Dinesh D Souza, The Greatness of Christianity: Table of Contents
Cf. Dinesh D’souza, What’s So Great About Christianity, at Amazon
“We will never know completely who we are until we understand why the universe is constructed in such a way that it contains living things.” —Lee Smolin, The Life of the Cosmos
COPERNICUS IS DEAD. Yes, I know the famous astronomer died in 1543. That’s not what I mean. Nor do I mean that the Copernican theory—that the earth revolves around the sun, and not the other way around—is dead. But Copernicus’s heliocentric revolution was not merely a scientific revolution. It also became (in hands other than his) an intellectual revolution that denied that man has a special place in the cosmos. New discoveries, however, are reversing the lesson of Copernicus. We seem to live in a universe in which we do have a special position of importance. The latest scientific research shows that we apparently inhabit a world specifically crafted for us.
From leading atheists we see familiar expressions of the conventional wisdom about the Copernican revolution. In his recent book God: The Failed Hypothesis, physicist Victor Stenger writes, “It is hard to conclude that the universe was created with a special, cosmic purpose for humanity.” Physicist Steven Weinberg writes, “The human race has had to grow up a good deal in the last five hundred years to confront the fact that we just don’t count for much in the grand scheme of things.” Astronomer Carl Sagan invokes the Copernican revolution to challenge “our posturings, our imagined self- importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe.”
Although these are not scientific statements, they are invoked with the full authority of science. What we have here is a metaphysical narrative about science that shapes the way many scientists approach the world and the way in which our culture understands what science has demonstrated. The Copernican revolution can be understood as establishing the principle of mediocrity. This principle simply says that we human beings are nothing special. We inhabit a tiny insignificant planet in a relatively undistinguished galaxy in a distant suburb of an unimaginably vast universe.