Course Information

Humanity and the Cosmos

Do humans have meaningful role in the Universe? And if so, what is that role? Value and meaning are intimately connected with one's cosmic view. In medieval Europe, for example, human life had meaning because humans were the central actors in a dramatic struggle between heavenly forces above and satanic forces below. But today's scientific description of the universe has troubling implications. The fact that humans appeared only recently and occupy a tiny part of the cosmos gives rise to doubts that humans have any significance at all! Conflict thus arises between science and religious faith. You'll examine evidence supporting the latest theories of space and time, cosmological and biological evolution, and the meaning of meaning. You'll also try to fit humanity into the current picture of reality, and consider if humans have a meaningful role. Suggested reading: The View from the Center of the Universe, Joel R. Primak and Nancy Ellen Abrams, available online for under $15:00