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eden2eve's avatar

Vatican names it's new giant telescope "Lucifer". What's with that?

Asked by eden2eve (3693 points ) May 4th, 2010

The name “Lucifer” can be defined as “The Morning Star”, or the planet Venus. That makes sense, but what about the connection to the reference in Isaiah 14:12: How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!

The Christian world is aware of the identification of the name Lucifer with Satan or the devil. That seems to be a strange name for that august organization to use for such an important scientific instrument. What do you think?

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26 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

The vatican has a telescope…lol? Didn’t they kill the guy that invented it for being a heretic?

deni's avatar

@Blackberry LOL HAHAHA

Kraigmo's avatar

What about that Catholic Church in Rome, near the Vatican, that has a courtyard and cathedral made out of nothing but human bones?

Or what about all those Cathedrals with Gargoyles and other demons?

I don’t think any of this is wrong, I just think the Roman Catholic Church has a fascinating relationship and history with the dark side of life and spirituality.

Although it does go against what one would think they’d be into, sometimes.

grumpyfish's avatar

Lucifer => “Bringer of light”, which is very apropriate for a telescope.

Isaiah in the original Hebrew is a bit less clear as to whom the speaker is referring: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucifer

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Maybe they think astronomy is the devil’s work.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Interesting, to be sure. I think they’re going with the ‘Bringer of Light” thing.

@Blackberry Just to say, though, that that’s almost entirely wrong. They did next to nothing to Galileo. The pope supported him writing his book, and only got mad when he created a character that was essentially an embodiment of the church as a bumbling dolt. Galileo was a bit of a jerk.

loser's avatar

Hey, that’s funny!!!

Blackberry's avatar

@BhacSsylan Yeah I know lol, Hans Lippershey invented the earliest telescope, and the church didn’t kill Galileo although: ”...when he began publicly supporting the heliocentric view, which placed the Sun at the centre of the universe, he met with bitter opposition from some philosophers and clerics, and two of the latter eventually denounced him to the Roman Inquisition early in 1615. In February 1616, although he had been cleared of any offence, the Catholic Church nevertheless condemned heliocentrism as “false and contrary to Scripture”,[10] and Galileo was warned to abandon his support for it—which he promised to do. When he later defended his views in his most famous work, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, published in 1632, he was tried by the Inquisition, found “vehemently suspect of heresy,” forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.”

I’ll do some research, but I don’t see how he was a jerk….....The catholic church seemed like the jerks.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

They really wanted “Lucent™”, but that was taken and their attorneys told them it would be an expensive fight. Then they thought of “Lucid”, but other senior advisors convinced the Pope that the public can only tolerate a certain amount of hypocrisy per year from the Catholic Church, and we’ve about reached our limits for this year.

So they settled for one of the Founders’ names, which makes some sense, after all.

Cruiser's avatar

I just think the pocket protector crowd at the University got carried away with their acronym and are having a good laugh at the worlds expense.

Large Binocular Telescope Near-infrared Utility with Camera and Integral Field Unit for Extragalactic Research

Ron_C's avatar

@Blackberry they didn’t kill Galileo, just threatened him. He didn’t invent the telescope but he did vastly improve it. He got in trouble for reporting his findings that the earth was not the center of the universe.

It is ironic that they would actually buy a working telescope.

Blackberry's avatar

@Ron_C Yeah I am aware now lol (see above post), but it is still pretty funny they have a telescope.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Blackberry So, as I said, the pope was actually a strong supporter of Galileo during his writing of “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems”. As your quote says, “he met with bitter opposition from some philosophers and clerics”. Those people condemned him, the Inquisition was called in, but they didn’t do anything. Galileo was friends with many in the church, and was quickly cleared of any offense. The church declared the heliocentric view false, but didn’t force Galileo to recant at that point, only warned that he was probably wrong. At this point, the church did nothing at all.

Now, at this point the pope was talking with Galileo quite a bit over his book, and he requested that Galileo present the heliocentric view as a theory, which it was. The pope was interested in hearing about it, was quite interested in the theory, but recognized it as a currently unproven theory. There was a decent amount of evidence, but not enough to overturn the centuries of teaching, at least not yet. Galileo agreed that he would do so.

So, Galileo then went off and published his book, which while quite amazing, had two major faults. One, his ‘proof’ was the tides, saying that the tides were caused by the movement of the earth, which we now know is wrong. Second, and more importantly, he essentially represented the pope, this guy who had helped him and talked at length and was, as far as the pope knew, a friend, as a bumbling idiot. Literally. There are three characters, Galileo’s, the intelligent Copernican, a ‘judge’ of the debate, and the pope’s, an idiotic heliocentrist. Obviously this made the Pope a little angry. Hence, jerk.

Now, the Inquisition was set on him again. And yes, they forced him to recant, and sentenced him to house arrest. But keep in mind that ‘House arrest’ was a very large, very nice estate. And Galileo, by this point, was rather old. So this was not in many respects a very harsh sentence. They told him “go home, and play nice from now on”.

Galileo was very stuck up. Within reason, of course. In many respects the man was a genius. But he was incredibly proud and believed he was smarter then just about anyone ever. This is clear in his writings from time to time. The involvement of the church has been exaggerated over the years. He was sentenced to house arrest, and brought before the Inquisition, but one was hardly a bad sentence, and fully justified really, and the Inquisition didn’t ever do much more to him then say “come on, man. give it up”.

The easiest proof of exaggeration is talk that Galileo was tortured by the Inquisition. This is broadly true, but the problem lies in how he was tortured. Keep in mind this wasn’t in Spain. The Inquisition had many levels of torture, and Galileo I believe did not get past 2, which is the inquisitor saying “You know, we can torture you”. Literally.

Just in case your wondering, most of my information comes from this guy, one of the foremost scholars on the scientific revolution. In person, since that’s some weird site.

WolfFang's avatar

I was thinking along the lines of @Captain_Fantasy , maybe they named it Lucifer in spite of them(previously) thinking it was devils work.

Blackberry's avatar

@BhacSsylan Very interesting, I can buy that. Thanks for the knowledge Mr. Bhac :)

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Blackberry No problem. Glad you enjoyed my entirely too long post >.<

Pandora's avatar

Agree with @grumpyfish. It makes the most sense.

MissA's avatar

One…everyone underestimates the power of the Catholic Inquisition. And, two…there’s always something with which to get one’s snickers in a twist about.

Ron_C's avatar

@MissA you are completely right. It is an indication of what happens when the religious have too much power. The same thing happened with the Taliban in Afghanistan. That is why the seperation of the church and state is so important.

Nullo's avatar

@Blackberry Incidentally, any given point within an infinite space can be said to be the center of that space, since all boundaries are equidistant from it.

Blackberry's avatar

@Nullo….......I am sure you are fully aware of what I meant :)

Nullo's avatar

@Blackberry Certainly. I also see no point in repeating what other people say when their posts have already been acknowledged.

Blackberry's avatar

@Nullo Are you referring to my very last post where I agreed with Thammuz? Or another post?

Nullo's avatar

@Blackberry Another post (this one).
Is that Thammuz? O_o

Blackberry's avatar

@Nullo Yes, I was more aware that my first post was not accurate, so I did some reading and showed Bhac what I read…...you may not see the point, but I felt I should let him know that I understood and checked a source instead of just believing what some random person said on the internet, regardless of the accuracy.

antimatter's avatar

It means in Latin “enlightened”. Perhaps they figured out the the world is not flat and yes the stars are not lights but suns.

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