"[An] extraordinary book. . . . Mr. Gould is an exceptional combination of scientist and science writer. . . . He is thus exceptionally well placed to tell these stories, and he tells them with fervor and intelligence."—James Gleick, New York Times Book Review High in the Canadian Rockies is a small limestone quarry formed 530 million years ago called the Burgess Shale. It hold the remains of an ancient sea where dozens of strange creatures lived—a forgotten corner of evolution preserved in awesome detail. In this book Stephen Jay Gould explores what the Burgess Shale tells us about evolution and the nature of history.
Many agree that the foreign aid system - which today involves virtually every nation on earth - needs drastic change. But there is much conflict as to what should be done. In Aid on the Edge of Chaos, Ben Ramalingam argues that what is most needed is the creative and innovative transformation of how aid works. Foreign aid today is dominated by linear, mechanistic ideas that emerged from early twentieth century industry, and are ill-suited to the world we face today. The problems and systems aid agencies deal with on a daily basis have more in common with ecosystems than machines: they are interconnected, diverse, and dynamic; they cannot be just simply re-engineered or fixed. Outside of aid, social scientists, economists, business leaders, and policy makers have started applying innovative and scientific approaches to such problems, informed by ideas from the 'new science' of complex adaptive systems. Inspired by these efforts, aid practitioners and researchers have started experimenting with such approaches in their own work. This book showcases the experiences, insights, and often remarkable results of innovative thinkers and practitioners who are working to bring these approaches into the mainstream of aid. From transforming child malnutrition to rethinking economic growth, from building peace to reversing desertification, from rural Vietnam to urban Kenya, the ideas of complex systems thinking are starting to be used to make foreign aid more relevant, more appropriate, and more catalytic. Aid on the Edge of Chaos argues that such ideas and approaches should play a vital part of the transformation of aid. Aid should move from being an imperfect post-World War II global resource transfer system, to a new form of global cooperation that is truly fit for the twenty-first century.
“Simultaneously sobering and exhilarating, Michael Tennesen’s wide-ranging survey of disasters highlights both life’s fragility and its metamorphosing persistence” (Booklist) and describes what life on earth could look like after the next mass extinction. A growing number of scientists agree we are headed toward a mass extinction, perhaps in as little as 300 years. Already there have been five mass extinctions in the last 600 million years, including the Cretaceous Extinction, during which an asteroid knocked out the dinosaurs. Though these events were initially destructive, they were also prime movers of evolutionary change in nature. And we can see some of the warning signs of another extinction event coming, as our oceans lose both fish and oxygen, and our lands lose both predators and prey. In The Next Species, Michael Tennesen questions what life might be like after it happens. In thoughtful, provocative ways, Tennesen discusses the future of nature and whether humans will make it through the bottleneck of extinction. Could life suddenly get very big as it did before the arrival of humans? Could the conquest of Mars lead to another form of human? Could we upload our minds into a computer and live in a virtual reality? How would we recognize the next humans? Are they with us now? Tennesen delves into the history of the planet and travels to rainforests, canyons, craters, and caves all over the world to explore the potential winners and losers of the next era of evolution. His predictions, based on reports and interviews with top scientists, have vital implications for life on earth today. The Next Species is “an engrossing history of life, the dismal changes wrought by man, and a forecast of life after the sixth mass extinction” (Kirkus Reviews).
It is generally assumed that science and religion are at war. Many now claim that science has made religious belief redundant; others have turned to a literalist interpretation of biblical creation to reject or revise science; others try to resolve Darwin with Genesis. "The Nature of Creation" addresses this complex debate by engaging with both modern science and biblical scholarship together. Creation is central to Christian theology and the Bible, and has become the chosen battleground for scientists, atheists and creationists alike. "The Nature of Creation" presents a sustained historical investigation of what the creation texts of the Bible have to say and how this relates to modern scientific ideas of beginnings. The book aims to demonstrate what science and religion can share, and how they differ and ought to differ.
A collection of twentysix essays about the natural world captures the relationship between human and animal, with such topics as rattlesnakes and their handlers, and spiders and arachnophobia, all told in an entertaining, enlightening style.
For a variety of reasons, recent literature that focuses on the rationality of belief in God and the viability of the Christian worldview fails to stimulate critical thinking in the general population of believers. Nietzsche Was Probably Right succeeds where many of these other works miss the mark. It educates rather than coerces; it focuses on issues critically relevant to the vast majority of Christians; most importantly, it does not "preach to the choir," but instead offers a balanced, objective, comprehensive overview of the issues. Its tone and inclusive, unbiased approach welcomes nonbelievers and believers into this important conversation, offering a perspective that will satisfy anyone seeking a critical understanding of the Christian faith and its deity.
The medieval worldview that regarded human beings as at the center of God's plans for His universe has long been regarded as obsolete; its synthesis of Christian theology and Greek philosophy having collapsed under the weight of Copernicus, Galileo, and Darwin. The popular stereotype is that Science, both in the Copernican revolution that dethroned the earth-centered view of the cosmos and in subsequent developments in evolutionary theory and general relativity, has marginalized and trivialized human existence, revealing humanity's place in the cosmos to be accidental, peripheral, and ultimately meaningless. However, an investigation into both modern Christian theology and contemporary twenty-first century Science reveals just the opposite, providing solid evidence in the interdisciplinary dialogue concerning the significance of humanity within the universe. In this important study, Christopher Fisher analyzes several modern theologians, including Wolfhart Pannenberg, Karl Rahner, and John Zizioulas, to reveal how contemporary ecumenical theology is deeply and intrinsically committed to a high view of human cosmic significance as a consequence of Christianity's indelible Trinitarian and incarnational faith. Fisher then demonstrates how research in contemporary natural Science confirms this finding in its own way, as recent primate intelligence studies, artificial intelligence research, and even the quest for extra-terrestrial intelligence reveal the wonder of human uniqueness. A contemporary version of the teleological argument also resurfaces in consideration of cosmic evolutionary perspectives on human existence. Even ecological concerns take on a new poignancy with the realization that, among material creatures, only human beings are capable of addressing the world's situation. This interdisciplinary study uncovers the surprising coherence and convergence of Christian Theology and Natural Science on the subject of human existence and significance here at the beginning of the twenty-first century, and it highlights the very unique role of humanity in global and cosmic history.