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Science, Religion, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence$
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David Wilkinson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199680207

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199680207.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 October 2021

Speculating about a Plurality of Worlds: The Historical Context of Science, Religion, and SETI

Speculating about a Plurality of Worlds: The Historical Context of Science, Religion, and SETI

Chapter:
(p.16) 2 Speculating about a Plurality of Worlds: The Historical Context of Science, Religion, and SETI
Source:
Science, Religion, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
Author(s):

David Wilkinson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199680207.003.0003

This chapter argues that SETI is not a recent phenomenon of the last fifty years, but rather that speculation about a plurality of worlds dates back over many centuries, From the Greek atomists through to the nineteenth century, this speculation has been energized by philosophy and theology. More often than not, Christian theology has countered Aristotelian cosmology and opened up the belief in extra-terrestrial beings. However, the plurality of worlds has also been used to modify Christian belief, not least in the rise of deism. It is clear that a model of conflict between SETI and theology is far too simplistic. The relationship is much more fruitful and complex.

Keywords:   history of SETI, atomism, deism, plurality of worlds, Christian influence on science, principle of plenitude

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