sky, I have no problem with that. There are objects in the sky, presumably flying, that many people have a hard time identifying. "UFO" is certainly the right term for that! But once you insist that they are evidence of aliens, or government conspiracies, or for that matter once you try to fit these phenomena into any other preconceived notion, they are no longer "unidentified" -- you have implicitly identified them. And I am highly skeptical of any proposed identifications that rely on aliens, extraterrestrials, conspiracies, etc. … We have no artifacts from UFOs in our labs. We have nothing to test. Thus my skepticism.

I also note that there is a population of very skilled observers who spend a lot of time outdoors at night, without any connection with (or control by) the government or any other "official" institution: these are the large number of amateur astronomers around the world who own their own telescopes and spend hundreds of hours observing the skies. And you find that these people tend to be the most skeptical of all about UFO claims. Because they know the sky really well, and spend a lot of time looking into it, they are very familiar with what is out there... and though they see many unusual things in the sky, they are able to identify them without recourse to unknown, unidentified causes.

In response to a question about "official positions from the Vatican" about extraterrestrial life, I wrote to him:

There are no "official Vatican positions" on such topics. Nor is it a new idea; you can find people talking about this over the last thousand years… I have no idea how the Church would respond. It has been the subject of any number of science fiction stories; most of them not very good, I'm afraid.

Finally, some of his material appears to have originated in an article that appeared in a British newspaper in 2005, apparently referring to something called "The Jesus Seed".  When he asked me about it, I replied:

Virtually everything in this article (about me at least) is wrong... sometimes in trivial ways (I'm not a Star Trek fan), sometimes in important ways (nothing I said in my Catholic Truth Society booklet is new, much less controversial). Some of it might simply be the author's honest misunderstanding of what I was trying to say, because he read it in the light of his own unshakable prejudices… But most of it is pure invention on his part.

(A few trivial words in the above quotes have been altered so that they make sense in the context. I cannot possibly see how he can derive the conclusions purported to come from me, in the light of these direct statements I wrote to him.)

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