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Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life Paperback – Feb 26 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (Feb. 26 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034545040X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345450401
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 12.2 x 1.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #389,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2.7 out of 5 stars
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ben Holcomb on March 25 2004
Format: Paperback
This book was not the great for me, mainly because most of the materials covered are addressed in his books like Ever Since Darwin, Bully for Brontosaurs, and It's a Wonderful Life. If you have not read some of those works then this would be great.
Gould finally shows some emotion when he comes right out and says creationists have never contributed anything to science and are not scientists. He has mentioned similar epithets elsewhere, but not to this degree. I wondered though, while reading those quotes how Gould accepted that one of his best students, Kurt Wise, is not only a creationist but a YEC. Gould comments about Darwin and his views up until his death and how Darwin's view remained, as far as anyone knows, intact. Further I wonder, though, if Gould ever had any second thoughts about his views before his death.
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By A Customer on June 6 2004
Format: Hardcover
I had to write a review for this for my Biology class so I thought I might as well post it here.
Overall, even though the book has a strong thesis and idea, I felt that the book was pretty dry and almost redundant at times. There were a few enjoyable moments where Gould's voice really stood out, but other than that the book was extremely boring about a topic that shouldn't be. Gould's intentions are pretty clear over the course of the novel, but I think that he should have undertaken them in a different way. There are also times in the book where he seems to drift on and just throw in irrelevant information that leaves you wondering, "Where did that come from?" At times it seems he beats around the bush and doesn't get to his main point of what NOMA is. Although I am more or less bashing the book, some of the accounts in Rocks of Ages were pretty interesting, including the Christopher Columbus and William Jennings Bryan portions of the book. For example, I learned that back in the 1400's, it was not perceived that the world was flat. Instead, this was just an overblown exaggeration that went along with the story of Columbus discovering the Americas. The problem about my liking towards these sections of the book is that they are not really the basis and meat of Gould's argument. Also, another problem that I have with this book is the construction of sentences. There are times in the book where it is almost torture to read the amazingly long, run-on sentences. On top of this, the author adds in thoughts or other tidbits of information mid-sentence, making the already dizzying text even harder to get through. Gould is definitely a skilled writer but I believe that he misuses his talents at times in this book.
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Format: Paperback
This would be a valuable book for anyone who is not well versed in philosophy of religion. I found it so good on listening to the audio book version that I got the hard copy from the library and read it straight through.
Other reviewers here have provided summaries so I won't take the time to do that. For me the book was most valuable in reinforcing and clarifying my own thinking about the relationship between science and religion, and the universal "need for religion" in the sense that everyone needs clarity about his/her own values and meaning. It is also useful to have "NOMA" as a word for the useful concept of the non-overlapping nature of science and religion.
I especially liked the quotes from Darwin and Huxley and the review of the Scopes trial and William Jennings Bryan.
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Format: Paperback
Stephen Jay Gould was a separatist. This statement is not an attempt to impugn the late Gould's deserved reputation as a humanist, but rather is an accurate description of his predictable attitude towards the relationship between the endeavors of religion and science. Renowned scientist and essayist Gould presents a book-length examination of the roles of each, and prescribes a supposedly moderate stance that finds no need for conflict, but he also admonishes against integration. Gould recognizes that complete human wisdom-the "fullness of life" of his title-consists of both the scientific and the spiritual, "each covering a central facet of human existence," but in championing the integrity of both science and religion, he is unable (or unwilling) to identify any similarities or shared territory between them.
While Gould rightly sees that the expansive pool of human understanding is fed by (at least) two founts, his book stays in the shallows, where the waters indeed don't mix much, and he never plunges into the deep-end, where powerful undercurrents commingle. Furthermore, Gould does not discern that this turbulent pool is a cycling wellspring which is itself the source of ostensibly disparate fountainheads. He had not the proper equipment to fathom these dark depths, for the necessary tools of illumination are those of philosophy, and Gould, a man of many talents and specialties (paleontology, evolutionary biology, history of science, and baseball statistics), alas, was not a philosopher. In short, Gould is in over his head.
We must assess the appropriateness of Gould's authorship in order to understand its limitations. First, Gould was a scientist. Yes, he was erudite and prolific, but as he often reminded his readers, he was not a polymath, but a working scientist.
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