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The Measure of God

Larry Witham

The Measure of God

Larry Witham

$65.00

Hardback
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With the rise of modern science, the age-old belief in a universe made by God has been threatened. Can one continue to believe in God, or has religion become an outmoded superstition? Many of our greatest minds have debated these questions, and the drive to reconcile God and science is rife with human drama -- murder trials, global journeys, breakthrough discoveries, church schisms, and world wars. This book tells the story of our heroic, optimistic struggle to know the truth, to dare to use all of our faculties and talents to take the measure of God. For over a century, the annual Gifford Lectures have provided the premier venue for the finest scientific and theological minds in the world to speak to "all questions about man's conception of God or the Infinite." Endowed in 1887 by Scottish judge Adam Gifford, the Giffords are a window into the conflict between the natural sciences and the claims of religion. The list of Gifford lecturers is a veritable Who's Who of modern scientists, philosophers, and theologians: from William James to Karl Barth, Albert Schweitzer to Reinhold Niebuhr, Niels Bohr to Iris Murdoch, Hannah Arendt to Carl Sagan -- and includes eight Noble Prize winners. Some Gifford lecturers have raced to show that science could not possibly undermine religious belief, while others have tried to reconcile science and faith, and even to show that the tools of science -- facts and reason -- could support knowledge of God. British anthropologist Edward B. Tylor argued that the origin of religion was nothing more than primitive humanity's experience of death and dreams, while American psychologist William James argued that "medical materialism" fell short in explaining the varieties of religious experience. When the atom was being split and the concept of a predictable universe ruled by Newtonian laws no longer worked, Albert Einstein incredulously demanded whether subatomic physicist Niels Bohr believed "God could play dice" with the universe. Bohr, a Gifford lecturer, politely replied perhaps Einstein should stop telling God what to do. In advocating American democracy against post-War communism, ethicist Reinhold Niebuhr referred to the neo-orthodoxy of Swiss theologian Karl Barth as "irrelevant." And the search for "who we are" has ranged from the molecular biology of the discoverer of RNA, Sydney Brenner, to the cosmology of Carl Sagan. Whether the Gifford lecturers have been scientists or theologians, skeptics or believers, their task has always been to argue whether God exists and how we know. The Measure of God offers the inside story of the genius and drama that have fueled our continuing debate over God and science.

- Publisher A grand, sweeping, synthetic treatment of the evolution of our modern ideas on the two most important topics--religion and science, our attempt to understand our God and our world. ^The Measure of God is a lively historical narrative offering the reader a sense for what has taken place in the God and science debate over the past century. ^Modern science came of age at the cusp of the twentieth century. It was a period marked by discovery of radio waves and x rays, use of the first skyscraper, automobile, cinema, and vaccine, and rise of the quantum theory of the atom. This was the close of the Victorian age, and the beginning of the first great wave of scientific challenges to the religious beliefs of the Christian world. ^Religious thinkers were having to brace themselves. Some raced to show that science did not undermine religious belief. Others tried to reconcile science and faith, and even to show that the tools of science, facts and reason, could support knowledge of God. I

- Publisher
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About "The Measure of God"

With the rise of modern science, the age-old belief in a universe made by God has been threatened. Can one continue to believe in God, or has religion become an outmoded superstition? Many of our greatest minds have debated these questions, and the drive to reconcile God and science is rife with human drama -- murder trials, global journeys, breakthrough discoveries, church schisms, and world wars. This book tells the story of our heroic, optimistic struggle to know the truth, to dare to use all of our faculties and talents to take the measure of God. For over a century, the annual Gifford Lectures have provided the premier venue for the finest scientific and theological minds in the world to speak to "all questions about man's conception of God or the Infinite." Endowed in 1887 by Scottish judge Adam Gifford, the Giffords are a window into the conflict between the natural sciences and the claims of religion. The list of Gifford lecturers is a veritable Who's Who of modern scientists, philosophers, and theologians: from William James to Karl Barth, Albert Schweitzer to Reinhold Niebuhr, Niels Bohr to Iris Murdoch, Hannah Arendt to Carl Sagan -- and includes eight Noble Prize winners. Some Gifford lecturers have raced to show that science could not possibly undermine religious belief, while others have tried to reconcile science and faith, and even to show that the tools of science -- facts and reason -- could support knowledge of God. British anthropologist Edward B. Tylor argued that the origin of religion was nothing more than primitive humanity's experience of death and dreams, while American psychologist William James argued that "medical materialism" fell short in explaining the varieties of religious experience. When the atom was being split and the concept of a predictable universe ruled by Newtonian laws no longer worked, Albert Einstein incredulously demanded whether subatomic physicist Niels Bohr believed "God could play dice" with the universe. Bohr, a Gifford lecturer, politely replied perhaps Einstein should stop telling God what to do. In advocating American democracy against post-War communism, ethicist Reinhold Niebuhr referred to the neo-orthodoxy of Swiss theologian Karl Barth as "irrelevant." And the search for "who we are" has ranged from the molecular biology of the discoverer of RNA, Sydney Brenner, to the cosmology of Carl Sagan. Whether the Gifford lecturers have been scientists or theologians, skeptics or believers, their task has always been to argue whether God exists and how we know. The Measure of God offers the inside story of the genius and drama that have fueled our continuing debate over God and science.
- Publisher

A grand, sweeping, synthetic treatment of the evolution of our modern ideas on the two most important topics--religion and science, our attempt to understand our God and our world. ^The Measure of God is a lively historical narrative offering the reader a sense for what has taken place in the God and science debate over the past century. ^Modern science came of age at the cusp of the twentieth century. It was a period marked by discovery of radio waves and x rays, use of the first skyscraper, automobile, cinema, and vaccine, and rise of the quantum theory of the atom. This was the close of the Victorian age, and the beginning of the first great wave of scientific challenges to the religious beliefs of the Christian world. ^Religious thinkers were having to brace themselves. Some raced to show that science did not undermine religious belief. Others tried to reconcile science and faith, and even to show that the tools of science, facts and reason, could support knowledge of God. I
- Publisher

Meet the Author

Larry Witham

Larry Witham is the author of "The Measure of God", "Where Darwin Meets the Bible", and "By Design: Science and the Search for God". As a journalist, he has won the Religion Communicators Council's Wilbur Award three times and has received several prizes from the Religion Newswriters Association as well as a Templeton Foundation award for his articles on science and religion.

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Product Details

Product Details
  • Catalogue Code 233574
  • Product Code 0060591919
  • EAN 9780060591915
  • Pages 352
  • Department Academic
  • Category Science
  • Sub-Category General
  • Publisher Harperone
  • Publication Date Aug 2005
  • Dimensions 228 x 152 x 29 mm
  • Weight 0.479kg

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