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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Reinventing S&R

Will science ever be able to truly provide answers to humanity's deepest questions? Not according to Stuart Kauffman, a physicist, biologist, and philosopher from the University of Calgary who helped pioneer complexity theory. In his new book, Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason, and Religion, which hits the bookshelves May 19, Kauffman argues that the traditional scientific method is unable to confront the universe's greatest mysteries. The problem, says Kaufmann, is reductionism—the idea that everything can be broken down into basic chemical and physical laws. Only by embracing the unpredictable process of emergence can we begin to understand the complexity and organization of the universe and discover what's most sacred; through this understanding, God becomes clear, not as a creator but as "the ceaseless and unforeseeable creativity of the universe that surrounds us." Kauffman's thesis can be found in more detail on the Templeton Foundation's Web site as part of a series of essays by a number of thinkers who respond to the question, "Does science make belief in God obsolete?" —Stephen Mapes