Summerhays Lecture 2013

Dr. Daniel C. Peterson of the BYU Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages will deliver the 2013 Summerhays Lecture, entitled “Hearing Cosmic Harmony Again.”

For many centuries, religious believers of all stripes have affirmed, in the words of the Psalmist, that “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handy work.”

But, although the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins could still exclaim that “The world is charged with the grandeur of God,” scientific discoveries had seriously undermined that view–or, at least, were being claimed to have done so–by the time of his too-young death in 1889.

The serious subversion had begun, or so the story is often told, with the Copernican “revolution’s” dethronement of earth and humans from their privileged place at the center of the universe. It continued, rather ironically, with Sir Isaac Newton’s portrayal of that universe as governed by a remorseless chain of cause-and-effect operating under mathematically rigorous physical laws, and it seemed to have been proven by Darwin’s apparent demonstration that life, in all its varieties, had emerged as a result, merely, of purposeless chance.

I will attempt to show, with special emphasis on astronomy and cosmology, that this picture of the development of science and its implications–the picture with which I grew up– is historically misleading at several crucial points, and that some elements of current science suggest that there is still, to say the least of it, plenty of room for theistic conviction.

The free lecture will be held on Thursday, September 19th at 7:00pm in the Joseph Smith Building auditorium (JSB 140) at Brigham Young University. Campus Map

Please register below if you plan to attend the lecture so that we can prepare for overflow areas if necessary. Thank you!

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Information on past Summerhays lectures can be found at Previous Summerhays Lectures