I thought the woman who discounted theistic models of the universe in order to promote an overtly “scientific” but pregnantly pantheistic vision of “Life” as cosmic organizing principle provided a good example of this confusion at work. While her biotic cosmology is undoubtedly rich and deeply rewarding as a way to explain and appreciate childbirth, natural selection, and other awe-inspiring biological systems, this very sublime character drives it to converge — despite her vocabulary-driven assertions to the contrary — with at least a quasi-religious point-of-view. Change “Gods” name to “Nature” and you are still worshipping a transcendental force, only according to a somewhat different rite. Likewise, replace the “Big Bang” with “the Prime Mover,” and where are you?
Given the topic of the show, its not surprising that the callers seemed so entirely concerned with the question of God, but I found it striking that there were so few allusions — even in passing — to how the absence or presence of God relates to their individual lives.
The Bob Dylan song cue “Gotta Serve Somebody” highlighted this (to me) curious alienation of cosmological argumentation from existential anthropology and ethics. Whether God exists or not, science or faith, whom does one serve? How do we structure our lives, and on what philosophical basis do we orient such a structure? What is our theodicial stance, and can we argue backward from that position to insights about the nature — anthropomorphic, transcendental, or otherwise — of the factors that govern (or dont) the universe? To me at least these are excruciatingly relevant concerns..