Oracles of Science: Celebrity Scientists Versus God and Religion

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Overview

Oracles of Science examines the popular writings of the six scientists who have been the most influential in shaping our perception of science, how it works, and how it relates to other fields of human endeavor, especially religion. Biologists Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins, and Edward O. Wilson, and physicists Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, and Steven Weinberg, have become public intellectuals, articulating a much larger vision for science and what role it should play in the modern worldview. The scientific prestige and literary eloquence of each of these great thinkers combine to transform them into what can only be called oracles of science. Their controversial, often personal, sometimes idiosyncratic opinions become widely known and perceived by many to be authoritative. Curiously, the leading 'oracles of science' are predominantly secular in ways that don't reflect the distribution of religious beliefs within the scientific community. Many of them are even hostile to religion, creating a false impression that science as a whole is incompatible with religion. Karl Giberson and Mariano Artigas offer an informed analysis of the views of these six scientists, carefully distinguishing science from philosophy and religion in the writings of the oracles. This book will be welcomed by many who are disturbed by the tone of the public discourse on the relationship between science and religion and will challenge others to reexamine their own preconceptions about this crucial topic.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195386189
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 2/27/2009
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Karl Giberson is Professor of Physics at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, MA. For years he served as editor in chief of both Science & Theology News and Science & Spirit. Widely published in science and religion, Oracles of Science is his third book in this area.
Mariano Artigas is Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. He holds Ph.D.'s both in physics and in philosophy, and is a Roman Catholic priest. Oracles of Science is his fourteenth book on the relationship between science, philosophy, and religion.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Oracles of Science 3

1 A Good Devil's Chaplain Richard Dawkins 19

2 Rocks of Ages and the Ages of the Rocks Stephen Jay Gould 53

3 Reading the Mind of God Stephen Hawking 87

4 A Light in the Darkness Carl Sagan 123

5 Understanding a Pointless Universe Steven Weinberg 159

6 A Pulitzer for the Ants Edward O. Wilson 193

Conclusion: Science and Beyond 225

Notes 237

Bibliography 259

Index 269

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