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Monday, September 22, 2008

Should Scientists Challenge Religious Beliefs?

Alex Bentley, an anthropologist at Durham University in England, sent us a note about a new book he edited called The Edge of Reason?, which asks whether scientists should challenge religious beliefs in modern society. The collection of essays, he says, "gives voice to social scientists, natural scientists, and theologians whose experience encourages a new, more forgiving dialogue on this crucial societal issue, even as they still disagree." There are pieces by developmental biologist Lewis Wolpert, evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson, historian of science John Hedley Brooke, Skeptic magazine publisher Michael Shermer, and philosopher Mary Midgley, among others.
"The Edge of Reason? persuasively argues that religious faith and scientific knowledge need not be in contradiction," says biologist Francisco Ayala. "Rather, scientific insights about the wonders of nature may be a source of religious inspiration, and religious faith can motivate scientific discovery. A wonderful contribution to the science/religion dialogue."