I was recently on NPR’s Science Friday to discuss my favorite science books of the year and a listener called in, asking for a recommendation for a good book on science and religion — an excellent question, given the long history of this polarization, which occupied great minds from Galileo to Einstein to Ada Lovelace to Isaac Asimov, and many more. The best book on the subject, by far, is The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God (public library) — a remarkable posthumous collection of essays by Carl Sagan (November 9, 1934–December 20, 1996), based on the prestigious Gifford Lectures on Natural Theology he delivered at the university of Glasgow in 1985, following in the footsteps of such celebrated philosophers as James Frazer, Arthur Eddington, Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr, Alfred North Whitehead, Albert Schweitzer, and Hannah Arendt. Titled after the famous treatise on religion by William James, who delivered the Gifford Lectures in the beginning of the twentieth century, this anthology of illustrated and illustrious meditations showcase Sagan’s singular gift for championing knowledge with equal parts conviction and humility. Sagan’s widow, Ann Druyan — the love of his life and the greatest bastion of… Read full this story
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