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Metascience

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 287–291 | Cite as

Genes, Determinism and More

Denis Alexander: Genes, Determinism and God. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017, 376pp, £85 HB
  • Barbara Pfeffer Billauer
Book Review

Benjamin Franklin, regarded by some as the greatest scientist of his day, was once asked his views of religion (Weinberger 2007, 77–91). In a letter written shortly before his death, Franklin unabashedly states: “I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His providence. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this one” (Van Doren 1938, 777–778; Hall, 1975).

Going from the sublime to the ridiculous, we compare the views of Dan Brown, purveyor of demons, angels, infernos, lost symbols and bible codes, all fictitious, of course, who has a less nuanced, or shall we say more dichotomous view: “I moved into the realm of science. I moved away from religion. At some point, I realized I really can’t embrace them both” (Chin 2017, 38–39). His latest page-turner, “Origin, goes even further, playing with the idea that science could ultimately triumph over religion by essentially proving the...

References

  1. Alexander, Denis. 2013. Genes, Determinism and God, 22 Cambridge Papers No. 4, Jubilee Centre, Biblical Thinking for Public Life, http://www.jubilee-centre.org/genes-determinism-and-god/.
  2. Billauer, Barbara Pfeffer. 1999. Are we our genes?–On judaism and genes: a response to Paul Root Wolpe. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 9(2): 159–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chin, Richard. 2017. Obsolete Myths? Publishing phenomenon Dan Brown’s novel explores whether science could prove the nonexistence of God, Jerusalem Post, Magazine pp. 38–39, (reprinted from the Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS).Google Scholar
  4. Hall, Alice J. 1975. Philosopher of dissent: Benj. Franklin. National Geographic 148(1): 94.Google Scholar
  5. Isaiah, A.B., and B. Sharfman. 1949. The Pentateuch and Rashi's Commentary, 14. N.Y.: S.S. & R. Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  6. Lewontin, R.C. 1991. Biology as Ideology. New York City: Harper Perennial.Google Scholar
  7. Mukherjee, Siddhartha. 2016. The Gene. New York City: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  8. Turner, J. Scott. 2017. Purpose and Desire. New York City: Harper Collins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Van Doren, Carl. 1938. Benjamin Franklin, 777–778. New York City: Viking Press.Google Scholar
  10. Weinberger, Jerry. 2007. The scientific mind of Ben Franklin. The New Atlantis, The Journal of Science and Technology 15: 77–91.Google Scholar
  11. Wolfin, Elisha. 2017. Parshat Sh’mot, The Cry Will Be Heard, V’Ahavta Magazine.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of World PoliticsWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Faculty of LawHaifa UniversityHaifaIsrael

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