Professor Gordon Releases Volume on the Nature of Science
Book presents diverse set of essays on the role of naturalism in science
NEW YORK, February 22, 2011—Dr. Bruce Gordon, associate professor of science and mathematics at The King’s College, co-edited and contributed to The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science, released on February 15. Featuring essays from key thinkers in the sciences and the humanities, the book is a symposium on the nature of science and scientific inquiry, and constitutes a titanic clash of worldviews regarding whether the fundamental explanatory principle of the universe is immanent, and to be found in inanimate matter, or transcendent, and to be found in immaterial Mind.
In the introduction to The Nature of Nature, Gordon and his co-editor, William Dembski, ask, “What gives science its foundation as a rational, truth-conducive enterprise? Why should we even suppose that nature is intelligible to the human mind? In short, what are the metaphysical and epistemological presuppositions that justify scientific activity?”
The volume contains over forty essays written by today’s most influential scientists, scholars and public intellectuals. Each author explores a different facet of these questions—with many diverse viewpoints represented—prompting readers to consider the nature of the universe and the implications this has for humanity.
This is not the first time Gordon and Dembski have asked such questions. In 2000, they organized the “Nature of Nature” conference through the Michael Polanyi Center for Complexity, Information and Design at Baylor University. The conference was a well-balanced symposium of plenary lectures and concurrent sessions, featuring an all-star lineup of academic philosophers and research scientists. The conference asked whether it is “possible to offer cogent philosophical and even scientific arguments that nature does point beyond itself.” Attendance was high, the discussion was exceptional, and some heralded the event as possibly the “most important conference in the past twenty years.”
Because of the controversy surrounding intelligent design (ID) as a research program and swirling around the conference itself, shortly after the event, Baylor’s Faculty Senate voted to recommend shutting down the Polanyi Center. They got their wish within six months, dashing Gordon’s and Dembski’s hopes for an ID research center at a major university and short-circuiting plans for future such conferences at Baylor. Over the next few years, Gordon and Dembski continued their work at Baylor under the rubric of a science and religion program within the Institute for Faith and Learning, but the vision for a collection of essays based on the conference persisted. Providential timing of a grant for this purpose gave life to the project, and the final product, an updated collection of essays from many of the original conference participants and a few more who were unable to attend, is now available. At nearly 1000 pages, The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science is a landmark in the ongoing debate over the origin and nature of the universe, of life, and of the human mind.
The book is available through the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
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