The Varieties of Scientific Experience: a personal view of the search for God — by Carl Sagan

I’ll be doing the Weekly Gnuz & Lynx Roundup later in the week or perhaps this Sunday. This entry is book review, and a reblog of my most recent guest post on my friend Kate’s site, ♥ Books, Crafts & Pretty Things. A link to the full post is provided below. ~ Troythulu

First, I’d like to thank Kate for hosting this post on her site, and for her kindness in letting me choose a book of this nature to review. It’s a delicate subject for most of us, believers and non-believers alike, and I would not be doing this review of the book it’s about were this book not of the highest taste on the subject matter.

Here goes…

I’ve recently reread this, a collection taken from the 1985 Gifford Lectures in Scotland, of a series of talks given by Dr. Sagan on his views on the relationship of science and religion, and edited from the original audio transcripts by Ann Druyan.

It’s a touchy subject, I’m sure, but that’s precisely because it’s a very important one that we should give much thought to regardless of what it is we believe.

The first chapter, Nature and Wonder, discusses our early attempts to understand the universe, that humility is not incompatible with such attempts, from our most ancient traditions to the dawn of the scientific age, with pictures used to bring the point home on what we’ve found out.

My favorite part of this talk is the mention of a 1750 book by Thomas Wright of Durham, An Original Theory or New Hypothesis of the Universe, and the images used in it then to show the scale of the solar system relative to the cosmos, some of these are included in this book.

Chapter 2, The Retreat from Copernicus, is about the history of scientific discovery, and of our natural tendency to project ourselves, especially onto nature. Sagan discusses a version of an argument, the Anthropic Principle, offering a few of his own thoughts on it as an astronomer and astrophysicist…

Click to Read the Full Post at ♥ Books, Crafts & Pretty Things

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