Subtitle: The exhilarating connection between science and religion
Chet has written a growing collection of books that can all be regarded as pantheistic, but this one has been like a small “bible” to me. There’s a difference between skepticism and pantheism, but I don’t regard it as significant, and Chet Raymo does a nice job of walking a path between the dogma and scientism. Taking Steven Weinberg to task for his atheism, Raymo says: “Yes, Weinberg, yes. Go that little bit further. Let you soul go free for a moment into that scene outside your window, into the vistas of cosmic space and time revealed by your physics, and there encounter gape-jawed and silent, the God of birds and birth defects, trees and cancer, quarks and galaxies, earthquakes and supernovas — awesome, edifying, dreadful, and good, more beautiful and more terrible than is strictly necessary. Let it strike you dumb with worship and fear, beyond words, beyond logic. What is it? It is everything that is.”
Chet likes to quote from Mary Oliver; and from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin; and Gerard Manley Hopkins; and Erwin Chargaff. This is a guidebook to many other threads of thought that all weave together around pantheism.
Of course this book is also about the tension and conflict between reason and belief. Chet Raymo is simultaneously pessimistic and yet hopeful for a renaissance of religion that satisfies our longing for mystical knowledge within the framework of science.
His musings can be found at http://www.sciencemusings.com where is occasionally cites all of his books.