To quote the editor, Peter Harrison, "The aim of this collection has been to provide some historical perspectives, some general philosophical overviews, and coverage of some of the central topics in contemporary science and religion discourse." It is limited because of size to Western monotheistic religions, primarily Christianity. However, the authors include atheists, agnostics, scientists and professional theologians.
The first five chapters (essays) deal with the interaction of science and religion over five periods of time (roughly AD 100-1500, 1500-1700, 1700-1859, 1859-1920, and 1920-the present) and is pretty standard stuff.
The next five chapters discuss issues in religion and contemporary science. Ronald Numbers' coverage of scientific creationism and intelligent design in Chapter 6 is up-to-date and worldwide in scope. Simon Conway Morris covers the concept of convergence in evolution in chapter 7 (Evolution and the inevitability of intelligent life). Chapter 8 is an up-to-date summary of the current scientific thinking about the Big Bang by William R. Stoeger, SJ. It also briefly covers string theory, the anthropic principle, and the multiverse hypothesis. In chapter 9, Fraser Watts discusses how theology can make positive contributions to psychology and vice versa. Chapter 10 is a frank discussion by John H. Evans of the interrelationships of science, bioethics and religion during the period 1960-2009.
The final four chapters cover philosophical perspectives, starting with Michael Ruse's chapter on atheism, naturalism and science, in which he briefly discusses the views of Karl Barth, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Edward O. Wilson, Alvin Plantinga and Daniel Dennett. With regard to "God genes" he suggests that the Pope has them, Richard Dawkins does not, and that the jury is out on whether Anglicans have them or not. In chapter 12, Nancey Murphy discusses the nature of scientific explanation, the rejection of reductionism in favor of downward causation and emergence, and divine action. In chapter 13, John Haught leads up to what he calls the aesthetic cosmological principle, which suggests "that the fundamental properties of the universe are oriented towards the ongoing production of instances of beauty and the intensifying of a capacity in some organisms for aesthetic experience." Chapter 14 is a well-organized and readable summary of ways of relating science and religion by Mikael Stenmark. He starts with Ian Barbour's four models (conflict, independence, dialogue and integration) and goes on to discuss a number of alternative though similar typologies and identifies the proponents of each approach.
The book includes a well-organized seven-page guide for further reading and an index.
I recommend this book for anyone who would like an overview of the history and current state of the interactions between science and religion and already has some familiarity with the subject.