Seeking Good Debate: Religion, Science, and Conflict in American Public Life

Univ of California Press
Free sample

Why do religion and science often appear in conflict in America’s public sphere? In Seeking Good Debate, Michael S. Evans examines the results from the first-ever study to combine large-scale empirical analysis of some of our foremost religion and science debates with in-depth research into what Americans actually want in the public sphere. The surprising finding is that apparent conflicts involving religion and science reflect a more fundamental conflict between media elites and ordinary Americans over what is good debate. For elite representatives, good debate advances an agenda, but, as Evans shows, for many Americans it is defined by engagement and deliberation. This hidden conflict over what constitutes debate’s proper role diminishes the possibility for science and religion to be discussed meaningfully in public life. Challenging our understanding of science, religion, and conflict, Seeking Good Debate raises profound questions about the future of the public sphere and American democracy.
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About the author

Michael S.Evans is a Neukom Fellow at the Neukom Institute for Computational Science, Dartmouth College. He received a PhD in sociology from the Science Studies Program, University of California, San Diego.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Univ of California Press
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Published on
Feb 16, 2016
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9780520960664
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Social History
Religion / Religion & Science
Social Science / Sociology of Religion
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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I sit down to write you (a Soldier's Friend!)...My kind Friend of Friends you have the power to help me a grate deal...I have great Confidence in our Good President hoe has dun a grate deal for us poor Soldiers...
So wrote Private Joe Hass to Abraham Lincoln, February 20, 1864. Like an extraordinary number of his fellow Union soldiers, he loved Lincoln as a father. Lincoln inspired feelings unlike those instilled by any previous commander-in-chief in America. In Lincoln's Men, William C. Davis draws on thousands of unpublished letters and diaries to tell the hidden story of how a new and untested president could become "Father Abraham" throughout both the army and the North as a whole.
How did the Army of the Potomac, yearning for the grandeur of McClellan, turn instead to the comfort of Old Abe, and how was this change of loyalty crucial to final victory? How did Lincoln inspire the faith and courage of so many shattered men, wandering the inferno of Shiloh or entrenched in the siege of Vicksburg? Why did soldiers visiting Washington feel free to stroll into the White House and sit down to relax, as if it were their own home?
Davis removes layers of mythmaking to recapture the moods and feelings of an army facing one of history's bloodiest conflicts. Tracing the popular fate of decisions to invoke conscription, to fire McClellan, and to free the slaves, Lincoln's Men casts a new light on our most famous president -- the light, that is, of the peculiar mass medium that was the Union Army. A motley band of talkers and letter writers, the soldiers spread news of Lincoln's appearances like wildfire, chortling at his ungainly posture in the saddle, rushing up to shake his hand and talk to him. The volunteers knew they could approach "Old Abe," "Honest Abe," "Uncle Abe," and "Father Abraham," and they cheered him thunderously. "The men could not be restrained from so honoring him," said Private Rice Bull. "He really was the ideal of the Army."
The story of the making of Father Abraham is the story of America's second revolution, its rebirth. As one Union soldier and journalist put it, "Washington taught the world to know us, Lincoln taught us to know ourselves. The first won for us our independence, the last wrought out our manhood and self-respect."
The #1 New York Times bestselling account of a neurosurgeon's own near-death experience—for readers of 7 Lessons from Heaven.

Thousands of people have had near-death experiences, but scientists have argued that they are impossible. Dr. Eben Alexander was one of those scientists. A highly trained neurosurgeon, Alexander knew that NDEs feel real, but are simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress.

Then, Dr. Alexander’s own brain was attacked by a rare illness. The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion—and in essence makes us human—shut down completely. For seven days he lay in a coma. Then, as his doctors considered stopping treatment, Alexander’s eyes popped open. He had come back.

Alexander’s recovery is a medical miracle. But the real miracle of his story lies elsewhere. While his body lay in coma, Alexander journeyed beyond this world and encountered an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of super-physical existence. There he met, and spoke with, the Divine source of the universe itself.

Alexander’s story is not a fantasy. Before he underwent his journey, he could not reconcile his knowledge of neuroscience with any belief in heaven, God, or the soul. Today Alexander is a doctor who believes that true health can be achieved only when we realize that God and the soul are real and that death is not the end of personal existence but only a transition.

This story would be remarkable no matter who it happened to. That it happened to Dr. Alexander makes it revolutionary. No scientist or person of faith will be able to ignore it. Reading it will change your life.
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