The Nature of Nature

With some big names and weighing in at over a thousand pages in length, The Nature of Nature looks to be a new landmark title in the discussion of science and naturalism. Based on a conference held at Baylor University back in 2000, editors Bruce L. Gordon and William A. Dembski have collected some great essays on topics such as scientific methodology, biological complexity, consciousness, scientific realism, and the multiverse.

Although published last month, the book is only now becoming more widely available (Amazon seems to have stock at the moment but you can also get it from the publisher, ISI Books, for $23.20 USD).

Here’s the book description:

The cultural battles now raging between conservatives and secular progressives has extended even into the scientific disciplines. And this stunning new volume captures the titanic clash of worldviews among those who have thought most deeply about the nature of science and of the universe itself.

Unmatched in its breadth and scope, The Nature of Nature brings together some of the most influential scientists, scholars, and public intellectuals—including three Nobel laureates—across a wide spectrum of disciplines and schools of thought. Here they grapple with a perennial question that has been made all the more pressing by recent advances in the natural sciences:Is the fundamental explanatory principle of the universe, life, and self-conscious awareness to be found in inanimate matter or immaterial mind?The answers found in this book have profound implications for what it means to do science, what it means to be human, and what the future holds for all of us.

You can read the introduction to the book here.

And here’s the table of contents:

Foreword: Beyond Naturalism to Science — Steve Fuller

Introduction: The Nature of Nature Confronted — Bruce L. Gordon and William A. Dembski

PART I:

NATURALIZING SCIENCE: SOME HISTORICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL CONSIDERATIONS

  1. The Rise of Naturalism and Its Problematic Role in Science and Culture — Bruce L. Gordon
  2. Science without God: Natural Laws and Christian Beliefs — Ronald L. Numbers
  3. Varieties of Methodological Naturalism — Ernan McMullin
  4. Sauce for the Goose: Intelligent Design, Scientific Methodology, and the Demarcation Problem — Stephen C. Meyer

PART II:

THE EPISTEMOLOGICAL AND ONTOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF NATURALISM

5. Evolution versus Naturalism — Alvin C. Plantinga

6. More on the Illusion of Defeat — William J. Talbott

7. Evolutionary Naturalism: Epistemically Unseated or Illusorily Defeated?

A. It’s No Illusion! — Alvin C. Plantinga

B. The End of an Illusion? — William J. Talbott

8. A Quantum-Theoretic Argument against Naturalism — Bruce L. Gordon

9. The Incompatibility of Naturalism and Scientific Realism — Robert C. Koons

10. Truth and Realism — Alvin I. Goldman

11. Must Naturalists Be Realists? — Michael Williams

12. The Role of Concepts in Our Access to Reality — Nicholas Wolterstorff

PART III:

THE ORIGIN OF BIOLOGICAL INFORMATION AND THE EMERGENCE OF BIOLOGICAL COMPLEXITY

13. On the Origins of Life — David Berlinski

14. DNA: The Signature in the Cell — Stephen C. Meyer

15. Mysteries of Life: Is There “Something Else”? — Christian de Duve

16. Life’s Conservation Law: Why Darwinian Evolution Cannot Create Biological Information — William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II

17. Regulated Recruitment and Cooperativity in the Design of Biological Regulatory Systems — Mark Ptashne

18. The Nature of Protein Folds: Quantifying the Difficulty of an Unguided Search through Protein Sequence Space — Douglas D. Axe

19. The Limits of Non-Intelligent Explanations in Molecular Biology — Michael J. Behe

20. The Chain of Accidents and the Rule of Law: The Role of Contingency and Necessity in Evolution — Michael Shermer

21. Molecular Convergence: Repeated Evolution or Repeated Designs? — Fazale R. Rana

PART IV:

COSMOLOGICAL ORIGINS AND FINE-TUNING

22. Eternal Inflation and Its Implications — Alan Guth

23. Naturalism and the Origin of the Universe — William Lane Craig

24. Cosmic Evolution, Naturalism and Divine Creativity, or Who Owns the Robust Formational Economy Principle? — Howard J. Van Till

25. Living in the Multiverse — Steven Weinberg

26. Balloons on a String: A Critique of Multiverse Cosmology — Bruce L. Gordon

27. Habitable Zones and Fine-Tuning — Guillermo Gonzalez

PART V:

MATHEMATICS

28. Mathematical Naturalism — Philip Kitcher

29. Mathematics—Application and Applicability — Mark Steiner

PART VI:

EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY, NEUROSCIENCE, AND CONSCIOUSNESS

30. Toward Mapping the Evolved Functional Organization of Mind and Brain — John Tooby and Leda Cosmides

31. On the Origins of the Mind — David Berlinski

32. Consciousness — John R. Searle

33. Consciousness and Neuroscience — Francis Crick and Christof Koch

34. Supervenience and the Downward Efficacy of the Mental: Nonreductive Physicalism and the Christian Tradition — Nancey Murphy

35. Conscious Events as Orchestrated Space-Time Selections (with a new addendum) — Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose

36. Quantum Interactive Dualism: The Libet and Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Causal Anomalies — Henry P. Stapp

37. The Physical Sciences, Neuroscience, and Dualism — James P. Moreland

PART VII:

SCIENCE, ETHICS, AND RELIGION

38. Evolution and Ethics — Michael Ruse

39. Naturalism’s Incapacity to Capture the Good Will — Dallas Willard

40. Naturalism, Science, and Religion — Michael Tooley

41. Theism Defended — William Lane Craig

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