The recent arrival of a copy of “The Oxford Handbook of the Science of Science Communication” spurred me to look further into the Oxford Handbook series as a whole. What I found was indeed quite a remarkable selection of high-level but still remarkably readable collections of scholarly articles on a wide range of subjects.
As the fifth day of July this year marked the 330th anniversary of the publication of Sir Issac Newton’s monumental Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, it seems appropriate that a new book about him should be published only a few days later. However rather than focusing on his mathematical ideas, this one takes his religious ones as its subject.
“Science is about the Age of Rocks, religion tells us about the Rock of Ages” – or so the late Dr. Stephen J. Gould is frequently quoted as having written. It’s a clever quip – one I’ve heard often repeated, both humorously and seriously; however…
What Pope Francis has set down in this Encyclical is not perfect; as some have already pointed out it leaves out the idea that an ever-expanding global population is ecologically unsustainable even with greater care of the planet. However it is a a more far-reaching statement about the connection between the health of the planet and the health of humanity than I have ever known to have be written by any religious leader of comparable authority. Yes, it is a religious treatise but it is also an environmental one and even – as he draws heavily upon biology, chemistry, ecology, and climatology – a scientific one.