Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life

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Random House Publishing Group, Jul 20, 2011 - Science - 256 pages
20 Reviews
"People of good will wish to see science and religion at peace. . . . I do not see how science and religion could be unified, or even synthesized, under any common scheme of explanation or analysis; but I also do not understand why the two enterprises should experience any conflict." So states internationally renowned evolutionist and bestselling author Stephen Jay Gould in the simple yet profound thesis of his brilliant new book.

Writing with bracing intelligence and elegant clarity, Gould sheds new light on a dilemma that has plagued thinking people since the Renaissance. Instead of choosing between science and religion, Gould asks, why not opt for a golden mean that accords dignity and distinction to each realm?

At the heart of Gould's penetrating argument is a lucid, contemporary principle he calls NOMA (for nonoverlapping magisteria)--a "blessedly simple and entirely conventional resolution" that allows science and religion to coexist peacefully in a position of respectful noninterference. Science defines the natural world; religion, our moral world, in recognition of their separate spheres of influence.

In elaborating and exploring this thought-provoking concept, Gould delves into the history of science, sketching affecting portraits of scientists and moral leaders wrestling with matters of faith and reason. Stories of seminal figures such as Galileo, Darwin, and Thomas Henry Huxley make vivid his argument that individuals and cultures must cultivate both a life of the spirit and a life of rational inquiry in order to experience the fullness of being human.

In his bestselling books Wonderful Life, The Mismeasure of Man, and Questioning the Millennium, Gould has written on the abundance of marvels in human history and the natural world. In Rocks of Ages, Gould's passionate humanism, ethical discernment, and erudition are fused to create a dazzling gem of contemporary cultural philosophy. As the world's preeminent Darwinian theorist writes, "I believe, with all my heart, in a respectful, even loving concordat between . . . science and religion."

From the Hardcover edition.

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Review: Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life

User Review  - Jim - Goodreads

Stephen Jay Gould (SJG) promotes the idea of non overlapping magisteria (NOMA),a kind of compromise between the 'warring' philosophies of science and religion. While I certainly like the author's ... Read full review

Review: Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life

User Review  - Nick Cincotta - Goodreads

Sadly Gould was taken from us too soon. He makes you think as you read this book about your own beliefs and what your beliefs stand. I primarily saw myself as someone interested in science. In reading ... Read full review


A Tale of Two Thomases
The Fate of Two Fathers
NOMA Defined and Defended
NOMA Illustrated
Coda and Segue
An Example of the Fallacy of Warfare Between Science and Religion
The Struggle Against Modern Creationism
Can Nature Nurture Our Hopes?
Natures Cold Bath and Darwins Defense of NOMA
The Two False Paths of Irenics
A Note on The Library of Contemporary Thought

The Contingent Basis for Intensity

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About the author (2011)

The author of more than fifteen books, Stephen Jay Gould is also author of the longest-running contemporary series of scientific essays, which appears monthly in Natural History. He is the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and professor of geology at Harvard; curator for invertebrate paleontology at the university's Museum of Comparative Zoology; and serves as the Vincent Astor Visiting Professor of Biology at New York University. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts, and New York City.

From the Hardcover edition.

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