Science and Nonbelief

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With a New Preface by the Author

Scientists have raised questions about religious belief since the earliest development of scientific thought. Over the centuries, as science has become ever more sophisticated and answered many of the questions previously in the domain of religion, more and more people have developed a skeptical point of view regarding religion. Today, many scientists are nonbelievers with a secular, science-based perspective.
In this wide-ranging overview, physicist and acclaimed science writer Taner Edis examines the relationship between today's sciences and religious nonbelief. Beginning with a brief history of science and philosophical doubt, Edis goes on to describe those theories in contemporary science that challenge spiritual views by favoring a naturalistic conception of the world. He provides a very readable, nontechnical introduction to the leading scientific ideas that impinge upon religious belief in the areas of modern physics and cosmology, evolutionary biology, and cognitive and brain science. He also shows how science supplies naturalistic explanations for allegedly miraculous and paranormal phenomena and explains widespread belief in the supernatural. Finally, he addresses the political context of debates over science and nonbelief as well as questions about morality.
Complete with an historical chronology, an extensive annotated bibliography, and selections from primary sources, Science and Nonbelief is an indispensable and accessible reference work on the subject.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In the context not only of the intellectual debates between scientific and supernatural or transcendent realities, but also the political relationship between the social institutions of science and religion, Edis explores what he calls science-minded nonbelief, which takes the naturalism of current science as the leading reason to reject the existence of spiritual realities. He touches on social and well as natural science, discusses philosophical disputes and scientific ideas, and incorporates the complex historical interactions between science and nonbelief."


SciTech Book News

"[T]his is an intelligent and well-balanced book that carefully considers all the arguments offered on both sides of the issue of science and belief. The author refuses to take the easy way out of saying that science and religion are dealing with different realms: one being limited to facts, the other focusing on meaning….Overall, this is an excellent book for the layman and professional alike. Anyone interested in the subject would find this to be one of the few contemporary books that approaches these controversial issues with more light than heat."


Catholic Library World

"This clear, balanced survey of the interactions between science and religious doubt includes issues raised by physics, biology, neuroscience, pseudoscience, and philosophy. Designed for advanced students, it includes some primary sources."



"This book, which defends nonbelief effectively from some attacks based on science (particularly those using intelligent design, anthropci principles or paranormal phenomena), could influence an inquirer to that that the claims of Christianity are false. Edis seeks to protect the scientific community's ability to benefit society, both against restrictions coming from religious conservatives, and against recognition of pseudoscientific ideas. The committed Christian reader could be helped to identify arguments to avoid in apologetics, and unresolved conflicts between science and faith."


Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313330780
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/28/2005
  • Series: Greenwood Guides to Science and Religion
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.58 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Taner Edis (Kirksville, MO) is an associate professor of physics at Truman State University and the author of The Ghost in the Universe: God in Light of Modern Science and An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam, among other publications.
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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Science, philosophy, and religious doubt 1
Ch. 2 An accidental world 33
Ch. 3 Darwinian creativity 65
Ch. 4 Minds without souls 95
Ch. 5 The fringes of science 125
Ch. 6 Explaining religion 157
Ch. 7 Morality and politics 187
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