REPLIES and e-mails and funds for astronomical research
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You are sending me e-mail.  Well, maybe not you personally, but y’all (as we say in Kentucky) who read The Catholic Astronomer are sending me e-mail.  These e-mails consist largely of questions and responses to my various blog posts. I probably should have realized back when I started writing for The Catholic Astronomer that I would have to eventually limit my blog-related e-mail.  “Eventually” has arrived.  I like the e-mails, but answering them is becoming a bit of a time sink. Fortunately, The Catholic Astronomer has a system for answering reader questions and acknowledging reader responses: the LEAVE A REPLY option on every post.  Leave your REPLY.  Ask your question in it.  We will try to answer.  Indeed, the Boss of this operation, Br. Guy Consolmagno, Director of the Vatican Observatory, has asked us bloggers to make a point of answering replies if we can. It is true that to REPLY you have to be logged in with the blog.  … Continue reading

Five Reasons Why Clickbait Works
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There’s two opposing theories about posting stuff in the week between Christmas and New Years. On the one hand, everyone’s off having a good time and not paying attention to the internet. On the other hand, nobody else is posting anything so you have a better chance than usual of actually being noticed by the folks who do. It’s been a while since I have posted a diary on The Catholic Astronomer about this blog itself, so I am taking these off-days to do so. Since the self-referential title promised five points (I just made up the number five now, I have no idea how many points I’ll have) let me start numbering them. Even though we don’t charge you for reading it, this web site is not free. I pay (a pittance, admittedly) to our bloggers, and that money has to come from someplace. In addition we pay a standing fee to Cyrcle Systems for regular maintenance, etc. Some months … Continue reading

Fan Mail Poetry
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I get fan mail now and then; but this one included a poem, which I thought I would share, just for the fun of it! Dr. Will Buckingham is a reader in Writing and Creativity at De Montfort University, in Leicester, England, adjacent to the River Soar. He’s the author of a number of books, both academic and fiction, including children’s books. He included this note: “I was rummaging through some old boxes prior to moving house, and I stumbled across a bunch of notebooks from something like ten years back. Leafing through, I found a short poem that I’d written having seen you talk at the science museum in Birmingham. A few days after the talk, if I remember rightly, I was teaching a writing class, and I was encouraging my students to write sonnets, so I weighed in and produced the attached poem. The title is ‘The Pope’s Astronomer’’. I’m more of a fiction/philosophy writer than a poet, but it … Continue reading

Questions from our readers…
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An email from a blog reader, who writes: “I have just read Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial and have a couple of questions. By the way, I am a practicing Catholic but with education only in medical science, and none in philosophy. Theology I have tried to study on my own. “The first question is regarding your brief references to transubstantiation. I think I understand what you mean by saying the old physics and metaphysics is not a wrong explanation, just no explanation at all. My question is whether or not you believe that transubstantiation should be referred to only in theological terms? Or whether there is a modern science explanation of its meaning, and if so, what it would be. “The second question refers to what I’ve read in another book, this time by a modern philosopher (Edward Feser). He speaks of hylomorphism, involving four irreducible causal components of material substances, and then about the ‘rational soul’ being the … Continue reading