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“Will the Machines Take Over? Human Uniqueness in the Age of Smart Machines,” Seattle, WA

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2018 ASA Annual Meeting

8/13/2018 » 8/14/2018
“Our Place in the Cosmos?: Humanity, Spirituality, and the Awesome Universe,” Saskatoon, SK

Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey
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3/13/2014 at 5:08:20 PM GMT
Posts: 2
Wondering around Cosmos
While I am hesitant to add my two cents to these other august contributors (even though it is March!) due to my training in the applied squishy sciences (clinical psychology), I will nonetheless rush in unbidden.

My work is in the global missions arena and thus focuses on Missiology, church growth, and recently on Church Planting Movements (CPM), orality and storying.  One of the many incredibly exciting growing edges of the missions endeavors is discipling people using stories from the Bible.  CPM frequently start working with target groups by telling them stories. (These are often oral learners who do not typically gain knowledge from written material, either from illiteracy, or preference.)  Storying is chronological, that is, it begins in Genesis and works through the old testament and then to the new.  People who are vehemently opposed to a God who has relations with a woman, who has a son, Jesus, are instead brought into knowledge and relationship with a God who loves, cares, and disciplines people who follow him.  They are encouraged to act on these stories.  At the point of learning about Jesus, they are ready to accept his Lordship over their lives.  We are told God's word does not return void.  I marvel that God's word as accurate stories does not return void either.

What does this have to do with Cosmos?  (I told you I was squishy!)  For me, we educated folk are forever arguing about young or old earth, true science, atheism, evangelicalism, days, epochs, etc.  With the CPMs, it seems like God is saying that he is going to use his word to bring people to him regardless of whether it fits our paradigm or calendar.  Do our viewpoints matter?  Certainly, but at the end of the day, God is there.

So while I can watch this new Cosmos and get energized by some of its interpretations, I know that God's version and stories have a purpose we can only imagine.

As an aside, my father, recently deceased, was a long time member of ASA, and I joined now as some sort of an honor to him.  I remember vividly the excitement around Dr. Gingerich's proposed series in response to the original Cosmos.  Wasn't there a book going around then from ASA "Teaching Science in a Climate of Controversy?"  Too bad that TV series never came about.  With the large number of Christian media organizations around now, maybe there is a new opportunity.

3/14/2014 at 8:20:31 PM GMT
Posts: 2 entry on Cosmos
I enjoy, as a protestant and catholic dialogue on contemporary cultural issues.  Benjamin Wiker posts his impressions on Episode 1.  Enjoy!

3/19/2014 at 6:09:22 PM GMT
Posts: 19
"it seems like God is saying that he is going to use his word to bring people to him regardless of whether it fits our paradigm or calendar. Do our viewpoints matter? Certainly, but at the end of the day, God is there.

These words resonate with me, and I am sure you are right. I feel this to be true deeply in my soul. But, my mind tells me that our viewpoints do matter. They matter, because the Church needs to remain strong and convincing to new generations, and because Christianity is under attack. Like you, I have no idea what God wants of us, or what His plan is. But I still feel the call to struggle to help His Church weather this storm, to bring the Word to those who are in doubt, or in danger of losing faith, and God willing to bring in those who (like myself) had never accepted Christ, but who are searching for something that will not contradict their acceptance of the power of reasoning and the truth of God's Book of Works.

3/19/2014 at 9:27:03 PM GMT
Posts: 21
The blogger at TOFspot quoted Stanley Jaki, after he translated one of Bruno's works, as saying that if the real Copernicans had read that work, THEY would burned Bruno.

3/19/2014 at 9:38:05 PM GMT
Posts: 21
Sorry this remark seems out of place. It didn't end up where I thought it would, and it seems that the system won't let me delete it. (In addition it suddenly tells I have been idle for quite a while, when in fact I have been typing and actively trying to get the silly web interface to do what I want it to.) The inability of this system to allow you to comment on a particular previous comment is a serious shortcoming. I meant to be responding to J. Hwang's comment.

6/11/2014 at 1:33:59 AM GMT
Posts: 142
Now that the Cosmos series is over, we can take a little time to reflect on it. First, let me thank all of you who participated in the dialog. I thought all the comments were very appropriate and insighful. The number of comments was also about right--not too much to read and yet enough to be substantive.

I would summarize all the comments as being generally very positive about the passion of the presentation, the science (though many wished it could be in more detail), and the graphic artistry. Yet, the anti-religious bias was clear and was opposed wherever it occurred. If there were any doubt about the bias of the series, the ad in the final episode by Ron Reagan for the Freedom from Religion Foundation removed it.

It is interesting to note how other organizations responded. Here are a few:

Pete Enns wrote a balanced view after the finale.

The Discovery Institute took aim and fired.

Elizabeth Yale contributed her insight into the religion and science portrayed by Tyson and included this comment: "The narrative that Cosmos creates doesn’t really acknowledge the ways in which science is shaped by society (or, if it does so, it dismisses them). It assumes that scientific ideas persuade by their truth, and that, because scientists pursue the truth rigorously, the truth of a scientific idea, once arrived at, is obvious."

and many others.

We'll keep this forum open. Feel free to continue to add comments.

Thank you,

6/11/2014 at 3:05:48 PM GMT
Posts: 4
Neil DeGrasse Tyson is listed as a member of the the Skeptics Society, which is mainly opposed to pseudoscience. It would not seem to be as militantly atheistic as Richard Dawkin's Foundation for Reason and Science. The founder of the Skeptics Society, Michael Shermer, graduated from Pepperdine University.