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God's Planet

God's Planet

Owen Gingerich
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Harvard University Press
Pages: 158
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  • Book Info
    God's Planet
    Book Description:

    Many scientists look at the universe and conclude we are here by chance. The astronomer and historian Owen Gingerich looks at the same evidence—and the fact that the universe is comprehensible to our minds—and sees it as proof for the intentions of a Creator-God. The more rigorous science becomes, the more clearly God’s handiwork can be understood.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-73573-6
    Subjects: Religion, General Science, Astronomy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xvi)
    Randy Isaac

    As the newly appointed executive director of the American Scientific Affiliation, a fellowship of Christians in the sciences founded in 1941, Robert Herrmann anxiously scanned the ASA membership list, looking for potential donors for the financially challenged ASA. It was 1981 and he had just returned to the Northeast for the position with the ASA and an affiliation with Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. Earlier he had had a successful career at Boston University, teaching biochemistry at the BU medical school, and was now embarking on a new phase of life.

    The name “John Templeton” leapt from the roster. The...

  4. Prologue
    (pp. 1-5)

    Aristotle had a word for it:metaphysics.It stood for his inquiry into the big questions, literally “beyond physics.”

    At a Renaissance university, the professor of mathematics lectured from Aristotle’sDe Coelo (On the Heavens) about the celestial motions of the stars and planets in their unending circles, and about the linear terrestrial motions based on Aristotle’sPhysics.

    Aristotle’s bookMetaphysicswas reserved for the more senior professor of philosophy. In that book the ancient Greek sage inquired into eternity and final causes. What moves without being moved? Aristotle asks. It must be the eternal heavens, with unceasing movement, he responds....

  5. 1 Was Copernicus Right?
    (pp. 7-55)

    For many years I have puzzled about the nature of science and its theoretical structures of explanation. What gives science the ability to make predictions? In 1705 Edmond Halley predicted that a bright comet he had observed in 1682 would return again in 1758, and if it happened, he said, he hoped that candid posterity would notice that it had first been predicted by an Englishman. He was lampooned for placing the date of the comet’s return well after his lifetime, so he would not have to face public scorn for such a ridiculous prognostication. But the comet did return...

  6. 2 Was Darwin Right?
    (pp. 57-101)

    While virtually everyone agrees that Copernicus was right, a substantial minority, particularly in America, is convinced that Charles Darwin and his epoch-making book,On the Origin of Species,isnotright. A recent Gallup poll shows that only four out of ten Americans believe in evolution, and for frequent churchgoers, the number drops to one out of four.¹

    There is a wide spectrum of reasons why people are reluctant to accept evolution. At one end are those who have difficulty reconciling the Genesis creation story with the long, slow eons of the evolution picture. Others perhaps are distressed by the...

  7. 3 Was Hoyle Right?
    (pp. 103-154)

    I never met Copernicus, but I did have the unusual privilege of attending his funeral. This occurred in 2011 when his bones were reinterred with suitable pageantry at the Frombork Cathedral in northern Poland.¹

    Likewise I never met Charles Darwin, though I feel some indirect kinship with him every day when, on the way to my Observatory office, I pass the house of Asa Gray, his leading American correspondent and supporter.

    But Fred Hoyle, the quintessential outsider and the pivot of this third chapter, I met repeatedly. Nevertheless, I was young and junior then, and today I can think of...

  8. Notes
    (pp. 155-162)
  9. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 163-164)
  10. Index
    (pp. 165-170)