The Sacred Depths Of Nature

The Sacred Depths Of Nature

Book - 1998
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For many of us, the great scientific discoveries of the modern age--the Big Bang, evolution, quantum physics, relativity-- point to an existence that is bleak, devoid of meaning, pointless. But in The Sacred Depths of Nature, eminent biologist Ursula Goodenough shows us that the scientificworld view need not be a source of despair. Indeed, it can be a wellspring of solace and hope. This eloquent volume reconciles the modern scientific understanding of reality with our timeless spiritual yearnings for reverence and continuity. Looking at topics such as evolution, emotions, sexuality, and death, Goodenough writes with rich, uncluttered detail about the workings of naturein general and of living creatures in particular. Her luminous clarity makes it possible for even non-scientists to appreciate that the origins of life and the universe are no less meaningful because of our increasingly scientific understanding of them. At the end of each chapter, Goodenough'sspiritual reflections respond to the complexity of nature with vibrant emotional intensity and a sense of reverent wonder. A beautifully written celebration of molecular biology with meditations on the spiritual and religious meaning that can be found at the heart of science, this volume makes an important contribution to the ongoing dialog between science and religion. This book will engage anyone who was evermesmerized--or terrified--by the mysteries of existence.
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 1998.
ISBN: 9780195126136
Branch Call Number: 570.1 GOO
Characteristics: xxi, 197 p. : ill.


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Aug 12, 2015

This is a stunning book. I came to it as someone who is fairly well grounded in Christianity and in theology, but an absolute novice in science. There were times when I had to put the book down and let it rest for a day or so simply because I was taking in so much new information about molecular biology, but in the end I was able to keep up. Ursula Goodenough has such clarity and such deep knowledge that she can take a novice like me and walk me through current thinking. When it came to the religious meditations, the author primarily relies on the words of others (poems and texts of hymns) that are extremely well chosen if you have grown up in the church and have experienced the power of these words and hymns. If not, I'm not sure how convincing they will be for readers who are well grounded in science but not in religion. If such readers take what she provides seriously, though, it could open up a door into a vast landscape of other materials written over the centuries. There is so much we do not know, and each new discovery in physics, chemistry, biology, cognition, etc. poses new questions that can be terrifying, even to those of us who feel grounded in religion. I found this to be a profoundly hopeful book.

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