Are We Alone? Philosophical Implications of the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life

Overview


Scientists and governments are actively searching for signs of life in the universe. Will their efforts meet with success? Award-winning author Paul Davies, an eminent scientist who writes with the flair of a science fiction writer, explores the ramifications that the discovery of extraterrestrial life would have for our science, our religions, and our worldview in general.
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Overview


Scientists and governments are actively searching for signs of life in the universe. Will their efforts meet with success? Award-winning author Paul Davies, an eminent scientist who writes with the flair of a science fiction writer, explores the ramifications that the discovery of extraterrestrial life would have for our science, our religions, and our worldview in general.
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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
It is always a pleasure to read this kind of meditation when it is carried out by a thinker of the breadth and awareness of Mr. Davies.
New York Times
It is always a pleasure to read this kind of meditation when it is carried out by a thinker of the breadth and awareness of Mr. Davies.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This bite-size volume for the nonscientist reviews fact and speculation concerning the possible existence of extraterrestrial life. In the process, Davies (The Mind of God) explores metaphysical arguments and attitudes that would be affected by discovery of other life. A physicist, natural philosopher and winner of the 1995 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, he presents an approach that is broad and inquiring, not dogmatic. In clear and comfortable prose, he renders some deep thoughts in terms of simple, intuitive concepts, with many effective references to relevant theology, philosophy and science fiction as well as natural science. Contents include a sketch of NASA's current search program (SETT) and a survey of the vested viewpoints at risk. An intriguing chapter considers the nature of consciousness (distinguished from intelligence) as it may exist in the universe. Davies concludes that boundaries between religious and scientific facets of the topic may be illusory. Illustrations. (Aug.)
Booknews
Prolific author and physicist Davies (natural philosophy, U. of Adelaide, South Australia) explores what might happen to our worldview if scientists and governments succeed in their ongoing search for signs of life in the universe. Delving into mathematical and scientific ideas from Descartes to Darwin to quantum theory, Davies explains why he believes "they're out there" and ponders what that means for philosophical and religious issues such as the nature of consciousness, the evolution of intelligent life, and the place of humankind in the cosmos. Based on lectures given at the University of Milan Nov. 8-9, 1993, and published in Italian by Laterza. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465004195
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 6/28/1996
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,132,247
  • Lexile: 1300L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.08 (w) x 7.96 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author


Paul Davies is a professor of natural philosophy at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. He is the author of more than twenty books, including The Mind of God, The Cosmic Blueprint, Superforce, and Are We Alone? He won the 1995 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion for his contributions to religious thought and inquiry.
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Table of Contents

Preface
1 A Brief History of SETI 1
2 Extraterrestrial Microbes 21
3 Alien Message 39
4 Against Aliens 61
5 The Nature of Consciousness 89
6 Alien Contact and Religious Experience 131
Appendix 1 Project Phoenix 139
Appendix 2 The Argument for Duplicate Beings 145
Bibliography 151
Index 153
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