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The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: An Encyclopedia (Garland Reference Library of the Humanities) 0th Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0815316565
ISBN-10: 0815316569
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

When a publisher breaks new ground, comparisons are difficult; Garland's new encyclopedic work on science and religion has no peer. It is a collection of substantial and thoughtful articles by experts in the field, grouped under ten headings covering everything from the relationship of science and religion to the approaches taken by specific religious traditions, from alchemy to chemistry to materialism to spiritualism. Ferngren (history, Oregon State Univ.) and his coeditors take the stand that the historical relationship between science and religion follows a complex model rather than the popularly understood model of unalterable conflict. The result is a work, well worth reading through or browsing, that is filled with respect for the roles and methodologies of both religion and science. If anything is missing, it is in two areas. First, the biographical studies are limited to Galileo, Pascal, Newton, and Darwin; Copernicus is covered under "Copernican Revolution." Surely there were others who might be worthy of biographical essays. Second, in the coverage of individual religious traditions, an article on the Baha'i religion should have been included, since it is the only religion in the Western Judaeo-Christian-Islamic tradition with an explicit scriptural principle holding that religion and science are partnered modes of knowing and that any religion not in accord with established science is superstition. All the same, this encyclopedia is well worth the price. Recommended for all academic and public libraries and for collections on theology and on the history of science.William P. Collins, Library of Congress
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"The volume is... comprehensive in its treatment of the subject of science and religion, and will be of service to undergraduates as well as research scholars."
-"American Reference Books Annual, 2002
"A good place to start for those wishing to get nuanced historical backgrounds to a debate that is not likely to be resolved in the near future."
-"Journal of the History of Biology, 2001
"Valuable to theologians, scientists, and philosophers."
-"Choice, December 2000
"Has no peer. Recommended for all academic and public libraries and for collections on theology and on the history of science."
-"Library Journal, August 2000

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Product Details

  • Series: Garland Reference Library of the Humanities (Book 1833)
  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (June 13, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815316569
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815316565
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 1.5 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,368,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This encyclopedia is made up of 103 pretty extensive entries (sometimes 6 pages for each entry) of diverse topics in Western tradition. Granted that this encyclopedia is expensive, one can still get the important entires Science and Religion: A Historical Introduction which is cheaper. As can be imagined, this encyclopedia does not really say anything about science and other religions from other regions such as Africa or Asia. If one wishes to look into these other regions then there are other encyclopedias or books which have some information on other parts of the world such as Science and Religion Around the World and Buddhism and Science.

Overall, the encyclopedia has a grip of top notch entries from top notch researchers on the history of Western religion and science. There are entries (sometimes multiple) on topics such as:

* Spiritualism
* Islam
* Judaism
* Eugenics
* Materialism
* Atheism
* Secular Humanism
* Naturalism
* Skepticism
* Deism
* Plurality of the Worlds and Extraterrestrial Life
* Greek science and religion
* Conflict Thesis
* Demarcation of Science and Religion
* Epistemology
* and many more.

Some of these topics have multiple entries since different dimensions and angles were taken into account. There are other academic resources available on rarely looked at topics like atheism and science.
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Format: Hardcover
This comprehensive volume covers the history of science and religion in Western Civilization with dozens of contributions from leading scholars.

Discovery Fellow Stephen C. Meyer authors the entry "The Demarcation of Science and Religion," where he notes that some theologians have defined religion as the study of God through revelation, while science is the study of the natural world. Meyer recounts how one court testing creationism in the 1980s accepted the testimony of philosopher Michael Ruse to define science as "(1) guided by natural law, (2) explanatory by natural law, (3) testable against the empirical world, (4) tentative, and (5) falsifiable" (pg. 22), but that this definition was subsequently repudiated by various philosophers of science. Indeed, by 1993, Ruse repudiated his previous support for those demarcation arguments by admitting that "Darwinism (like creationism) `depends on certain unprovable metaphysical assumptions.'" (pg. 22) Meyer concludes that theories such as intelligent design and Darwinism are "methodologically equivalent" because "[b]oth prove equally scientific or equally unscientific provided the same criteria are used to adjudicate their scientific status (provided that metaphysically neutral criteria are used to make such assessments)." (pg. 23)

William A. Dembski explains in "The Design Argument" that "the design argument infers from features of the physical world an intelligent cause responsible for those features." (pg. 60) Dembski is careful to explain that "[t]he design argument needs to be distinguished from a metaphysical commitment to design." Despite this distinction, the design argument has often been confused with arguments for metaphysical design or Christian theism.
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