An astronomer whose specialty involves a belt of planetoids orbiting somewhere beyond Neptune says that his scientific work is reasonable only because he believes in God. Guy Consolmagno earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from MIT and a doctorate from the University of Arizona, then taught at Harvard before returning to MIT for three years of postdoctoral studies in astronomy.
Consolmagno sees a direct link between faith in the Creator and his own profession of studying the heavens. “Only when you accept the God who created the world and said it was good, only then do you have the confidence to do science,” he told Richard Vara for a copyrighted story in the Houston Chronicle. “To be a scientist, you have to assume the universe makes sense, that there is truth and (you are) capable of understanding it. If you don’t assume those three things, there is no point in being a scientist.”
Consalmagno says that religious faith is alive and well among practicing astronomers, and that three-quarters of the astronomers he knows believe in God. He warned, however, that well-meaning religious people can accidentally promote atheism by trying to link biblical teaching to specific scientific theories. The Bible talks about the Creator, he noted, not the scientific details of creation. And scientific theory constantly changes, but God does not. Consalmagno has also studied theology, as it happens. He is a Jesuit and has worked in the Vatican Observatory in Italy.