As I haven't posted to the ASA reflector before, here's some info about
me. I'm a Ph.D. candidate in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of
Michigan and have been a member of ASA since graduating from Wheaton. I
have been involved in science and theology discussions in the Graduate
Christian Fellowship (chapter of InterVarsity) at UM.
Stephen Hawking has squandered his opportunity to one up Carl
Sagan's _Cosmos_. He improves neither the presentation of cosmology, nor
the information content. Hopefully the next episodes will change my
The first episode, "Seeing is Believing" talks about the history
of cosmology from the Sumereans to the Big Bang. Stephen Hawking's
worldview is obvious in statements about the history of cosmology as a
history of Science vs. the Bible, with the Scriptures losing to each new
discovery. Other experts interviewed on the program are more cautious.
One refers to the Galileo incident as science vs. religion or theology.
Robert Jastrow gives a positive spin to the Big Bang as how God created.
Once again the popular misunderstanding of the Galileo incident
is promoted. The adoption of Ptolemy's cosmology by the church is
misunderstood. An earth-centered system didn't appeal to human
ego's (we are the center of God's creation) but to our falleness . We
are separated from God: He is above the heavens, which include planets
in perfect orbits, while we are below the heavens, immoveable, imperfect.
The conflict between Galileo and the church is simplified to
Science vs. the Bible, while in reality it was much more complex, with
religious issues not so central . There were political (leaders of the
universities and Jesuits debated with him), personal (Galileo called the
pope a buffoon) theological (Galileo denied the doctrine of
transubstantiation) and scientific (old science vs. cutting edge science)
issues involved. The church was the political authority at the time,
unfortunately, and so it had the responsibility and power to punish
The web site for the series is very impressive, with a
downloadable Teacher's guide. I'm sure science teachers at many different
levels would be interested in using this resource. However, teachers at
Christian schools may be hesitant in using it, because of the worldview
espoused. Should the ASA provide supplementary materials for those
I'm looking forward to further episodes and your comments (esp.
any cosmologists, astrophysicists out there). This is another
opportunity, like _Contact_, to engage the public in discussions of
science and religion.
1. Nancy R. Pearcey and Charles B. Thaxton, _The Soul of Science:
Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy_, Crossway Books: Wheaton, IL
2. John Hedley Brooke, _Science and Religion: Some Historical
Perspectives_, Cambridge U. Press: New York (1991).
Keenan E. Dungey
The U. of Michigan 3610 Partridge Path, #7
Dept. of Chemistry AA, MI 48108
930 N. University 313/677-6304
AA, MI 48109-1055 email@example.com
"Reason builds on a foundation of faith" -Phillip Johnson