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The Constant Fire

Beyond the Science vs. Religion Debate

Adam Frank (Author)

Available worldwide
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Paperback, 304 pages
ISBN: 9780520265868
March 2010
$24.95, £18.95
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Eloquent, urgent, and inspiring, The Constant Fire tackles the acrimonious debate between science and religion, taking us beyond its stagnant parameters into the wider domain of human spiritual experience. From a Neolithic archaeological site in Ireland to modern theories of star formation, Adam Frank traverses a wide terrain, broadening our sights and allowing us to imagine an alternative perspective. Drawing from his experience as a practicing astrophysicist and from the writings of the great scholars of religion, philosophy, and mythology, Frank locates the connective tissue linking science and religion—their commonality as sacred pursuits—and finds their shared aspiration in pursuit of "the True and the Real." Taking us from the burning of Giordano Bruno in 1600 to Einstein and on to today's pressing issues of global warming and resource depletion, The Constant Fire shows us how to move beyond this stale debate into a more profound experience of the world as sacred—a world that embraces science without renouncing human spirituality.
Acknowledgments
Prologue: House of the Rising Sun

PART I. THE MAP: REIMAGINING SCIENCE, MYTH, AND THE SACRED
Chapter 1. The Roots of Conflict: Science and Religion before Divorce
Chapter 2. The Conflict We Know: Religion, Science, and the Modern World
Chapter 3. Science and the Sacred: Telescopes, Microscopes, and Hierophanies
Chapter 4. Not the God You Pray To: The Varieties of Scientists' Religious Experience
Chapter 5. Science, Myth, and Sacred Narratives: The Universe as Story

PART II. THE TERRAIN: SACRED NARRATIVES IN SCIENCE AND MYTH
Chapter 6. The Origin of Everything: Big Bangs, the Multiverse, and the Parade of Ants
Chapter 7. The Deluge This Time: Climate Change and Flood Myths

PART III. A NEW PATH TO THE WATERFALL: SCIENCE, MYTH, TRUTH, AND THE FUTURE
Chapter 8. Music of the Spheres: Truth, Myth, and Science
Chapter 9. A Need Born of Fire: Mythos, Ethos, and Humanity's Most Dangerous Century

Epilogue: Fire in the Open Mind
Notes
Adam Frank is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Rochester and a regular contributor to Discover and Astronomy magazines. He has also written for Scientific American and many other publications. He was a Hubble Fellow and is the recipient of an American Astronomical Society Prize for his scientific writing.
“An elegant reimagining of the relationship between science and spirituality.. . . . Challenges the assumption that science and religion are implacable foes.”—Chronicle Of Higher Education
“The most striking aspect of this book is the passion that Adam Frank displays in writing about his experience as a scientist.”—Times Higher Education
“Frank’s book is most interesting; it is an easy read.”—John W. Burgeson Perspectives On Science And Christian Faith: Journal Of The American Scientific Affiliation
Light years beyond the stale standoff between uninspired scientific materialism and unscientific intelligent design. “ (STARRED REVIEW)—Publishers Weekly
"The Constant Fire is brave and worthy. It takes great courage to write this book; not many scientists, at least the serious, research-active ones like Frank, would reveal their deep spiritual connection to their work. I believe this is an important and timely book."—Marcelo Gleiser, author of The Prophet and the Astronomer: A Scientific Journey to the End of Time

"The dialogue between religion and science has never been as important as it is today, and Adam Frank's The Constant Fire takes that dialogue in new directions. This is a unique contribution to our understanding human creativity in both science and religion."—Richard D. Hecht, University of California, Santa Barbara

"In the midst of increasing polarization in discussions about science and religion, as well as political aspects of both, it is a relief to encounter a voice of reason that at the same time articulates a sensitivity and sensibility sorely lacking in so many discussions nowadays."—Piet Hut, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
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Interview with the author, Adam Frank
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Adam Frank's video comparing the excitement of gases in a nebula to a basketball game

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