Edis, Taner 1967-

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Edis, Taner 1967-


Born 1967, in Istanbul, Turkey; married. Education: Bogaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey, B.S. (highest honors), 1987; Johns Hopkins University, M.A., 1989, Ph.D., 1994.


Home—Kirksville, MO. Office—Department of Physics, Truman State University, Kirksville, MO 63501. E-mail—[email protected]


Physicist, educator, and writer. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA, summer faculty member in Atmospheric Science Division, 1998-99, participating guest, 2000—; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, research assistant, 1990-91, APL fellow in science and engineering, 1991-94; Iowa State University, Ames, temporary instructor, 1994-95; Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA, research associate, 1998-2000; Truman State University, Kirksville, MO, assistant professor, 2000-05, associate professor of physics, 2005—. Also scientific and technical consultant to the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI).


Morris D. Forkosch Award for "best humanist book of 2002," for The Ghost in the Universe; fellow of the Jefferson Center.


The Ghost in the Universe: God in Light of Modern Science, Prometheus Books (Amherst, NY), 2002.

(Editor, with Matt Young) Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ), 2004.

Science and Nonbelief, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2006.

An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam, Prometheus Books (Amherst, NY), 2007.

Contributor to books, including Darwin Day Collection One, edited by Amanda Chesworth and others, Tangled Bank, 2003; and Toward A New Political Humanism, edited by Barry F. Seidman and Neil J. Murphy, Prometheus, 2004. Contributor to professional journals and periodicals, including Physical Review Letters, Journal of Statistical Physics, Journal of Physics, Minds and Machines, Technology and Culture, Arab Studies Journal, Georgia Journal of Science, Skeptic, Free Inquiry, and the Skeptical Inquirer. Associate editor of Reports of the National Center for Science Education.


Taner Edis is a physicist who has written several books examining religion, God, and science. In his first book, The Ghost in the Universe: God in Light of Modern Science, the author presents his case for a universe that has developed through natural laws without the influence of a deity. In the process, the author presents a scientific look at many of the wonders of the universe in direct opposition to religious or paranormal explanations. For example, he refers to astrophysics and evolutionary biology to explain the creation of the universe and human beings. "The great strength of the book stems from Edis' mastery of vast quantities of knowledge from different subject areas, and his ability to incorporate this information into solid generalizations," wrote Phil Mole on the Butterfliesandwheels.com Web site. "His attention to factual and logical details causes him to resist playing fast and loose with definitions of terms like ‘science,’ ‘religion’ or ‘God.’ Instead, Edis carefully interrogates the assumptions and definitions of most popular discourse about science and religion, and uses historical, scientific and philosophical insights to illuminate every issue he discusses." Bryce Christensen, writing in Booklist, referred to the book as "a careful defense of empirical reasoning." Skeptic contributor Ronald Ebert wrote: "One of the great strengths of this book is its presentation of arguments by theists and philosophers. Edis steps into their shoes and gives the reader the sense of knowing their innermost thoughts."

Edis serves as coeditor with Matt Young of Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism. The book presents the views of scientists from various disciplines—from physicists and biologists to computer scientists and archeologists—concerning the fallacies involved in the idea that "intelligent design" should be taught as a science. Writing in Skeptical Inquirer, Kendrick Frazier commented that Why Intelligent Design Fails is for readers "seriously interested in the debate over intelligent design."

In Science and Nonbelief, Edis touches upon not only supernatural issues but also political issues associated with science and religion. The book includes an historical account of nonbelief in God and a discussion of how science has failed to replace supernatural religious beliefs. Anthony Campbell, writing on the Anthony Campbell's Book Reviews Web site commented: "If you liked … [The Ghost in the Universe], you will want to read this one as well."

For An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam, Edis used his Turkish background and familiarity with Islamic religion and literature to write about how Muslims view science. The author, a nonbeliever, focuses on what he perceives as the flawed interpretation of the Qu'ran as it concerns science. He presents his views on the prospects of reconciliation between Islamic religious and scientific beliefs. In a review of An Illusion of Harmony on his Anthony Campbell's Book Reviews Web site, Campbell explained the situation this way: "Historically, Islamic countries were impressed by Western technology and sought to acquire its benefits for themselves. To a considerable extent they succeeded, but they did not adopt the secularising mindset that had led to these advances in the West."

In addition to writing about pseudoscientific beliefs held by many of those of the Islamic faith, Edis also writes about the problems faced by those who both believe in Islam and are trying to live in a modern world. On his Web site, Campbell noted: "Edis is a first-class guide for the Western reader who wants to understand how Muslims are responding to the challenge of secularism." Library Journal contributor Augustine J. Curley wrote that the author's "relationship to Islam … comes across here as one of respect."



Booklist, February 15, 2002, Bryce Christensen, review of The Ghost in the Universe: God in Light of Modern Science, p. 974.

Choice, February, 2003, W.F. Desmond, review of The Ghost in the Universe, p. 998.

Library Journal, February 1, 2007, Augustine J. Curley, review of An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam, p. 76.

New Scientist, July 17, 2004, Mike Holderness, "Ex Nihilo," p. 47.

Quarterly Review of Biology, September, 2005, Arthur Falk, "Short Protocols in Human Genetics: A Compendium of Methods from Current Protocols in Human Genetics," p. 350.

SciTech Book News, September, 2002, review of The Ghost in the Universe, p. 4; March 1, 2006, review of Science and Nonbelief.

Skeptic, summer, 2003, Ronald Ebert, "The Ghost of God."

Skeptical Inquirer, September 1, 2002, Kendrick Frazier, review of The Ghost in the Universe, p. 56; November-December, 2003, Phil Mole, "Religion in a Scientific World," review of The Ghost in the Universe, p. 56; November-December, 2004, Kendrick Frazier, review of Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism, p. 58; March-April, 2007, Kendrick Frazier, review of An Illusion of Harmony, p. 73; May-June, 2007, Kendrick Frazier, review of An Illusion of Harmony, p. 62.


Anthony Campbell's Book Reviews,http://www.acampbell.ukfsn.org/bookreviews/ (November 23, 2006), Anthony Campbell, review of Science and Nonbelief; (May 1, 2007), Anthony Campbell, review of An Illusion of Harmony.

Butterfliesandwheels.com,http://www.butterfliesandwheels.com/ (August 15, 2007), Phil Mole, review of The Ghost in the Universe.

Taner Edis Home Page,http://www2.truman.edu/~edis (August 15, 2007).

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