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Fire in the Mind: Science, Faith and the Search for Order

Fire in the Mind: Science, Faith and the Search for Order


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Are there really laws governing the universe? Or is the order we see a mere artifact of the way evolution wired the brain? And is what we call science only a set of myths in which quarks, DNA, and information fill the role once occupied by gods? These questions lie at the heart of George Johnson's audacious exploration of the border between science and religion, cosmic accident and timeless law. Northern New Mexico is home both to the most provocative new enterprises in quantum physics, information science, and the evolution of complexity and to the cosmologies of the Tewa Indians and the Catholic Penitentes. As it draws the reader into this landscape, juxtaposing the systems of belief that have taken root there, Fire in the Mind into a gripping intellectual adventure story that compels us to ask where science ends and religion begins.

"A must for all those seriously interested in the key ideas at the frontier of scientific discourse."—Paul Davies

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679740216
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/28/1996
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.01(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

George Johnson writes regularly about science for the New York Times. He has also written for National GeographicSlateDiscoverScientific AmericanWired, and the Atlantic, and his work has been included in The Best American Science Writing. A former Alicia Patterson fellow, he has received awards from PEN and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and his books were twice finalists for the Royal Society’s book prize. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Kivas, Moradas, and the Secrets of the Nuclear Age

I. Four Magic Mountains
1. Phaedrus's Ghosts
2. The Depth of the Atom
3. The Height of the Sky
Tesuque Interlude: The Riddle of the Camel

II. "The Cold, Gray Cave of Abstraction"
4. The Demonology of Information
5. The Undetermined World
6. The Democracy of Measurement
San Ildefonso Interlude: The Mystery of Other minds

III. "A Fever Matter"
7. The Dawn of Recognition
8. The Arrival of the Fittest
9. In Search of Complexity
10. In the Eye of the Beholder
Truchas Interlude: The Leap into the Unknown

Conclusion: The Ruins of Los Alamos

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