- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (October 19, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0787994669
- ISBN-13: 978-0787994662
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,408,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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God's Mechanics: How Scientists and Engineers Make Sense of Religion 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Sidestepping the acrimony of recent science vs. religion debates, Consolmagno, a Vatican astronomer and self-described "techie," intends that "demonstrating the existence of a lot of people like me, who flourish as scientists while practicing a religion, should be proof enough that science and religion can be perfectly compatible." Combining personal memoir with conversations within the techie world, Consolmagno describes questions about the universe and the meaning of life that attract techies into religious belief and practice, concluding that "techies are not looking for proof. Theyre looking for confidence." When he tests his initial hypotheses with a survey project, Consolmagno finds that for many religiously-involved techie types, the value of community and moral support may actually be more important than the search for religious answers. As one atheist interviewee puts it, "You think you are selling truth, but your audience has already brought their own truth with them to church. All you are selling them is tech support." Is this all there is to religion? Certainly not for Brother Guy, who defends a specifically Christian and Catholic version of religious truth. Yet Consolmagnos adroit and self-effacing style defuses any suggestion of theological point-scoring, as in his dryly Dilbertian defense of papal infallibility: "Unlike some of the other bosses Ive worked for in my life, this one admits that hes only infallible under certain extremely limited conditions."
“Brother Guy Consolmagno speaks in the softest, sanest voice imaginable as he enters the current firestorm of opinion re science and religion. His engaging commentary exposes the mindset of a true ‘techie’--but one who equates science with a sacred act.”--Dava Sobel, author, Galileo’s Daughter
“A prominent Vatican astronomer takes up the problem of presenting the Christian faith to his fellow ‘techies.’ After analyzing their scientific modes of thinking, Consolmagno proposes ways of speaking to their mentality. His fresh approach opens up new paths for evangelization and dialogue.”
--Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society, Fordham University
“My grasp of technology doesn’t much go beyond the chipmunks on treadmills that generate the electrical power for my computer. Put those chipmunks inside my brain, and you’ve got an idea how much I understand about religion. Which is why I found [this] book so amazing. Brother Guy has a knack for taking extremely complex concepts and explaining them in ways even a technological and religious rustic like me can understand. He’s smart, patient, through, and very funny. I only wish Brother Guy had been my science professor and my Sunday school teacher. I’d have a lot fewer chipmunks running around in my office and in my head.”--Gary K. Wolf, creator of Roger Rabbit
“Brother Guy Consolmagno’s book explores the origins and nature of religion in novel and interesting ways, especially for a Catholic writer. His insights and thought processes honestly accept and answer many religious questions relating to scientists, engineers, and contemporary society as a whole. He is deeply candid, sharing his own faith and revealing his true love for the Catholic Church.”--Archbishop John J. Myers, Newark, New Jersey
“Brother Guy is someone whose faith is mysterious to me. I'm an atheist, I think that God is a mental state we achieve by tickling our brains, not a creator who intervenes in the universe. Brother Guy's book is an important step in bridging the gap between we the irreligious and anti-religious tech-world and the faithful among the geeks.”--Cory Doctorow, author. Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present and coeditor of Boing Boing (boingboing.net)
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Top customer reviews
That is an important bit there at the end. Brother Guy may be a Jesuit brother, but this books isn't trying to sell you on Catholicism or even Christianity more broadly. He isn't trying to prove God or organized religion. He is setting out how a science loving brain and mindset can be reconciled with religion. He also points out how silly a question that is since belief in an ordered creation is what makes science seem like a non pointless thing to do.
I enjoyed this book. Through it I have discovered the Techie appellation, and can apply it to myself. The book illustrates that Science and Religion need not conflict, and that many intelligent people share the same view. Do read it. It is a good book, just not perhaps as good as it could have been.
The book is set up loosely like this. Br. Guy talks about religion and his theories on what a religion is and how someone with a "techie" way of thinking might understand and participate in it. He interviews scientists of different ages and backgrounds and discusses the role of religion in their lives. As the book goes on he starts to realize that generalizing "techies" thoughts on religion is a lot more complicated than he thought. But he makes some good attempts to find patterns and explain them to the reader. Br. Guy then spends the last part of the book using himself as an example of how a techie thinks about religion. I really enjoyed reading about his own thoughts, and admired his honesty in admitting he was biased toward Catholicism. I suppose he could have been more sensitive to other religions by leaving out his feelings towards them, but then we wouldn't have really gotten to see an honest look at his thought process.
One of my favorite things about this book is how Br. Guy effortlessly uses scientific examples as metaphor's for religious experiences. Here is an example: "...as quantum physics has emphasized, any attempt to make a measurement invariably alters the thing being measured. If, by presenting yourself to be judged by the standards of your religion, you try to twist yourself into a shape that perhaps is easier to measure but is no longer you, you've defeated the reason to have a religion." It's statements like that one which really impress me. If that line get's you excited, too, than please take the time to give his book a try.
I've got a longer review on my blog: [...]