Life Is a Miracle: An Essay against Modern Superstition

Life Is a Miracle: An Essay against Modern Superstition

4.0 1
by Wendell Berry
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

ISBN-10: 1582431418

ISBN-13: 9781582431413

Pub. Date: 04/28/2001

Publisher: Counterpoint Press


[A] scathing assessment…Berry shows that Wilson's much-celebrated, controversial pleas in Consilience to unify all branches of knowledge is nothing more than a fatuous subordination of religion, art, and everything else that is good to science…Berry is one of the most perceptive critics of American society writing today.-Lauren F. Winner, Washington Post

Overview


[A] scathing assessment…Berry shows that Wilson's much-celebrated, controversial pleas in Consilience to unify all branches of knowledge is nothing more than a fatuous subordination of religion, art, and everything else that is good to science…Berry is one of the most perceptive critics of American society writing today.-Lauren F. Winner, Washington Post Book WorldI am tempted to say he understands [Consilience] better than Wilson himself…A new emancipation proclamation in which he speaks again and again about how to defy the tyranny of scientific materialism.-Colin C. Campbell, Christian Science MonitorBerry takes a wrecking ball to E. O. Wilson's Consilience, reducing its smug assumptions regarding the fusion of science, art, and religion to so much rubble.-Kirkus ReviewsIn Life Is a Miracle, the devotion of science to the quantitative and reductionist world is measured against the mysterious, qualitative suggestions of religion and art. Berry sees life as the collision of these separate forces, but without all three in the mix we are left at sea in the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781582431413
Publisher:
Counterpoint Press
Publication date:
04/28/2001
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
631,983
Product dimensions:
5.26(w) x 8.42(h) x 0.52(d)

Table of Contents

I. Ignorance3
II. Propriety13
III. On Edward O. Wilson's Consilience23
1. Materialism25
2. Materialism and Mystery27
3. Imperialism30
4. Reductionism38
5. Creatures as Machines46
6. Originality and the "Two Cultures"55
7. Progress Without Subtraction89
IV. Reduction and Religion93
V. Reduction and Art105
VI. A Conversation Out of School121
VII. Toward a Change of Standards129
VIII. Some Notes in Conclusion143

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Life Is a Miracle: An Essay against Modern Superstition 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book early in Winter-07 and thought of it again recently when one of the presidential candidates took a swipe at Pres. Bush for 'assaulting science'. Seemed to me that, rather than 'assaulting' science, Bush was defending the larger fabric of which science was one of many threads. While he's probably not a fan of the President, I'm pretty sure Berry would understand the distinction. At any rate, a few observations about this essay. Berry sounds [admirably] like Cardinal Newman in his 'Idea of a University' lectures: 'Summing up, Gentlemen, . . ., I lay it down that all knowledge forms one whole, because its subject-matter is one for the universe in its length and breadth is so intimately knit together, that we cannot separate off portion from portion, and operation from operation' [Newman] Berry cautions against the dangers of isolating the disciplines, particularly of the tendency to subordinate all other disciplines to science. Berry also takes aim at the Education Industry, which seems nearly to have completed its transformation from the pursuit of educating citizens to the pursuit of profit via corporate grants, government subsidies, inflated fees, and textbook profiteering. As a former professor, he knows whereof he speaks. In mischievous moments, I wonder which institution of higher learning will be first to adopt as its motto the Latin for' If you can pay, you can stay.' Finally, Berry returns to what he knows best, the intrinsic value, the perpetuation, and the collective knowledge of local communities and human economies - which cannot be 'reduced', categorized, and explained by science. He writes about these things nearly as clearly and movingly as the language allows an essayist to do. I think his fiction - which is beautiful, almost poetic at times - allows him a bit more latitude to celebrate these same important themes. I do wonder sometimes - if Mr. Berry is this respectful of the language and of the people and principles he holds dear, what must his fences and fields look like? His farm must be a model of tidiness, at least as tidy as a farm ever gets.