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The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-1935191285
ISBN-10: 1935191284
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Book Description

The intellectual and cultural battles now raging over theism and atheism, conservatism and secular progressivism, dualism and monism, realism and antirealism, and transcendent reality versus material reality extend even into the scientific disciplines. This stunning new volume captures this titanic clash of worldviews among those who have thought most deeply about the nature of science and of the universe itself.
Unmatched in its breadth and scope, The Nature of Nature brings together some of the most influential scientists, scholars, and public intellectuals—including three Nobel laureates—across a wide spectrum of disciplines and schools of thought. Here they grapple with a perennial question that has been made all the more pressing by recent advances in the natural sciences:Is the fundamental explanatory principle of the universe, life, and self-conscious awareness to be found in inanimate matter or immaterial mind?The answers found in this book have profound implications for what it means to do science, what it means to be human, and what the future holds for all of us.

About the Author

Bruce L. Gordon is a historian and philosopher of physics who holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University along with degrees in applied mathematics and analytic philosophy. A former research professor and director of the program in science and religion at Baylor University, he was research director of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute, where he remains a Senior Fellow, and is currently associate professor of science and mathematics at The King's College in New York City.

William A. Dembski holds Ph.D.s in mathematics and philosophy and has done postdoctoral work in mathematics, physics, and computer science. The author or editor of more than a dozen books, he has appeared on ABC’s Nightline, Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, and many other television and radio programs.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 963 pages
  • Publisher: Intercollegiate Studies Institute; 1 edition (February 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935191284
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935191285
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 2.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,634,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By The Professor on February 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science is a compendium of the leading scholars in the area of science and religion, including three Nobel laureates, who weigh in on the following question: is the universe self-existent, self-sufficient, and self-organizing, or is it instead organized by a reality that transcends space, time, matter, and energy? When the book came in the mail I was surprised at its mammoth size. It reminded me of Stephens Jay Gould's The structure of Evolutionary Theory book. The Nature of Nature has the same large page size and about as many pages as Gould's book. In contrast to Gould's book, The Nature book is more readable and I did not note any almost full page single sentences as Gould's book contains. As I leafed through The Nature I realized this is not a book that one would normally read straight through, so I selected chapters of interest, as most readers will likely do, in my case mostly those in the area of my graduate work, cell biology. The chapters by Drs Behe, Axe, Meyer, Rana and others reviewed some of their earlier work and responded to criticism. As a whole their chapters served as an excellent succinct summary of their main ideas and past publications. Axe's chapter on Protein folding helped inform me about the latest research in this critical area, one that I have not kept up much with since graduate school. The chapters by critics of Intelligent Design were, judging by the ones that I read, excellent selections that helped the reader understand both sides of the controversy over origins and Naturalism. The number of chapters on each side of the book's theme were close the equal, and the collection for this reason will be valuable no matter which side of the controversy one favors.Read more ›
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Bartlett on February 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
If Francis Crick, William Dembski, Michael Ruse, Alan Guth, Roger Penrose, Howard Van Till, and all their friends all got together for a discussion, what would they talk about? No need to speculate - this book, The Nature of Nature, contains papers from all of these top scholars as well as many others. Just listing out the big names in science that contributed to this volume would be a more than adequate review.

It turns out that all of these scholars are focused on the "big questions" of life - where did we come from? what is the nature of consciousness? what is the nature of ethics? what is the nature of nature itself?

While these questions all sound philosophical, this book focuses on scientific approaches to each question. The book, at over 900 pages, is impossible to summarize in such a short review. However, I will say that on every question, there are multiple perspectives offered, giving the reader a broad view of the ways which each question can be approached.

For instance, on the nature of the mind, there are essays from Nancey Murphy, who gives an explanation as to how the mind can function as a purely physical entity, John Tooby, who provides an evolutionary explanation of the mind's organization, and Henry Stapp, who argues for a dualism between the mind and the brain coordinated at the quantum level. Similar discussions are had about the origin of life, the origin of the universe, the the nature of mathematics, and the nature of nature itself.

I recommend this book to any person who wants to take a deep look at life's deepest questions. There are no shallow arguments here. If you are a scientist, a theologian, or an interested layperson, this volume provides a host of scholarly papers examining life's most meaningful questions from a number of directions.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Keith H. Bray on March 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is derived from many a symposium on the same matter and it writes like a "who-is-who" especially in areas such as physics and quantum mechanics. The book is over 900-pages in length and I am still reading different essays contingent upon the section of specialty. There is some repetition here in that, although a respective essay fails to state that it is borrowed from previous writing or book, can be dismissed as repetition is a manner of habit for learning. Like the first reviewer, I confess that I have not completed the entire book. I had also wished that Don Page, Fr. Robert Spitzer, and John Sinclair had made contributions--the same goes for Susskind, Lederman, Brian Greene and Kip Thorne.

Weinberg's essay seemed somewhat disengaged and "Dawkin's-like" in spirit as someone of Weinberg's intellectual caliber could have written something that does not come off like he is bothered to even attend or deliver his paper. At a recent unnamed event, Weinberg did not know what the "M" in M-theory stood for although Ed Witten's intellectual acumen matches Weinberg's acumen (and perhaps surpasses it), and Weinberg was also oblivious to the fact that Paul Steinhardt himself had largely agreed that his updated "Cyclic Ekpyrotic Scenario" that deals with membranes (or "branes")) is not able to work. Weinberg not only appealed to the first Ekpryrotic Scenario (model) when Steinhardt recognized that the BVG theorem renders a cyclic universe past incomplete. (These embarrassing misstatements for such an intelligent man hearken back to Einstein's last days at Princeton).

The book is fantastic and a marked "purchase for personal library" for those who are engaged in these natters.
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