Are there parallels between the "moment of insight" in science
and the emergence of the "unknowable" in religious faith? Where
does scientific insight come from? Award-winning biologist Robert
Pollack argues that an alliance between religious faith and science
is not necessarily an argument in favor of irrationality: the two
can inform each other's visions of the world.
Pollack begins by reflecting on the large questions of meaning
and purpose -- and the difficulty of finding either in the orderly
world described by the data of science. He considers the obligation
to find meaning and purpose despite natural selection's claim to be
a complete explanation of our presence as a species -- a claim that
calls upon neither natural intention, nor design, nor Designer.
Next, the book focuses on matters of free will, from the choice of
a scientist to accept evidence, to the choice of a religious person
to accept a revelation, to a patient's loss of free will in medical
treatment. Here Pollack addresses questions of ethics and offers a
provocative comparison of two difficult texts whose contents remain
incompletely understood: the DNA "text" of the human genome and the
Hebrew record of Jewish written and oral law. In closing, Pollack
considers the promise of genetic medicine in enabling us to glimpse
our own future and offers a reconsideration of the possible utility
of the so-called placebo effect in curing illness.
Whether refuting a DNA-based biological model of Judaism or
discussing the Darwinian concept of the species, Pollack, under the
banner of free inquiry, presents a genuine, vital, and well-argued
assay of the intersection of science and religion.
Subjects: Religion, General Science, Biological Sciences
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