Rocks of Ages

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Rocks of Ages
AuthorStephen Jay Gould
SubjectRelationship between religion and science
PublisherBallantine Books
Publication date
Media typePrint
291.1/75 21
LC ClassBL240.2 .G68 1999
Preceded byLeonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms 
Followed byThe Lying Stones of Marrakech 

Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life is a 1999 book about the relationship between science and religion by the Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. First published by Ballantine Books, it was reprinted by Vintage Books. The book is a volume in the series, The Library of Contemporary Thought.


Gould addresses the conflict between secular scientists and religious believers who question or deny scientific theory when it is in discrepancy with religious teachings on the origin and nature of the natural world. Borrowing a term from the Catholic Church, Gould describes science and religion as each comprise a separate magisterium of human understanding. Science defines the natural world, and religion the moral world. If each realm is separate, then according to Gould, they are not in conflict. He calls this the principle of non-overlapping magisteria, abbreviated NOMA.[1]


The book has been reviewed extensively, and commented on by both sides of the conflict he addresses.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "description of NOMA at the unofficial Gould archives". Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  2. ^ "NOMA" – by Michael Ruse, Metanexus Institute Archived October 1, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Gould on God – by H. Allen Orr, Boston Review". Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  4. ^ "The religious views of Stephen Gould and Charles Darwin – by Martin Gardner, Skeptical Inquirer" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 5, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  5. ^ "The Holes in Gould's Semipermeable Membrane Between Science and Religion – by Ursula Goodenough, American Scientist". Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  6. ^ "Gould's Separate "Magisteria" – by Mark Durm, Massimo Pigliucci, Skeptical Inquirer" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 16, 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  7. ^ Beplate, Justin. "Inventing allies in the sky – by Kenan Malik, New Statesman". Archived from the original on July 4, 2008. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  8. ^ "Dictating the Terms of the Peace – by Ross Rhodes". May 24, 1999. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  9. ^ "Book review – by Brian Jackson, Human Nature Review". Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  10. ^ "Book review – by Jim Walker". Retrieved December 4, 2011.

External links[edit]