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Religion, Science and Naturalism [Paperback]

By Willem B. Drees (Author)
Our Price $ 46.45  
Item Number 156560  
Buy New $46.45

Item Specifications...

Pages   336
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.97" Width: 6.01" Height: 0.73"
Weight:   0.98 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 4, 2016
Publisher   Cambridge University Press
ISBN  052164562X  
EAN  9780521645621  

Availability  122 units.
Availability accurate as of May 23, 2017 11:00.
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Item Description...
This book considers the consequences of the natural sciences (physics, biology, neurosciences) for our view of the world. Willem Drees argues that religion and morality are to be understood as rooted in our evolutionary past and neurophysiological constitution. His book takes a more radical naturalist position than most on religion and science. But religion is not dismissed: religious traditions remain important as bodies of wisdom and vision.

Publishers Description
This text considers the consequences of the natural sciences (physics, biology, neurosciences) for our view of the world. It argues that higher, more complex levels of reality, such as religion and morality, are to be viewed as natural phenomena and have their own concepts and explanations, even though all elements of reality are constituted by the same kinds of matter (ontological naturalism). It takes a radical naturalist position on religion and science. Religious traditions remain important as bodies of wisdom and vision, and the naturalist view of the world does not exclude a sense of wonder and awe, since at the limits of science questions about the existence of natural reality persist. The author offers a survey and classification of discussions on science and religion, and a substantial introduction to contemporary studies on the history of science in its relation to religion.

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More About Willem B. Drees

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Willem B. Drees is professor of philosophy of religion and ethics at Leiden University, the Netherlands, President of ESSSAT, and author of Religion, Science and Naturalism" (Cambridge UP, 1996), and Creation: From Nothing until Now" (Routledge, 2001).

Hubert Meisinger, Ph.D., is director for environmental affairs at the Center Social Responsibility in Mainz, associate director of studies for science and theology at the Protestant Academy Arnoldshain, associate lecturer in Systematic Theology at Darmstadt University of Technology and Vice-President of ESSSAT. He wrote a study on theological and sociobiological views of altruism: Liebesgebot und Altruismusforschung" (Vandenhoeck&Ruprecht, 1996) and co-edited Physik, Kosmologie und Spiritualitat" (Lang, 2006). Taede A. Smedes is research fellow at the Catholic University Leuven, Belgium, and Scientific Programme Officer of ESSSAT, and the author of Chaos, Complexity, and God: Divine Action and Scientism" (Peeters, 2004) and God en de menselijke maat: Gods handelen en het wetenschappelijk wereldbeeld" (Meinema, 2006).

Willem B. Drees was born in 1954 and has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands University of Leiden,.

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
he's right, but...  Jun 12, 2005
The back of the book promises an account of science and religion, taking a naturalist view of reality (that nothing supernatural exists) but still leaving room for religion: "religious traditions remain important as bodies of wisdom and vision...." Drees also mentions the subconscious power of religious ritual.

But the majority of the book is actually a survey of the encounter of science and religion, and all the ways that religion's responses are failures. There is very little constructive consideration of religious tradition.

I actually agree with Drees on almost every idea he wrote in this book. I anticipated that, hoped he would stretch my mind a bit, and was not disappointed. I especially enjoyed Drees' critiques of some of Alvin Plantinga's arguments; as well as his critiques of William Alston's "Perceiving God." He also spent a good deal of time responding to the philosophies of John Polkinghorne, Ian Barbour, Arthur Peacocke and Eugene D'Aquili, which I've never taken seriously enough to consider; and if Drees' treatment was accurate, my dismissive attitude was appropriate. He takes Daniel Dennett, Gordon Kaufman more seriously than I would have, and I have to reconsider my position on them. Also, he introduced me to Philip Kitcher and Jerome Stone, two thinkers whose ideas I look forward to considering. (Kitcher and Ernan McMullin appear to have strongly influenced Drees.) Other readers would have their own responses depending on which ideas they like or don't like.

His coverage of the arguments is fine, and his own arguments are brief. Although I share his views, I understand that someone who didn't would be mildly challenged by Drees; I think he could probably be more convincing if he was more considerate of the reader, explaining his ideas and arguments more thoroughly.

His writing is like peering through clouds of chalkdust, listening to a monotone lecture in a room with too much background noise and poor acoustics: "In terms of the two varieties of theological anti-realism distinguished above, the issue is that the justification of theological claims has to overcome both the ineffability of God and the difference between ordinary and divine reality, whereas a similar justification in the sciences is restricted to the ineffability of reality 'as such', and thus only to problems related to an assessment of the match between theories and reality, rather than between theories and two realms of reality."

I understand that he, and other academic writers, are under expreme pressure to "publish or perish." They don't have time (nor perhaps the ability, nor perhaps the charity) to edit and re-edit and craft sentences that make their point without anesthetics. But unless you really think you can endure 280 pages of that, don't even pick this book up, let alone lay down cash for it.

(The previous reviewer wrote that Drees is incoherent. I don't think that's true, but you sure have to work hard to know better.)

I was also disappointed how little of the book was practical or existential. He mentions the value of religious traditions and liturgy almost as an endnote, and he evidently has no interest in exploring the matter in more depth. But that is exactly what I wanted most. He very briefly argues that naturalist ethics are possible, but doesn't even hint at the principles or content of such ethics.

Again, I agreed with nearly everything Drees wrote in this book, so my only criticisms are the exhausting writing and existential thinness. So, if you are interested in these kinds of ideas, I recommend considering books by Ursula Goodenough, Chet Raymo, E. O. Wilson, Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, David Cortesi, Taner Edis, Robert Solomon, Daniel Dennett, Owen Flanagan, or J. L. Mackie.
Rather confused and incoherent  Jan 10, 2000
The purpose of this book is to attempt a defense of the naturalist point of view (that nothing outside nature exists), and yet still argue for the value of religion. It is an ambitious task, but sadly the author was not up to it.

The book has some value as a source for recent material on the subject, but I was disappointed in the authors apparent inability to summarise the views of other authors in any coherent way or to present his own views intelligibly.

The only section which I thought reasonably well handled was the historical study of the conflicts between science and Christianity.


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