Item description for A Jealous God: Science's Crusade Against Religion by Pamela R. Winnick...
The age-old war between religion and science has taken a new twist. Once the dedicated scientist-martyr fought heroically against rigid religionists. But now the tables have turned, and it is established science crusading against religion, pushing atheistic agendas in the classroom, in textbooks, and in the media. This book shows how science has now become a religion of its own-an often fanatical one at that-furiously preaching atheism, punishing dissenters, dictating how and what we should think, and subtly inserting its worldviews in everything from education to entertainment. And, with stunning clarity, it proves that, with billions of dollars up for grabs in the race for stem cell research, intellectual integrity has been replaced with good old-fashioned greed. With sharp insight and completely original reporting, this book defiantly shows the extent to which science is beating down religion and how this systematic tyranny is unmistakably weakening culture and society.
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Studio: Thomas Nelson
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.37" Width: 6.3" Height: 1.34" Weight: 1.32 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 2005
Publisher Thomas Nelson
ISBN 1595550194 ISBN13 9781595550194
Reviews - What do customers think about A Jealous God: Science's Crusade Against Religion?
Difficult to take seriously Mar 1, 2008
Having access to large databases of information and occasional stretches of free time gives me the luxury to do a little fact-checking when my curiousity is piqued.
This work may have been more convincing if I had been able to locate some of the author's cites.
Also, the general premise that science is waging war on religion is more than slightly nutty, and despite the volume of words she throws at it, does not convince.
Fallacious Reasoning at its Worst Nov 23, 2006
What this book demonstrates to its readers is that Pamela Winnick has several strawmen she has erected about science and evolution, and she enjoys beating them regularly. One wonders if she was not subject to abuse with a science textbook at some point in her life, so obvious is her vitriol toward anything scientific.
She has made no effort to check her sources or to even document them; I've Googled several of her unattributed quotes and have found no record of who might have said the things she quotes. For all I can figure out, Ms. Winnick might have made up those quotes herself to support her cause. The editing and proofreading of the book are atrocious enough that I've had to read several sentences more than once to try to ascertain her meaning. As another reader has noted, she never attempts to address to whom she might actually be speaking. Is she upset at science as a method, at scientists in general, or only at those she considers "leftist"? The reader is left to wonder for himself what her motive might be.
It's obvious that she understands very little about evolution, a subject about which she seems very upset. She refers to neo-Darwinism as "the only acceptable scientific explanation for the origin and evolution of life" and neglects to note that evolution says absolutely nothing about the origin of life. She implies that such ongoing social problems as racism are the fault of science. I wondered while I read this book if Ms. Winnick had ever cracked open a science book or if she was capable of using a non-pejorative word to describe a scientist. She makes rather unprofessional and silly remarks about people with whom she disagrees, commenting on their appearances and on their personal lives with the obvious glee of a Kitty Kelley tell-all.
if you'd enjoy reading a book that is an honest discussion of either politics or science, _A Jealous God_ is not for you. If, however, you enjoy being preached to in unprofessional and underhanded ways about the distaste all religious people should have for scientists, then by all means, pick up this book. If you enjoy poorly edited and non-annotated books written by laymen about the problems with science, then this book's for you. It's certainly not an honest portrayal of anything within the real world or outside of Ms. Winnick's worldview in which scientists are a terrible evil.
An awful book Oct 27, 2006
Is it too much to expect this Columbia Law School Graduate to clearly state her proposition at the outset and then back it up with evidence? Should she not have started out by clarifying what she meant by the book's title, which includes the words: "Science's Crusade Against Religion"? What does she mean by science? Individual scientists? The "scientific establishment" (whatever that might mean)? The scientific method? What or who, exactly, is launching this crusade? And then what about crusade? Let's forget where this word originates for a moment, and ask what the author might mean. A concerted effort? Again, by whom or by what? Finally, what does Ms. Winnick mean by religion? Religion as such? Particular religions? The so-called judeo-christian value system?
I'm sorry to be picky, but if you can neither agree nor disagree with Ms. Winnick's position if she doesn't set it out. And she doesn't. Instead, she presents a selection of anecdotes from the culture wars, most of which bear on science and religion, but in none of which she even tries to demonstrate a concerted attack by science/the scientific method/scientists against religion/religions/religious beliefs. To confuse matters, in one of her chapters (Monkey Business, on creationism), she even describes a religious attack against science.
If science really is launching a crusade against religion, then how does Ms. Winnick explain vaccines, drugs, and medical procedures that save lives and allow doctors to bring comfort to millions? How does she explain new food technologies that allow people to grow food under harsh conditions and thus to live? How does she explain communications technologies that increasingly allow institutions to get their message out to countless people? The list goes on, but all these advances, which science has provided, allow religions to flourish. Sure, science has had its dark days and its charlatans, but on balance, science has been overwhelmingly beneficial to religions. It's just ungenerous to suggest otherwise.
There are really many things wrong with this book. Errors abound. A gamete is not organic? Carl Sagan's third wife is Ann Dunyan? How about this: "The word "theory" when used in science is different from its ordinary use. A scientific theory is considered virtually the same as fact." Huh?
Many quotes go unattributed: "as one member later recalled"; "so-called "humanists" complained"; "observed two law professors at the University of California at Los Angeles." It matters who said things. The reader needs to be able to be able to verify the quote if necessary, and to place it in its context. Does attribution bring needless detail not central to the argument? How about a detail like this description of Richard Dawkins (here Winnick quotes John Horgan): "an icily handsome man, with predatory eyes, a knife-thin nose, and incongruously rosy cheeks." We're also told Dawkins is "meticulously dressed in tailored European suits" and is "married to an actress". If we can have this level of detail about Professor Dawkins (Stephen Jay Gould, by the way, is "affable, chubby...a regular guy"), can we at least know who made the statements in quotation marks? (By the way, would Ms. Winnick mind if I included information about her physical appearance in this review? Could she imagine why that might not be useful or relevant?)
I leave this book feeling disappointed and frustrated. Disappointed because I find it to be poorly written, badly edited, full or error and misconception about science, and lacking in any serious discussion of her opponents' positions. Frustrated because it fails to present any kind of case, let alone try to demonstrate one. There is plenty of anecdote but it fails to add up to a case that science is involved in a crusade against religion. Too bad that I spent the last few days reading it.
A judge would surely throw this one out. And you should too.
Brave new science Aug 18, 2006
With a title like this, one would imagine this to be a book about the conflict between evolution and creation, or something similar. In fact the book, despite its somewhat misleading title, is actually a good look at some of the abuses and misuses of science. Science is not so much taking on God, but demeaning personhood and human integrity.
Thus this book is really about the nature of science, the place of ethics in science, the relationship between science and values, the need for regulation, and the role of religion in tempering science. Winnick is well placed to handle these issue, having been a medical reporter for many years, and having written extensively on the intersection between law, religion and science.
As such this book deals with such topics as eugenics, stem cell research, population control, genetic engineering and the new reproductive technologies. And yes, there are several chapters on the evolution debate, but specifically on the Scopes Trial of 1925, Intelligent Design, and the way science is taught in the classroom.
Winnick begins her book by examining how the very notion of the sacredness of human life has been undermined in the past few decades, often by scientists and those in the medical community. Indeed, it goes back even further, with the eugenics movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The degree to which science and medicine have been bedfellows with the eugenics movement is testimony to the fact that science is not above corruption and deception. We all know of Hitler's use of science and medicine to promote his program of extermination. But American politicians made use of their expertise in the twenties and thirties to make a better human race. Forced birth control, sterilizations, and selective breeding were all part of their program.
The now infamous Tuskegee, Alabama case, beginning in 1932, it but one example of this. Four hundred mainly poor black men were afflicted with syphilis by the US Public Health Service to see what the disease does to the body. Such lab-rat treatment of humans has happened frequently, and many scientists have been happy to conduct such experiments.
Progressive, leftist political causes, social utopianism, and secular science have often combined, ostensibly to create a "better" human race, but the actual results have been nightmarish. Many of these deliberate attempts at eugenics are highlighted in this book.
And Winnick documents how leaders in the eugenics movement realised that religion, particularly the Judeo-Christian religion, had to be countered and neutralised if their dehumanised agenda could proceed.
She also examines more recent examples of unethical science. The stem cell debate is one such case. Miracles cures just days away are among the many over-hyped claims of Big Biotech. Demand for embryonic stem cell research is paraded daily in the media, despite the fact that only adult stem cells to date have led to any human therapies.
Because so much big money is tied up with these sorts of endeavours, mercenary motivations of science are often indistinguishable from more nobler ones. A person wearing a white lab coat can be just as greedy and subject to corruption as anyone else. Scientists are not immune from selling their soul to the highest bidder.
Winnick documents how science and technology is often motivated as much by financial gain as by humanitarian concerns. And the attempts by the scientific community to reject any regulation and accountability ensures that a Frankenstein's monster will continue to emerge.
The lust for power, the chase after profits, and the dangers of arrogance are all reasons for keeping science in close check, ethically and socially. An unbridled science will only be more tempted to go down the path of eugenics and dehumanisation.
Winnick concludes with a warning about encroaching scientism: it will "grow in political and economic stature, its own set of constitutional `rights' to both research and funding, arrogating to itself alone the power to make morally troublesome decisions." This will result in speculative funding which harms the poor, the commoditisation of the body, and the subjugation of the unborn to those already born. Brave new world prospects, in other words, which we have already witnessed enough of.
Don't judge it by its title Aug 12, 2006
Despite it's strong title and the title of the last chapter ("The Road to Hell"), this book is actually very mild and straightforward. It does not portray "Science" as historically and actively seeking to overthrow religion. It merely illustrates a few of the modern areas in which the goals (especially monetary) of certain researchers run roughshod over practically any ethical or moral considerations, not just religious views. What may be most surprising to most readers is that the most recent and most vital cases involve demands for research to be publicly funded but totally free of regulation or even public scrutiny, through means (and perhaps even to ends) that are abhorrent to people from both left and right wings of politics and religion.