God is overduidelijk ‘in’. Boeken geschreven door wetenschappers over God – al dan niet tegen religie gericht – schieten momenteel als paddestoelen uit de grond. In de afgelopen maanden schreven Daniel Dennett, Edward O. Wilson en recentelijk Richard Dawkins al uitgebreid over religie – en nu is daar een nieuwe loot bijgekomen.
Posthuum worden binnenkort de Gifford Lectures van de beroemde astronoom Carl Sagan (1934-1996) uitgegeven, geredigeerd door zijn weduwe en medewerkster Ann Druyan: The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God (The Penguin Press). Sagan hield deze lectures in 1985.
Uiteraard doet de titel direct denken aan de Gifford Lectures van William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience.
Op de website van Amazon.com is de volgende beschrijving van het boek te lezen:
On the 10th anniversary of his death, brilliant astrophysisist and Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Sagan’s prescient exploration of the relationship between religion and science and his personal search for God.
Carl Sagan is considered one of the greatest scientific minds of our time. His remarkable ability to explain science in terms easily understandable to the layman in bestselling books such as Cosmos, The Dragons of Eden, and The Demon-Haunted World won him a Pulitzer Prize and placed him firmly next to Isaac Asimov, Stephen Jay Gould, and Oliver Sachs as one of the most important and enduring communicators of science. In December 2006 it will be the tenth anniversary of Sagan’s death, and Ann Druyan, his widow and longtime collaborator, will mark the occasion by releasing Sagan’s famous “Gifford Lectures in Natural Theology,” The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God.
The chance to give the Gifford Lectures is an honor reserved for the most distinguished scientists and philosophers of our civilization. In 1985, on the grand occasion of the centennial of the lectureship, Carl Sagan was invited to give them. He took the opportunity to set down in detail his thoughts on the relationship between religion and science as well as to describe his own personal search to understand the nature of the sacred in the vastness of the cosmos.
The Varieties of Scientific Experience, edited, updated and with an introduction by Ann Druyan, is a bit like eavesdropping on a delightfully intimate conversation with the late great astronomer and astrophysicist. In his charmingly down-to-earth voice, Sagan easily discusses his views on topics ranging from manic depression and the possibly chemical nature of transcendance to creationism and so-called intelligent design to the likelihood of intelligent life on other planets to the likelihood of nuclear annihilation of our own to a new concept of science as “informed worship.” Exhibiting a breadth of intellect nothing short of astounding, he illuminates his explanations with examples from cosmology, physics, philosophy, literature, psychology, cultural anthropology, mythology, theology, and more. Sagan’s humorous, wise, and at times stunningly prophetic observations on some of the greatest mysteries of the cosmos have the invigorating effect of stimulating the intellect, exciting the imagination, and reawakening us to the grandeur of life in the cosmos.
About the Author
Carl Sagan was Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. He played a leading role in the Mariner, Viking, and Voyager spacecraft expeditions to the planets, for which he received the NASA medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement. Dr. Sagan received the Pulitzer Prize and the highest awards of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation, and many other awards, for his contributions to science, literature, education, and the preservation of the environment. His book Cosmos (accompanying his Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning television series of the same name) was the bestselling science book ever published in the English language, and his bestselling novel, Contact, was turned into a major motion picture.
Het boek is gepland om op 2 november te verschijnen.
Meer informatie over de Gifford Lectures is hier te vinden: http://www.giffordlectures.org/.