Should scientists challenge religious beliefs in modern society? This book gives voice to those scientist and theologians whose experience holds direct relevance in the confrontational science and religion debate.
Confrontation between science and religion has defined much public debate about religion in recent years, most lately in bestsellers portraying a clash between scientists and religious believers, such as Richard Dawkins The God Delusion and Sam Harriss The End of Faith or Letter to a Christian Nation. But what does this clash mean for society?
This collection of essays gives voice to social scientists, natural scientists and theologians whose experience holds direct relevance on these major issues, and encourages a new, more forgiving dialogue between these two huge forces in modern society.
Forward: Mary Midgley
Introduction Alex Bentley, Durham University
Should scientists challenge religious beliefs in modern society?
1 Science and religion: negotiating the 21st century rapids. Denis Alexander, Cambridge University
2 Why new atheist definitions of religion fail. Mark Hulsether, University of Tennessee
3 Aboriginal versus Western creationism. Bob Layton, Durham University
4 Science versus anthropology, not religion. Simon Coleman, Sussex University
5 Atheism and liberty. Michael Shermer, Sceptics Society & Scientific American
Is religion inevitable? Prehistory and evolution
6 The evolution of warfare. Herbert Maschner and Katherine Reedy-Maschner, Idaho State University
7 Why we are good: Mirror neurons and the roots of empathy. Gordy Slack, US Author
8 The evolution of religion. Lewis Wolpert, University College London
9 Is religion inevitable? An archaeologists view from the past. Steven Mithen, University of Reading
10 Artificials, or why Darwin was wrong about humans. Timothy Taylor, University of Bradford
Is religion harmful? From brains to societies
11 Brain science and belief. Andrew Newberg, University of Pennsylvania
12 Why Richard Dawkins is wrong about religion. David Sloan Wilson, Binghamton University
13 Public terror vs. public good: Views from Japan and England. Ian Reader, University of Manchester
14 Buddhism: A better balance in the East? Hiroko Kawanami, Lancaster University
Can science itself inspire spiritual wonder? Broader views
15 Can scientific discovery be a spiritual experience? John Hedley Brooke, Oxford University
16 Heavens above! Old notions never die, they just incorporate. William Calvin, University of Washington
17 Other intelligences. Seth Shostak, SETI Institute Senior Astronomer
18 Natural theology in contemporary cosmology. David Wilkinson, Durham University
Epilogue: Science and Religion, not Science or Religion. Michael J. OBrien, University of Missouri
Dr Alex Bentley is Reader in the Department of Anthropology at Durham University, UK.
"Systems of logic and belief never split into neat oppositions between science and religion, but are mediated by cultural, philosophical, and contextual forces that shape these systems all of them - as reasonable and natural. It is the making and mobilisation of the givens of human knowledge, rather than its perfection to grasp a preordained cosmology, that must be understood if we are to break free of the impasse that has come to prevail between Creationists and Evolutionists, as revealed in this fascinating dialogue between leading anthropologists, archaeologists, philosophers, theologians, biologists and physicists. Inter-disciplinarity at its best!"
Professor Ash Amin, Director of the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University, UK
The Edge of Reason? by Alex Bentley was published by Continuum in September 2008. The ISBN for The Edge of Reason? is 9781847062185.