Guided by Knowledge, Inspired by Love

Henry Disney (2014)

Non-fiction   Poetry

First published in New York in 2009 for the Darwin bicentenary, as many Americans reject the theory of evolution, despite convincing new evidence, especially molecular evidence, since Darwin.
Compelling witness to the harmonious relations between science and religion is in the lives of scientists who are also Christians. Henry Disney is both.

About this book

Henry Disney's is, to borrow a phrase, a beautiful mind, and also a tough mind. This little book of poems is a rare journey through the penetrating ideas and questioning, the deep and unsentimental Christian faith, and the rigorous scientific thinking of a very honest man. Disney has worked out the worldview that he shares with his readers in these poems, over a lifetime, with blinkers ruthlessly removed with regard to both religion and science. There is nothing pie-in-the-sky about his Christian faith. It has been and continues to be honed by daily encounters in his labs (mostly at the University of Cambridge in the UK) with the scientific findings of evolutionary biology, and in the difficult daily world of people and events both personal and public. But Disney also respects what cannot be neatly explained, and gives careful consideration to those experiences that challenge a completely "scientific" worldview. These poems are redolent of his efforts to ignore no data (no matter how troubling, challenging, or unpleasant) and to avoid mindlessly adhering to any previous assumptions or dogma, scientific or religious. They touch only lightly on his academic work, though that is always in the background and has been hugely important and extensive (see his biography at the end of the book). When Disney, once an atheist, speaks of his radiant faith in Christ, as he does in these poems, we can be certain it is a faith rigorously examined -- and hard-won. It must also be said that Disney's love and concern for other people close to him, and in the much wider world of his global experience, come through loud and clear. A book like his presents a difficult challenge to anyone who thinks religious faith and modern science are incompatible, or who thinks that either can be dismissed. Review on AMAZON by Kitty Ferguson

About Author

Henry Disney

Henry Disney was born in Dorset in 1938. From the age of 3-7 the War resulted in himself and two sisters being separated from their parents, who were stuck in the Sudan. On leaving school in 1957 he did his National Service in the Royal Artillery, becoming a bombardier on active service in Cyprus before becoming a subaltern on Salisbury Plain. He then read Natural Sciences at Cambridge University (with a part I in zoology, botany and geology and a part II in zoology). He was then Assistant Warden of the Flatford Mill Field Centre in Suffolk, mainly teaching field zoology. On marrying the Centre’s secretary, Audrey, they were obliged to leave for a lack of married accommodation. He was then the Medical Entomologist at the Dermal Leishmaniasis Research Unit in British Honduras (Belize), employed by the Ministry of Overseas Development. His research was mainly on the ecology of sandflies (Phlebotominae) and mammals in relation to a parasitic infection contracted by people working in the rainforest. He returned to Bristol University to study for a Certificate in Education. He then joined the Overseas Staff of the Medical Research Council as the Medical Entomologist at the Helminthisasis Research Unit in Cameroon. His work was mainly on the ecology of blackflies (Simuliidae) in relation to river blindness (Onchocerciasis). Having produced three children, each born on a different continent, he and Audrey returned to Britain; where from 1971-1984 he was Director of the Field Centre and National Nature Reserve at Malham Tarn in North Yorkshire. He also carried out research on the natural history and taxonomy of flies (Diptera); mainly on meniscus midges (Dixidae) and scuttle flies (Phoridae). From 1984-1998 he was the Field Studies Council Research Fellow in the Department of Zoology of Cambridge University, primarily researching the natural history and taxonomy of the scuttle flies of the world. [...]

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