The authentic discovery of extraterrestrial life would usher in a scientific revolution on par with Copernicus or Darwin, says Paul Davies. Just as these ideas sparked religious and philosophical controversy when they were first offered, so would proof of life arising away from Earth. With this brief book (160 pages, including two appendices and an index), Davies tries to get ahead of the curve and begin to sort out the metaphysical mess before it happens. Many science fiction writers have preceded him, of course, but here the matter is plainly put. This is a very good introduction to a compelling subject.
From Publishers Weekly
This bite-size volume for the nonscientist reviews fact and speculation concerning the possible existence of extraterrestrial life. In the process, Davies (The Mind of God) explores metaphysical arguments and attitudes that would be affected by discovery of other life. A physicist, natural philosopher and winner of the 1995 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, he presents an approach that is broad and inquiring, not dogmatic. In clear and comfortable prose, he renders some deep thoughts in terms of simple, intuitive concepts, with many effective references to relevant theology, philosophy and science fiction as well as natural science. Contents include a sketch of NASA's current search program (SETT) and a survey of the vested viewpoints at risk. An intriguing chapter considers the nature of consciousness (distinguished from intelligence) as it may exist in the universe. Davies concludes that boundaries between religious and scientific facets of the topic may be illusory. Illustrations.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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