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

Eternal Harmony

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. 6, 2016

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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