Congregation at Duke Chapel

In the Beginning

In the Beginning

presentation at Adult Forum by Dr. Charles Dickinson
Beacon Hill Seminars, Boston
May 4, 2004

"In the Beginning": The Existential Relevance of Cosmology and Cosmogony

a talk by Dr. Charles Dickinson
  1. Introduction: the Basic Existential Questions:
    1. "Where do we come from?"
    2. "What are we?"
    3. "Where are we going?"
  2. Why do we do cosmology and cosmogony?
    1. To make sense of immediate experience, viz. the world in which we live.
    2. To give our life-world meaning and value.
    3. To ascertain and solidify our own identity.
    4. To provide our ethics, our rules of behavior, which tell us how to behave.
    5. To solidify our own political standing in the world.
  3. How the "Scientific Revolution" changed the rules of the game:
    1. "Disturbing the hearth of the universe": a new picture of the cosmos.
    2. New "rules of evidence" and knowledge.
    3. The reaction of Blaise Pascal.
    4. Science and theology go their separate ways.
  4. New Developments in the 20th and 21st Centuries:
    1. Is the whole cosmos simply pointless?
    2. "Science and Spiritual Quest"