The Science of Liberty: Democracy, Reason, and the Laws of Nature

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9780060781507: The Science of Liberty: Democracy, Reason, and the Laws of Nature

In his most important book to date, award-winning author Timothy Ferris — “the best popular science writer in the English language today” (Christian Science Monitor) — makes a passionate case for science as the inspiration behind the rise of liberalism and democracy. Ferris argues that just as the scientific revolution rescued billions from poverty, fear, hunger, and disease, the Enlightenment values it inspired has swelled the number of persons living in free and democratic societies from less than 1 percent of the world population four centuries ago to more than a third today. Ferris deftly investigates the evolution of these scientific and political revolutions, demonstrating that they are inextricably bound. He shows how science was integral to the American Revolution but misinterpreted in the French Revolution; reflects on the history of liberalism, stressing its widely underestimated and mutually beneficial relationship with science; and surveys the forces that have opposed science and liberalism — from communism and fascism to postmodernism and Islamic fundamentalism. A sweeping intellectual history, The Science of Liberty is a stunningly original work that transcends the antiquated concepts of left and right.

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Product Description:

“Ferris is a master analogist who conveys his insights on the history of cosmology with a lyrical flair.” —The New York Times Book Review

In The Science of Liberty, award-winning author Timothy Ferris—called “the best popular science writer in the English language today” by the Christian Science Monitor and “the best science writer of his generation” by the Washington Post—makes a passionate case for science as the inspiration behind the rise of liberalism and democracy. In the grand tradition of such luminaries of the field as Bill Bryson, Richard Dawkins, and Oliver Sacks—as well as his own The Whole Shebang and Coming of Age in the Milky Way—Ferris has written a brilliant chronicle of how science sparked the spread of liberal democracy and transformed today’s world.

About the Author:

Timothy Ferris's works include Seeing in the Dark, The Mind's Sky (both New York Times best books of the year), and The Whole Shebang (listed by American Scientist as one of the one hundred most influential books of the twentieth century). A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Ferris has taught in five disciplines at four universities. He is an emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley and a former editor of Rolling Stone. His articles and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, National Geographic, Scientific American, The Nation, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, and many other publications. A contributor to CNN and National Public Radio, Ferris has made three prime-time PBS television specials: The Creation of the Universe, Life Beyond Earth, and Seeing in the Dark. He lives in San Francisco.

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