Type of Document Master's Thesis Author Guarino, Michael J. URN etd-08292008-063614 Title Religious appeals in the popular presentation of cosmology Degree Master of Science Department Science and Technology Studies Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Hardcastle, Gary L. Committee Chair Bounds, Elizabeth M. Committee Member Dennison, Brian K. Committee Member Moyer, Albert E. Committee Member Weiss, Steven C. Committee Member Keywords
Date of Defense 1996-05-08 Availability restricted Abstract
This thesis explores the use of religious language, metaphors, and images in the popular presentation of cosmology. Specifically looking at books written by cosmologists and intended for a lay audience, I argue that these religious appeals present a particular model, or picture, of cosmology to the public.
Through the religious language, metaphors, and images, the texts create scientific-religious imagery which gives cosmology and cosmologists religious functions (e.g., the metaphor of cosmologists as priests). Taking these images together, the texts present a model in which cosmology performs like a religion -a model of Cosmology-as-Religion. Thus, the religious appeals appropriate religious authority through cosmology's assumption of religious functions.
However, the texts also contain arguments justifying cosmology and the need for its continued financial support. The texts link these justificatory arguments to the scientific-religious imagery, and this associates the texts' appropriation of religious authority with the justificatory arguments. As a result, the appropriated functions give cosmology additional social benefits, providing a socio-religious context to the arguments. This, in turn, increases cosmology's importance to society. In this way, the religious appeals help legitimate the justification of cosmology.
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