Why Science Does Not Disprove God

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Overview

Based on interviews with eleven Nobel Prize winners and many other prominent physicists, biologists, anthropologists, and psychologists, as well as leading theologians and spiritual leaders, Why Science Does Not Disprove God is a "well-informed and readable" (Wall Street Journal) analysis of the religious implications of our ever-increasing understanding of life and the universe. The renowned science writer Amir Aczel ("One of our best science popularizers"—Publishers Weekly) masterfully refutes the overreaching ...

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Why Science Does Not Disprove God

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Overview

Based on interviews with eleven Nobel Prize winners and many other prominent physicists, biologists, anthropologists, and psychologists, as well as leading theologians and spiritual leaders, Why Science Does Not Disprove God is a "well-informed and readable" (Wall Street Journal) analysis of the religious implications of our ever-increasing understanding of life and the universe. The renowned science writer Amir Aczel ("One of our best science popularizers"—Publishers Weekly) masterfully refutes the overreaching claims of the "New Atheists," providing millions of educated believers with a clear, engaging explanation of what science really says, how there's still much space for the Divine in the universe, and why faith in both God and empirical science are not mutually exclusive.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-01
Mathematician Aczel (A Strange Wilderness: The Lives of the Great Mathematicians, 2011, etc.) debated atheist Richard Dawkins in 2010. Here, he presents his arguments, and prominent atheists, Dawkins above all, do not come out well. Aczel wins the rematch by the infallible technique of misstating his opponent. Science cannot "disprove" anything; only mathematicians do that. Scientists gather evidence and weigh it. While evidence (i.e., arguments) favoring God's absence exists, in the end, disbelief is a matter of opinion. However, there's no denying that the "new atheists," like other pugnacious militants from the tea party to Islamic activists, favor vivid arguments that stretch the truth. Aczel sets them right in a series of earnest essays stressing that both science and religion are laudable institutions that deserve respect. One chapter summarizes archaeological evidence for many biblical events. In another, the author emphasizes that scientists understand the universe's evolution but not its origin, so they cannot rule out a Creator. Throughout the book, Aczel quotes many experts in a variety of fields, including Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg, French mathematician Pierre Simon de Laplace and American physicist Hugh Everett. Few show much concern over the question of God's existence, but most have no objection to it. Having been burned too often, theologians rarely invoke the 19th-century argument that whatever science can't explain provides evidence for God, but Aczel relies on it. His prime example is the mind. "[T]he emergence of consciousness and symbolic thinking remain one of the most formidable hurdles in the path of atheism," he writes. "We have no good explanation of how [they] came about. These may well be divine gifts." Aczel dislikes atheists and often descends to their derisive debating points (e.g., religions sponsor charities; atheists don't), but he skillfully combines his specialty and good science to support, without actually proving, the existence of a Creator.
Willamette Week
“Amir Aczel is a pop idol of the science-writing world.”
IAN TATTERSALL
“If everyone understood as well as Amir Aczel does that scientific and religious ways of knowing belong to entirely separate and uncompeting forms of human experience, the world would be a much more pleasant place to live in.”
RABBI DAVID WOLPE
“Amir Aczel combines scientific credibility, stylistic elegance, and argumentative vigor in Why Science Does Not Disprove God. What’s more, he’s right.”
MARIO LIVIO
“[A] thoughtful, erudite journey through modern science and philosophy, and a clear exposition of a problem with which humans have struggled for millennia.”
ALAN LIGHTMAN
“[An] intelligent and stimulating book. ... Part of the continuing and restorative conversation of humanity with itself. In the end, all of our art, our science and our theological beliefs are an attempt to make sense of this fabulous and fleeting existence we find ourselves in.”
Beliefnet Editors
“Explains that science and religion should not be mutually exclusive [and] you can embrace scientific progress while staying devoted to your faith.”
Booklist (starred review)
“In Aczel, Richard Dawkins and his fellow New Atheists face a formidable opponent. Aczel wields impressive intellectual weapons in demolishing the New Atheists’ claims. ... With compelling reasoning, Aczel demonstrates that Dawkins and his allies ... distort or misrepresent the methods and findings of science.”
Library Journal
04/15/2014
Aczel's (Fermat's Last Theorem) latest book challenges the notion recently articulated by New Atheists such as Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) that science has proved the nonexistence of God. The author's focus is on the science and what it might have to say about a creator, with a few detours such as a chapter on archaeology, which is more about the Bible's authenticity than theistic ontology, and a futile discussion on who owns "Einstein's God"—atheists or theists. Overall, the better chapters reflect Aczel's strengths in mathematics and physics; in those, he discusses subjects such as quantum theory, the multiverse, and mathematical probability. Aczel asks an important question about science, but with a primarily scientific explanation he doesn't tread new ground. His material will instead inflame more misunderstandings, essentially providing a "God of the gaps" dismissal for his critics. VERDICT The author's discussion of theoretical physics and mathematics demonstrates the philosophical nature of his question, which is hinged upon clear definitions of God and a deep, complicated philosophical history; strangely, however, all this is missing from the book. Dawkins, at least, whether you agree or not, defines the God he is disproving, whereas Aczel's remains a mystery.—Scott Vieira, Sam Houston State Univ. Lib., Huntsville, TX
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062230591
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/15/2014
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 222,554
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Amir D. Aczel, Ph.D., is the author of the international bestseller Fermat's Last Theorem, which has been published in twenty-eight languages. A past recipient of a Sloan Foundation grant and a Guggenheim fellowship, Aczel was a visiting scholar at Harvard University from 2005 to 2007 and is currently a research fellow in the history of science at Boston University. He is a regular contributor to Discover magazine.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 23, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I picked up this book from the library because I am intrigued wi

    I picked up this book from the library because I am intrigued with the interplay of faith and science. I believed that this would be a book that would demonstrate God's existence through creation. What I got was something different. Amir Aczel doesn't seek to prove that there is a God in this book. He seeks to prove that science cannot prove that there isn't. As evidence, Aczel goes through human history to show two things:
    1. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins are wrong
    2.Science, by its very nature, cannot prove or disprove that God exists




    It was a very interesting cultural and historical discussion on religion and science and how our beliefs inform what and where we look for answers. Some sections of the book were too technical (physics terms) for me to understand, but I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the universe as a whole.




    Very intriguing book! After reading it, I took some edX courses and listened to YouTube lectures on cosmology after reading it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2014

    Creation is beyond comprehension

    Whats to explain?. You cannot pour a gallon into a cup. To quote that poet who write the black comedy Job "where were you when i lay the corner stone" or a near quote

    0 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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