Science and the Religious Rhetorics of the Ineffable: A Comparison Between Two Cosmoses

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Lance Cummings (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
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Abstract: Since Thomas Kuhn’s revolutionary look at the social construction of science, research into the rhetorics of science has shown how science is a persuasive form of discourse, rarely as transparent and self-evident as is often understood. Rhetorical studies have taken this cue to examine how science is constructed through available means beyond mere logic. Arguably, the resurgence of creationist beliefs in political discourse has brought on a new impetus in science to persuade the “hearts and minds” of the American population, inspiring Neil deGrasse Tyson’s remaking of Carl Sagan’s 1980 documentary Cosmos. Using Rudolph Otto’s, The Idea of the Holy, this article will define religion as an ineffable experience that creates “creature-consciousness,” or a sense of awe and insufficiency towards something outside the self, while also producing a sense of identification or “oneness.” The ineffable experience is core to the public making of science, just as the ineffable experience plays a defining role in religions. Though science and religion are often seen as mutually exclusively (sometimes in opposition), identifying the ineffable experience as a shared ground can provide opportunities for science and religion to dialogue in new ways.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
rhetoric, science, religion, cosmos

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