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Science and Spirituality: Making Room for Faith in the Age of Science Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 8, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (March 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521755948
  • ASIN: B00D57ND2W
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,159,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From the title, this appears to be an invitation to integrate knowledge with faith. Ruse, a professor at Florida State Univ. is a skeptic who believes that the "central core claims of Christianity by their very nature go beyond the reach of science." He takes the reader through a thorough labyrinth of philosophers from Plato, John Henry Newman, and Reinhold Niebuhr in an attempt to show humans as a product of the environment. The world is a machine and Ruse, an expert on Darwinian evolution, sees humans as machines who learn to adapt through evolution and experiences. Where science and spirituality share common bonds is in human morality. Ruse's view of Christianity makes it easy to dismiss miracles, life after death, mysteries of faith and even the theory of the soul by using science. He makes room for spirituality but is dismissive of faith. With its long block quotations and diagrams, this book is more suited for the college classroom than a general reader.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"...Ruse, a professor at Florida State Univ. is a skeptic who believes that the "central core claims [of Christianity] by their very nature go beyond the reach of science." He takes the reader through a thorough labyrinth of philosophers from Plato, John Henry Newman, and Reinhold Niebuhr in an attempt to show humans as a product of the environment..."
--Publishers Weekly


"Ruse's book is one that tries to examine the issue from several points of view, from the matters that can be explained by science to those that cannot... Ruse does a good job of striking what feels like a proper balance that leaves the reader to come to his own conclusion."
--Ryan Reynolds, Courier Press


"...The value and pleasure of Science and Spirituality for the lay reader is in embarking upon a fast--moving journey from the Ancient Greeks to the present while wrestling with our metaphysical Godzilla, to choose a name that invokes both divinity and the primitive lizard brain that continues to issue so many of our marching orders... Ruse offers an accessible distillation of the most pertinent great western thinkers and their great thoughts..."
Salem Alaton, Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber, Literary Review of Canada


"...The first half of this book is an episodic survey of the role of various metaphors (mechanism, organism) in the history of science through the 20th century. Readers familiar with this story--or comfortable with the idea of "metaphor" in science--can profitably start with the second half and capture the full thrust of the argument... this book does extend Ruse's argument and bring it up to date... Recommended..."
C. D. Kay, Wofford College, CHOICE


"...lays a broad foundation for understanding the debate between science and religion.... Those investigating philosophies regarding morals, conscience or purpose of life will benefit from information [he] provides.... Ruse does impressive work presenting others' beliefs, information and discoveries with little personal bias.... a good overview of the evolution of scientists' philosophies...."
Van Sprague, West Virginia School of Preaching, Christian Chronicle

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul E. Schmid on May 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michael Ruse presents an elegant trace of the scientific method and metaphors through the years and then compares this realm of reasoning with that ascribed to religion, Christianity in his case. I really liked his low key "just facts" approach that has only the intent to inform rather than to convert the reader. Ruse clearly states the great progress science has made in the physical world while carefully defining the boundaries properly addressed by a spiritual world. Faith is not presented as an answer to what science may yet resolve through laws such as the Quantum Theory but rather leading to a belief in a moral law based on "God given" higher values. Over the years I've been involved (read member) of various Christian religions which chronologically include Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and Catholic. For me formal religion is still an open issue. This book allows such an option. Richard Dawkins book " The God Delusion" totally precludes the faith option which I feel is half right. Paul E. Schmid PhD EE.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By AR on June 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this is one of the Ruse's philosophical series book on science and spirituality. love it. highly recommended for those who like philosophy.
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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Paul Vjecsner on August 10, 2010
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Although I largely disagree with the author, I appreciate his willingness not to see science as the end of it all, to open the door for farther realities, and to tackle the difficulties involved. In the process, however, I find a too unquestioning commitment to the latest contentions of science. He correspondingly cites many recent thinkers, regrettably mainly philosophers, evidently because he is himself one.

He also speaks amply of historical figures and their deeds, although I was early in the book discouraged by careless inaccuracies. He writes (pp.12-13): "The Egyptians...knew that a 3, 4, 5 triangle is right-angled. It was Pythagoras or someone in his group who generalized it to all right-angled triangles (the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides)..." But the "it" only speaks a right-angled triangle, not mentioning squares. Worse, the author then describes Euclid's fifth postulate (he also oddly applies "postulate" to "common notion") as stating that "parallel lines never meet". This is the definition of parallel lines; the postulate states that certain lines meet.

Notwithstanding such weaknesses, the author takes us through numbers of progressions in scientific, philosophical and spiritual thought, the progressions in my view not always constituting progress. Here I will concentrate on alluded to recent views and arguments the author concurs with and I find decidedly faulty.

The author cites (pp.138-9) philosophers Paul and Patricia Churchland as making "some very good points" about us being "hung up on folk psychology. We think that what we believe today must be the absolute bedrock of inquiry. Our sense of consciousness must be untouched. However, they argue that that is not the way things go in science".
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brian J. Hendricks on September 3, 2012
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This is really an exceptional and necessary book considering all that has been recently said in regard to the issue of faith and science. Up until reading this book by Dr. Michael Ruse, this area of discussion felt like it revolved around the main question of, "Which side are you on, are you a Christian or an Atheist?" Most of the popular books that have been published recently seemingly fit into this mold. Most authors writing books like these attempt to refute whatever point of view that you possess and try to "win" you to their side with arguments for Christianity that have been around since the mid 300's CE. The same is true for those writers that consider themselves as members of the "scientific" and Atheist camp. Their arguments are more recent. But the objective is still the same; to win you to their mode of thought.

The problem with each of these approaches is that both sides cherry pick arguments from philosophy and proofs from science to refute either view. In reality, this does a disservice to both sides of the discussion. What we end up with is an us vs. them mentality and a watering down of two rich and very important disciplines. Luckily, we have Dr. Ruse and this fantastic text in which he tries to show a way forward. As it turns out, both sides have been getting this wrong!

Ruse does a fantastic job of first answering the questions of science and showing the different forms of understanding that people who employ and believe in the theory of evolution approach this scientific task. It is during this phase of the book that one comes to the conclusion rather quickly (with the assistance of Ruse's clear and well thought out prose) that yes, evolution is accepted by anyone doing serious science.
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10 of 31 people found the following review helpful By John C. Landon on March 10, 2010
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This is an odd book: it teters on the verge of being a good book, nearly bringing a new perspective to a tired debate, and then it skids off and loses its focus. The reason is simple: you can't be a Darwinian true believer, defending ad infinitum the meataphysics of natural selection, and deal with the topics the book raises, or rather--it seems, someone else raised, and which Ruse almost dishonestly takes up and discusses as if this was his material. In fact, as with the Kant issues picked up in the account a great deal of recent Internet discussion and critique of biological theory in the light of Kant has recently appeared (among other places in the work and blog of this reviewer). It would seem that Ruse wishes to intone from on high with academic grandeur to fix these questions without any reference to the original discussions. This is professorial arrogance at its worst. The bibliography of this book actually, amazing since it is usually censored, has a reference to Timothy Lenoir's The Strategy of Life, with its account of the the teleomechanists and their Kantian take on biology. It seems no Darwinian commentator would cite this work unless it had already been raised in discussion and its issues needed to be neutralized.
At any rate this is a warning that this is, sadly, a dishonest book, with a curious agenda against many who are and will be powerless to respond. A philosopher as confused as Ruse can't seem to realize that Kant is a great threat to Darwinism, in the way he raised in classic fashion the issue of the teleological antinomies lurking in biological theory and all discussions of the organism. Ruse's purpose in life is apparently to return the Darwinian fold to the second-rate scientism that came into being in the generation after Kant, the Hegelians and Naturphilosophie.
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