Publications by Andrew Steane

Science and humanity: A humane philosophy of science and religion

, 2018

A Steane

© Andrew Steane 2018. All rights reserved. This volume offers an in-depth presentation of the structure of science and the nature of the physical world, with a view to showing how it complements and does not replace other types of human activity, such as the arts and humanities, spirituality and religion. The aim is to better inform scientists, science educators, and the general public. Many think that science can and does establish that the natural world is a vast machine, and this is the whole truth of ourselves and our environment. This is wrong. In fact, scientific models employ a rich network of interconnecting concepts, and the overall picture suggests the full validity of further forms of truth-seeking and truth-speaking, such as art, jurisprudence, and the like. In fundamental physics, the equations that describe physical behaviour interact in a subtle symbiotic way with symmetry principles which describe overarching guidelines. The relationship between physics and biology is similar, and so is the relationship between biology and the humanities. Darwinian evolution is an exploratory mechanism which allows richer patterns and truths to come to be expressed; it does not negate or replace those truths. The area of values, of what can or should command our allegiance, requires a different kind of response, a response that is not completely captured by logical argument, but which is central to human life. Religion, when it is understood correctly and done well, is the engagement with the idea that we have a meaningful role to play, and much to learn.

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