In a brilliant and explosively controversial work, the author attacks modern science for destroying our spiritual sense of self.
What is the role of science in present-day society? Should we be as dazzled as we are by the innovations, the insights, and the miraculous improvements in material life that science has wrought? Or is there a darker, more pernicious side to our scientific success?
Renowned British science columnist Bryan Appleyard thoroughly explores each of these provocative topics in a book that has incited the ire of the scientific community. He points out that while scientists have shaped our lives and our beliefs, they have consistently failed to explain human consciousness, the soul, or the meaning of life. From Galileo to Darwin, from Copernicus to Oppenheimer, countless scientists have proclaimed a universe in which human beings are only an accidental presence. The unwitting result is that science has cast humankind adrift, paralyzing us with fear and cutting us off from personal or religious truth. In Appleyard’s view, science has done us “appalling spiritual damage.”
These startling conclusions have prompted strong counterattacks from the scientific establishment. Yet regardless of where one falls in the debate, Understanding the Present forces readers to re-examine society’s blind faith in the benevolence of modern science.
“An exposition that is dazzling for its concrete illustrations and examples.”—The New York Times
“A withering indictment of modern science . . . This should crack a few test tubes.”—Kirkus Reviews