Practicing Science, Living Faith: Interviews with Twelve Leading Scientists

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Philip Clayton, Jim Schaal
Columbia University Press, 2007 - Religion - 250 pages

Twelve scientists from diverse backgrounds and disciplines demonstrate that it is indeed possible for profound intellectuals to integrate the life of science with the life of faith. In honest and inspiring interviews, they describe the difficult though rewarding process of reconciling their faith with their science and reveal the ways in which the two spheres can not only coexist but also mutually enhance each other.

Jane Goodall begins the conversation by emphasizing the importance of recognizing the "spark of spirit" that runs through all creatures, human and animal. Robert Pollack discusses his motivations for opening a major center for the study of science and religion at Columbia University. Khalil Chamcham, a Moroccan astrophysicist and devout Muslim, moves from the study of galaxy formation to a new dialogue between Islam and the West. Thomas Odhiambo, a Kenyan entomologist, helps to bring sustainable agriculture to sub-Saharan Africa by uniting African animist and Christian traditions, and Henry Thompson, a computer scientist, utilizes his Quaker practice in both his science and his work as a mediator.

Thoughtful and compelling, these and other scientists recount a rich integration of science and religion in their practice, their experience, and their approach to their work. Some find a deep harmony between the life of faith and the practice of science, whereas others struggle with the ongoing tensions. These original interviews range across the metaphysical, ethical, and religious implications of cutting-edge research. Taken together, they offer a unique picture of how scientists make peace with their work and their spirituality.

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Introduction i
Jane Goodall
Hendrik Pieter Barendregt

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About the author (2007)

Philip Clayton is Ingraham Professor at Claremont School of Theology and specializes in relations between science and religion. He is the author or editor of some fifteen books in the field, including God and Contemporary Science; Explanation from Physics to Theology; The Problem of God in Modern Thought; Mind and Emergence; and the Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science. From 1999 to 2003 Dr. Clayton served as principal investigator of the Science and the Spiritual Quest program at the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences in Berkeley, California.Jim Schaal attended Deep Springs College and earned a dual baccalaureate in physics and philosophy from the University of California, Davis. From 1999 to 2003 he served as program director of the Science and the Spiritual Quest program and currently is a graduate student at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago.
Philip Clayton holds a PhD in both philosophy and religious studies from Yale University. He has taught at Haverford College, Williams College, and the California State University, and has just been named to the Ingraham Chair at the Claremont School of Theology. Clayton has been guest professor at the Divinity School, Harvard University, Humboldt Professor at the University of Munich, and Senior Fulbright Professor, also at the University of Munich. He is a past winner of the Templeton Book Prize for best monograph in the field of science and religion and a winner of the first annual Templeton Research Prize.Clayton is the author of The Problem of God in Modern Thought (Eerdmans, 2000), God and Contemporary Science (Edinburgh University Press, 1997); Explanation from Physics to Theology: An Essay in Rationality and Religion (Yale University Press, 1989; German edition, Rationalität und Religion, 1992); and Das Gottesproblem, vol. 1: Gott und Unendlichkeit in der neuzeitlichen Philosophie (Schöningh Verlag, 1996). He has edited and translated several other volumes and published some 40 articles in the philosophy of science, ethics, and the world's religious traditions. His current research interest lies in developing a theology of emergence, to be published next year as The Emergence of Spirit.Clayton is currently Principal Investigator of the "Science and the Spiritual Quest" project (SSQ) at the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences in Berkeley, California. SSQ has brought together over 100 top scientists from around the world to explore the connections between science, ethics, religion and spirituality. The SSQ Berkeley conference in 1998 received close to 100 million media impressions and was featured on the cover of Newsweek. Other major public events (past or future) sponsored by SSQ include: Silicon Valley, Harvard University, the UNESCO World Headquarters in Paris, Granada, Bangalore, and Tokyo.

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