J. K. Russell Fellow’s Public Forum, "Dance of the Fertile Universe", with George V. Coyne, S.J.
Co-Sponsored with Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley (JSTB).
Did we come about by chance or by necessity in the evolving universe? Did God make us? Can we conclude that there is an Intelligent Design to the universe? To what extent can the natural sciences address these questions? As to chance or necessity the first thing to be said is that the problem is not formulated correctly. It is not just a question of chance or necessity because, first of all, it is both. Furthermore, there is a third element here that is very important. It is what we might call the "fertility" of the universe. So the dance of the fertile universe is a ballet with three ballerinas: chance, necessity and fertility. What this means is that the universe is so fertile in offering the opportunity for the success of both chance and necessary processes that such a character of the universe must be included in the search for our origins in the universe. In this light, Dr. Coyne will try to present in broad strokes what he thinks is some of the best of our modern scientific understanding of the universe and then return to the questions above.