A noted science writer argues passionately and persuasively that science and religion are mutually reinforcing ways of experiencing the world--and that words such as God, grace, sacred, and spirituality can retain currency in an age of science, once they have been stripped of their archaic meanings.
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For nearly forty years, Chet Raymo has been exploring the relationship between science, nature, and the humanities as a professor, writer, illustrator and naturalist. In The Path: A One-Mile Walk Through the Universe, he uses the one-mile path he has walked to work for the past four decades as a means of discovering the extraordinary in everyday life.
A professor emeritus of astronomy and physics at Stonehill College in North Easton, Massachusetts, Raymo is the noted author of more than eight books on science, including the highly-praised An Intimate Look at the Night Sky, 365 Starry Nights, The Soul of the Night, Honey from Stone, and Skeptics and True Believers. In 1998, he won a prestigious Lannan Literary Award for the body of his non-fiction work. Raymo is also the author of two novels, In the Falcon's Claw (1990) and The Dork of Cork (1993), which has been sold in twelve languages.
Since 1985, he has written "Science Musings" for the Boston Globe , a weekly science and nature column reflecting upon the human side of science. He is also a frequent contributor to popular science and nature publications.
Chet Raymo and his wife Maureen live in North Easton, Massachusetts.
Another in the recent spate of arguments that scientists and theologians should pay attention to each other, by a latter-day Deist. Boston Globe science columnist Raymo (Virgin and the Mousetrap, 1991; Honey from Stone, 1987) joins fellow authors John Polkinghorne, Ken Wilbur, and Gerald Schroeder, among others, in tackling the subtle and often strained relationship of science and religion. Raymos scientific arguments do not approach the likes of Polkinghorne, whom he quotes freely, and his contributions to religion are even more trite. Raymo relies heavily on anecdotes, avoiding the abstract jargon of some science writers. He considers himself a skeptic (his opposing categories of Skeptic and True Believer are a bit too neatly dichotomous); the God that Raymo feels most comfortable with is one who doesnt disturb the natural laws of science. Raymo should realize that he has embraced Deism, a fashionable intellectual position of the late 18th century. Discussing the Ebola virus, for example, Raymo credits the abatement of the outbreak to the intervention of medical personnel, not to the prayers of the Belgian nuns standing by. Fair enough, but Raymo wants to argue that God never performs miracles, stating that God has no role in the micromanagement of viruses and bacteria. What is even more deistic is the God he offers in the place of the miracle-worker: the distant creator. Like the famous watchmaker, Raymos God set the universe in motion, then left it to its own devices. So while Raymo sensibly attacks biblical creationists, UFO enthusiasts, and relic-obsessed Marianists--easy targets all--he fails to offer anything substantive in their stead. Its too bad Raymo wastes his energetic prose on such hackneyed notions and that for him the two disciplines can only coexist if religion is the handmaiden and science the master. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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