Written by an experienced author with a strong background in both History and Earth Sciences, this text explores the philosophic implications of the dramatic developments now under way in astrophysics and astrobiology. How close may this progress, empirical and theoretical, bring us to a definitive understanding of ultimate realities? What could it connote for the future of the great religious obediences? What might it mean for the evolution of a planetary consciousness that could be the key to the survival of our overburdened world? Are there not alarming possibilities, yet also very positive ones? Discussion takes full account of hard science in a manner accessible to lay people, where the arguments and observations presented are set firmly in a deep historical perspective. A fundamental conclusion and imperative for the coming century is that there are some shaky but tangible grounds for believing we are poised to enter an era in which relations much improve within and between the great religious obediences; between them and philosophical agnosticism - to the many who subscribe to no established faith but who would lay claim to a broad ethical concern and spiritual aspiration; and between all of these and the natural sciences. Throughout, the author provides compelling examples of cosmic norms - rooted in Earth Science, Astronomy/Astrophysics and Historical Example - to demonstrate the issues mankind faces in coming to terms with the Universe, of which we are but a small part.
"This is an unusual book which ranges across astronomy, philosophy, and faith as the subtitle promises. It embraces a study of the value systems and concepts which have come from major religions and other structure of belief. Ultimately Professor Brown seems to be fundamentally concerned with what human beings are and the meaning of human consciousness. . . . Well worth the effort for a wide range of readers, philosophers, scientists, and non-specialists." --Philosophy of Management
Part 1 - The Heavens in History; Part 2 - The Life Dimension; Part 3 - Utopia Lost?; Part 4 - A Dissolving Heritage; Part 5 - From Here From Eternity; Index.