Brother Guy Consolmagno, Jesuit and astronomer at the Vatican Observatory, discussed the 'Big Bang' origin of the universe and the question of extraterrestrial life, as well as his research into how scientists, engineers and other "techie" types practice religion.
There are fewer atheistic scientists than most people think, Consolmagno explained, noting that science and religion can be compatible. He rejected a literal interpretation of the Bible, describing the sacred writings instead as a series of metaphors whose purpose is to get across essential truths. Consolmagno commented on the nature of evil and the Intelligent Design movement as well.
He also spoke about Mars, the Asteroid Belt, and the International Astronomical Union's decision to downgrade Pluto to a dwarf planet. Pluto is "just a dinky lump of ice about 1000 miles across," he said. According to Consolmagno, there are more than a thousand objects near Pluto that are about the same size, and a couple are even larger than the tiny former planet.
In the first hour, Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine talked about her life and touched on a variety of topics, including her interest in consciousness, synchronicities, UFOs and extraterrestrials. She also discussed her latest book, Sage-ing While Age-ing.