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Cosmic Visions in Science, Religion, and Folklore
Albert A. Harrison†
244 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-84545-286-5 $135.00/£99.00 hb Published (April 2007)
eISBN 978-1-78920-414-8 eBook
"Harrison delves into the real, potential, and imagined dangers and fears surrounding humanity’s probing of deep space. In this regard, his short section on astrobiology and Chapter 8, “Matters of Life and Death,” are excellent...Starstruck is an interesting, provocative, and somewhat strange book. It is authoritative and well referenced in the text with an extensive section of references at the end of the volume… It is an introduction to a far-reaching conversation encompassing several important ideas." · Social Science Journal
"The author is self-reflective, honest, curious, critical, and looks deep into our psychological and sociological journey over the past half-century or so since our serious first steps into space. Harrison ranges widely across the social sciences and humanities, touches on a wealth of topics located on the periphery of science, technology, human consciousness, and enthusiastically explores the intersection of contemporary religion, science and folklore...It is a timely and engaging book, given its breadth and scope." · Futures
We live in an era of exploding scientific knowledge about the universe, and our place and future within it. Much of this new knowledge conflicts with earlier wisdom, and some has frightening implications. Cosmic evolution, space exploration, the search for extraterrestrial life, and concerns about humanity’s future prompt us to seek new answers to old existential questions. Where did we come from? Why are we here? Are we alone? What will become of us? In our search for answers, we turn to science, religion, myth, and varying combinations thereof. Exploring an ambiguous region between recognized findings and unfettered imagination, Starstruck explores the multifaceted, far-reaching, and often contentious attempts of people with contrasting worldviews to develop convincing and satisfying interpretations of rapidly accumulating discoveries in physics, astronomy, and biology.
Albert A. Harrison† was Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of California, Davis. He co-authored Living Aloft, Human Requirements for Extended Spaceflight (1985), From Antarctica to Outer Space: Life in Isolation and Confinement (1991) and author of After Contact: the Human Response to Extraterrestrial Life (1997) and Spacefaring: The Human Dimension (2001). He was a member of the International Academy of Astronautics' SETI Committee, and of NASA's Space Human Factors Engineering Science and Technology Working Group.
Subject: Anthropology of Religion Anthropology (General)
Chapter 1. Thinking Big
Chapter 2. Frontier Science
Chapter 3. Eyes on the Universe
Chapter 4. The Extraterrestrial Hypothesis
Chapter 5. Of Gods and Spacemen
Chapter 6. Visitor Experiences
Chapter 7. Tricksters
Chapter 8. Matters of Life and Death
Chapter 9. Preposterous or Prudent?
Chapter 10. Star Wars
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