For Princeton physicist Robert Park, science serves as a rapier for skewering all beliefs not sustained by empirical proof. Predictably, religion heads the list of targets. And much to Park's credit, he engages some of the most scientifically respected exponents of scriptural faith, including fellow physicist Charles Townes and pioneering geneticist Francis Collins. Park particularly challenges the religious argument that the cosmos reflects a divine purpose and that the human moral sense ultimately depends upon sacred revelations.
Devout readers may resist Park's reasoning, but his refreshingly lucid style ensures that all will understand its internal logic. That logic pits experimental rigor not only against the creeds of antiquity but also against the irrationality of New Age gurus who evangelize for alternative medicines or extrasensory perception. Strong when crusading against others' credulity, Park leaves unanswered questions when he begins extolling the liberating virtues of his own atheism. In particular, readers may wonder why he never addresses the problem of free will within his life-is-just-chemistry metaphysics. Sure to spark sharp debate.