RISE Course No. 2098

Science & Religion: Henry D. Thoreau & the Future

Wednesdays 10:45-12:15, October 19 – November 16, 2016

Paul H. Carr

From the naturalism & transcendentalism of Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862) to music & the future. From Thoreau’s day to ours, does religion help or hinder science?

PowerPoint talks with discussion.

1. Thoreau: From Mystical to Mathematical Beauty

I am a mystic, transcendentalist, and natural philosopher (botanist) to boot” (Thoreau). Thoreau’s career is an example of the transition from a mystical, philosophic view of nature to a quantitative mathematical one.

2. Thoreau’s Search for Place, Creative Example, & Climate Change.

-From New York City (1843) to Walden Pond

-Preserving Place on our Planet with its changing climate.

-Over the past 160 years, the mean date of leaf emergence has shifted from

May 8th in Thoreau’s field notes to April 29th in recent years.

-How Thoreau’s Creative Example Inspired N C Wyeth’s Art.

- Artist N Converse Wyeth’s illustrations of Thoreau’s “Men of Concord.”

3. Might Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience Overcom Income Inequality

- The Golden Rule of ethics must re-balance our economy. At present, those with the gold make the rules.

"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” Thoreau.

4. Has religion helped or hindered the development of science?

Religion has helped by establishing universities but biblical literalism is hindering.

5. The Future of Religion and Science: Beautiful Music, Math, Myth.

Let’s update our ancient mythological stories and liturgy with new discoveries. Our universe is more vast, awesome, and beautiful. Music has also been a conceptual force in the development of mathematics and science, from the beautiful “music of the spheres” of the Greeks to the big bang’s whispers.

Paul H. Carr, BS, MS, MIT; Ph.D. Brandeis, led a branch of the AF Research Laboratory and taught at RISE, 2010, 2014, and 2015. The Templeton Foundation awarded him grants for the science and religion courses he taught in the philosophy department at U Mass Lowell. This inspired his book Beauty in Science and Spirit (2006) His web page: www.MirrorOfNature.org