We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Process Cosmotheology and the Biological Universe, Part 4 - Andrew Davis' Response to Steven Dick's Naturalistic Cosmology




 Process Cosmotheology and the Biological Universe

Andrew Davis' Process Cosmotheology Response
to Steven Dick's Naturalistic Cosmology


From Negation to Exemplification:
A Deeper Whiteheadian Cosmotheology

by Andrew M. Davis
October 11, 2022


An Abstract Presented to the Process Group of "Cobb & Friends"


Andrew M. Davis argues that Steven J. Dick’s laudable project of [a naturalistic] “cosmotheology” can be considerably strengthened by Whitehead’s bio-centric cosmophilosophy which culminates in (rather than negates) a robust  [process-based] cosmotheology.

  • In demonstrating this, Davis shows how Dick’s six principles of cosmotheology, instead of consisting in a series of cosmological negations (even a negation of “God”), can actually consist in a series of metaphysical exemplifications.
  • Whitehead’s wider naturalism coupled with his theological realism allow for imaginative metaphysical continuity in our reflection all the way “down” and all the way “up” the biological universe: from terrestrial and extraterrestrial life to the culminating life of God.
  • What is more, for Davis, Whitehead’s wider cosmotheology arguably re-integrates and resolves outstanding metaphysical problems that remain unanswered by Dick’s proposal (and those of others).
  • Davis concludes his chapter with six alternative principles of a deeper Whiteheadian cosmotheology.

Biography

Andrew M. Davis is Program Director for the Center for Process Studies at Claremont School of Theology. He received his Ph.D. in Religion and Process Philosophy from Claremont School of Theology. He received the 2013 Award for Excellence in Biblical Studies, the 2017 fellowship with FASPE (Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics) and the 2020 Presidential Award for Academic Excellence. Andrew was recently nominated and elected as a fellow for the International Society of Science and Religion (ISSR).

Davis is author, editor or co-editor of several recent books including Mind, Value, and Cosmos: On the Relational Nature of Ultimacy (recently nominated for the 2022 Book Prize of the International Society of Science and Religion); Nature In Process: Organic Proposals in Philosophy, Society, and Religion and Process Cosmology: New Integrations in Science and Philosophy.

Davis' organization of the recent Templeton sponsored conference titled “Astrobiology, Exo-Philosophy and Cosmic Religion” brought together over a dozen scholars across science, philosophy and theology/religion to explore the relevance of process philosophy and theology to the interdisciplinary field of astrobiology.

Stay tuned for a forthcoming volume from this event. Follow Andrew’s work at andrewmdavis.info


* * * * * * *



   

 



From Negation to Exemplification:
A Deeper Whiteheadian Cosmotheology
by Dr Andrew M. Davis, July 27, 2022


Dr Andrew M. Davis joined the RACS Network via Zoom for
a fascinating talk titled: "From Negation to Exemplification:
A Deeper Whiteheadian Cosmotheology.



Process Theologian and Philosopher,
Andrew M. Davis


Whitehead’s Robust Bio-Centric
Processual CosmoPhilosophy
Presented to "Cobb & Friends"

by Andrew Davis
Oct 11, 2022





A Few Notes by RE Slater

*Steven's presentation consisted of reading from his Power Point slides even as Andrew Davis would later do himself the following week. Notes were mostly unneeded because of the thoroughness of each presenter's slides.

*metaphysics = met·a·phys·ics (noun) - the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space.

Dick's naturalistic cosmology has not metaphysic or ontological ground of being. It just is as a materialistic corpus making metaphysics irrelevant. As a pure naturalistic system it intentionally defaces the "divine ground of our Being."

As consequence, we might take Dick's naturalistic system and expand it quite "naturally" into a Whiteheadian system of processual thought involving all cosmology and cosmological metaphysics. This then takes Dicks non-metaphysical system and turns into a processually-based metaphysic which may then include God, divine will, affectations, experience, generative value, teleology, and so forth. Without any metaphysic we simple are with no meaning beyond survival and pro-creation of some kind.
"The soil of our being is deeply and intimately connected to the cosmology of our being."
or,
"Without god's reality there can be no reality."
This then shows us that Whitehead's process metaphysic may be further circumscribed, defined, and filled with a process theology/theism which is "naturally" a more expansive view than a bare atheistic statement that "The universe just is. Get over it."

Says Whitehead,
"We have no right to deface the divine essence of the universe."

In a process cosmology we might say that all things are conscious in their own way.

This also means that a process metaphysics requires value, beauty, ethics whereas a naturalistic cosmology holds no value but is a consequence - not a necessity - of being.

A process teleology is always in the direction of beauty, love, goodness. Pope John Paul once said, "We know God exists because there is beauty, love, goodness in the world." Thereby saying, to a process metaphysician's ears, "That all reality is process, and process is reality."

Process Philosophy considers reality as process reality. That the universe, the earth, all living and non-living things, are evidence to, and testimony of, a process-based cosmology, metaphysic, of all scientific discovery and inquiry, of social-ecological cultures and cultures which are non-ecological, and basically, how all things work. This is what is meant when saying "process metaphysics and cosmologies are processually based all the up and all the way down."

Further, a Process Cosmology is:

  • pan-experiential - how the universe works. If one thing affects one thing, they together will affect all other nearby things, and like the "butterfly affect" or "ripples on a pond" work in distributive mass perturbing/affecting/creating/etc everything in a series of living, dynamic processes.
  • pan-relational - all things are relational across the spectrum of creation and experience; too, all things affect the part as well as the whole, the macro as well as the micro; all things are interconnected as one complex field of corporality.
  • and, pan-psychicthat aspect of non-materiality which might be described as of the soul, or spiritual, mental, emotional, or even astral-ogical (but not strictly, astro-logical). That which "relates to the non-physical realm of existence to which various psychic and paranormal phenomena are ascribed, and in which the physical human body and/or physical creation may participate experientially and relationally. Example, "Spiritual or astral psychism referring to any astral plane of experience."


The question arises as to what is the ontological primitive for process cosmology as a metaphysic.... 

What is Alfred North Whitehead's theory of Concrescence?

According to Whitehead, consciousness, thought, and sensory perception are not essential to our experience of reality, but are derived from the process of 'concrescence' by which prehensions are integrated into fully determinate feelings.

A non-Whiteheadian classical interpretation may be referenced here: ontological primitive in a nutshell.

RE Slater:

The mainstream physicalist ontology, for instance, posits that reality is constituted by irreducible entities—which I shall call 'ontological primitives', or simple 'primitives'—outside and independent of experience. According to classical physicalism, these primitives, in-and-of themselves, do not carry experience but Whiteheadian processual primitives do carry a kind of experience.

 

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Hubble Space Telescope's Deep Space View

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------------------------------------------------
SELECT WEEK 2 COMMENTS
------------------------------------------------

From RE Slater to Everyone 02:03 PM

Thank you Andrew. And to Stephen Dick too in his efforts to explain the universe we live in. Without Dick's work Whiteheadian process perhaps might not have as deep a response as it can. It further underlines the clarity of insight by ANW so many years ago and it's continuing relevance to society today.

From Jay McDaniel to Everyone 02:07 PM

Andrew, could you say a little more about God being metaphysically necessary?  I'm wondering if it might be more accurate to say that, for Whitehead, God is cosmologically and empirically necessary.  After all, God was not included in his categories of existence, even as, for empirical reasons, he felt it important to recognize a principle or order and novelty. Also, I wonder what you do with the fact that Whitehead says, among many other things, that the world creates God even as God creates the world. Does this not give meaning to Professor Dick's idea that, in some way, God is a "product" of the universe?

From Lynn De Jonghe to Everyone 02:08 PM

Leemon McHenry, The Event Universe, Edinburgh, 2020

From Daryl Anderson to Everyone 02:09 PM

found it AI page 237 "§ 16. The Flux of Energy. An occasion of experience which includes a human mentality is an extreme instance, at one end of the scale, of those happenings which constitute nature."

From Daryl Anderson to Everyone 02:15 PM

To further challenge notions of "life" or sentience, consider the work of physicist Attila Grandpierre viz (a) Helios - the sentience of the Sun, and also the (b)  "fundamental biological nature of the universe". http://www.grandpierre.hu/site/english/
he has a chapter in Andrew's "Process Cosmology"

From Bob Mesle to Everyone 02:17 PM

Andrew, re possibilities. I still do not find it helpful to postulate a platonic realm of eternal objects. It seems better to me to say that a possibility is anything that can happen—can be actualized—given the past actual world. If the actual past is infinite, then an infinite realm of possibilities seems likely.

From Lynn De Jonghe to Everyone 02:19 PM
Yes Bob, I agree. Further, once an event occurs that constrains the remaining possibilities, even as it creates new possibilities.

From Jay McDaniel to Everyone 02:21 PM

Whitehead uses the term transcendence in a unique way: actual entities transcend one another. They have their own autonomy. But he also speaks of God "transcending" the world even as, so he says, the world also "transcends" God. They have their respective autonomy.  For Whitehead, the quality of God's autonomy is quite different from that of, say, a quantum event in the depths of an atom. Andrew wants to argue that finite entities are contingent in a way that God is not - but in principle you could say all of this and add that God, too, is contingent in that God could not exist. (Andrew rejects his.)

From Bob Mesle to Everyone 02:21 PM
Lynn, yes,  I agree. The number of possibilities, even if infinite, may be continually enlarged.

From Lynn De Jonghe to Everyone 02:25 PM

On communicating beauty, one thinks of the symbols that Carl Sagan helped to design for the SETI voyage to outer space.

From Al Gephart to Everyone 02:27 PM

I wrestle with how each of these perspectives accounts for the reality of love, that there is an energy deep within humans and even the other-than human that motivate actions whick may threaten its own existence. Isn’t the naturalistic impulse always toward continual existence?

From Prof J Paul to Everyone 02:29 PM

Yes Meta-Aesthetics

From Daryl Anderson to Everyone 02:30 PM

trees providing "mutual aid" to one another... manifesting moralities without language ?

From Michael Witmer to Everyone 02:32 PM

The notion of World loyalty seems apt here.

From David Bartosch to Everyone 02:32 PM

Dark Forest Theory

From Prof J Paul to Everyone 02:35 PM

Sacred Geometrics ..?

---

From Cobb Institute / Richard Livingston to Everyone 02:48 PM

For those interested in the topic of metaphysical necessity from a process-relational perspective, I strongly recommend the following book: ON METAPHYSICAL NECESSITY: ESSAYS ON GOD, THE WORLD, MORALITY, AND DEMOCRACY, by Franklin Gamwell - https://sunypress.edu/Books/O/On-Metaphysical-Necessity

From Lynn De Jonghe to Everyone 02:51 PM

Whitehead might call these “vagaries’ the products  of misplaced concreteness>o


Process Cosmotheology and the Biological Universe, Part 3 - Steven Dick's Naturalistic Cosmology




 Process Cosmotheology and the Biological Universe






* * * * * * *


Astrobiology, Cosmotheology, and the Biological Universe:
Implications for Religion and Theology

by Steven Dick
October 4, 2022

An Abstract Presented to the Process Group of "Cobb & Friends"


Recent discoveries in astronomy and astrobiology strongly indicate the need for a transformation of established theologies and suggest possibilities for new cosmically-oriented theologies such as cosmotheology.

  • As concerning the Biological Universe, the idea that intelligent life in the universe is common necessitates a reconciliation of this new universe with dogmas of the Abrahamic religions in the same way that Thomas Aquinas tried to reconcile natural philosophy and Christianity in 13th century Europe. [Seemingly,] other religions and their associated theologies will be less affected but still need to incorporate the cosmic perspective.
  • In particular, discoveries in astronomy and astrobiology resonate with the dynamism of process theology in the sense that all theologies must take into account cosmic evolution and the possibilities of a biological universe in which life may be part of the very fabric of the universe.
  • [Assumption] These discoveries also strongly suggest a denial of supernaturalism, a critical eye toward the epistemological status of revelation, and a rethinking of the nature of God and the sacred in the tradition of religious naturalism. In contrast to traditional theologies, human destiny is most universally couched in cosmic terms.
  • The endeavor of transforming current theologies and creating new cosmic theologies is broadly characterized as astrotheology, a new and increasingly robust discipline that embraces the possibility of a more universal theology common to all intelligence in the cosmos.
  • Astrotheology and its various flavors such as cosmotheology are part of a restructuring of our worldviews, a necessary endeavor as we internalize the realities of the new universe.

Biography

Steven J. Dick served as the NASA Chief Historian and Director of the NASA History Office from 2003 to 2009. Prior to that he was an astronomer and historian of science at the U.S. Naval Observatory for more than two decades. He was the 2014 Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology at the Library of Congress’s John W. Kluge Center. In 2013, he testified before the United States Congress on the subject of astrobiology. From 2011 to 2012 he held the Charles A. Lindbergh Chair in Aerospace History at the National Air and Space Museum.

Dicks is the author or editor of 25 books, including most recently Astrobiology, Discovery, and Societal Impact (Cambridge, 2018), Classifying the Cosmos: How We Can Make Sense of the Celestial Landscape (Springer, 2019), and Space, Time, and Aliens: Collected Works on Cosmos and Culture (Springer, 2020).

In 2006, Dick received the LeRoy E. Doggett Prize from the American Astronomical Society for a career that has significantly influenced the field of the history of astronomy. He is the recipient of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, and the NASA Group Achievement Award for his work on astrobiology. He has served as President of the History of Astronomy Commission of the International Astronomical Union and as Chair of the Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society. He has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Fellow of the American Astronomical Society. Minor planet 6544 Steven Dick was named in his honor.



* * * * * * *



 




Stephen J. Dick Cosmotheology
Presented to "Cobb & Friends"

by Steven J. Dick
October 4, 2022





A Few Notes by RE Slater

*Steven's presentation consisted of reading from his Power Point slides even as Andrew Davis would later do himself the following week. Notes were mostly unneeded because of the thoroughness of each presenter's slides.
*metaphysics = met·a·phys·ics (noun) - the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space.

Question:

Would you regard metaphysics as a discipline of a Naturalistic Cosmology?

Response:

Cosmologists would regard the question of the initial conditions for the universe as belonging to the realm of metaphysics or religion and not to the proper study of cosmology. Metaphysics would be considered an abstract theory with no basis in reality.

Question:

What is metaphysics in simple words?

Response:

It is derived from the Greek word meta ta physika ("after the things of nature"); referring to an idea, doctrine, or posited reality outside of human sense perception.

In modern philosophical terminology, metaphysics refers to the studies of what cannot be reached through objective studies of material reality. It is beyond the physics of the observer.


Steven Dick
Oct 3, 2021

This interview is featured as part of a course


Video Contents



Wikipedia - Astrotheology

Astrotheology, astral mysticism, astral religion, astral or stellar theology (also referred to as astral or star worship) is the worship of the stars (individually or together as the night sky), the planets, and other heavenly bodies as deities, or the association of deities with heavenly bodies. In anthropological literature these systems of practice may be referred to as astral cults.

In the 21st century the term astrotheology is used by Jan Irvin, Jordan Maxwell and Andrew Rutajit (2006) in reference to "the earliest known forms of religion and nature worship," advocating the entheogen (drug-induced) theory of the origin of religion:

The evolutionary origin of religions and religious behavior is a field of study related to evolutionary psychology, the origin of language and mythology, and cross-cultural comparison of the anthropology of religion. Some subjects of interest include Neolithic religion, evidence for spirituality or cultic behavior in the Upper Paleolithic, and similarities in great ape behavior.


Books on Astrotheology


As Science developed Astrotheologies gave way
as explanations for the origin of life...


What we know now of our Galaxy







Wikipedia - Astrobiology

Astrobiology, and the related field of exobiology, is an interdisciplinary scientific field that studies the origins, early evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. Astrobiology is the multidisciplinary field that investigates the deterministic conditions and contingent events with which life arises, distributes, and evolves in the universe. It considers the question of whether extraterrestrial life exists, and if it does, how humans can detect it.
Astrobiology makes use of molecular biology, biophysics, biochemistry, chemistry, astronomy, physical cosmology, exoplanetology, geology, paleontology, and ichnology to investigate the possibility of life on other worlds and help recognize biospheres that might be different from that on Earth. The origin and early evolution of life is an inseparable part of the discipline of astrobiology. Astrobiology concerns itself with interpretation of existing scientific data, and although speculation is entertained to give context, astrobiology concerns itself primarily with hypotheses that fit firmly into existing scientific theories.
This interdisciplinary field encompasses research on the origin of planetary systems, origins of organic compounds in space, rock-water-carbon interactions, abiogenesis on Earth, planetary habitability, research on biosignatures for life detection, and studies on the potential for life to adapt to challenges on Earth and in outer space.

Biochemistry may have begun shortly after the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago, during a habitable epoch when the Universe was only 10–17 million years old. According to the panspermia hypothesis, microscopic life—distributed by meteoroids, asteroids and other small Solar System bodies—may exist throughout the universe. According to research published in August 2015, very large galaxies may be more favorable to the creation and development of habitable planets than such smaller galaxies as the Milky Way. Nonetheless, Earth is the only place in the universe known to harbor life at this time. Estimates of habitable zones around other stars, sometimes referred to as "Goldilocks zones", along with the discovery of thousands of extrasolar planets and new insights into extreme habitats here on Earth, suggest that there may be many more habitable places in the universe than considered possible until very recently.

Current studies on the planet Mars by the Curiosity and Perseverance rovers are searching for evidence of ancient life as well as plains related to ancient rivers or lakes that may have been habitable. The search for evidence of habitability, taphonomy (related to fossils), and organic molecules on the planet Mars is now a primary NASA and ESA objective.

Even if extraterrestrial life is never discovered, the interdisciplinary nature of astrobiology, and the cosmic and evolutionary perspectives engendered by it, may still result in a range of benefits here on Earth.









Toward a Constructive Naturalistic Cosmotheology
by Steven J. Dick


Cosmotheology is a theology that takes into account what we know about the universe based on science. It is therefore a naturalistic theology in the tradition of religious naturalism.

This [excerpted] chapter takes as its foundational assumption the concept that the supernatural does not exist.

Following this concept, we present six principles of cosmotheology, including the idea that:
  • we are not physically, biologically, cognitively, or morally central in the universe;
  • that any [unnecessary] concept of God must be grounded in naturalistic cosmic evolution;
  • that it must have an expansive moral dimension, an astroethics extending to all life in the universe;
  • and that while a human destiny linked to cosmic evolution rather than supernaturalism is a radical departure from the past, it is in the end beneficial and liberating.

Such a worldview resolves many ancient theological problems:
  • Bad things happen to good people because the universe is hostile rather than loving.
  • Yet the prospect of contact with life beyond Earth leaves open the possibility of interacting with that life, and the idea of a loving and compassionate God can be expressed naturally in the way we treat our fellow humans and other creatures in the universe without resorting to supernaturalism.
Stripped of supernaturalism and other accoutrements, compassion is at the core of all religions, even if the ideal is not always met, and universal compassion is at the core of cosmotheology.











Steven Dicks, Cosmotheologist














Steven Dicks' Seminars, Publications, Forum Discussions, and more...




------------------------------------------------
SELECT WEEK 1 COMMENTS
------------------------------------------------

From RE Slater to everyone 01:57 PM [edited]

From what I understand of Whiteheadian Process Philosophy is that:
  • It already inhabits Steven Dick's questions... 
  • That Whitehead is deeply centered in the cosmo-metaphysical (sic, cosmo-ecological)...
  • And by extending any ancient religion's identity of themselves (including the Judeo-Christian faith) that a faith metaphysic is naturally located in the God of the meta-verse et al...
  • Further, for many non-processual theologies, such statements will require better responses than they have now.
  • By implication I think of all natural theologies of the earth including all sciences and socio-politico categories as inherently and naturally processual (whether admitted or not) as reflecting a naturally processual creation...
  • Examples would be the studies of processual evolution, processual quantum sciences, processual Jungian Arche-types, etc and etc. Hence, all creation may very adequately be described in terms of processual Whiteheadian process philosophy and its later development of process theology.
  • Finally, the questions being asked are all easily and quite naturally being answered in process philosophy and theology's metaphysics.

From Jay McDaniel to Everyone 02:02 PM

I really appreciate this talk. It seems to me that there are many connections with the process tradition:
  • the notion that wherever there is actuality there is something like experience
  • the idea that God is a lure within the whole of the cosmos, not the earth alone
  • the idea that we humans are part of, not apart from, a larger web of becomings, including galactic becomings


* * * * * * * *



Steven Dicks, Cosmotheologist

Cosmotheology: Steven J. Dick

May 13, 2022


Some books stimulate kairos excitement. Like watching your favorite player hit a home run, I cheered when I first read Steven J. Dick’s Plurality of Worlds: The Extraterrestrial Life Debate from Democritus to Kant (Dick, 1982). Since its publication in 1982, others such as Michael J. Crowe have similarly documented the story of our terrestrial ancestors thinking about our extraterrestrial neighbors (Crowe, 1988).

Dick’s Plurality of Worlds first substantiated for me how speculations about sharing our universe with off-Earth civilizations has been with us since the birth of our own civilization. Neither the Greco-Roman worldview nor the medieval Christian worldview would find sharing our universe with ET anathema. Dire tabloid predictions that alien contact would allegedly destroy our fragile inherited religious traditions go limp in the face of the kind of knowledge Dick makes available.


That’s history. What about the present?

Steven Dick along with colleagues indefatigably produces the kind of scholarship that prepares us for the societal impact of astrobiology and its dramatic discoveries. His fine volume, Astrobiology, Discovery, and Societal Impact, is a vivid case in point (Dick, 2018).

Dick is also a constructive thinker. For the last two decades he has been constructing a cosmic centered ethics along with his version of cosmotheology. [1] You can find a cosmotheology manifesto in the book we published at CTNS (Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences) in 2018, Astrotheology: Science and Theology Meet Extraterrestrial Life. (Peters, 2018, Chapter 14)



Astrotheology, Process Theology, and Cosmic Consciousness

The first week of May found me and some of my favorite colleagues conferencing at Willamette University on “Astrotheology, Exo-Philosophy, and Cosmic Religion.”

This dialogue between astrobiologists and process philosophers was sponsored by the Center for Process Studies, headed by Andrew M. Davis.

The Smithsonian’s Constance Bertka opened with an overview of Astrotheology. She was followed by NASA historian Steven Dick, developing his [naturalistic] Cosmotheology. The process philosophers responded, critiqued, and integrated. Look in the future for a published volume of the proceedings.


Astrotheology as Public Theology


Public theology may be conceived in the church and critically refined in the academy, but public theology's chief feature is that it is offered to the wider public for the sake of the common good.

Steve Dick’s cosmotheology is offered to the wider public for the sake of the common good:

“In a nutshell, public theology (theologica publica) is concerned with the public affairs or institutions of society (res publica) to promote the common good in society” avers Lutheran public theologian Paul S. Chung (Chung 2022, 11).
Or, in the words of South African leader, John deGruchy, “Christian witness in secular democratic society means promoting the common good by witnessing to core values rather than seeking privilege for the Christian religion” (DeGruchy, 2007).
With the common good in mind, I observe that Dick’s cosmotheology is offered to the wider public rather than the church. And, it is offered for the common good of all Earth’s residents.