“Brett Hayward explains the mysteries of science in a forthright, accessible and engaging manner in his lovely book Existence. While some scientists see spirituality and science as opposites, Hayward makes ample room for God. One comes away from this book both smarter and more sensitive to life’s many wonders.”
- Ari L. Goldman, professor of journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, author of “The Search for God at Harvard” and former religion reporter for the New York Times.
“Branching off from scientific theories and religious beliefs, this insightful commentary on existence encourages the exploration of the places where spirituality and science converge.
Spirituality and science are often seen as separate realms without much overlap in terms of practice or theories. But Brett Hayward proposes that there are numerous bridges between the two worlds, and he believes that understanding these connections could lead to greater insights and harmony between the two.
Drawing on his education and experience as a veterinarian, Hayward explores scientific principles and religious theories with equal vigor. He utilizes the ancient Greek strategy of observation and contemplation, as well as repeatable evidence, which is the hallmark of the scientific method, but he incorporates God into the mix. He writes, “If we sincerely desire the truth of our universe, we have to have the courage to look everywhere, which would include spirituality.”
The result is an insightful, clearly written work that blends philosophy, evolutionary theory, cell biology, and physics with intelligent design, biblical viewpoints, and spiritual concepts. Rather than trying to sway readers to one side or the other, Hayward attempts to see the threads that might connect these seemingly opposite areas. For example, when discussing electrons, he cites a theory that there’s only one electron in the whole universe, and although it might be difficult to conceptualize, that electron can be everywhere at once. This aligns with the common view of God, whose omnipresence is unfettered by time and space.
At times, Hayward does meander down some philosophical rabbit holes that don’t seem to lead anywhere specific, or that branch off into other theories. This gives the work an occasional stream-of-consciousness quality but doesn’t negatively impact Hayward’s exploration. Instead, it provides a sense of open-mindedness and expansive thinking as he digresses into biology or astronomy. Although this tendency can cause the material to seem unmoored, Hayward does bring it all together eventually.
“The intent is not to preach on religion or to convert people to a specific religion, but to include spirituality in the discussion, in order to keep the search for answers as broad as possible,” Hayward writes. His ability to dive deeply into both pools, and to find the streams between them, makes Existenceinto a thought-provoking, valuable work—not just on science and spirituality but also for broadening the investigation of intersections between them.”
- Elizabeth Millard, ForeWord Reviews
It is a joy to read about the mindful journey of a fellow veterinarian exploring our interconnectedness. As we see the many manifestations of human animal relations in veterinary practice unfold, some veterinarians that I have met through teaching around the world seem to ponder the bigger questions of life. Brett Hayward shares a vibrantly expansive perspective on the big picture, offering his wise insights into the ever narrowing space between science and spirit.
Whether one agrees with his conclusions matters not, the dance of his insights will address questions that many people ask, and offers a unique view of how it all intertwines in the abundant beauty of life. Read it, ponder and see what unfolds in you! Enjoy!
Allen M. Schoen, DVM, MS, Ph.D. (hon.)
Founder/Director of Center for Integrative Animal Health
Author, “Kindred Spirits, How The Remarkable Bond Between Humans and Animals Can Change the Way We Live” (Broadway/Random House, 2001)