Eternal Harmony

A worthwhile contribution to the ongoing debate about the nature of religion and rationality.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

A scientist takes a philosophical stand against the idea that science has a monopoly on reason.

The territorial contest between science and religion is as old as their existences. Modern discussion on the topic often includes the presumption that science, and science alone, can deliver a rational rendering of the world. Debut author Rickards, a physicist, labels this presumption “scientism”—the hubristic assertion that an atheistic science can solve every mystery. The author argues that, in their best forms, both science and religion are evidence-driven enterprises, and that, when properly understood, each improves the other. He also says that science is rife with claims of the existence of theoretical entities, but that it’s blind to the purpose of things and to the existence of free will, thus diminishing the value of human life by willfully misinterpreting the nature and dignity of personhood. In the final analysis, he says, scientism turns out to be a species of “idol worship,” a disfigured faith of its own that hypocritically rejects all other faiths: “Indeed, contrary to widespread misconception, like genuine science, God-made religion is founded and built upon many falsifiable claims.” Rickards’ aim, he says, isn’t to denigrate science, but to restore its appropriate role within a “unified religion-science and faith-reason duality worldview.” His explorations are diverse and far-reaching; for example, he discusses quantum mechanics, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the creation story in the book of Genesis, and Pascal’s Wager. The author’s erudition is breathtakingly broad, and the prose is lively, clear, and consistently avoids hyper-technical academic jargon, though it does sometimes flirt with stridency. His book is also a quirky effort—for instance, it includes several song lyrics that the author composed, largely about his religious devotion. As the first of a planned four-volume collection, it’s a challengingly long study, and it could have avoided repetition in order to be more concise. A synopsis at the start would have been very helpful, given the complexity of the arguments that follow. Still, this is a philosophically nimble work that seeks to end the dispute between faith and reason by demonstrating their natural allegiance.

A worthwhile contribution to the ongoing debate about the nature of religion and rationality.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5127-3490-4

Page Count: 656

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2016



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

Close Quickview