Albert A. Harrison - Cosmic evolution, space exploration, the search for extraterrestrial life, and concerns about humanity's future prompt us to seek new answers to old existential questions
Albert A. Harrison, Starstruck: Cosmic Visions in Science, Religion and Folklore, Berghahn Books, 2007.
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We live in an era of exploding scientific knowledge about the universe, and our place and future within it. Much of this new knowledge conflicts with earlier wisdom, and some has frightening implications. Cosmic evolution, space exploration, the search for extraterrestrial life, and concerns about humanity's future prompt us to seek new answers to old existential questions. Where did we come from? Why are we here? Are we alone? What will become of us? In our search for answers, we turn to science, religion, myth, and varying combinations thereof. Exploring an ambiguous region between recognized findings and unfettered imagination, Starstruck explores the multifaceted, far-reaching, and often contentious attempts of people with contrasting worldviews to develop convincing and satisfying interpretations of rapidly accumulating discoveries in physics, astronomy, and biology.
"Harrison delves into the real, potential, and imagined dangers and fears surrounding humanity's probing of deep space. In this regard, his short section on astrobiology and Chapter 8, "Matters of Life and Death," are excellent... Starstruck is an interesting, provocative, and somewhat strange book. It is authoritative and well referenced in the text with an extensive section of references at the end of the volume... It is an introduction to a far-reaching conversation encompassing several important ideas." - Social Science Journal
"The author is self-reflective, honest, curious, critical, and looks deep into our psychological and sociological journey over the past half-century or so since our serious first steps into space. Harrison ranges widely across the social sciences and humanities, touches on a wealth of topics located on the periphery of science, technology, human consciousness, and enthusiastically explores the intersection of contemporary religion, science and folklore...It is a timely and engaging book, given its breadth and scope." - Futures