The Templeton Science and Religion Reader
Our attempts to understand the world around us are greatly advanced by scientific research, which holds nearly unlimited potential to address our questions of what? and how? Some scientific fields, however, seem to take a hands-off approach to the big question of why? Why does the universe work the way it does? Why do our brains make us think certain thoughts or feel certain sensations? Why did we evolve the way we did? Some fundamental scientific understanding is necessary before one can venture too deeply into these types of inquiries, which almost inevitably involve larger philosophical and theological implications. The Templeton Science and Religion Reader invites readers to explore some of these fascinating questions and offers them the kind of knowledge they’ll need in order to seriously consider possible answers.
In the Templeton Science and Religion Series, scientific experts from a wide range of fields have distilled their experience and knowledge into brief tours of their respective specialties. The series was launched in 2008 with the publication of the inaugural volume, Medicine, Religion, and Health.Since that time, the series editors J. Wentzel van Huyssteen and Khalil Chamcham have expanded it to nine titles covering everything from paleontology to neuroscience to technology. Now, in The Templeton Science and Religion Reader, the editors have gathered together the very best chapters from these volumes into a single edited collection.
These chapters presuppose no scientific background and are designed to be accessible to the general reader. Each section may have a different focus—a quantum, a star in a galaxy, a bee, or the seat of human intelligence, which some may call the soul—but the editors have done a great service to the reader by juxtaposing these subjects in a way that suggests how each one relates to other entities, including both its own kind and the wider global environment. The end result is a truly cohesive collection that will both broaden and deepen our understanding of these interconnected relations and, in turn, the world around us.
Contributors include Denis R. Alexander, Justin L. Barrett, R. J. Berry, Warren S. Brown, Noreen Herzfeld, Malcom Jeeves, Harold G. Koenig, Javier Leach, Joseph Silk, and Ian Tattersall.
Introduction / 3
J. Wentzel van Huyssteen and Khalil Chamcham
Chapter 1: Case for the Big Bang / 13
Chapter 2: Rocks, Time, Fossils, and Life Itself / 37
Ian Tatt ersall
Chapter 3: From Deluge to Biogeography / 59
R. J. Berry
Chapter 4: The Human Primate: A Quantum Leap? / 91
Malcolm Jeeves and Warren S. Brown
Chapter 5: How Genetics Rescued Darwinian Evolution / 117
Denis R. Alexander
Chapter 6: How We Conceive of the Divine / 139
Justin L. Barrett
Chapter 7: On Math and Metaphysical Language / 161
Chapter 8: Between Cyberspace and the New Alchemy / 183
Chapter 9: Medicine Meets Modern Spirituality / 213
Harold G. Koenig
Acknowledgments / 237
Contributors / 239
Index / 243