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Freeform: The Pale Blue Dot and the Arc of the Moral Universe

  • Thursday, June 13, 2024
  • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • https://meet.google.com/beh-azmo-wcw



Freethought Freeform

TopicThe Pale Blue Dot and the Arc of the Moral Universe

Host: David B 

Guest Speaker: Bruce Ledewitz, J.D.

2024 is the 30th anniversary of Carl Sagan's "lost" lecture "The Age of Exploration" and his book The Pale Blue Dot.  In these works, he shows how human worldview has "demoted" from being created in the image of god and living in the center of a universe created for (and rotating around) us to a present view whereby humans evolved by a process of natural selection from the simpler lifeforms on a pale blue dot orbiting one star in galaxy of 100 billion stars among a trillion galaxies.  Oh, the indignity!

Bruce Ledewitz is a secularist, a Professor of Law at Duquesne University and author of The Universe Is on Our Side: Restoring Faith in American Public LifeIn this book, Ledewitz argues that the breakdown in American public life is a consequences of the Death of God, who has long acted to provide meaning in our lives.  Pondering the universe will allow us to see that there is more  than blind forces and dead matter. Guided by the naturalism of Alfred North Whitehead's process philosophy, and the historical faith of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ledewitz argues we can work towards a trust that the universe bends toward justice and our welfare, which can complete our healing and restore faith in American public life. The Universe Is On Our Side makes the case that we can live without God, but not without thinking about holiness in the universe.


  • View / discuss selected clips from Sagan's 1994 lecture including the "demotions", the pale blue dot passage, and Q & A on the meaning of "god" and purpose in life.  
  • Professor Ledewitz will present his book, The Universe is On Our Side, with Q&A. 
  • Discussion of the two viewpoints, focusing on common themes and differences.
  • What are our individual views and of others in society?

While not required, we suggest checking one or more of the below links prior to the event. 

Bruce Ledewitz is a professor of law at Duquesne University. He teaches in the areas of state and federal constitutional law and jurisprudence, specializing in law and religion and law and the secular.  In addition to scholarly publications, Ledewitz writes regularly in a variety of popular journals and magazines. He is the author of four books, American Religious Democracy, Hallowed Secularism, Church, State, and the Crisis in American Secularism and, most recently, The Universe Is on Our Side: Restoring Faith in American Public Life. Ledewitz received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and his J.D. from Yale Law School. He is a secularist, having left organized religion (Judaism) because he no longer believes in God.

Freethought Freeform is a variable format event that can be a group discussion, an interview, a tutorial, a movie discussion, a show-and-tell, an in-person event, or maybe something different.  It may feature an invited speaker, or maybe it won't. Topic and format will be chosen monthly by the host with inputs from the PFC community.  Email your suggestions to info@pghfreethought.org. 

Please join us!

Participants are encouraged to join PFC if not already a member.

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