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.
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.
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