Tag Archives: Philosophy

Re-defining God with the New Science of “Emergence”

9780807073391by Nancy Ellen Abrams, author of A God That Could Be Real:  Spirituality, Science, and the Future of Our Planet (Beacon Press, March 2015)

We are living at the dawn of a new picture of the universe. We now know that everything visible with our best telescopes is less than one percent of what’s really out there. Our universe is made almost entirely of “dark matter” and “dark energy” – two invisible, dynamic presences whose 13.8 billion year competition with each other has spun the galaxies into being and thus created the only possible homes for evolution and life. This must change how we think about God. Continue reading

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Why God Did Not Create the Universe

THE GRAND DESIGN by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, authors of The Grand Design (Bantam, 2010)

According to Viking mythology, eclipses occur when two wolves, Skoll and Hati, catch the sun or moon. At the onset of an eclipse people would make lots of noise, hoping to scare the wolves away. After some time, people must have noticed that the eclipses ended regardless of whether they ran around banging on pots.

Ignorance of nature’s ways led people in ancient times to postulate many myths in an effort to make sense of their world. But eventually, people turned to philosophy, that is, to the use of reason—with a good dose of intuition—to decipher their universe. Today we use reason, mathematics and experimental test—in other words, modern science. Continue reading

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“Should This Be the Last Generation?”

THE LIFE YOU CAN SAVE by Peter Singer

In a recent online essay on The New York Times Opinionator Blog, Peter Singer, author of The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty,  posits a simple yet profound question: should this be the last generation?

Citing the work of philosophers Schopenhauer and Benatar, Singer considers human existence and follows these philosophers’ logic to the conclusion that “continued reproduction will harm some children severely, and benefit none”.  And so he makes a modest proposal for “universal sterilization” that will end the cycle of suffering, and the feelings of guilt that come with wrecking an environment for future generations.  “If there were to be no future generations, there would be much less for us to fell guilty about.”  However, Singer’s optimistic side eventually prevails and he comes to value a universe filled with sentient beings over one without. 

What do you think?  What kind of moral obligation do we have to create future generations?  On the other hand, what kind of responsibility do we bear for the suffering they will endure as a result of our bringing them into existence?  Would future generations paradoxically benefit from having never been brought into such a troubled existence?  Would the universe be better off without us?

Consider these questions and the ones posed in Singer’s piece and post a thoughtful comment here.  Then email us for your free copy (this offer is open only to educators at accredited institutions.  Please be sure to include your full school mailing address).  To read an excerpt from Singer’s book, which will be out in paperback this September, please click here.

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