1st Edition

The End of Heaven Disaster and Suffering in a Scientific Age

By Sidney Dekker Copyright 2017
    118 Pages
    by Routledge

    118 Pages
    by Routledge

    In this unique book, Sidney Dekker tackles a largely unexplored dilemma. Our scientific age has equipped us ever better to explain why things go wrong. But this increasing sophistication actually makes it harder to explain why we suffer. Accidents and disasters have become technical problems without inherent purpose. When told of a disaster, we easily feel lost in the steely emptiness of technical languages of engineering or medicine. Or, in our drive to pinpoint the source of suffering, we succumb to the hunt for a scapegoat, possibly inflicting even greater suffering on others around us. How can we satisfactorily deal with suffering when the disaster that caused it is no more than the dispassionate sum of utterly mundane, imperfect human decisions and technical failures? Broad in its historical sweep and ambition, The End of Heaven is also Dekker's most personal book to date.

    Preface Chapter 1. Disaster, religion and science  Chapter 2. Son of a preacherwoman  Chapter 3. The entitled class  Chapter 4. Existential dread  Chapter 5. Human error  Chapter 6. A question of faith  Chapter 7. Killing death  Chapter 8. Returning to dust  Chapter 9. Grief without a god  Chapter10. The end of death  Chapter11. Resurrecting heaven  Coda  Bibliography  Notes


    Sidney Dekker is Professor of Humanities and Social Science at Griffith University, Australia, an institution founded on a commitment to social justice. He holds two Dutch degrees in psychology and a PhD (1996) in cognitive systems engineering from the Ohio State University, USA.

    'Drawing as it does on key thinkers and writers in theology, philosophy, history, science, anthropogy, sociology, psychology and political economy, among others, this book is both impressively researched and challenging.'

    Dr Elizabeth Bluff, BSc (Hons), MAppSc (OHS), PhD, Visiting Fellow, School of Regulation and Global Governance, The Australian National University.

    ‘In this remarkable, absorbing and - at times - discomforting book, Sidney Dekker looks at a specific range of safety literature in which people give their experiences of having lived through disaster… Rarely has this reviewer muttered and expostulated so much over a book: it made me mad yet drew me in, especially by those very personal vignettes of the author. Don’t read this if you want an easy introduction to the idea of disaster and suffering but if readers are up for a challenge this is the book for them.'

    The RoSPA OS&H Journal

    'At once wretchedly fascinating and intellectually demanding, and following the footsteps of Cicero, Plutarch, Calvin, Darwin, Leibniz and Marx, he engulfs the reader in what feels like encyclopaedic knowledge brought to bear on one spot...this is an interesting read, which, in Dekker’s own words, seeks to “tell, to tease, and to tickle” the reader into reflection. Given the patience, concentration and open-mindedness it requires, I believe it will do just that.'

    Andrew Sharman CFIOSH, IOSH Magazine