Is Nature Ever Evil?: Religion, Science and Value [NOOK Book]

Overview

Can nature be evil, or ugly, or wrong? Can we apply moral value to nature?
From a compellingly original premise, under the auspices of major thinkers including Mary Midgley, Philip Hefner, Arnold Benz and Keith Ward, Is Nature Ever Evil? examines the value-structure of our cosmos and of the science that seeks to describe it. Science, says editor Willem B. Drees, claims to leave moral questions to aesthetic and religious theory. But the supposed neutrality of the scientific view ...

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Is Nature Ever Evil?: Religion, Science and Value

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Overview

Can nature be evil, or ugly, or wrong? Can we apply moral value to nature?
From a compellingly original premise, under the auspices of major thinkers including Mary Midgley, Philip Hefner, Arnold Benz and Keith Ward, Is Nature Ever Evil? examines the value-structure of our cosmos and of the science that seeks to describe it. Science, says editor Willem B. Drees, claims to leave moral questions to aesthetic and religious theory. But the supposed neutrality of the scientific view masks a host of moral assumptions. How does an ethically transparent science arrive at concepts of a 'hostile' universe or a 'selfish' gene? How do botanists, zoologists, cosmologists and geologists respond to the beauty of the universe they study, reliant as it is upon catastrophe, savagery, power and extinction? Then there are various ways in which science seeks to alter and improve nature. What do prosthetics and gene technology, cyborgs and dairy cows say about our appreciation of nature itself? Surely science, in common with philosophy, magic and religion, can aid our understanding of evil in nature - whether as natural catasrophe, disease, predatory cruelty or mere cosmic indifference?
Focusing on the ethical evaluation of nature itself, Is Nature Ever Evil? re-ignites crucial questions of hope, responsibility, and possibility in nature.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781134436699
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 9/2/2003
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • File size: 3 MB

Table of Contents

List of figures
Notes on contributors
This vale of tears - the best of all possible worlds? 1
1 Criticizing the cosmos 11
2 Response to Mary Midgley's 'Criticizing the cosmos' 27
3 Mary Midgley on science, nature, metaphysics and ethics: some comments 29
4 Mind and value: reflections on Max Weber 32
5 The moral relevance of naturalness 41
6 The experience of nature: a hermeneutic approach 45
7 Human interpretation and animal excellence 56
8 Naturalizing and systematizing evil 67
9 Cooperation or competition: comments on Rolston 87
10 Rolston: a contemporary physico-theologian 90
11 Are catastrophes in nature ever evil? 94
12 Contingency and risk: comment on Smit 98
13 Nature does not care indeed, but humans do: a commentary 101
14 The Lisbon earthquake, 1755: a discourse about the 'nature' of nature 106
15 Tragedy versus hope: what future in an open universe? 120
16 Tragedy versus hope? A theological response 132
17 Cosmic fine-tuning, 'many universe' theories and the goodness of life 139
18 Improvable Nature? 149
19 Victims of nature cry out 170
20 'Improvable nature?' Some meta-historical reflections 173
21 Is nature neutral? The concept of health 179
22 Nature good and evil: a theological palette 189
23 Nature good and evil: a theological evaluation 203
24 The quest for perfection: insights from Paul Tillich 214
25 Normativity of nature: natural law in a technological life-world 225
26 Exploring technonature with cyborgs 236
27 Two forms of explanation 247
28 Two forms of explanation: a response to Ward 265
29 Two forms of explanation: a response to Ward 270
30 The evaluation of natural reality: a watertight case? 274
31 'Ought' in a world that just 'is' 284
32 What values guide our oughts? 310
33 The normative relevance of disputes in primatology 313
34 Evolutionary views on the biological basis of religion 321
35 On pattern recognition, evolution, epistemology, religion and evil 330
Index 336
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