The way of inescapable doubt and its virtue

Category: Book Information (Page 1 of 2)

You Have Permission…

…to listen to a great podcast.

Mark Schaefer appeared on Dan Koch’s excellent podcast You Have Permission, a podcast for anyone asking those deep and timeless questions that humans can’t seem to stop asking. Dan wants to make clear that you have permission to take both Christianity and the modern world very seriously, and hopes to facilitate that by introducing you to people seeking God across the whole Christian spectrum, engaging these hard questions in a multitude of ways.

Dan and Mark talked about faith, doubt, our need for closure and certainty, and the importance of embracing uncertainty in faith.

Listen to the podcast.

In Pod We Trust

In the past week, Rev. Mark Schaefer, the author of The Certainty of Uncertainty, had the occasion to appear on two very excellent podcasts to talk about the book and the themes it addresses, as well as life, science fiction, and Oreo cookies. Listen to the podcast episodes by clicking on the links below!

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Publication Coming Soon!

Image saying: The Book is coming very soon!

The Certainty of Uncertainty available in two weeks!

We have just learned from our wonderful publisher Wipf & Stock that The Certainty of Uncertainty, will be available for purchase in from in two weeks. It’ll be available from Amazon (in both book and Kindle form in 2–4 weeks, and via Ingram after 4 weeks.

Watch this space for details and follow us on Twitter at @CertofUncert, Instagram at @TheCertaintyofUncertainty, and on Facebook for the latest updates!

The Cover is Designed

Late yesterday, my publisher at Wipf and Stock forwarded me the design for the book cover. With the submission of the index this past week and now the cover design, all that remains is a final editorial review and the book will be scheduled for publishing!

The cover design for The Certainty of Uncertainty, with "The Certainty" in red text atop a straight arrow angling upward right, and "of Uncertainty" atop a jagged arrow traveling in a twisted path.

And here is the back cover design:

Back cover design with book summary, author bio, and blurb.

Stay tuned for details on publication date!

A Book in the Clouds (Part 2)

In December 2015, I posted a word cloud of the first draft of the manuscript. That image, courtesy of the wonderful site was the following:

The original word cloud, generated from the first draft.

Today, I generated another word cloud, based on the manuscript as it stands today, two years and four months later. Given that they are not consistently generated and that each generated word cloud can be reconfigured in multiple ways (color, round or square edges, text orientation), it is still nevertheless interesting to compare the two and observe how this visual representation reveals changes that have emerged in the process of revision and preparation.

Word cloud of words in submitted manuscript

Word cloud courtesy April 24, 2018

Schrödinger’s Cat Walks Into a Bar and Doesn’t

Things are progressing well with the manuscript preparation and all of the artwork and permissions that I need have been received. And so, it seemed fitting to highlight one of those illustrations here to give you a sneak peak.

Below is an illustration of Schrödinger’s cat—a famous physics thought experiment dreamed up by Erwin Schrödinger to mock the idea that quantum uncertainty at the subatomic level had anything to do with the real world. He wrote:

[To demonstrate how absurd this theory is] one can even set up quite ridiculous cases. A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following device (which must be secured against direct interference by the cat): in a Geiger counter there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance, so small, that perhaps in the course of the hour one of the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, perhaps none; if it happens, the counter tube discharges and through a relay releases a hammer which shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour, one would say that the cat still lives if, meanwhile, no atom has decayed. [1]

Schrödinger pointed out that the mathematics of this experiment would claim that the living cat and the dead cat were “mixed or smeared out in equal parts”—that is, until someone looked, the cat would be both dead and alive. He accepted the idea that we could not know what was going on at the subatomic level, but the idea that the quantum superposition of the particle in question translated into the superposition of the cat (simultaneously alive and dead) was absurd to him. He concluded, “There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks,” meaning, our unclear picture does not mean that reality is unclear, only that our ability to capture that reality is.

To illustrate this discussion, Kathleen Kimball has produced this brilliantly creative representation of a cat both alive and dead. Enjoy!

Illustration © 2018 Kathleen Kimball. All rights reserved. Used by permission.



[1] Schrödinger and Trimmer, “The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics.”

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