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A gem, the best treatment of science and theology I've read31 dicembre 2002
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Formato: Copertina flessibile
This collection of essays would be well wroth expanding into an even deeper and comprehensive analysis of the possible consistency of scientific and religious worldviews. Hatcher takes an informed neoplatonist perspective and analses sociological and formal logical problems where religion and science have traditionally met with conflict, and he resolves these potential inconsistencies in a remarkably lucid and profound analysis. He is guided by the universal principles of the relatively recently (c. 1844) established Baha'i world Faith. Particularly beautiful is Hatcher's explanation of various "proofs" of the existence of "God". First a logical definition is given of an entity that most people (atheists or not) would be happy to agree meets certain minimal criteria that most people would think any sufficiently realistic concept of an omnipotent God would require. Then Hathcer shows how Avicenna's (Ibn-i-Senna, the 9th century Islamic scientist-philosopher and physician) logical proof of the existence of a "universal uncaused cause" can be reformulated with the use of modern logic and set theory into a water-tight deduction of the existence of such a minimal concept (ie. a "universal uncaused cause") from certain very simple and realistic premises. The reader is left in no doubt that, (a) what most people mean by the word "God" or "Allah" or "Brahma" is an infinitesimally small aspect of whatever reality it is that actually causes contingent phenomena to exist, and (b) that whatever it is, there is at least little logical doubt that something akin to this minimalist notion of a "God" is entirely believable and plausible as an actual entity that has positive existence, though perhaps little relation to what most people these days think of as a personal God. Another essay on reconciliation of good and evil is just as lucid and worth reading. Hatcher shows that it is difficult (impossible?) to formulate a logical definition of good and evil wherein evil is thought of as an absolute force. On the other hand set theoretic models whereby good is an absolute and evil a merely relative "absence of goodness" can, with the aid of modern logic and set theory, be given a consistent logical framework. Hatcher's other essays on sociological aspects of religion and science are also illuminating, and although not as groovy as the set theoretic analyses I mentioned above, are nevertheles probably more important essays, and should be read by any academics who are interested in the role science and philosophy have in bringing about a more peaceful world, and indeed should be read by anyone with an interest in both sciecne and world peace. Given the state of the world that we find in the early 21st century, Hathcer's essays offer an invaluable perspective on a possible way forward in human intellectual evolution. It is truly remarkable that Hatcher is rarely quoted by other philosophers and academics who write about the interface between science and religion.