Readership: Interested general readers. Students and academics in sciences and philosophy. Theologians and church leaders.
David Wilkinson, Principal, St John's College, Durham University
David Wilkinson is Principal of St John's College, Durham University. He is also Professor in the Department of Theology and Religion.
His background is research in theoretical astrophysics, where he gained a PhD in the study of star formation, the chemical evolution of galaxies and terrestrial mass extinctions. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. After this research he trained for the Methodist ministry, serving in a variety of appointments. His current work at Durham University involves the relationship of the Christian faith to contemporary culture, from science to pop-culture. He also holds a PhD in Systematic Theology where he explored the future of the physical universe.
His most recent book is Christian Eschatology and the Physical Universe (T&T Clark, 2010) and he also co-edited Reading Genesis After Darwin (OUP, 2009).
He is well known as a broadcaster and lecturer. He is regular contributor to BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day.
"It should be in every school and college library, as an outstanding example of how science and theology can interact in positive ways." - Theology
"[An] excellent book ... would be ideal for anyone interested in the possibility of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, I will be buying it for someone myself." - Colin John Humphreys, Chemistry World
"the book is a fascinating read and is recommended for those pondering the place of humanity in our vast universe." - Achintya Rao, Cern
"Among the new books dealing with astrotheology, this is the most delicious so far." - Theology and Science
"The overview of the theological terrain, ancient and modern, given by Daivd Wilkinson [...] is particularly useful, simply because it is infrequently summarized." - Mark Vernon, Times Literary Supplement
"This is a masterful study of the subject and I can think of no better guide to all the ramifications of the possibility of SETI than David Wilkinson." - Third Way
"Wilkinson's background makes him an authority, and the perfect person to give insight into this complex topic."
"A brilliant analysis of the possibility that there may be other intelligent beings not easily recognised by us, for which one day evidence may be found through SETI. David Wilkinson has read widely and thought deeply about what the implications would be for belief in God. This is the science-religion dialogue as it should be." - Andrew Briggs, Professor of Nanomaterials at the University of Oxford
"The church is fortunate to have someone of David Wilkinson's wide knowledge of both Science and Theology, and soundly based judgement to act as a guide." - Sir Arnold Wolfendale, FRS, 14th Astronomer Royal
"A very readable and scientifically informed account of SETI and the intriguing issues it raises for theology. A superb example of the ways in which theology and contemporary science can interact in a positive way.
" - Professor Keith Ward
"The question of whether there is intelligent extraterrestrial life is both intriguing and challenging. David Wilkinson's book provides a detailed and comprehensive discussion of the issues involved, physical, biological and theological, which many will find very illuminating." - Rev Dr John Polkinghorne, KBE, FRS
"Imagine we woke up one day to news that there is intelligent life beyond Earth. What would this do to our view of our own selves and of our place in the cosmos? What would it mean for our belief in God and our relationship with Him? David Wilkinson draws on his training in Physics and Theology to grapple with these fascinating questions in a thoughtful, informed and highly lucid manner." - Carlos Frenk FRS, Ogden Professor of Fundamental Physics, Durham University
1: Cinema, cults and meteorites: Searching for something more
2: Speculating about a plurality of worlds: The historical context of science, religion and SETI
3: Hubble and Drake: SETI and cosmology
4: The Daily Planet
5: Genesis 2.0? SETI and biology
6: Looking for a needle in a haystack: Current SETI strategies
7: Fermi's Paradox
8: The 'myths' of SETI and religion
9: SETI and the Christian understanding of creation
10: SETI and the Christian understanding of redemption
11: Be not so positive