Atoms and Eden: Conversations on Religion and Science

Overview


Here is an unprecedented collection of twenty freewheeling and revealing interviews with major players in the ongoing--and increasingly heated--debate about the relationship between religion and science. These lively conversations cover the most important and interesting topics imaginable: the Big Bang, the origins of life, the nature of consciousness, the foundations of religion, the meaning of God, and much more.
In Atoms and Eden, Peabody Award-winning journalist Steve ...
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Atoms and Eden: Conversations on Religion and Science

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Overview


Here is an unprecedented collection of twenty freewheeling and revealing interviews with major players in the ongoing--and increasingly heated--debate about the relationship between religion and science. These lively conversations cover the most important and interesting topics imaginable: the Big Bang, the origins of life, the nature of consciousness, the foundations of religion, the meaning of God, and much more.
In Atoms and Eden, Peabody Award-winning journalist Steve Paulson explores these topics with some of the most prominent public intellectuals of our time, including Richard Dawkins, Karen Armstrong, E. O. Wilson, Sam Harris, Elaine Pagels, Francis Collins, Daniel Dennett, Jane Goodall, Paul Davies, and Steven Weinberg. The interviewees include Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and Muslims, as well as agnostics, atheists, and other scholars who hold perspectives that are hard to categorize. Paulson's interviews sweep across a broad range of scientific disciplines--evolutionary biology, quantum physics, cosmology, and neuroscience--and also explore key issues in theology, religious history, and what William James called ''the varieties of religious experience.'' Collectively, these engaging dialogues cover the major issues that have often pitted science against religion--from the origins of the universe to debates about God, Darwin, the nature of reality, and the limits of human reason. These are complex, intellectually rich discussions, presented in an accessible and engaging manner. Most of these interviews were originally published as individual cover stories for Salon.com, where they generated a huge reader response. Public Radio's "To the Best of Our Knowledge" will present a major companion series on related topics this fall.
A feast of ideas and competing perspectives, this volume will appeal to scientists, spiritual seekers, and the intellectually curious.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In this wonderfully insightful and provocative book, Atoms and Eden, radio journalist Steve Paulson explores two of the most powerful forces in human history - science and religion - and the way they shape our world view. Using interviews with scientists, historians and philosophers as a springboard, Paulson deftly creates a conversation about faith, doubt and the very nature of belief systems that draws the reader into rethinking assumptions about what's important in the way we build our lives today."

--Deborah Blum, author, Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death

"These transcripts capture the excitement of the radio series from which they are drawn. They stimulate the imagination, broaden the knowledge of all but the most widely informed readers, and clarify key issues and perspectives in the tensions between science and religion."--Library Journal

Library Journal
Public discourse on science and religion can sometimes yield more heat than light, but radio journalist Paulson (executive producer, To the Best of Our Knowledge, Wisconsin Public Radio) brings his informed layperson's curiosity to these radio conversations he had with significant voices in the scientific and religious communities. While the "new atheists" are on display, contrary voices are here as well: religious scholars Karen Armstrong and Elaine Pagels and theologian John Haught, as well as scientists with religious convictions such as Francis Collins and Simon Conway Morris. But Paulson's interviews take readers beyond the usual cast of characters to include Islamic, Buddhist, and philosophical voices, as well as perspectives from various academic disciplines: history, sociobiology, and brain science. Questions about the nature of religious experience and the adequacy of science to explain reality recur in many interviews. Krista Tippett's Einstein's God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit is another new book on this topic. VERDICT These transcripts capture the excitement of the radio series from which they are drawn. They stimulate the imagination, broaden the knowledge of all but the most widely informed readers, and clarify key issues and perspectives in the tensions between science and religion. Recommended.—Steve Young, McHenry Cty. Coll., Crystal Lake, IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199743162
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 11/2/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,109,417
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Paulson is Executive Producer of Wisconsin Public Radio's nationally syndicated radio program "To the Best of Our Knowledge." He is a recipient of the Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowship in Science and Religion. He has written for Salon, Slate, and other publications, and has produced feature stories for NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered."

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

E. O. Wilson 19

Francis Collins 31

Sam Harris 45

Karen Armstrong 59

Andrew Newberg 73

John Haught 83

Richard Dawkins 99

Simon Conway Morris 115

Ronald Numbers 131

Alan Wallace 145

Daniel Dennett 159

Ken Wilber 173

Robert Wright 187

Elaine Pagels 201

Nidhal Guessoum 215

Rebecca Goldstein and Steven Pinker 229

Paul Davies 245

Steven Weinberg 259

Stuart Kauffman 273

Jane Goodall 285

Epilogue 301

Acknowledgments 311

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