Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fagan, Melinda Bonnie. Review of Steve Fuller, SCIENCE. NDPR (February 2011).

Fuller, Steve.  Science: the Art of Living.  Montreal: McGill-Queens UP; Chesham: Acumen, 2010.

Steve Fuller's Science challenges widely held assumptions about scientific values, the relation of science to religion, and the significance of the Intelligent Design movement. The book is part of Acumen's Art of Living series, aimed at a general audience. Each volume in the series is a personal reflection on the question: "How should we live?" as this relates to a specific topic: Work, Pets, Faith -- here, Science (ii). Fuller fulfils his brief with a bracingly heterodox account of the values animating scientific inquiry. Science consists of nine substantive chapters, a brief introduction, and a concluding bibliographic essay. Each chapter expands on an overall thesis: "the art of living scientifically involves taking theology much more seriously than either practicing scientists or religious believers are inclined to do" (1). Fuller construes science as a long-term, social enterprise of knowledge-production, which requires justification and support. He locates values necessary for these in the Western intellectual tradition, specifically Christian theology. This characterization of science underwrites Fuller's polemical claim that intelligent design and creationism are more in tune with the ethos of science than some currently established theories, notably Darwinian evolution. Science is thus a rejoinder to recent popular works championing scientific atheism on Darwinian grounds. Though many of its ideas appear in Fuller's previous publications, Science updates earlier arguments and presents his distinctive views to a general audience. . . .

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