Saturday, July 19, 2014

Summer reading on the question of science & religion compatibility

by Gary Berg-Cross
Dr. Gregg D. Caruso is happy to announce the publication of Science and Religion: 5 Questions . Gregg Caruso edited a collection of 33 interviews with some world's leading philosophers, scientists, theologians, apologists, and atheists.

Contributors include a Nobel Prize winning physicist, three Templeton Prize winners (well for balance?), 2 “Humanist of the Year” winners, “the leading American expert on Tibetan Buddhism” (New York Times), a National Humanities Medal winner, a National Medal of Science winner, a Star of South Africa Medal winner, a Carl Sagan Award winner, a National Science Board’s Public Service Medal winner, a MacArthur Fellow, a Lakatos (Math) Award winner, an Erasmus Prize winner, a “Friend of Darwin Award” winner, a “Distinguished Skeptic Award” winner, the first Muslim to deliver the prestigious Gifford Lectures etc.

By names it includes Simon Blackburn (one of my favorites), Susan Blackmore (another), Sean Carroll, William Lane Craig, William Dembski, Daniel C. Dennett (yes another favorite), George F.R. Ellis, Owen Flanagan, Owen Gingerich, Rebecca Goldstein, John F. Haught, Muzaffar Iqbal, Lawrence Krauss (ditto), Colin McGinn (mysterian philosopher), Alister McGrath, Mary Midgley, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Timothy O'Connor, Massimo Pigliucci, Rev. John Polkinghorne, James "The Amazing" Randi, Alex Rosenberg, Michael Ruse, Robert John Russell, John Searle (always interesting), Michael Shermer (ditto), Victor Stenger, Robert Thurman, Michael Tooley, Charles Townes, Peter van Inwagen, Keith Ward, and I guess since we have Muslims and Reverends we need a Rabbi, so we have David Wolpe.

Here are some of the topics and questions where compatibility is confronted:

  • Are science and religion compatible when it comes to understanding cosmology (the origin of the universe),
  • biology (the origin of life and of the human species), 
  • ethics, and the human mind (mind brain dualism, souls, & the perpetual challenge of consciousness & free will)? 

The arguments in Biology for example include the complex question of chance in nature, and religious proponents suggests that it is not clear that the process of evolution operates by chance (as is often claimed), since the process could be guided by God, and if one insists that we must regard it as operating by chance, then one seems to be begging the question. Evolutionary theory, in short, does not show that there is no design in nature, he notes, especially since it reveals the existence of incredible biological complexities, coupled with the fact that the probabilities of these occurring all throughout nature are staggeringly low. Dennett, of course takes on such arguments with counters that evolution could include many things such as "Supermanism, and he suggests that if we gave him enough time he could produce widespread belief in Supermanism."

Other topics addressed include:

  • Do science and religion occupy non-overlapping magisteria? 
  • Is Intelligent Design a scientific theory? 
  • How do the various faith traditions view the relationship between science and religion? 
  • What, if any, are the limits of scientific explanation? 
  • What are the most important open questions, problems, or challenges confronting the relationship between science and religion, and what are the prospects for progress? 

For interested parties the book is available at Amazon:
More info at:

1 comment:

Rick Repetti said...

Excellent read!