A God or a Biological By-Product? Rethinking the Imaginative Place of Man in the Post-Copernican Cosmos

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Though some Enlightenment poets (including Pope and Thomson) hailed the Scientific Revolution as a great human accomplishment, that Revolution has unsettled a good number of creative writers (including Donne, Milton, Tennyson, and Waugh). For the common interpretation of modern science is one that consigns the earth to a trivial spot in the cosmos and reduces man to insignificance as a species. Such an interpretation of science necessarily robs literature—an inherently anthropocentric art—of its traditional high status. But another interpretation of science—one that affirms rather than threatens literature—emerges in the recognition that terrestrial humans are the only known creatures doing science, just as they are the only known creatures creating art. Such a recognition of human uniqueness can foster a cross-disciplinary union of science and literature, to the benefit of both.

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Published in July 2013
Bryce Christensen

Bryce Christensen, who is associate professor of English at Southern Utah University, received his Ph. D. in English literature from Marquette University.  Author of Utopia Against the Family (Ignatius), Divided We Fall (Transaction), Winning (Whiskey Creek Press), and ‘The Portals of Sheol’ and Other Poems (White Violet Press), Dr. Christensen has published articles on cultural and literary issues in Philosophy and Literature, The International Journal of the Arts in Society, JGE: The Journal of General Education, Christianity and Literature, Renascence, Society, Changing English, Modern Age, and various other scholarly journals. He and his wife Mary are the parents of three sons and the grandparents of four grandchildren.