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Skeptics and True Believers: The Exhilarating Connection Between Science and Spirituality [Hardcover]

By Chet Raymo (Author)
Our Price $ 19.55  
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Item Number 144388  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   288
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.3" Width: 5.29" Height: 1.08"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jun 30, 1998
Publisher   Walker & Company
ISBN  0802713386  
EAN  9780802713384  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Years ago, noted science teacher and writer Chet Raymo embarked upon his own quest to reconcile the miracle stories he learned as a child with the science he learned as an adult. Skeptics and True Believersis the culmination of that search—a passionate, ever-inquisitive statement that science and religion can mutually reinforce the way we experience the world.

Acknowledging that the scientific and the spiritual communities are increasingly split, Raymo builds strong bridges between them. He illustrates his argument with an array of thought-provoking stories, such as the remarkable migratory flight of a small bird called the red knot; the long, glorious glide of the Comet Hyakutake across the night sky; a hilarious alien abduction that didn't happen. Together, they are compelling evidence that religion should embrace the reliable knowledge of the world that science provides, while at the same time science should respect and nourish humankind's need for spiritual sustenance. "Miracles are explainable," Raymo paraphrases the writer Tim Robinson, "it is the explanations that are miraculous."

For anyone drawn to reflect on life's meaning and purpose, Chet Raymo's uncompromising skepticism and reverence for mystery will affirm and inspire.

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More About Chet Raymo

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Chet Raymo is the author of The Soul of the Night and Honey from the Rock. He is a professor of physics and astronomy at Stonehill College in North Easton, Massachusetts.

Chet Raymo currently resides in North Easton, in the state of Massachusetts.

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Worth Reading  May 4, 2008
Could have been titled "True Skeptics and True Believers" as each extreme exists. Demonstrates fairly well the dependency that science and faith have upon one another, and that neither nullifies the other.
Great contribution to the 'genre'  Aug 23, 2007
Very timely in the '90's , a tad dated in 2007 but still a stimulating read. sits well next to the recent Dawkins and the like. Rayom as always, a most accessible writer.
Reviewing Raymo  Sep 15, 2005
Chet Raymo has the rare fine gift of poetic insight honed and tempered with intellectual rigor. His writing is accurate, lucid, and beautiful, and he makes his case solidly with grace and clarity; his arguments never strident, always reasonable. Stylistically, Raymo is in good company: often reminiscent of Loren Eiseley, Carl Sagan, or Barry Lopez at their best. It is work like his that will keep science and clear thinking alive in these days of the sound byte and shallow, silly popular culture.
The Common Link Between Religion and Science  Mar 31, 2005
The link is awe and admiration of creation and a reverence for all life from the micro to the macro. Although brought up in Catholicism, Raymo was later schooled in science (physics and astronomy) and has been attempting to rectify the rifts between religion and science ever since. This he does just about as good or better than anyone. In "Skeptics and True Believers", one will find close parallels to the writing of environmentalist Thomas Berry, biologist E.O. Wilson, et al.

Raymo's writing style is lyrical, poetic, anecdotal, scholarly and very insightful- most of all, compelling. One will find this book full of great citations with his own thoughts thrown in, such as: ["Put on your jumping shoes," cried the fourteenth-century mystic Meister Eckhart, "which are intellect and love." Religion without science is idolatrous. Science without religion might be even more dangerous: amoral power without constraint, without wisdom, without love.] Indeed! And Raymo's take on reductionism: "No theory conceived by the human mind will ever be final. The universe is vast, marvelous, and deep beyond our knowing; its horizons will always recede before our advance. All dreams of finality are (probably) futile."

Although skeptical of the efficacy of some of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's conclusions in the "Phenomenon of Man", he concurs with him with: [He insisted that the surest way to know God is through his creation, and the truest knowledge of creation is that provided by contemporary science. "Less and less do I see any difference now between research and adoration."]. And with that, keep in mind that Teilhard was a French Benedictine Monk and paleontologist /geologist who often ran afoul of the church for his thoughts, so he left his works to a friend in the U.S. to be published posthumously.

Although I read this great work of Raymo's almost 2 years ago, I was inspired to write this review after reading his latest book, "Climbing Brandon" which is a continuation of his efforts to balance religion and science and he wrote that book while residing at his second home on Ireland's Dingle Peninsula near the foot of Mt. Brandon. It is a beautiful piece of work and makes a fine sequel to "Skeptics".

Skeptics, True Believers, and for those in between as well  May 25, 2004
Chet Raymo grew up Catholic, as did I. Through his life of studying science, he valued the scientific search for Truth. That brought him, as many scientists, to face the apparent dichotomy between science and religion.

Raymo interestingly takes that "science vs. religion" apart, and reconstructs it as "Skeptics vs. True Believers", and in doing so, examines the human aspect of the conflict as well as the more ubiquitous aspects. The whole creation vs. evolution argument has gotten worn out, and it's replacement, "intelligent design" vs. evolution has gotten equally abused. Raymo makes his case briefly (thankfully), and goes on to face *why* people seem to have the need to be either Skeptical (doubtful despite evidence) or True Believers (faithful in spite of contrary evidence).

Raymo came to what I call a "full basket" moment with his Catholicism -- either he had to buy the full basket, accept and believe it all, or he could believe none of it. For other people, readily acknowledged by Raymo, the full basket moment is not an all-or-nothing. For some of us, it is, instead, a turning point. This is why I mention "those in between" in the title of this review.

For those of us who cringe at the negative connotations of the "Skeptic" title, and cringe equally at the naivete implied in "True Believers"; for those of us who don't buy the full basket of the beliefs of our church and religion, but still find great value in that religion -- this is a valid place to be. Raymo does not ignore that, and that is specifically the human aspect of the dichotomy that mixes the black and white to live in the gray area. Perhaps "avoids" rather than "mixes".

A Raymo very eloquently discusses, humanity is the only earthly life that is brutally, painfully aware of its mortality. Religion is the primary psychological force dealing with (or avoiding?) that mortality, promising life after death, through death, through reincarnation. Religion is a home for morality instruction, for rituals, for change-of-life ceremonies and celebrations. Religion has a tribal aspect, a belonging that is much needed by the human psyche, which no amount of skepticism, science, or knowledge of facts can replace.

While the title and much of the book is set up to explore the dichotomy, pinning one side *against* the other, it does just as much, perhaps unintentionally or perhaps not, blending the two sides together into a place where one can be comfortable with both. This book might be written as Raymo's attempt to find that place for himself.

I give it five stars. Whether Raymo has found that place of balance for himself or not, his exploration of the topic is well written, interestingly prepared, and very thought provoking.


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