The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God

Front Cover
Penguin, 2006 - Religion - 284 pages
21 Reviews
On the 10th anniversary of his death, brilliant astrophysisist and Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Sagan's prescient exploration of the relationship between religion and science and his personal search for God. Carl Sagan is considered one of the greatest scientific minds of our time. His remarkable ability to explain science in terms easily understandable to the layman in bestselling books such as "Cosmos," "The Dragons of Eden," and "The Demon-Haunted World" won him a Pulitzer Prize and placed him firmly next to Isaac Asimov, Stephen Jay Gould, and Oliver Sachs as one of the most important and enduring communicators of science. In December 2006 it will be the tenth anniversary of Sagan's death, and Ann Druyan, his widow and longtime collaborator, will mark the occasion by releasing Sagan's famous "Gifford Lectures in Natural Theology," "The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God." The chance to give the Gifford Lectures is an honor reserved for the most distinguished scientists and philosophers of our civilization. In 1985, on the grand occasion of the centennial of the lectureship, Carl Sagan was invited to give them. He took the opportunity to set down in detail his thoughts on the relationship between religion and science as well as to describe his own personal search to understand the nature of the sacred in the vastness of the cosmos. "The Varieties of Scientific Experience," edited, updated and with an introduction by Ann Druyan, is a bit like eavesdropping on a delightfully intimate conversation with the late great astronomer and astrophysicist. In his charmingly down-to-earth voice, Sagan easily discusses his views on topics ranging from manic depression and the possibly chemical nature of transcendance to creationism and so-called intelligent design to the likelihood of intelligent life on other planets to the likelihood of nuclear annihilation of our own to a new concept of science as "informed worship." Exhibiting a breadth of intellect nothing short of astounding, he illuminates his explanations with examples from cosmology, physics, philosophy, literature, psychology, cultural anthropology, mythology, theology, and more. Sagan's humorous, wise, and at times stunningly prophetic observations on some of the greatest mysteries of the cosmos have the invigorating effect of stimulating the intellect, exciting the imagination, and reawakening us to the grandeur of life in the cosmos.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
10
4 stars
8
3 stars
3
2 stars
0
1 star
0

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - greeniezona - LibraryThing

I had been wanting to read this book since it first came out in 2006. First, it took me a while to procure a copy. Then, I convinced myself that I had to read James's The Varieties of Religious ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - stuart10er - LibraryThing

A series of nine lectures that Sagan gave in 1985 at the University of Glasgow sponsored by the same folks who do the Templeton price. They are supposed to be on Natural Theology - that is ... Read full review

Contents

THE ORGANIC UNIVERSE
63
EXTRATERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE
103
IMPLICATIONS
125
THE GOD HYPOTHESIS
149
THE RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE
169
CRIMES AGAINST CREATION
193
THE SEARCH
213
SELECTED Q A
223
Acknowledgments
261
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

About the author (2006)

Carl Sagan was Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. He played a leading role in the Mariner, Viking, and Voyager spacecraft expeditions to the planets, for which he received the NASA medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement. Dr. Sagan received the Pulitzer Prize and the highest awards of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation, and many other awards, for his contributions to science, literature, education, and the preservation of the environment. His book Cosmos(accompanying his Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning television series of the same name) was the bestselling science book ever published in the English language, and his bestselling novel, Contact, was turned into a major motion picture.

Bibliographic information