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Why Beliefs Matter

Why Beliefs Matter Author E. Brian Davies
ISBN-10 9780199586202
Release 2010-07-08
Pages 250
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`It is a brilliant work, beautifully written, and brimming with surprising information and stimulating philosophical speculations.' Notices of teh American Mathematical Society --



Why Beliefs Matter

Why Beliefs Matter Author E. Brian Davies
ISBN-10 0198704992
Release 2014-04-17
Pages 272
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This book discusses deep problems about our place in the world using a minimum of technical jargon. It argues that 'absolutist' ideas of the objectivity of science, dating back to Plato, continue to mislead generations of both theoretical physicists and theologians. It explains that the multi-layered nature of our present descriptions of the world is unavoidable, not because of anything about the world, but because of our own human natures.



Why Beliefs Matter

Why Beliefs Matter Author E. Brian Davies
ISBN-10 0191591564
Release 2010-07-08
Pages 272
Download Link Click Here

This book discusses deep problems about our place in the world with a minimum of technical jargon. It argues that 'absolutist' ideas dating back to Plato continue to mislead generations of theoretical physicists and theologians. It explains that the multi-layered nature of our present descriptions of the world is unavoidable, not because of anything about the world but because of our own human natures. It tries to rescue mathematics from the singular and exceptional status that it has been assigned, as much by those who understand it as by those who do not. It provides direct quotations from many of the important contributors to its subject, and concludes with a penetrating criticism of many of the recent contributions to the often acrimonious debates about science and religions.



The Outer Limits of Reason

The Outer Limits of Reason Author Noson S. Yanofsky
ISBN-10 9780262316781
Release 2013-08-23
Pages 424
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Many books explain what is known about the universe. This book investigates what cannot be known. Rather than exploring the amazing facts that science, mathematics, and reason have revealed to us, this work studies what science, mathematics, and reason tell us cannot be revealed. In The Outer Limits of Reason, Noson Yanofsky considers what cannot be predicted, described, or known, and what will never be understood. He discusses the limitations of computers, physics, logic, and our own thought processes.Yanofsky describes simple tasks that would take computers trillions of centuries to complete and other problems that computers can never solve; perfectly formed English sentences that make no sense; different levels of infinity; the bizarre world of the quantum; the relevance of relativity theory; the causes of chaos theory; math problems that cannot be solved by normal means; and statements that are true but cannot be proven. He explains the limitations of our intuitions about the world -- our ideas about space, time, and motion, and the complex relationship between the knower and the known.Moving from the concrete to the abstract, from problems of everyday language to straightforward philosophical questions to the formalities of physics and mathematics, Yanofsky demonstrates a myriad of unsolvable problems and paradoxes. Exploring the various limitations of our knowledge, he shows that many of these limitations have a similar pattern and that by investigating these patterns, we can better understand the structure and limitations of reason itself. Yanofsky even attempts to look beyond the borders of reason to see what, if anything, is out there.



The Sacred Depths of Nature

The Sacred Depths of Nature Author Ursula Goodenough
ISBN-10 9780195136296
Release 2000-04-15
Pages 197
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For many of us, the scientific breakthroughs of our times--the Big Bang, evolution, quantum physics, and relativity--denote an existence that is bleak, devoid of meaning, or pointless. But here, eminent biologist Goodenough shows how the scientific worldview need not be a source of despair. Indeed, it can be a wellspring of solace and hope. This eloquent volume reconciles our contemporary scientific understanding of reality with our timeless spiritual yearnings for reverence and continuity. Addressing ideas like evolution, emotions, sexuality, and death, The Sacred Depths of Nature brings rich, uncluttered detail to the workings of nature in general and of living creatures in particular. Goodenough's clear thinking and writing will allow even non-scientists to appreciate that the origins of life and the universe are no less meaningful in light of our scientific understanding of them. At the end of each chapter, her spiritual reflections respond to nature's complexity with a vibrant emotional intensity and sense of reverent wonder.



Spectral Theory and Differential Operators

Spectral Theory and Differential Operators Author E. Brian Davies
ISBN-10 0521587107
Release 1996-10-24
Pages 182
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In this book, Davies introduces the reader to the theory of partial differential operators, up to the spectral theorem for bounded linear operators on Banach spaces. He also describes the theory of Fourier transforms and distributions as far as is needed to analyze the spectrum of any constant coefficient partial differential operator. He also presents a completely new proof of the spectral theorem for unbounded self-adjoint operators and demonstrates its application to a variety of second order elliptic differential operators. Finally, the book contains a detailed account of the application of variational methods to estimate the eigenvalues of operators with measurable coefficients defined by the use of quadratic form techniques. Illustrated with many examples, it is well-suited to graduate-level work.



The Pea and the Sun

The Pea and the Sun Author Leonard M. Wapner
ISBN-10 1568813279
Release 2007-01-18
Pages 232
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Take an apple and cut it into five pieces. Would you believe that these five pieces can be reassembled in such a fashion so as to create two apples equal in shape and size to the original? Would you believe that you could make something as large as the sun by breaking a pea into a finite number of pieces and putting it back together again? Neither did Leonard Wapner, author of The Pea and the Sun, when he was first introduced to the Banach-Tarski paradox, which asserts exactly such a notion. Written in an engaging style, The Pea and the Sun catalogues the people, events, and mathematics that contributed to the discovery of Banach and Tarski's magical paradox. Wapner makes one of the most interesting problems of advanced mathematics accessible to the non-mathematician.



Belief in God in an Age of Science

Belief in God in an Age of Science Author John Polkinghorne
ISBN-10 9780300174106
Release 1998-03-30
Pages 258
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John Polkinghorne is a major figure in today’s debates over the compatibility of science and religion. Internationally known as both a theoretical physicist and a theologian—the only ordained member of the Royal Society—Polkinghorne brings unique qualifications to his inquiry into the possibilities of believing in God in an age of science. In this thought-provoking book, the author focuses on the collegiality between science and theology, contending that these "intellectual cousins" are both concerned with interpreted experience and with the quest for truth about reality. He argues eloquently that scientific and theological inquiries are parallel. The book begins with a discussion of what belief in God can mean in our times. Polkinghorne explores a new natural theology and emphasizes the importance of moral and aesthetic experience and the human intuition of value and hope. In other chapters, he compares science’s struggle to understand the nature of light with Christian theology’s struggle to understand the nature of Christ. He addresses the question, Does God act in the physical world? And he extends his ideas about the role of chaos theory, surveys the prospects for future dialogue between scientific and theological thinkers, and defends a critical realist understanding of the activities of both disciplines. Polkinghorne concludes with a consideration of the nature of mathematical truths and the links between the complementary realities of physical and mental experience.



Rocks of Ages

Rocks of Ages Author Stephen Jay Gould
ISBN-10 9780307801418
Release 2011-07-20
Pages 256
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"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.



The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Author Thomas S. Kuhn
ISBN-10 9780226458144
Release 2012-04-18
Pages 264
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A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were—and still are. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is that kind of book. When it was first published in 1962, it was a landmark event in the history and philosophy of science. Fifty years later, it still has many lessons to teach. With The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don’t arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation but that the revolutions in science, those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas, occur outside of “normal science,” as he called it. Though Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas on how scientific revolutions bring order to the anomalies that amass over time in research experiments are still instructive in our biotech age. This new edition of Kuhn’s essential work in the history of science includes an insightful introduction by Ian Hacking, which clarifies terms popularized by Kuhn, including paradigm and incommensurability, and applies Kuhn’s ideas to the science of today. Usefully keyed to the separate sections of the book, Hacking’s introduction provides important background information as well as a contemporary context. Newly designed, with an expanded index, this edition will be eagerly welcomed by the next generation of readers seeking to understand the history of our perspectives on science.



The War on Science

The War on Science Author Shawn Lawrence Otto
ISBN-10 9781571319524
Release 2016-06-07
Pages 514
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"Wherever the people are well informed," Thomas Jefferson wrote, "they can be trusted with their own government." But what happens when they are not? In every issue of modern society--from climate change to vaccinations, transportation to technology, health care to defense--we are in the midst of an unprecedented expansion of scientific progress and a simultaneous expansion of danger. At the very time we need them most, scientists and the idea of objective knowledge are being bombarded by a vast, well-funded, three-part war on science: the identity politics war on science, the ideological war on science, and the industrial war on science. The result is an unprecedented erosion of thought in Western democracies as voters, policymakers, and justices actively ignore the evidence from science, leaving major policy decisions to be based more on the demands of the most strident voices. Shawn Otto’s compelling new book investigates the historical, social, philosophical, political, and emotional reasons why evidence-based politics are in decline and authoritarian politics are once again on the rise on both left and right, and provides some compelling solutions to bring us to our collective senses, before it's too late.



Faith Versus Fact

Faith Versus Fact Author Jerry A. Coyne
ISBN-10 9780670026531
Release 2015
Pages 311
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Powers and Prospects

Powers and Prospects Author Noam Chomsky
ISBN-10 9781608464432
Release 2015-09-28
Pages 244
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From the nature of democracy to our place in the natural world, from intellectual politics to the politics of language, Powers and Prospects provides a scathing critique of orthodox views and government policy, and outlines other paths that can lead to better understanding an more constructive action.



Breaking the Spell

Breaking the Spell Author Daniel C. Dennett
ISBN-10 110121886X
Release 2006-02-02
Pages 464
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For all the thousands of books that have been written about religion, few until this one have attempted to examine it scientifically: to ask why—and how—it has shaped so many lives so strongly. Is religion a product of blind evolutionary instinct or rational choice? Is it truly the best way to live a moral life? Ranging through biology, history, and psychology, Daniel C. Dennett charts religion’s evolution from “wild” folk belief to “domesticated” dogma. Not an antireligious screed but an unblinking look beneath the veil of orthodoxy, Breaking the Spell will be read and debated by believers and skeptics alike.



Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That

Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That Author Jesse Bering
ISBN-10 9781429955102
Release 2012-07-03
Pages 320
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Why do testicles hang the way they do? Is there an adaptive function to the female orgasm? What does it feel like to want to kill yourself? Does "free will" really exist? And why is the penis shaped like that anyway? In Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?, the research psychologist and award-winning columnist Jesse Bering features more than thirty of his most popular essays from Scientific American and Slate, as well as two new pieces, that take readers on a bold and captivating journey through some of the most taboo issues related to evolution and human behavior. Exploring the history of cannibalism, the neurology of people who are sexually attracted to animals, the evolution of human body fluids, the science of homosexuality, and serious questions about life and death, Bering astutely covers a generous expanse of our kaleidoscope of quirks and origins. With his characteristic irreverence and trademark cheekiness, Bering leaves no topic unturned or curiosity unexamined, and he does it all with an audaciously original voice. Whether you're interested in the psychological history behind the many facets of sexual desire or the evolutionary patterns that have dictated our current mystique and phallic physique, Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? is bound to create lively discussion and debate for years to come.



Why Religion is Natural and Science is Not

Why Religion is Natural and Science is Not Author Robert N. McCauley
ISBN-10 9780199827268
Release 2011-11-01
Pages 335
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A comparison of the cognitive foundations of religion and science and an argument that religion is cognitively natural and that science is cognitively unnatural.



The Faith of a Physicist

The Faith of a Physicist Author John C. Polkinghorne
ISBN-10 9781400863655
Release 2014-07-14
Pages 222
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Is it possible to think like a scientist and yet have the faith of a Christian? Although many Westerners might say no, there are also many critically minded individuals who entertain what John Polkinghorne calls a "wistful wariness" toward religion--they feel unable to accept religion on rational grounds yet cannot dismiss it completely. Polkinghorne, both a particle physicist and Anglican priest, here explores just what rational grounds there could be for Christian beliefs, maintaining that the quest for motivated understanding is a concern shared by scientists and religious thinkers alike. Anyone who assumes that religion is based on unquestioning certainties, or that it need not take into account empirical knowledge, will be challenged by Polkinghorne's bottom-up examination of Christian beliefs about events ranging from creation to the resurrection. The author organizes his inquiry around the Nicene Creed, an early statement that continues to summarize Christian beliefs. He applies to each of its tenets the question, "What is the evidence that makes you think this might be true?" The evidence Polkinghorne weighs includes the Hebrew and Christian scriptures--their historical contexts and the possible motivations for their having been written--scientific theories, and human self-consciousness as revealed in literary, philosophical, and psychological works. He begins with the words, "We believe," and presents understandings of the nature of humanity, showing, for example, that Cartesian theory, evolution, and natural selection do not tell the entire story of what humans are about, especially in light of many sources that attest to our spirituality. Moving through the Creed, Polkinghorne considers the concept of divinity and God as creator in discussions that cover the Theory of Everything, the Big Bang Theory, and the possibility of divine presence within reality so that God is not simply an outside observer. Chapters on Jesus analyze the different ways events are described in the Gospels and the way motivation for belief is conveyed--for example, how do these writings explain why a young man killed in public disgrace could inspire a following, when other major world religious leaders lived to become highly revered elders in their communities? "Faith seeking understanding" is, according to Polkinghorne, like the scientific quest. Both are journeys of intellectual discovery in which those who survey experience from an initially chosen point of view must be open to correction in the light of further experience. "Religion," he writes, "has long known that ultimately every human image of God proves to be an inadequate idol." The Faith of a Physicist, based on the prestigious 1993 Gifford Lectures, delivers a powerful message to scientists and theologians, theists and atheists alike. Originally published in 1994. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.