Related to: 'Science and Spiritual Practices'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

Coronet

The Science Delusion

Rupert Sheldrake
Authors:
Rupert Sheldrake

Freeing the Spirit of EnquiryThe Science Delusion is the belief that science already understands the nature of reality. The fundamental questions are answered, leaving only the details to be filled in. In this book (published in the US as Science Set Free), Dr Rupert Sheldrake, one of the world's most innovative scientists, shows that science is being constricted by assumptions that have hardened into dogmas. The 'scientific worldview' has become a belief system. All reality is material or physical. The world is a machine, made up of dead matter. Nature is purposeless. Consciousness is nothing but the physical activity of the brain. Free will is an illusion. God exists only as an idea in human minds, imprisoned within our skulls.Sheldrake examines these dogmas scientifically, and shows persuasively that science would be better off without them: freer, more interesting, and more fun.In The God Delusion Richard Dawkins used science to bash God, but here Rupert Sheldrake shows that Dawkins' understanding of what science can do is old-fashioned and itself a delusion. 'Rupert Sheldrake does science, humanity and the world at large a considerable favour.'The Independent'Certainly we need to accept the limitations of much current dogma and keep our minds open as we reasonably can. Sheldrake may help us do so through this well-written, challenging and always interesting book.' Financial Times

A N Wilson

A. N. Wilson was born in North Staffordshire, and taught literature for seven years at New College Oxford, where he won the Chancellor's English Essay Prize and the Ellerton Prize. He is the author of over twenty novels, and as many works of non-fiction. His biography of Tolstoy won the Whitbread Prize in 1988. His biography of Queen Victoria was published to critical acclaim. He is also the author of The Victorians and of God's Funeral, an account of how the Victorians lost their faith. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He lives in London, and is the father of three daughters.

Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott is a best-selling American novelist and non-fiction writer. She was the subject of Freida Lee's 1999 documentary Bird by Bird with Annie:A Film Portrait of Writer Annie Lamott. Her previous works include: Blue Shoe, Crooked Little Heart and Imperfect Birds.

Chris Webb

Chris Webb is an Anglican priest, author and speaker passionate about helping people experience a richer walk with God by growing in prayer and the spiritual life. He is author of The Fire of the Word and serves as deputy warden at Launde Abbey and diocesan spirituality adviser to the Diocese of Leicester. Previously, Chris served as president of Renovaré USA and as a faculty member of the Renovaré Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation. He has ministered in a wide variety of churches, including Welsh parishes in urban and rural settings, and a church for the homeless. Chris lives in Leicestershire with his wife and four children.

Daniel Tammet

Daniel Tammet is an essayist, novelist and translator. He is the author of Thinking in Numbers, Embracing the Wide Sky, and the Sunday Times bestseller Born On A Blue Day. Tammet is Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). He lives in Paris.

Dave Tomlinson

Dave Tomlinson was a house church leader for many years and is now an Anglican priest. Unable to accept the narrow restrictions of his tradition, he founded the legendary Holy Joe's, a church in a pub in Clapham for disaffected church drop-outs. He is now Vicar of St Luke's, Holloway, a thriving parish church in north London. He is the author of the seminal The Post-Evangelical, I Shall Not Want and Re-enchanting Christianity, and most recently How to Be a Bad Christian and The Bad Christian's Manifesto.

Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle was born in Germany and educated at the Universities of London and Cambridge. At the age of twenty-nine a profound inner transformation radically changed the course of his life. The next few years were devoted to understanding, integrating and deepening that transformation, which marked the beginning of an intense inward journey. Later, he began to work in London with individuals and small groups as a counselor and spiritual teacher. Since 1995 he has lived in Vancouver, Canada.Eckhart Tolle is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Power of Now (translated into 33 languages) which is widely regarded as one of the most influential spiritual books of our time.Eckhart's profound yet simple teachings have already helped countless people throughout the world find inner peace and greater fulfillment in their lives. At the core of the teachings lies the transformation of consciousness, a spiritual awakening that he sees as the next step in human evolution. An essential aspect of this awakening consists in transcending our ego-based state of consciousness. This is a prerequisite not only for personal happiness but also for the ending of violent conflict endemic on our planet.Eckhart is a sought-after public speaker and teaches and travels extensively throughout the world. Most of the teachings are given in English, but occasionally Eckhart also gives talks in German and Spanish. In addition to The Power of Now, Eckhart has written a book designed for meditative reading entitled Stillness Speaks. A book consisting of selections from The Power of Now is also available, entitled Practicing the Power of Now.

Graham Lawton

After a degree in biochemistry and a MSc in science communication, both from Imperial College, Graham Lawton landed at New Scientist, where he has been for almost all the 21st century, first as features editor and now as executive editor. His writing and editing have won a number of awards.

Jennifer Daniel

Jennifer Daniel is the author of SPACE! a picture book explaining the universe through unusual visual forms. Her graphics have been translated into over ten languages and featured on NPR's Morning Edition, Sweden's Dagens Nyheter and in The New York Times. Jennifer has been recognised by many fancy design, illustration, and journalism awards including D&AD's Gold Pencil (London), Art Directors Club Gold Cube (New York), and Society of Publication Design Gold Medal (New York). She speaks about journalism and design for organisations such as Society of News Design, SXSW, and Creative Mornings. She lives in Oakland California, with her husband and two children.Follow her on Twitter @jenniferdaniel

Jeremy Howick

An Oxford researcher with over 75 publications and a classic textbook, Jeremy Howick is well qualified to write Doctor You. A world-renowned placebo researcher and his work has been featured in The Times and The Washington Post, as well as on Sky News, and the BBC.

Jonathan Wittenberg

Jonathan Wittenberg was born in Glasgow in 1957 to a family of German Jewish origin. The family moved to London in 1963, where he attended University College School, specialising in classical and modern languages, subsequently reading English at Cambridge. He trained for the rabbinate at Leo Baeck College London, receiving ordination in 1987. He now lives in London with his wife Nicky and, three children, and his faithful canine companion, Mitzpah.

Joyce Meyer

Joyce Meyer is the bestselling author of more than 100 inspirational books, including The Power of Simple Prayer, Approval Addiction, Power Thoughts and Battlefield of the Mind. Joyce's 'Enjoying Everyday Life' radio and television programmes are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences.

New International Version

The New International Version is the world's most popular modern English Bible translation. Developed by Biblica, formerly the International Bible Society, the New International Version is the result of years of work by the Committee on Bible Translation, overseeing the efforts of many contributing scholars. The translators are drawn from a wide range of denominations and from various countries and they continually review new research in order to ensure the NIV remains at the forefront of accessibility, relevance and authority.www.hodderbibles.co.uk www.facebook.com/NIVBibles

Pete Greig

Pete Greig is a writer, church-planter and bewildered founder of the 24-7 movement. He heads up Emmaus Rd in Guildford with his wife Sammy, serves as Vice-President for the NGO Tearfund and was part of the senior leadership team at HTB in London for seven years. Pete's publications include Red Moon Rising, God on Mute and The Prayer Course. He loves art galleries, live music and knocking down walls. Pete tweets regularly @petegreig

Peter Stanford

Peter Stanford's previous investigations into the history, theology, enduring appeal and cultural significance of religious ideas include: Judas: The Troubling History of the Renegade Apostle; The Devil - A Biography; Heaven - A Traveller's Guide to the Undiscovered Country; and The She-Pope, an investigation of the Pope Joan legend. His other books include biographies of Bronwen Astor, Lord Longford and the Poet Laureate, C Day-Lewis, plus the polemical Catholics and Sex that became an award-winning Channel 4 series in 1992. He is a senior features writer at the Daily and Sunday Telegraph titles, and contributes to the Independent, the Observer, the Daily Mail and the Catholic weekly, the Tablet, where he is a columnist. He has presented programmes on BBC 1, Channel 4 and Channel 5, as well as BBC Radios 2 and 4 and the BBC World Service.

Randall Munroe

Randall Munroe is the creator of the webcomic xkcd and author of xkcd: Volume 0. Randall was born in Easton, Pennsylvania, and grew up outside Richmond, Virginia. After studying physics at Christopher Newport University, he got a job building robots at NASA Langley Research Center. In 2006 he left NASA to draw comics on the internet full time, and has since been nominated for a Hugo Award three times. The International Astronomical Union recently named an asteroid after him: asteroid 4942 Munroe is big enough to cause mass extinction if it ever hits a planet like Earth.

Richard Foster

Richard Foster is the founder of RENOVARÉ and author of a number of internationally bestselling books including CELEBRATION OF DISCIPLINE and PRAYER. Richard travels throughout the world, speaking and teaching on the spiritual life.

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking is the former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge and author of A Brief History of Time which was an international bestseller. He is now the Dennis Stanton Avery and Sally Tsui Wong-Avery Director of Research at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics and Founder of the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge.

Thomas Keneally

Thomas Keneally began his writing career in 1964 and has published thirty novels since. They include Schindler's Ark, which won the Booker Prize in 1982 and was subsequently made into the film Schindler's List, and The Chant Of Jimmie Blacksmith, Confederates and Gossip From The Forest, each of which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His most recent novels are The Daughters Of Mars, which was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize in 2013, and Shame and the Captives. He has also written several works of non-fiction, including his memoir Homebush Boy, Searching for Schindler and Australians. He is married with two daughters and lives in Sydney.

Timothy Keller

Timothy Keller was born in Pennsylvania and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. He became a Christian at university, was ordained by the Presbyterian Church in America and worked as a pastor for nine years.He was asked to start Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan in 1989, and under his leadership the church's congregation experienced unprecedented growth from 50 to 5000 members. His target audience consists mainly of urban professionals, whom he believes exhibit disproportionate influence over the culture and its ideas.The 'Influentials' Issue of New York Magazine featured Dr. Keller as "the most successful Christian evangelist in the city by recognizing that young professionals and artists are 'disproportionately influential' in creating the country's culture and that you have to meet this coveted demographic on its own terms."Timothy Keller is renowned for his clear, reasoned approach to Christian apologetics and his book THE REASON FOR GOD: BELIEF IN AN AGE OF SKEPTICISM was named Book of the Year for 2008 by World Magazine.Timothy Keller lives in New York City with his wife Kathy and sons David, Michael and Jonathan.