SCIENCE
09/29/2014 03:16 pm ET Updated Sep 29, 2014

How A Vatican Astronomer Views The Science-Religion Divide

Are science and religion fundamentally at odds?

Many well-known astronomers and astrophysicists think so, including Stephen Hawking, who in a recent interview said, "Before we understood science, it was natural to believe that God created the universe, but now science offers a more convincing explanation... I'm an atheist."

Other astronomers see no fundamental incompatibility between science and religious faith--including Guy Consolmagno, an astronomer and planetary scientist who is one of a dozen astronomers who works for the Vatican Observatory.

In an interview with HuffPost Science editor David Freeman, Brother Guy said he believes the antagonism between scientific principles and religious faith exists mostly among fundamentalists.

"I mean fundamentalists on both sides," he said, "because there are also science fundamentalists. And what is a fundamentalist? It's somebody who is clinging to the fundamentals of their truth because they don't have the confidence or the faith in their faith to be able to say, 'I'm settled, I'm happy with this, let's see where it goes.' Fundamentalism is a sign of fear."

To hear the full interview with Brother Guy--who is also the curator of the Vatican Observatory's meteorite collection and the author of a new book entitled Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial--click on the podcast link above.

The interview was originally broadcast on Sharon, Connecticut radio station WHDD/Robin Hood Radio. Scroll down for another Science Insider interview.

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