Science and the Search for Meaning: Perspectives from International Scientists

Jean Staune, Editor, Philip Clayton, Foreword by . Templeton $24.95 (249p) ISBN 978-1-59947-102-0

Into the already overcrowded science-and-religion field comes this collection of nearly a decade's worth of conversations among various international scientists. The simple question that each of the 14 essays takes up is whether science can contribute to the search for meaning. Some scientists, such as Paul Davies, insist that we are able to understand the meaning of the universe because there's a connection between our spirit and the structure of the universe (or the spirit of God); thus, the universe is meaningful. Others, such as Bernard d'Espagnat and Thierry Magnin, argue that the universe has meaning because we cannot understand it completely. Of course, many of the scientists explore the differences between science and religion; Davies contends that the universe is not a toy of a whimsical Deity but an elegant and harmonious expression of deep meaning. On the other hand, Charles Townes attempts to show the convergence of science and religion by pointing out that each discipline operates with very similar mechanisms such as faith, revelation, observations, intuition and reason. Overall, the essays fail to offer any startling new insights, and they too often read like private conversations between the scientists rather than talks open to an interested public. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 09/25/2006
Release date: 11/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
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