Science as “a profound source of spirituality”?

Science as “a profound source of spirituality”? December 8, 2019

 

Eta Carinae 1

An optical image of Eta Carinae made in 1998 by the Hubble Space Telescope reveals two spectacular bubbles of gas expanding in opposite directions away from a central bright region at speeds in excess of a million miles per hour. The inner region visible in the Chandra image has never been resolved before, and appears to be associated with a central disk of high velocity gas rushing out at much higher speeds perpendicular to the bipolar optical nebula.
(NASA Hubble public domain image)

 

Here are two of my favorite comments from the late American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, and science popularizer Carl Sagan:

 

“How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, ‘This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?’ Instead they say, ‘No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.’ A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.”

 

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.”

 

I would love, someday, to convene a conference on the precise subject of that last comment and to hear from faithful Latter-day Saint (and perhaps other theistic) scientists about how, for them, science is and has been “a profound source of spirituality.”

 

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’d like to get a bit more serious about it than I have been.  Such a conference could not realistically happen before sometime in 2021, but I would like to know whether anybody else might be interested in such a topic and such a conference.  Are there any scientists out there who would be willing to participate in a conference on “Science as a Source of Spirituality”?  Not a conference on how to reconcile science and religion, interesting though that subject is, but a conference on scientific inquiry as a religious quest, on scientific findings as religious inspiration, and so forth.  Anybody who is interested is welcome to contact me at daniel_peterson@byu.edu.

 

Glory be to God for dappled things – 
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; 
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; 
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings; 
   Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough; 
      And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim. 
All things counter, original, spare, strange; 
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) 
      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; 
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 
                                Praise him.

(Gerard Manley Hopkins)

 

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