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The End of Heaven Disaster and Suffering in a Scientific Age by Professor Sidney Dekker

The End of Heaven Disaster and Suffering in a Scientific Age


The End of Heaven Disaster and Suffering in a Scientific Age by Professor Sidney Dekker

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.


'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.

&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

About the Author

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.

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Book Info

Publication date

23rd March 2017


Professor Sidney Dekker

More books by Professor Sidney Dekker
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Routledge an imprint of Taylor & Francis Ltd


106 pages


Philosophy: epistemology & theory of knowledge
Western philosophy, from c 1900 -
Sociology: family & relationships
Sociology: death & dying



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