A Fortunate Universe: Book Discussion 2/19/2017

Posted by Robert Noel, Sciences Librarian

Luke Barnes is in Bloomington, so mark your calendars, there’s a book discussion this Sunday night (2/19/17) at the Evangelical Community Church, 503 S. High St., Bloomington, 6 pm.

What’s the topic?  Well, the laws of the universe, the way things are… it’s all pretty well organized, symmetrical, ordered.  Why would that be?

Barnes, a co-author of the new Cambridge University Press book A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos will speak this Sunday and hash out these questions.  Lewis is a Welsh astrophysicist, and full astronomy professor at the University of Sydney, and Barnes (PhD from Cambridge) is a post-doc at the Sydney Institute for  Astronomy.  It sounds like this book, written for a broad, non-specialist audience, may have some things in common with recent “intelligent design” debates, and questions covered by the fairly well-known 2000 title Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe.

It’s unusual for a staid, esteemed publisher such as Cambridge University Press to put out a title that may mix theological speculation in with physics, astronomy, and cosmology; the fact that this book is out and is categorized not as an astronomy or physics title, but as a “pattern formation” title (Q172.5), may give us pause.  This is “science”, but other titles similarly classified are about complex systems, chaos, and complexity.  Is it time to step back, and ask the very blunt question: is there room for God in the IU science collection?  Join the group this Sunday to participate in what promises to be an edgy and profound philosophical and scientific discussion.  Just a few hundred yards from the southeast corner of campus.

Thanks to IU biophysicist John Beggs for alerting the Swain Hall neighborhood to this event.