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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read for average readers
This book consists of essays based on a series of Yale Lectures delivered in 2006 by such brights as Ken Miller, Lawrence M. Krauss, and Alvin Plantinga, among others, taking the middle-ground position on the question of the relation of faith and science. The question largely centers around evolution, as the introduction by Keith Thomson notes. That's the heart of the...
Published 16 months ago by E.L.B.

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Observations in the wake of the Dover decision
This book consists of an introductory essay by Keith Thomson and five essays based on the five 2006 Yale University Centennial Terry Lectures on religion in the light of science and philosophy, each of which examines the subject from a different academic discipline.

The first essay is by historian Ronald Numbers, a historian. He gives a history of the...
Published on December 13, 2010 by Paul R. Bruggink


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Observations in the wake of the Dover decision, December 13, 2010
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Paul R. Bruggink (Clarington, PA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Religion and Science Debate: Why Does It Continue? (The Terry Lectures Series) (Paperback)
This book consists of an introductory essay by Keith Thomson and five essays based on the five 2006 Yale University Centennial Terry Lectures on religion in the light of science and philosophy, each of which examines the subject from a different academic discipline.

The first essay is by historian Ronald Numbers, a historian. He gives a history of the relationship between science and religion, focusing on the 1800s and on the current intelligent design (ID) movement.

The second essay, by Kenneth Miller, a biologist, focuses on the case against ID via discussion of the Dover trial, concluding that what is called ID in the United States is nothing more than old-fashioned scientific creationism, dressed up in the new languages of biochemistry and molecular biology in an attempt to masquerade as a scientific theory. He points out that the ID movement has attempted to promote their position by way of the political and public relations route rather than proving their case scientifically.

In the third essay, Alvin Plantinga, a philosopher, points out that there is nothing in the scientific theory of evolution to preclude God from causing the relevant genetic mutations. He also points out the striking distance between Richard Dawkins' premise (it is possible that unguided evolution has produced all of the wonders of the living world) and his conclusion (unguided evolution has indeed produced all of those wonders) in his book "The Blind Watchmaker." He argues that Dawkins utterly fails to show that "the acts of evolution reveal a universe without design" and states that "this confusion or alleged connection between Darwinism and unguided Darwinism (which Daniel Dennett makes and Richard Dawkins encourages) is perhaps the most important source of continuing conflict and debate between science and religion."

In the fourth essay, Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist, also discusses how the ID movement wants to take their theory straight into high-school textbooks without going through all o the intermediate steps of building a scientific consensus. He suggests that problems arise when science and metaphysical speculation get conflated. "Science alone cannot reveal everything that many humans feel is worth knowing about the universe."

The fifth essay is by Robert Wuthnow, a sociologist. In it, he asks why the conflict between science and religion is not worse than it is and concludes that many people reconcile themselves to seemingly contradictory beliefs, possibly because they are uncertain of what to believe.

The book includes 27 pages of Notes and a 10-page Index. Noting that the lectures occurred shortly after the 2005 Dover Board of Education decision, this book offers some interesting perspectives on that decision and on the Intelligent Design movement, but is not a comprehensive review of the religion and science debate.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read for average readers, August 12, 2013
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This review is from: The Religion and Science Debate: Why Does It Continue? (The Terry Lectures Series) (Paperback)
This book consists of essays based on a series of Yale Lectures delivered in 2006 by such brights as Ken Miller, Lawrence M. Krauss, and Alvin Plantinga, among others, taking the middle-ground position on the question of the relation of faith and science. The question largely centers around evolution, as the introduction by Keith Thomson notes. That's the heart of the controversy in America.

Alvin Plantinga, renowned philosopher as he is, gets best, imo, right to the heart of explicating the issue of the imaginary conflict, faulting extremists on both sides, Richard Dawkins as well as Philip Johnson, for examples. In short, evolution does not entail or imply metaphysical naturalism.

Historian of science Ronald L. Numbers offers a concise, but illuminating, treatment of the history of the conflict. Other than the details of the science, nothing has changed in the rhetoric and underlying sensibilities of the supposed conflict since the 19th century.

Ken Miller offers a lively recount of the 2005 Dover trial, and explores some brief aspects of the overwhelming evidence for evolution and the failure of the anti-evolution proponents of ID to cast serious doubt on its evidential basis or prove ID is anything more than clandestine religion.

Lawrence Krauss exposes the disingenuous and often absurd tactics of ID proponents to curry support for teaching ID as an alternative scientific hypothesis, clearing up misconceptions about science and scientific inquiry in the process, often with a bit of humor.

Sociologist Robert Wuthnow highlights some of the cultural underpinnings of the contemporary debate, arguing the boundary lines between the two are often fuzzily constructed and that for the majority of the American public, the 'debate' isn't of central or even major significance.

I can hardly say more than what other reviewers have said. But to my mind, this is a very fine and accessible, though non-exhaustive, collection. Should be widely read, at least as a starting point for interested individuals.
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3.0 out of 5 stars This is another Amazon Mistake. It is a review of a Jochum EMI CD album., October 1, 2014
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One reviewer perhaps [?] rightly said this set was worth the price for the remastered Beethoven set alone. Yes the Beethoven has been remastered in 2012 and it sounds fine. But if Beethoven needed to be remastered what made EMI think that Brahms, and even more laughable, that Bruckner didn't?
I write this note as I listen to the Bruckner 3rd. The sound is not very good and certainly not in league with the Beethoven in this set what can found in many other Bruckner sets. The majority of this box, which comprises everything but the Beethoven, contain discs that have not been remastered.
So once again I must question EMI's commitment to providing the top quality of which their past record has proven them capable. This is another example [I've written about this before] of EMI not caring either about their great artists of the past or their customers in the present. They should be ashamed when so much better could have and certainly should have been done.
I haven't commented on the performances except be inference. They are very good to great, which makes the treatment they get here all the more stinging.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but spotty coverage, July 11, 2013
This review is from: The Religion and Science Debate: Why Does It Continue? (The Terry Lectures Series) (Paperback)
"Theology made no provision for evolution." - E.O. Wilson, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, (First edition, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998), p. 6.

The Religion and Science Debate is an attempt, by six authors, to "provide new insights into the contemporary dialogue as well as some perspective suggestions for delineating the responsibilities of both the scientific and religious spheres." The authors (Keith Thomsen, Ronald Numbers, Kenneth Miller, Lawrence Krauss, Alvin Plantinga and Robert Wuthnow) represent a spectrum of disciplines, each with a different focus on the controversy. As is the case with all multi-authored texts, the success of each author in shining their particular light on the topic varies.

As one can imagine, the broad arena of the book's title is actually much overstated. There is little debate between much of science and most religious traditions. However, there is a fierce debate between evolutionary biology (and to a lesser extent, geology) and a fundamentalist Christian tradition found almost exclusively in the United States. Other branches of science and other religious traditions are apparently quite compatible with each other. So it is somewhat jarring, throughout the book, to see the broad terms "science" and "religion" used as synonyms for "evolutionary biology" and "fundamentalist Christianity". Perhaps a more appropriate title for the book was rejected, but this usage only serves to inflate the importance of the religious arguments while ignoring the vast fields of science that are accepted by nearly everyone.

Thomsen, a Professor Emeritus of Natural History at Oxford, gives a brief introduction to the controversy which sets the historical stage. He attempts to summarize and contrast the arguments of the other authors, and logically concludes that "the real enemy is ignorance". As part of an ongoing attempt to dispel that ignorance, then, the other authors weigh in.

Numbers lays out an excellent historical timeline, beginning with natural philosophy in the pre-Darwin era, and ending with Dembski's and Dawkin's scuffles over Intelligent Design. This is a valuable preparation for the later chapters, because it clearly dispels the notion that the current "controversy" has been with us since Darwin. Even before Darwin, Christian theologians were attempting to reconcile the new discoveries of science with the old interpretations of Scripture. These attempts at "harmonization" continued in the latter half of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. The post-Sputnik science education renaissance, with its flood of evolution-containing textbooks, triggered the controversy that continues in the US today, although there are still attempts at harmonization (including some of the chapters in this book).

Miller uses the next chapter to discuss the demise of ID at the hands of the Dover decision. He dismantles the icons of ID (irreducible complexity as epitomized by the bacterial flagella or the human immune system) just as thoroughly as he did during the trial itself. He shines a bright light on the creationist roots of ID as well, pointing out the well-documented mutations that morphed Of Pandas and People from a creationist text to an ID text overnight. Talk about your hopeful monsters! He ends with an analysis of why science is not the enemy of religion in any global sense, and shows how Christians, in particular, need to better understand evolutionary biology in order to accommodate scientific reality into their beliefs about their deity.

Plantinga, the sole ID advocate in this book, predictably sets up the usual strawmen and knocks them over. Methodological naturalism is a constraint on proper science? No, it is proper science. He attacks evolution and seems to assume that a successful attack would provide evidence for ID. The argument from incredulity is deployed multiple times, unconvincingly. Plantinga argues that the aspect of evolutionary biology that is most vexing to Christians is that it seems to be unguided, but his skepticism about this, and his belief in a guided process is never buttressed with any evidence FOR a guided process. Most amusingly, on page 106 this philosopher of ID concedes that young-earth creationists are the recruits in the ID brigades, giving the lie to the oft-repeated complaints from the Discovery Institute that it is unfair to equate creationism and ID. In other words, there's not much new here.

Krauss starts his chapter with a quite from physicist Stephen Weinberg - "Science doesn't make it impossible to believe in God. It just makes it possible to not believe in God." This epigram sums up the chapter quite well. He also makes the excellent point that the current US debate about evolution is a colossal waste of time; we should be spending our time and energy teaching science more effectively, rather than discussing old, tired, and unscientific notions. Re the Discovery Institute's latest ploy, teach-the-controversy, he provides the best sound-bite of the entire book when he writes, on p. 142, "...the purpose of education is not to validate ignorance, but to overcome it." He ends the chapter by reiterating what Thomsen said in the introduction; neither science nor faith is the enemy, the enemy is ignorance. Education is the way out of this debate.

The final chapter, by Wuthnow (a sociologist) covers ground that is covered in more detail by other authors in a recent book (Foster, Bellamy and Clark, Critique of Intelligent Design, Monthly Review Press 2008). Sociologists have been relatively late to the discussion of this debate, but there is plenty of fertile ground for them here. The compartmentalization of science and faith into different spheres is difficult; the ragged boundary between them provides opportunities for conflict and commentary. He ends with an interesting insight, asking why the conflict is not worse. The answer is, as noted above, that this conflict involves one branch of science and one sect of religionists, none of whom seem to see any conflict in benefitting from scientific advances in computer technology, medicine, or agriculture.

In summary, the book is a useful primer on this debate, giving historical and philosophical perspective as well as scientific evidence. It provides yet another small step toward a future when science education focuses on science, and miracles are not invoked as explanations.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RELIGION AND SCIENCE DEBATE, December 18, 2012
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This review is from: The Religion and Science Debate: Why Does It Continue? (The Terry Lectures Series) (Paperback)
GOOD STUFF COMPREHENSIVE FAIR BALENCED THOUGHT PROVOCKING I HAVE ONLY BROWSED THRU THIS BOOK BUT WILL NEED TO DO A MORE IN DEPTH READING WHICH I WLL DO SHORTLY
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4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars S/R Debate, January 9, 2010
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This review is from: The Religion and Science Debate: Why Does It Continue? (The Terry Lectures Series) (Paperback)
Very well balanced for both sides of the debate. Recommended for both theists and athiests and of course agnostics.
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