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March 27 , 2009

Excellent Beauty

The Naturalness of Religion and the Unnaturalness of the World


Flipping convention on its head, Eric Dietrich argues that science uncovers awe-inspiring, enduring mysteries, while religion, regarded as the source for such mysteries, is a biological phenomenon. Just like spoken language, Dietrich shows that religion is an evolutionary adaptation. Science is the source of perplexing yet beautiful mysteries, however natural the search for answers may be to human existence.

Excellent Beauty undoes our misconception of scientific inquiry as an executioner of beauty, making the case that science has won the battle with religion so thoroughly it can now explain why religion persists. The book also draws deep lessons for human flourishing from the very existence of scientific mysteries. It is these latter wonderful, completely public truths that constitute some strangeness in the proportion and reveal a universe worthy of awe and wonder.

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