Artur Rosman has a nice post excerpting Walker Percy’s nonfiction book Lost In The Cosmos; Percy remarked on his experience watching Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, in particular Sagan’s naive ignorance of the philosophical and theological depth of Christian cosmology — and ignorance that Sagan’s putative opponents among Christians also share. Excerpt from Percy:
Indeed, more often than not, I found myself on Sagan’s side, especially in his admiration for science and the scientific method, which is what he says it is — a noble, elegant, and self-correcting method of attaining a kind of truth — and when he attacks the current superstitions, astrology, UFO’s, parapsychology, and such, which seem to engage the Western mind now more than ever — more perhaps than either science or Christianity.
What is to be deplored is not Sagan’s sophomoric scientism — which I think better than its counterpart, a sophomoric theism which attributes the wonders of the Cosmos to a God who created it like a child with a cookie cutter — no, what is deplorable is that these serious issues involving God and the nature of man should be co-opted by the present disputants, a popularizer like Sagan and fundamentalists who believe God created the world six-thousand years ago. It’s enough to give both science and Christianity a bad name.
Really, it is a case of an ancient and still honorable argument going to pot. Even arguments in a college dormitory are, or were, conducted at a higher level.
Read Rosman’s post to see what he says this has to do with the new Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson. Artur also has a link to Walker Percy’s Jefferson lecture about science and the modern mind. I didn’t even know that was available on video.
We’re going to have a panel on Percy and science at the Walker Percy Weekend. You need to be here for that, Artur Rosman. The rest of you do too.