Archives For Naturalism

 

“Science vs. Faith?”

A review of

Where the Conflict Really Lies:
Science, Religion, and Naturalism

Alvin Plantinga
Hardback: Oxford University Press, 2011

Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Shaun C. Brown

[ Read an excerpt from this book … ]

Alvin Plantinga, the John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, remains one of the preeminent voices in contemporary philosophy of religion.  In 2004–2005, he presented the prestigious Gifford Lectures, which are presented at Scottish universities each year.  Plantinga follows a long line of distinguished scholars, like William James, Karl Barth, Jürgen Moltmann, and Stanley Hauerwas.  Where the Conflict Really Lies stems from these lectures.  Similar to Barth’s Church Dogmatics, Plantinga’s main argument is in larger print, while more technical details and additions are in smaller print.

Plantinga summarizes his basic argument: “there is a superficial conflict but deep concord between science and theistic religion, but superficial concord and deep conflict between science and naturalism” (ix).  Plantinga notes that the view that a tension exists between science and religion goes back to the seventeenth century and has been held by both people of faith and secularists.

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An Excerpt from:

Where the Conflict Really Lies:

Science, Religion and Naturalism.

Alvin Plantinga.

Hardback: Oxford UP, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Watch for our review of this book next week!


 

“Regaining the delights of
a child-like wonder and curiosity

A review of
Seeing Tress:
Discovering the Extraordinary Secrets
of Everyday Trees.

By Nancy Ross Hugo.
Photography by Robert Llewellyn.

Review by Chris Smith.


Seeing Trees - Hugo / LlewellynDiscovering the Extraordinary Secrets
of Everyday Trees.

By Nancy Ross Hugo.
Photography by Robert Llewellyn.
Hardback: Timber Press, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

[ Before you read this review,
please take a minute to peruse an excerpt from this book… ]

In an essay I wrote for Catapult magazine awhile back, I argued for tree-climbing as a redemptive practice and that the tree-top world is one of the few untouched natural spaces in urban areas like our neighborhood in Indianapolis.  I wrote in that essay:

Tree-climbing is a redemptive practice because by it, we get to experience intimately and be challenged by the virtues of a tree.  In observing the manifold forms of life that make their homes in or on a tree, we begin to get a sense of a tree’s hospitality.  A tree offers shade from the beating summer sun, and in the winter, its hollow nooks offer cozy nesting places for squirrels and other rodents.  In climbing a tree, one will undoubtedly experience the generosity of a tree, its bountiful fruit or nuts, its leaves, which in dying each fall are resurrected as rich compost.

In the same vein, I have just discovered the extraordinary new book Seeing Trees: Discovering the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees by Nancy Ross Hugo and illustrated with delightfully particular photographs by Robert Llewellyn.

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An excerpt from

Seeing Trees:
Discovering the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees
.
Nancy Ross Hugo.  Photos by Robert Llewellyn.
Hardback: Timber Press, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

CLICK HERE to read Chris Smith’s review…

 

“A Landmark Piece of
Conservation Literature
?”

A review of

The View from Lazy Point:
A Natural Year in An Unnatural World.

By Carl Safina.

Reviewed by Brittany Buczynski.

Carl Safina - The View from Lazy PointThe View from Lazy Point:
A Natural Year in An Unnatural World.

Carl Safina.
Hardback: Henry Holt, 2011.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Ecologist Carl Safina has penned what will surely be read and revered for years to come as a landmark piece of conservation literature and global climate change documentation. Whether one agrees with his philosophical and scientific conclusions or not, there’s no arguing with his eloquent prose and stirring description of wildlife the world over.

Spanning a full year and several continents, including both the Arctic and Antarctic, Safina’s sophisticated travel journal chronicles his environmental studies both abroad and at home in Lazy Point, a secluded seaside inlet near Amagansett, Long Island. The way he tells the stories of animal and plant survival, of interwoven ecosystems—and the dangers they are facing— almost resembles ancient parables rather than modern-day records of species struggling to adapt to changing conditions. His arguments detailing the domino effect of ecological decline are particularly convincing, as he connects micro changes within the food/energy chain to tragic environmental crises, such as dying coral reefs, vanishing forests, and endangered native populations.

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A Review of

Hawks from Every Angle: How to Identify Raptors in Flight.
Jerry Liguori.
Paperback: Princeton UP, 2005 [Reprinted 2010].
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

HAWKS FROM EVERY ANGLE - Jerry LiguoriI have been a bird watcher all my life; my mom has a deep love for birds and when I was a boy, she was always pointing out different kinds of birds to me.  We were never birders in the sense of going on bird watching tours or traveling specifically to see particular birds, but with living on the East Coast while most of our extended family was in the mid-west, we did travel quite a bit – even driving from coast-to-coast in the summer of 1980 – and wherever we went, we were always on the lookout for birds.  Given this informal schooling in birdwatching, there are many birds that I can identity at a glance.  However, I have always struggled to distinguish various types of hawks and other raptors when we see them soaring through the air.  I can say, generally, “That’s a hawk,” but rarely can identify the bird with any more specificity than that.

Thus, I was delighted to stumble upon Jerry Liguori’s superb and helpful book Hawks from Every Angle: How to Identify Raptors in Flight (now available in a new reprint from Princeton University Press).  Although a relatively slim volume, and quite specific in the content on which it focuses, it is a profound and amazing work, especially when one considers that the author has taken all the photographs in the book himself over the course of two decades, collecting shots of all the major raptors in a number of key angles that are crucial for distinguishing species.

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