The Ghost in the Universe: God in Light of Modern Science

The Ghost in the Universe: God in Light of Modern Science

by Taner Edis


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781573929776
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Publication date: 06/28/2002
Pages: 330
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.14(d)

About the Author

Taner Edis (Kirksville, MO) is assistant professor of physics at Truman State University.

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The Ghost in the Universe: God in Light of Modern Science 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Devil_llama on LibraryThing 10 months ago
The author examines the question of whether there is a legitimate battle between science and religion, and the arguments for the existence of God. He begins with philosophy, but quickly dispenses with that, as the philosophical arguments have been covered in great deatail elsewhere. He then proceeds to physics, and spends much of the book on the findings of modern physics and the origin of the universe. This book is much less technical than many books of this sort, and the author clearly aimed it an an intelligent reading audience that doesn't want long dicussions of the arcana of physics, so you don't have to be well versed in physics language to grasp most of the book. The author makes his thesis plain from the beginning: philosophical arguments for and against god(s) are only the surface of the story. He feels scientific arguments are the best defense against intelligent design, creationism, and the existence of God. Very well written, and dealing honestly and forthrightly with the most sophisticated arguments from both religion and postmodern philosophy. That strength can actually become a weakness at times, however, as the repitition of the arguments against science can become tiresome, and also, one tends to cringe at the particular method of dispensing with those arguments, as the author has left probably several hundred passages that could easily be pulled out of context and used to indicate that the author (a prominent physicist and an outspoken atheist) actually accepts creationism - or intelligent design - or postmodernism. Still, I suppose there's no way to write a good, thoughtful book on the topic that can't be quote mined (even if they're not this wide open). Overall, I recommend this book highly.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I have an interesting perspective on Taner Edis. As a fourth-year biology undergraduate at Truman State University (where Edis teaches), I have heard him speak twice. The first time was a short speech to a small group of Freethinkers about the subjects covered in his book. The second time was an afternoon Science Hall lecture on design in the universe. In that lecture, he identified the two elements of 'design': chance and necessity. Purpose was not one of them, which may have been one of the many things that upset a fellow science professor (a rather belligerent old Creationist) to the point that he referred to Edis as 'the Inquisition.' I assure you, the label is unwarranted. I have never run into a more intelligent, unbiased 'skeptic' in my life ... Edis's book synthesizes a lot of material from history, theology, philosophy, and science. He deftly addresses not only Christianity, but also Judaism and Islam. The material is very in-depth, though, requiring some sort of elementary understand of the aforementioned subjects prior to reading the book. In stark contrast to Christian apologists, Edis takes a rather passive approach to God and other theological matters, free from insults and judgements. He never identifies himself as an atheist - only as a skeptic. And it becomes clear to the reader at several points in the book that Edis has a profound and legitimate interest in the concept of God - far from the idea, perpetuated by many Christians, that non-Christians are just out to get Jesus. Edis has a quiet respect for some elements of religion, and a quiet disgust for some of the fundamentalist interpretations of reality. Because Edis's book is so full of all kinds of information, there is little I want to say about the arguments presented against God. It's not like that, really. I mean, the book has a lot of value, in a lot of different areas. Edis merely shows the reader that the arguments FOR God are lacking quite a bit - especially evidence and coherence! He does not attack God or believers, though. A very fulfilling read for anyone with a little background or a little interest in these subjects.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book on science and religion that I've read in a long time. Most others I've read were either too obviously stuck in a certain philosophical point of view, were too hostile to religion, or defended religion by too much unconvincing "it might be"s. Edis leaves no doubt that he thinks modern science makes all supernatural beliefs untenable, but does so without hostility to religion. I especially liked how he explained the attractive aspects of religious ideas before going on to show that his naturalistic approach does a better job. I was also impressed by his discussing Islam and the New Age as much as Christian ideas, and the fact that he emphasized modern, liberal defenses of God and religion rather than bashing obviously absurd fundamentalist beliefs.