Ok, so this is beyond the range of typical travel so it ended up here on my blog instead, but I was interested in the link between these two articles that appeared side by side in a news roundup I saw today.
First – The Vatican apparently says that they have no problem with the concept of extraterrestrials. In an article called “The Extraterrestrial is my Brother,” the priest who advises the Pope on scientific matters says this:
“Just as there is a multiplicity of creatures on Earth, there can be other beings, even intelligent, created by God. This is not in contrast with our faith because we can’t put limits on God’s creative freedom,” he said. “Why can’t we speak of a ‘brother extraterrestrial’? It would still be part of creation.”
(Maybe it’s just me, but now every time I hear someone use the word brother in a non-sibling way, I can’t help but think of Desmond from Lost.) It’s an interesting concept, but it seems like an odd issue for the church to address now, particularly in the wake of their big PR bump after the Pope’s big U.S. visit, and the recent progressive announcement that polluting is a sin. And although there’s still the fact that still have issues with evolution, but they’re at least thinking forward in this instance.
Which brings us to the adjoining article about a college creative writing class in Wyoming called “Interstellar Message Composition,” which is, the Christian Science Monitor describes, “the first class to enlist creative writers in a potential cosmic conversation.” Student assignments include summing up the human experience for an extraterrestrial reader using only 250 words, then whittling it down to 50 words, then ten. (I’m still contemplating what my ten word treatise on humanity would be). The class is funded by NASA, and the final projects will be submitted to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute, where they may eventually be used to transmit messages in space. But I really love the courses’ objective, as described by the professor:
“In a sense,” he says, “all writing is writing for extraterrestrials.”