Henry Disney's is, to borrow a phrase, a beautiful mind, and also a tough mind. This little book of poems is a rare journey through the penetrating ideas and questioning, the deep and unsentimental Christian faith, and the rigorous scientific thinking of a very honest man. Disney has worked out the worldview that he shares with his readers in these poems, over a lifetime, with blinkers ruthlessly removed with regard to both religion and science. There is nothing pie-in-the-sky about his Christian faith. It has been and continues to be honed by daily encounters in his labs (mostly at the University of Cambridge in the UK) with the scientific findings of evolutionary biology, and in the difficult daily world of people and events both personal and public. But Disney also respects what cannot be neatly explained, and gives careful consideration to those experiences that challenge a completely "scientific" worldview. These poems are redolent of his efforts to ignore no data (no matter how troubling, challenging, or unpleasant) and to avoid mindlessly adhering to any previous assumptions or dogma, scientific or religious. They touch only lightly on his academic work, though that is always in the background and has been hugely important and extensive (see his biography at the end of the book). When Disney, once an atheist, speaks of his radiant faith in Christ, as he does in these poems, we can be certain it is a faith rigorously examined -- and hard-won. It must also be said that Disney's love and concern for other people close to him, and in the much wider world of his global experience, come through loud and clear. A book like his presents a difficult challenge to anyone who thinks religious faith and modern science are incompatible, or who thinks that either can be dismissed. Review on AMAZON by Kitty Ferguson.
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About the author
Born in 1938, Henry Disney is the author or co-author, of more than 550 scientific publications on insects and author of 8 previous collections of poems. The latter reflect his varied experience, including active military service in Cyprus, medical entomology in Belize and Cameroon, running a field centre and nature reserve in Yorkshire and being a research fellow at Cambridge University, where he still works in his 'retirement'. He was co-founder and co-editor of the first 31 titles of the acclaimed Naturalists' Handbooks series. He has served on a planning committee, on WHO committees and church committees, as well as being a church warden. More important than all the above, he is a father and grandfather, but his late wife died the year before they were due to celebrate their Golden Wedding. She was the love of his life.
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