Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life

Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life

Stephen Jay Gould / Dec 15, 2019

Rocks of Ages Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life Writing with bracing intelligence and clarity internationally renowned evolutionist and bestselling author Stephen Jay Gould sheds new light on a dilemma that has plagued thinking people since the Re

  • Title: Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life
  • Author: Stephen Jay Gould
  • ISBN: 9780345450401
  • Page: 249
  • Format: Paperback
  • Writing with bracing intelligence and clarity, internationally renowned evolutionist and bestselling author Stephen Jay Gould sheds new light on a dilemma that has plagued thinking people since the Renaissance the rift between science and religion Instead of choosing them, Gould asks, why not opt for a golden mean that accords dignity and distinction to each realm In hiWriting with bracing intelligence and clarity, internationally renowned evolutionist and bestselling author Stephen Jay Gould sheds new light on a dilemma that has plagued thinking people since the Renaissance the rift between science and religion Instead of choosing them, Gould asks, why not opt for a golden mean that accords dignity and distinction to each realm In his distinctively elegant style, Gould offers a lucid, contemporary principle that allows science and religion to coexist peacefully in a position of respectful noninterference Science defines the natural world religion our moral world in recognition of their separate spheres of influence In exploring this thought provoking concept, Gould delves into the history of science, sketching affecting portraits of scientists and moral leaders wrestling with matters of faith and reason Stories of seminal figures such as Galileo, Darwin, and Thomas Henry Huxley make vivid his argument that individuals and cultures must cultivate both a life of the spirit and a life of rational inquiry in order to experience the fullness of being human In Rocks of Ages, Gould s passionate humanism, ethical discernment, and erudition are fused to create a dazzling gem of contemporary cultural philosophy.

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    • [PDF] Download ✓ Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life | by ¼ Stephen Jay Gould
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    About "Stephen Jay Gould"

      • Stephen Jay Gould

        Stephen Jay Gould was a prominent American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation Gould spent most of his career teaching at Harvard University and working at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.Most of Gould s empirical research was on land snails Gould helped develop the theory of punctuated equilibrium, in which evolutionary stability is marked by instances of rapid change He contributed to evolutionary developmental biology In evolutionary theory, he opposed strict selectionism, sociobiology as applied to humans, and evolutionary psychology He campaigned against creationism and proposed that science and religion should be considered two compatible, complementary fields, or magisteria, whose authority does not overlap.Many of Gould s essays were reprinted in collected volumes, such as Ever Since Darwin and The Panda s Thumb, while his popular treatises included books such as The Mismeasure of Man, Wonderful Life and Full House.


    1. SJG is clearly delusional to believe that science and religion occupy seperate areas of knowledge, or NOMA.This book will reassure those who want to feel warm and cuddly by giving science and religion equal respect.It's a shame that a field based on empirical evidence and the testing of theories is considered an equally valid way of knowing as a field based on 2,000 year old assumptions and hearsay.Science and religion overlap. Sorry.It's obvious that the field of science and its new findings ar [...]

    2. must really consider adopting ratings with 0.5 increments. I would really rate this book 2.5 stars or even 3 on a good day (which after a second thought is what today seems to be, hence the change from 2 to 3 stars). It was an interesting read especially when you consider the low expectations I had when I started reading it. In atheistic circles, this book is nearly seen as a betrayal of everything good and beautiful about science and I assure you it is nothing as such, at least not how it is of [...]

    3. This is not one of Stephen Jay Gould's best books and should be seen as a polemic about the relationship between science and religion peculiar to its time and place - the struggle against creationism in the US in the last years of the last century.To most Europeans, the core proposition is self-evident - science is a description of the world, 'religion' is the ascription by humans of value or meaning to the world. The two exist in separate spheres of understanding, each is an independent 'magist [...]

    4. This book sets out a case for the notion of "non overlapping magisteria" or NOMA, to insist that religion should stay out of science, science stay out of religion, but both engage in constructive interactions. There is no reason not to give full respect to both, each in their proper domain or "magisterium." He emphasises the folly of religion getting trapped into making factual claims that can be disproved by science. He also makes an interesting case that scientists get into trouble when they t [...]

    5. Stephen Jay Gould was an iconic figure in the evolutionary biology, as well as being a prolific popular science writer. He died in 2002 but his scientific writing in the area of evolution is still much admired. He was evidently an avid reader in addition to a highly successful scientific career. However this slim book, with both a heart-felt sincerity and astonishing naiveté, demonstrated the author’s tenuous grasp of both science and religion as something can be safely compartmentalized. His [...]

    6. A very interesting book. For those who don't know (which appears to include most of the reviewers), Gould is the world's foremost evolutionist. He is the one responsible for the theory of punctuated equilibrium -- required reading in any anthropology or biology 101 course worth its salt.Gould suggests that things would go smoother if everyone realized that religion looks toward the moral sphere, and science towards the factual sphere, and each simply stayed off of the other one's turf. I have to [...]

    7. I understand the wide acclaim for Professor Gould. I can't speak to his scientific achievements, but he is a fabulous writer--a kind of Carl Sagan for biology, a man whose breadth of interests is matched by the felicty of his pen. So I enjoy reading his stuff, and this book was great. My complaint with the New Atheists (decidedly not Gould's team) is that they define religion as the Fundamentalists do because they need the Fundamentalists' wacky literalism as a straw man to then destroy religion [...]

    8. The book's theme is Science and Religion have non overlapping domains, Science can't give ethical and moral truths and that religion should be respected when it stays within it's own domain. I'm glad this book is not influential today. When it was written (in 1998 according to the book itself) marriage equality was completely being shot down by the imprimatur of religion. Science actually refuted each of the arguments used by religion ("it's not natural", "people aren't born that way", "it's Ada [...]

    9. Un inteligente tratamiento de las relaciones entre la ciencia y religión. Su propuesta invita al reconocimiento de que ambas instituciones no están abocadas a una guerra que debiera de resultar con un vencedor único, e incluso que la realidad histórica no ha sido en verdad una guerra tal. Por el contrario, pretende que se trata de magisterios que no se superponen: Ni la ciencia puede dictar normas morales o cuestiones de sentido, ni la religión tiene potestad para determinar lo que el mundo [...]

    10. This excellent book outlines how and why science and religion should coexist without any violation to either body. This has been my intuition for a long time and reading this book has helped clarify it in my mind.In addition to speaking to the invalidity of attempting to answer questions of factual nature from within the realm of religion, I appreciate Gould's acknowledgement that scientists have also overreached their domain both historically and currently. Scientists must also be held accounta [...]

    11. An intelligent book full of much common sense. In Rocks of Ages the author seeks a better understanding of religion, science, their limits, and their interplay. Gould writes as somebody displaying a well-rounded education and more than a little wisdom as opposed to what you most often find in the narrow, shallow, fanatical tirades of the more current New Atheists. Please read this book instead of Dawkin's The God Delusion. And if you read and/or liked The God Delusion, please try giving this boo [...]

    12. Gould puts forward his idea of non-overlapping magisteria, where science deals with facts and religion with values. What a positively terrible idea! Suggesting that science and religion can mind their boundaries and occupy separate fields of expertise is laughable. Facts inform values, and the fact is that no religion has demonstrated its tenets to have any form of veracity or even an air of verisimilitude. Why would we leave the domain of ethics and morality to people who believe that such thin [...]

    13. Although this was a great read in which Gould takes a very liberal position in his consideration of a very sensitive issue, I can't agree with the best part of it. In fact, I don't agree with the underlying premises. However, much respect to Gould and his attempt to reconcile this matter. Id have rather given it 5 stars for enjoyability, and 1 star for validity.

    14. Gould seems to relegate religion to issues of morality, and argues they need to accept scientific claims that miracles don't and cannot happen and that they violate NOMA (non overlapping magisteria) by seeking to get creationism taught in schools. But NOMA cuts both ways though, scientist (which deals with all facts and reality) have no right to use Darwinism as a means to establish moral truth, Gould gave an example of such misapplications of Darwinism finding their way into science textbooks. [...]

    15. pg 169 "All disciplines maintain rules of conduct and self-policing. All gain strength, respect, and acceptance by working honorably within their bounds and knowing when transgression upon other realms counts as hubris or folly"If only Stephen Jay Gould listened to himself speak! He does not have credentials in a hard science like physics or math, nor requisite fields of religious studies or moral philosophy. He ends up an elephant treading in things in which he has no knowledge. Worse still, hi [...]

    16. L’intention est louable : enterrer la hache de guerre entre science et religion en les invitant à ne pas sortir de leurs domaines de compétence respectifs en respectant le NOMA : Non-Overlapping Magisteria (non-recouvrement des magistères). Une sorte de charte de bon voisinage : ne viens pas piétiner mes plates-bandes, j’épargnerai les tiennes et nous pourrons ainsi commencer à dialoguer en paix. Je caricature à l’extrême, la démonstration de M. Stephen Jay GOULD est bien entendu [...]

    17. Gould's attempt at reconciling science and religion (or should I say placing them in their rightful, distinct realms) was admirable and thought-provoking. He proposes an irenic that undoubtably frustrates scientists and religionists alike who try to dance in the other's field of expertise. As an intrusive religionist myself, I couldn't help cringing at Gould's assertions that directly contradict my beliefs in regard to the meaning of the universe (being anthropocentric). However, I admire his wo [...]

    18. "Anche l’Homo sapiens può essere classificato “una così piccola cosa” nella vastità dell’universo, un evento follemente improbabile dell’evoluzione, e non il fulcro di un disegno universale. Si pensi ciò che si vuole di questa conclusione. Se ad alcuni questa prospettiva sembra deprimente, io l’ho sempre trovata esaltante, questa visione della vita, motivo di libertà e di conseguente responsabilità morale. Siamo il prodotto della storia e dobbiamo decidere la nostra strada in q [...]

    19. When the late Stephen Jay Gould wrote in his forte—natural history/paleontology—his books are nonpareil. In this book, he strays into philosophy and religion, and attempts, by defining science and religion as "separate magisteria" to reconcile the book of nature and the book of god. He's probably done as good a job as anyone could do. On the other hand, this reviewer felt unsatisfied by the author's explanation and justification. It's worth reading, but critically at the least. This review a [...]

    20. My seventh grade science teacher taught me many decades ago that science tells us "how" and religion tells us "why", that the two disciplines answer different questions. Stephen Jay Gould takes 222 pages several decades later to explain the same idea, although he does it very eloquently and with many examples and much history.

    21. I have a new appreciation for Gould. I love his style of writing. The book was very enjoyable. However, I completely disagree with NOMA. Science and religion should not be separated. If we are serious about truth, it should be sought after, no matter the consequences of what we find.

    22. ¡¡Excelente!!Muy buen libro, excelentemente bien expresada la idea de fomentar el diálogo interdisciplinario entre ciencia y religión. Hacen falta más obras con este espíritu.

    23. A very well written, engaging book with a horribly mistaken premise. The concept of Non-Overlapping Magisteria (NOMA) is flawed in two ways: it rules out of bounds religious claims that are susceptible to empirical test and it hands over to religion categories of human inquiry over which it is not qualified to hold exclusive dominion, such as ethics. Traditional religion, as it is understood by the majority of the Earth's inhabitants, makes claims that are in theory testable. We can at least in [...]

    24. "Each domain of inquiry frames its own rules and admissible questions, and sets its own criteria for judgment and resolution. These accepted standards, and the procedures developed for debating and resolving legitimate issues, define the magisterium--or teaching authority--of any given realm."This widely-acclaimed work is well written; Stephen Jay Gould has a gift for storytelling and for crafting analogies. But the book's reasoning and argumentation are not nearly as satisfying. In "Rocks of Ag [...]

    25. Earnest. I do think Gould is too insistent on separation in fields that are less easily established on empirical grounds. In particular, Christianity is the the truth of man, so anthropology and sociology are impoverished by its exclusion. I would not be surprised if many valuable insights into psychology are overlooked or unexplored as well.

    26. Stephen Jay Gould’s central theme in Rocks of Ages is that – far from being in eternal, irreconcilable conflict – science and religion are non-overlapping realms of human endeavor that proceed from different premises, ask different questions, and use different methods to seek answers. Not only are the two realms (he calls them “non-overlapping magisteria”), not in conflict, they cannot be in conflict. Episodes like the trial of Galileo in 1632 and the Scopes Trial of 1925 – routinely [...]

    27. I found Gould's entire argument to be conflicting and frustrating to read. This book states that religion and science are separate,(the exact metaphor used was yin and yang), but equal schools of ideas (NOMA). So of course it makes sense that Gould then uses a word he says has catholic origins (magisteria) to define both the worlds of science and religion? He is letting them overlap already, before we even make it past the titles and into the content! Gould soils the book with personal beliefs o [...]

    28. In this book, Gould argues that Religion (by which he means ethics, not necessarily a belief in the divine) and Science occupy two discrete areas of knowledge -- Non-Overlapping Magisteria or NOMA, as he calls it. Let me say first that Gould is my favorite science writer. He has clean writing style, explains concepts clearly, and takes an obvious delight and interest in just about everything. He also writes about past scientists and theologians with a respect and understanding that is practicall [...]

    29. Short, agenda-driven, feels like a manifesto. Gould co-opts the concept of "non-overlapping magesteria" (NOMA) from Catholicism, and pitches it as the solution to the "non-problem" of the perceived conflict between science and religion. Science and religion are fundamentally different pursuits and it's nonsense to cast them as being "at war" with each other. (I'm going to leave aside the "interdigitation" thing for now, except to say that even if the magesteria of science and religion do happen [...]

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