Book Review title

Cosmos, Bios, Theos
edited by Henry Margenau and Roy Abraham Varghese,
Open Court Publishing Co., 1994, 285 pages,
$36.00 (paperback) ISBN-10: 0-8126-9186-5

CosmosThe subtitle of this book is “Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe, Life, and Homo sapiens.” A book written by 60 leading scientists including 24 Nobel prizewinners may be written off by many people as being impossible to have any value. I have to confess that I was very skeptical of the use of the book, because all I did when I first got it was to leaf through it and see that each writer only had a few pages. When I finally sat down to actually read the book, I found that its primary value was in its science explanations, not in the opinions of each of the 60 scientists who lent their name to it.

The book is worth buying just for the first 25 pages which contain an excellent essay by Roy Abraham Varghese. This essay is an objective survey of modern science. If someone wants an objective discussion of cosmology, relativity, quantum mechanics, and modern theories such as multiple universes, vacuum fluctuations, and the like, this is a wonderful quick summary of all of that. After that introduction, the book contains the responses of 60 leading scientists to the following questions:
   1.    What do you think should be the relationship between religion and science?
    2.    What is your view on the origin of the universe: both on a scientific and — if you see the need — on a metaphysical level?
    3.    What is your view on the origin of life: both on a scientific level and — if you see the need — on a metaphysical level?
    4.    What is your view on the origin of Homo sapiens?
    5.    How should science — and the scientist — approach origin questions, specifically the origin of the universe and the origin of life?
    6.    What are your thoughts on the concept of God and on the existence of God?

The book also contains a debate between Antony Flew and H. D. Lewis as well as some secondary essays by William R. Stoeger and Eugene Wigner.

The problem with this book is that outside of the essay by Varghese, it is all opinions, and the opinions are all over the intellectual block. What is useful is that a vast percentage of the opinions are very positive about the existence of God and the value of religious faith. This is not a book about the Bible or Christianity, but the validity of belief in the existence of God. Most of the book is fair and even-handed. For a person wanting a better understanding of cosmology and quantum mechanics, the book is very useful.

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