Francis Bacon takes rather a dim view of creating ideas about the world from one's own mind to simply what's sometimes called armchair philosophy. Sitting around, thinking about the world and how it must work. An interesting pastime and sometimes some really good ideas can come from sitting around, thinking about the world. But Francis Bacon says, we might be better off if we had some facts, if we actually looked for real verifiable information. Now Professor Oglevee has taken us a long way in this course. He has gone through the history of beliefs, of spirits and of Gods, cultures, faiths. [COUGH] And brought that from ancient thinkers, Aristotle, Plato, Pythagoras. All the way up through [COUGH] to modern times. And we can kind of view this perhaps as a tree. And when we had you people up on stage here in the second lecture, talking about what people had told you to believe. You came from all different kinds of family and cultural traditions and had a lot of different things to say about what you had been told to believe. But it was almost impossible not to see the commonality among all of these, that there are common roots of human values. And if you were to make a list of all of the do's and don'ts within your particular religion. A lot of them would be overlapping. We also have a tree of knowledge as it were in the scientific world. [COUGH] And that's basically what I'm going to be doing for the next three lectures. And then again, later in the course [COUGH] creating that history. The tree of knowledge from going way back to early times up to modern times. [COUGH] And sometimes these conflict, more than sometimes. Often, they conflict. And it's what Steven J. Gold calls non-overlapping magisteria. Separate fields that don't overlap very much. You may want to remember this term and the next time you're talking to your friends about this, you can say, well, that sounds to me like they're non-overlapping magisteria. And you're friends will immediately think you're some sort of a pompous jerk. [LAUGH] but you might also want to remember it, because it makes a really good exam question and you can perhaps get, get a point or two for knowing that these two areas have been viewed and defended as being separate. As Professor Oglevee mentioned briefly at the end of the last lecture, we don't think that's necessarily good to have such a sharp division between the two to the point that nobody's talking to each other. [COUGH] I want to read you a poem by Billy Collins, a two time US Poet Laureate. I don't want you to get the idea that I spent a lot of time sitting in front of my fireplace smoking a pipe and reading poetry, because I don't. I do have a fireplace, but I don't smoke a pipe and I don't read a lot of poetry, but I love Billy Collins. And he has a poem that's particularly relevant to today's lecture. It's entitled The First Geniuses. It is so early almost nothing has happened. Agriculture is an unplanted seed. Music and the felt hat are 1000 of years away. The sail and the astrolade, not even specks on the horizon. The window and scissors, inconceivable. But even now before the orchestra of history has had time to warm up, the first geniuses have found one another and gathered into a thoughtful group. Gaunt, tall and bearded as you might expect, they stand outlined against a landscape of smoking volcanoes or move along the shores of lakes, still leaden and unmaimed. Or sit on high, bare cliffs, looking like early arrivals at a party. The Earth is about to throw now that the dinosaurs have left the room. They have yet to discover fire, much less invent the wheel, so they wander a world mostly dark and motionless. Wondering what to do with their wisdom, like young girls wonder what to do with their hair. Once in a while someone will make a pronouncement about the movement of the stars, the density of silence or the strange behavior of water in winter. But there is no alphabet, not a drop of ink on Earth. So the words disappear into the deep green forests like flocks of small, startled birds. Eventually, one of them will come up with the compass or draw the first number in sand with a stick and he will let out a shout like Archimedes in his tub and curious animals will look up from their grazing. Later, the water screw and the catapult will appear. The nail, the speedometer and the bow-tie will follow. But until then, they can only pace the world gravely knowing nothing, but the thrumming of their minds. Not the whereabouts of north or the ma, notion of zero, nor even how to sharpen a stone to a deadly point. The acquisition of knowledge. I asked a few people up here with some grave consternation on their parts, where they live. I suspect they were fearful that I might come to visit them or something but they are all almost exactly the same. [COUGH] Burlington, New Jersey, Williamsburg, New Jersey, Clark, New Jersey, Teaneck New Jersey, New Jersey, [LAUGH] Norwood in a small home. Ridgefield and [LAUGH] Fort Lee, New Jersey. You get a whole variety of answers when you ask people where they live. Some people will give you the street address, especially if they want you to find them. Or the town, the state. Country? Some of you, might have answered with the country of, if you're new here to the U.S.. Mm, very seldom does anybody tell you what continent they live on, unless maybe it's Antarctica or something like that. And almost nobody says, I'm from Earth. >> [LAUGH]. >> Because it sounds a little bit weird to say you're from Earth. But of course, you are. And if someone challenged you and said, well do you really live on Earth? I don't think so. You would defend that and say, hey what's the big idea? I live on Earth. But, we don't often think about where we live in those terms unless, unless it's challenged. People have a lot of ideas and people like to share their ideas. My daughter sent me a link the other day to a column written by someone who writes about food. And the columnist suggested that the two things that distinguish humans from other animals is that we cook our feed, we cook our food and we tell stories. Probably two pretty good conditions that at least start to define humans. And a lot of the ideas that we share are very casual. One example of this goes all the way back to Shakespeare where Hamlet and Polonius are talking about a cloud. Yonder cloud that's almost the shape of a camel. By th' Mass, and 'tis like a camel indeed. Methinks it's like a weasel. It is backed like a weasel. Or like a whale. Very like a whale. Sort of a Rorschach test. And almost everybody in the room, I'll bet, has done this at one time or another, when you see an interestingly shaped cloud, you'll say something about it. Other types of information sharing are a little bit more formal. Professor Ogilvie and I are trying to share a lot of ideas with you formally by standing up here on stage and talking to you. We also sometimes we'll share our ideas with our community. Professor Ogilvie with the local school board and I have done some of that with environmental commissions and things of that nature. But the fact of the matter is, these ideas may not go very far. Now this is kind of a special course, so you'll probably remember this course for a long time. But 20 or 30 years from now, you're likely to say, I had this course at, at Rutgers. Can't remember what the names of the professors were, but I think it had something to do with religion or the soul or something. Your memories will probably fade quite a bit. And Professor Ogilvie and I are under no illusions that one of our books is going to be required reading for 100 years in a major university. Or that the people in California or Hong Kong or Liberia are even ever going to know about us at all. Because the ideas that we are sharing are probably not that big. But, over the course of history, there have been people who have put together a set of ideas that are real mind grabbers that take hold and make people angry at them, make people wonder why they didn't think about it first and so on and so forth. And these are the ideas that make up a lot of our history of science, history of religion and their ideas that have not only shaken up the culture of the time, but have withstood the test of time and still are influential, and in some cases controversial, today. Phases of the moon. How many people, raise your hand, are confident that you know which of these is closest to the current phase of the moon? [LAUGH] Nobody? Well, this is very interesting. I, I, I didn't expect nobody. I expected some small percentage, but may, maybe the people who know the phases of the moon are just embarrassed to admit that they know that. But, if it were back in the 1400s, back in the 1400s, there would be two very, very different things about this little demonstration. One of them would be that everybody would raise their hand and know what the phase of the moon was. And the other would be that you would all be cowering under your desks because you would wonder, how did he get the moon to show up on the wall? >> [LAUGH]. >> Because there was no electricity, no projectors. And I'm not saying that just to be droll, because what I want you to try to do is to take yourself back 500 or 600 years to no electricity, no phones, no cars, no education. You would not, in all likelihood, know how to read or write, nor would your friends know how to read or write. You'd be plenty smart just as you are now, but you just wouldn't have those school ideas that you have now. A very, very, different kind of world. And a world where people spent more time looking at different things. And one of the things that people looked at was the sky. They spent a lot of time outdoors. And you have all, I'm sure, looked at the sky and looked at the moon and everything. But unless you have been to some special locations or have some special equipment, you have not really seen the sky, especially from New Jersey. New Jersey doesn't really have a nighttime sky because of all the air and light pollution, pollution that shields it. I can remember as a young boy, living in a household that at that time did not have electricity. I could just see thousands and thousands of stars in the nighttime sky, and they were interesting and cool to watch. My older sisters actually knew the names of some constellations and tried to teach them to me, but I was an unwilling student. Who wants to learn things from their older sister? And I didn't think it looked that much like a crab or a warrior anyway. So, but the sky was something important, even to a young boy. Now if you take yourself back to the 1400s and earlier, there was a lot of conversation about the sky because it was both beautiful and mysterious. And for people who spent even some casual time watching the sky, it was pretty amazing. All of these constellations, and most people knew some constellations, not necessarily the ones we have now. But every night the elements of the sky would move across, over the course of the nighttime, while they were out guarding flocks of sheep, or whatever. And they began to talk about them the way Hamlet and Polonius talked about the cloud, pointing out things in the sky that they thought were interesting. Naming some things and noticing that some of the stars were not behaving properly. So instead of being in lock step with all of the other stars, they wandered. They would be close to one constellation on one night and then gradually move to different locations. And there were several of them that could be observed to do that. And what do you do when you have these very special, very uncommon things happening in the nighttime sky? You give them importance. They become agents. They become gods, like Mars and Venus. And they're ascribed special powers, special powers. And when you have something like that to notice, you begin to do one of the things that the human mind does very well. And that's to make spurious correlations. So maybe on one particular very clear night, you see Jupiter right there close to the moon, and your cow gets sick and dies. You may not think much about it at the time. But maybe two or three years later, Jupiter is close to the moon again, and you get this funny feeling in your gut. And you think, you know the last time that happened my cow died, I wonder if something bad is going to happen to me again. I wonder what the sky looks like when I'm going to get sick and die. So there were groups of people who took an uncommon interest in the sky and became really good at it. And they were able to predict where these, what we now know as planets, were going to be at a particular time. They were able to post-dict them and figure out where they had been, and astrology gradually emerged from all of that. Trying to make sense of the world by making sense of the sky and the things that it correlated with. And it's still around, hundreds of years later. You, you may not recognize this. That, this is a, a newspaper. Old people use to buy them to find out what was going on in the world, not such much anymore. But the Star Ledger and most other papers dutifully publish the horoscope everyday. So if you know your astrological sign, and I'll bet the vast majority of you who don't even know what phase the moon is in, [LAUGH] probably know what sign you are. Because it's just something that still permeates our culture, but hopefully mostly as a fun thing to do. I happen to be a Taurus and for today, it says, you will want to expand yourself [SOUND] and will be extremely choosy as to how to go about this. Your interest in a person will, by extension, make you interested in whatever that person is interested in. I haven't quite figured that out yet. But I happen to know that Professor Ogleby is also a Taurus, and, we are very much the same in very different ways. And what that means is that either of us can read the same horoscope, and if we want to, have it begin to make some sense for what's going on in our lives at the present time. And if we happen to read the wrong one, if we happen to read Sagittarius by mistake. And it says, as the sign of the archer, you realize that stopping to take aim before you shoot means avoiding wasted motion. Not to mention reducing your potential for an accident, I could make that work, too. And all of these vaguely written statements. Are things that entertain people. Taurus is supposed to have some special enduring characteristics. One of them being persistence, determination. My parents had a little more colorful term for that. They called it mule headedness. [LAUGH] and when you have those descriptions, then yeah, some of those kind of seem like they might be true. So in all of this time, Professor Ogleby and his colleagues in personality psychologists have been wasting their time in doing research in experiments and, and everything when it's all in the stars. They could just look at the horoscope and know what the personalities are going to be. Well, obviously not. But how do these things catch hold and endure? They catch hold and endure because they give people who don't have another explanation some explanation. And we really like to have things explained, no matter how wrong the explanation might be.