Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Age of Wonder"

Happy Earth Day!

One of the things I really like about my daily 50-minute commute to school (and it's at least that long back again!) is, most days, the opportunity to hear a terrific Bob Edwards interview on XM satellite radio. Day before last, for instance, Richard Holmes spoke of The Age of Wonder. Sounds like Dawkins was right in Unweaving the Rainbow, to insist there's no need to fear science as a source of disenchantment with the world's natural poetry.

Holmes concludes:  "We need a wider, more generous, more imaginative perspective. Above all, perhaps, we need the three things that a scientific culture can sustain: the sense of individual wonder, the power of hope, and the vivid but questing belief in a future for the globe." 

One of the surprise stars of this story is Charles Darwin's grandpa Erasmus, who was already defending a sophisticated multiverse cosmology in the 18th century. And he was not a bad poet.

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