This is a stunning book. I came to it as someone who is fairly well grounded in Christianity and in theology, but an absolute novice in science. There were times when I had to put the book down and let it rest for a day or so simply because I was taking in so much new information about molecular biology, but in the end I was able to keep up. Ursula Goodenough has such clarity and such deep knowledge that she can take a novice like me and walk me through current thinking. When it came to the religious meditations, the author primarily relies on the words of others (poems and texts of hymns) that are extremely well chosen if you have grown up in the church and have experienced the power of these words and hymns. If not, I'm not sure how convincing they will be for readers who are well grounded in science but not in religion. If such readers take what she provides seriously, though, it could open up a door into a vast landscape of other materials written over the centuries. There is so much we do not know, and each new discovery in physics, chemistry, biology, cognition, etc. poses new questions that can be terrifying, even to those of us who feel grounded in religion. I found this to be a profoundly hopeful book.
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