Some good news just can't wait to be shared.
I just heard from the Newberry Library in Chicago that my proposal to teach a public seminar on the extraterrestrial life debate was accepted for the Summer 2009 session! I'm really excited about this for many reasons, not the least of which are that I enjoy teaching, and the subject matter nicely complements a book project I've been researching for some time.
Are We Alone?: Life beyond Earth in Western Religion, Science, and Popular Culture from Aristotle to Lowell will be offered over nine weeks from June 2 through July 28 on Tuesday evenings from 5:45 to 7:45 pm.
The seminar will explore why, despite the lack of proof, nearly two-thirds of Americans surveyed in 2005 believe that life exists on other planets and eight in ten believe there are intelligent beings more advanced than us. How did these views come about? What's their heritage? To answer these questions we'll review the major developments in the plurality of worlds debate from Antiquity through the early 20th Century, drawing on a wide variety of primary sources from philosophy, religion, literature, and science. I know it's going to be an interesting experience because the subject of life beyond Earth has such a natural appeal and most people aren't aware of the history behind the idea. I also expect it to be fun!
I'll post more on the seminar in weeks ahead. Meanwhile, you can check out the Newberry's current seminar schedule and past courses here.
Banner bus photo credit: Dorothy Delina Porter.