Science and Nonbelief
by Taner Edis
December 2005, 312pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-33078-0
$83, £64, 73€, A114

Provides an overview of the complex history of the secular tradition of science and its interactions with religions and spiritual traditions

Can science and religious belief co-exist? Many people— including many practicing scientists—insist that one can simultaneously follow the principles of the scientific method and believe in a particular spiritual tradition. But throughout history there have been people for whom science challenged the very validity of religious belief. Whether called atheists, agnostics, skeptics, or infidels, these individuals used the naturalism of modern science to deny the existence of any supernatural power. Science and Nonbelief chronicles, in a balanced and accessible way, the long history of the battle between adherents of religious doctrines and the nonbelievers who adhere to the naturalism of modern science.

Science and Nonbelief provides a nontechnical introduction to the leading questions that concern science and religion today: What place does evolution hold in the arguments of nonbelievers? What does modern physics tell us about the place of humanity in the natural world? How do modern neurosciences challenge traditional beliefs about mind and matter? What can scientific research about religion tell us about the nature of belief? How do skeptics react to claims at the fringes of science, such as UFOs and psychics?

The volume also addresses the political context of debates over science and nonbelief, as well as questions about the nature of morality. It includes a selection of provocative primary source documents that illustrate the complexity and varieties of nonbelief.


"This book, which defends nonbelief effectively from some attacks based on science (particularly those using intelligent design, anthropci principles or paranormal phenomena), could influence an inquirer to that that the claims of Christianity are false. Edis seeks to protect the scientific community's ability to benefit society, both against restrictions coming from religious conservatives, and against recognition of pseudoscientific ideas. The committed Christian reader could be helped to identify arguments to avoid in apologetics, and unresolved conflicts between science and faith."—Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, June 1, 2007

"This clear, balanced survey of the interactions between science and religious doubt includes issues raised by physics, biology, neuroscience, pseudoscience, and philosophy. Designed for advanced students, it includes some primary sources."—VOYA, October 1, 2006

"[T]his is an intelligent and well-balanced book that carefully considers all the arguments offered on both sides of the issue of science and belief. The author refuses to take the easy way out of saying that science and religion are dealing with different realms: one being limited to facts, the other focusing on meaning....Overall, this is an excellent book for the layman and professional alike. Anyone interested in the subject would find this to be one of the few contemporary books that approaches these controversial issues with more light than heat."—Catholic Library World, September 1, 2006

"In the context not only of the intellectual debates between scientific and supernatural or transcendent realities, but also the political relationship between the social institutions of science and religion, Edis explores what he calls science-minded nonbelief, which takes the naturalism of current science as the leading reason to reject the existence of spiritual realities. He touches on social and well as natural science, discusses philosophical disputes and scientific ideas, and incorporates the complex historical interactions between science and nonbelief."—SciTech Book News, March 1, 2006
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