We live at a time of unparallelled environmental and moral crisis. Not only do we not believe anything but, despite exponential advances in information production, we do not know very much either. This book is a guide for everyone who, understandably, feels perplexed.
Presenting an explanation of recent findings in science and their relationship with society and politics as we enter the third millennium, the book also seeks to provide guidance towards responsible political action in this current crisis. From new technology's power to preserve the status quo, to the true impetus behind the Human Genome Project, Sean Ó Nualláin brings to topical concerns some much needed clarity.
Complete with reader-friendly summaries to current thought in the biological, physical, and social sciences, the book is designed to be accessible to a general readership, it should also appeal to all those working or studying in the Sciences.
In The Big Questions in Science and Religion, Keith Ward, an Anglican priest who was once an atheist, offers compelling insights into the often contentious relationship between diverse religious views and new scientific knowledge. He identifies ten basic questions about the nature of the universe and human life. Among these are:•Does the universe have a goal or purpose?
With his expertise in the study of world religions, Ward considers concepts from Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and Christianity, while featuring the speculations of cosmologists, physicians, mathematicians, and philosophers. In addition, Ward examines the implications of ancient laws and modern theories and evaluates the role of religious experience as evidence of a nonphysical reality.
Writing with enthusiasm, passion, and clarity, Keith Ward conveys the depth, difficulty, intellectual excitement, and importance of the greatest intellectual and existential questions of the modern scientific age.
Chance or Dance provides an overview of design and clarification of the controversial Intelligent Design (ID) movement and ultimately concludes there is no scientific proof behind Intelligent Design. As the controversy over Intelligent Design has grown over the past few years, there is a tendency to confuse all statements about design with the Intelligent Design movement and to confuse any affirmation of creation with Scientific Creationism. Davis and Poe begin with a brief historical perspective of the design argument and then examine the significant breakthroughs in cosmology, math, physics, chemistry, and biology that have provided renewed speculation in design.
The authors discuss that the idea of design is far more expansive than the ID movement’s version of it, evaluate Dawkins’ interpretation of genetic determinism, include a chapter that explores the tendency since Darwin to assume that the presence of an observable cause excludes the possibility of divine involvement; and introduce further reflections on wonder and awe that take into account the recent surge of interest in this area. The book concludes with an argument for the correlation between faith and sensory experience and suggests that science has successfully described processes but failed to explain origins.
Chance or Dance is ideal for students and general readers interested in understanding how modern science gives evidence for nature’s creation by the Bible’s God.
Highly acclaimed in Sweden where it was first published in both hardcover and paperback editions, A Concealed God poses two intriguing questions:•Does God truly exist?
The God presented by most religions doesn't make sense in today's world; we have little room for miracles. Furthermore, there are irreconcilable aspects in the world's religions. Must we abandon our faith or belief in God? Perhaps not, says popular Swedish thinker Stefan Einhorn. We can behave as scientists do when they run experiments only to obtain contradictory results. They ask themselves whether there might not be a logical conclusion that binds all the results together and leads to the most probable explanation.
Einhorn hypothesizes that if God truly exists, then many different religions would have discovered this. He finds a common denominator in the concept of a hidden God in seven major religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. But even with this shared belief, can we know if God exists? Did humankind create the idea of God to answer the unexplainable? What about evil and suffering, the absence of meaning in life, loneliness and insecurity? And most importantly, how do we search for a concealed God?
Most religions share common principles for the search for "that which is concealed," including meditation, contemplation, and prayer. Whatever route is chosen, the search for God may bring us some answers. Einhorn concludes that two themes are central to the search: one is that God is both concealed and simultaneously omnipresent; the other is that only with utter humility and an awareness of our inability to fully understand may we approach the divine.
In the end, there are no definite answers. But the search sheds light on the many paths to enlightenment offered by the world's religions.
The voice of a renowned professor of philosophy in Poland, who is also a Roman Catholic priest, is introduced to the United States in this collection of his provocative essays on the interplay of science and religion. Michael Heller progressively outlines systematic steps that might lead to a peaceful coexistence of these traditionally separate fields of study. Some essays have their roots in the author's work in physics and cosmology, while others present his theories on the language of God, creation, and transcendence, inspired by his work in the applications of so-called noncommutative geometry, an emerging field of study.
What is the relationship between religious belief and the study of nature, between theology and science? This is the fundamental preoccupation of the three different studies in Einstein, Polanyi, and the Laws of Nature.
By exploring the highly original yet little-known thought of Michael Polanyi, Jaeger highlights the inherent personal investment in any quest for knowledge, including the scientific enterprise, thus raising the question of the objectivity of human knowledge. Considered to be the most incredible mind of the twentieth century, Albert Einstein saw scientific research as the fruit of the “cosmic religion.” His response to the question of the relationship between faith and science also receives the close analysis it deserves. Finally, Jaeger is interested in science’s propensity to use the concept of laws of nature, an idea also found in the Bible. She paves the way for interdisciplinary dialogue by examining the similarities and differences.
The synthesis of these three complementary studies brings out the collaboration between belief and knowledge, thus establishing a bridge between two noble human activities: faith and scientific research. It will interest all serious followers of the ongoing science and religion dialogue.
Contemporary scholarship has given rise to several modes of understanding biophysical and human nature, each entangled with related notions of science and religion. Envisioning Nature, Science, and Religion represents the culmination of three years of collaboration by an international group of fourteen natural scientists, social scientists, humanists, and theologians. The result is an intellectually stimulating volume that explores how the ideas of nature pertain to science and religion.
Arthur Peacocke, eminent priest-scientist, has collected thirteen of his essays for this volume. Previously published in various academic journals and edited books, the provocative essays expand upon the theme of the evolution of nature, humanity, and belief. They are grouped into three parts:
In the epilogue, Dr. Peacocke discusses wisdom in science and education, referring to Robert Grosseteste, a medieval scientist-theologian.
Creation versus evolution: What seems like a cultural crisis of our day, played out in courtrooms and classrooms across the county, is in fact part of a larger story reaching back through the centuries. The views of both evolutionists and creationists originated as inventions of the Enlightenment--two opposed but closely related responses to a loss of religious faith in the Western world.
In his latest book, Michael Ruse, a preeminent authority on Darwinian evolutionary thought and a leading participant in the ongoing debate, uncovers surprising similarities between evolutionist and creationist thinking. Exploring the underlying philosophical commitments of evolutionists, he reveals that those most hostile to religion are just as evangelical as their fundamentalist opponents. But more crucially, and reaching beyond the biblical issues at stake, he demonstrates that these two diametrically opposed ideologies have, since the Enlightenment, engaged in a struggle for the privilege of defining human origins, moral values, and the nature of reality.
Highlighting modern-day partisans as divergent as Richard Dawkins and Left Behind authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Ruse's bracing book takes on the assumptions of controversialists of every stripe and belief and offers to all a new and productive way of understanding this unifying, if often bitter, quest.
How has our understanding of our world and our place in the universe changed in recent decades through the momentous discoveries of science? Do recent developments in the philosophy of science, which place limitations on scientific knowing, provide a more level playing field? This collection of essays and sermons, which have not been readily available before, address these thought-provoking questions.
The John Templeton Foundation sponsored an essay and sermon contest to convey an expanded vision of God, one that is informed by recent discoveries of science on the nature of the universe and the place we have in the world. These selections are the winners of that competition.
The book is divided into three sections: “Contemporary Science Raising Theological Questions,” “New Visions of Theology,” and “Historical and Philosophical Perspectives on the Science-Religion Dialogue.” The essays cover such areas as physics, theology, cosmology, origins, and artificial intelligence.
“There is another way to conceive our life together. There is another way to conceive of our life in God, but it requires a different worldview—not a clockwork universe in which individuals function as discrete springs and gears, but one that looks more like a luminous web, in which the whole is far more than the parts. In this universe, there is no such thing as an individual apart from his or her relationships. Every interaction—between people and people, between people and things, between things and things—changes the face of history. Life on earth cannot be reduced to four sure-fire rules. It is an ever-unfolding mystery that defies precise prediction. Meanwhile, in this universe, there is no such thing as 'parts‚' The whole is the fundamental unit of reality.” —Barbara Brown Taylor, “Physics and Faith,”
The ways science and technology are portrayed in advertising, in the news, in our politics, and in the culture at large inform the way we respond to these particular facts of life. The better we are at recognizing the rhetorical intentions of the purveyors of information and promoters of mass culture, the more adept we become at responding intelligently to them.
Flash Effect, a startling book by David J. Tietge, documents the manner in which those at the highest levels of our political and cultural institutions conflated the rhetoric of science and technology with the rhetorics of religion and patriotism to express their policies for governance at the onset of the Cold War and to explain them to the American public.
Professor Tietge details our cultural attitudes about science in the early years of the Cold War, when on the heels of a great technological victory Americans were faced with the possibility of destruction by the very weapons that had saved them.
In Flash Effect we learn how, by symbolizing the scientist as both a father figure and a savior—and by celebrating the technological objects of his labor—the campaign to promote science took hold in the American consciousness. The products of that attitude are with us today more than ever.
If we want nonscientists and opinion-makers in the press, the lab, and the pulpit to take a fresh look at the relationship between science and religion, Ronald Numbers suggests that we must first dispense with the hoary myths that have masqueraded too long as historical truths.
Until about the 1970s, the dominant narrative in the history of science had long been that of science triumphant, and science at war with religion. But a new generation of historians both of science and of the church began to examine episodes in the history of science and religion through the values and knowledge of the actors themselves. Now Ronald Numbers has recruited the leading scholars in this new history of science to puncture the myths, from Galileo’s incarceration to Darwin’s deathbed conversion to Einstein’s belief in a personal God who “didn’t play dice with the universe.” The picture of science and religion at each other’s throats persists in mainstream media and scholarly journals, but each chapter in Galileo Goes to Jail shows how much we have to gain by seeing beyond the myths.
Gathering thinkers from ten countries and various scientific and spiritual backgrounds, Global Perspectives on Science and Spirituality leads readers on a fascinating tour of distinctly non-Western approaches to topics in these two fields. These voices add fresh and invigorating input to a dialogue that has thus far been predominantly guided by scholars from the United States or Western Europe.
The award-winning researchers in this volume were selected from a pool of over one hundred and fifty applications. They offer the very best scholarship from underrepresented regions around the globe. The essays cover a broad spectrum of scientific fields, spanning mathematical physics, robotics, biosemiotics and other new schools of theoretical biology, embryonic stem cells, cognitive science, and the concept of opening the human mind to broader ideas of reality. Hailing from some of the top research institutions in India, Japan, Russia, Korea, China, and a variety of Eastern European nations, contributors offer unique insights into their cultures' spiritual and philosophical traditions. At the same time, they deftly engage concepts from the ongoing Western dialogue in its terms, delving deeply, at times, into schools of thought like phenomenology or process thought.
Scholars, students, researchers, and anyone seeking new ways of understanding the interplay of spirituality and science will discover a multitude of windows into previously underexplored research areas in these truly interdisciplinary essays. Indeed, any of these pieces could serve as the basis for entirely new long-term study programs.
Just as modern science has revolutionized our understanding of the natural world, so can it expand our understanding of the Divine. In topics as varied as astronomy and cosmology, evolution, genetic engineering, extraterrestrial life, psychology and religious experience, spirituality and medicine, and artificial intelligence, fifty key thinkers discuss the interrelationship between science and religion.
Contributors include Robert Jastrow, first chairman of NASA's Lunar Exploration Committee and currently director of the Mount Wilson Institute; Rod Davies, former director of the Jodrell Bank Radio Astronomy Laboratories, U.K.; Owen Gingerich, senior astronomer, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; Paul Davies, recipient of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion; Sir John Haughton, former director general of the United Kingdom Meteorological Office; Lord Habgood, former archbishop of York; and science writers Kitty Ferguson and Gregg Easterbrook.
The writers are drawn from eight countries and represent the Christian, Jewish, Islamic, and Hindu traditions. Most are scientists by profession, but also included are philosophers, theologians, and psychologists. Each chapter of this innovative, accessible book helps to expand our thinking in light of what is known at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Taken as a whole, this book presents a challenging understanding of God and of God's interaction with the world and with ourselves.
Topics covered include:•Creation and evolution
Editor Robert Herrmann has collected the opinions of ten scientists, all leaders in their fields, who have considered the relevance of their science to theology. The contributors bring a variety of religious experiences to the consideration of humility theology, a humble approach to our truth-seeking about God.
As a physicist, Russell Stannard provides an overview of humility theology in which truth is approached in an experimental, hypothetical mode, as is done in the sciences. Physicist and theologian Robert Russell focuses on the interaction between cosmology and theology. Charles Harper writes of the opportunity for a tremendous flowering of planetary science through a joint partnership between science and religion.
Owen Gingerich, historian of science, looks at the other side of humility theology—the possibility that we can actually arrive at unreasonable expectations— about the existence and nature of extraterrestrial intelligence. Francisco Ayala begins with the surprising contrast between the very brief period of human evolution and its remarkable and utterly unique end-product, homo sapiens. Psychologist David Myers points out that intuition can be a powerful faculty, but there are many limitations to this “inner knowing.”
Chemist Giuseppe Del Re writes an interesting view of the history of the development of chemistry as a discipline. Herbert Benson and Patricia Myers analyze the components of mind-body medicine that relate to the rubric of self-care, including relaxation procedures, nutrition, exercise, stress management, and faith. David and Susan Larson introduce the reader to a new field of medical science that focuses on the impact of spiritual values on patients' health. Fraser Watts looks at artificial intelligence research.
The discussion included in this book will significantly aid scholars and general readers in the search for greater understanding of the relationship between science and religion.
Contributors include Russell Stannard, Robert John Russell, Charles L. Harper Jr., Owen Gingerich, Francisco J. Ayala, David G. Myers, Giuseppe Del Re, Herbert Benson, Patricia Myers, David B. Larson, Susan S. Larson, and Fraser Watts.
God, Sex, Science, Gender: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Christian Ethics is a timely, wide-ranging attempt to rescue dialogues on human sexuality, sexual diversity, and gender from insular exchanges based primarily on biblical scholarship and denominational ideology. Too often, dialogues on sexuality and gender devolve into the repetition of party lines and defensive postures, without considering the interdisciplinary body of scholarly research on this complex subject. This volume expands beyond the usual parameters, opening the discussion to scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences to foster the development of Christian sexual ethics for contemporary times.
Essays by prominent and emerging scholars in the fields of anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, literary studies, theology, and ethics reveal how faith and reason can illuminate our understanding of human sexual and gender diversity. Focusing on the intersection of theology and science and incorporating feminist theory, God, Science, Sex, Gender is a much-needed call for Christian ethicists to map the origins and full range of human sexual experience and gender identity. Essays delve into why human sexuality and gender can be so controversial in Christian contexts, investigate the complexity of sexuality in humans and other species, and reveal the implications of diversity for Christian moral theology.
Contributors are Joel Brown, James Calcagno, Francis J. Catania, Pamela L. Caughie, Robin Colburn, Robert Di Vito, Terry Grande, Frank Fennell, Anne E. Figert, Patricia Beattie Jung, Fred Kniss, John McCarthy, Jon Nilson, Stephen J. Pope, Susan A. Ross, Joan Roughgarden, and Aana Marie Vigen.
With exoplanets being discovered daily, Earth is still the only planet we know of that is home to creatures who seek a coherent explanation for the structure, origins, and fate of the universe, and of humanity’s place within it. Today, science and religion are the two major cultural entities on our planet that share this goal of coherent understanding, though their interpretation of evidence differs dramatically. Many scientists look at the known universe and conclude we are here by chance. The renowned astronomer and historian of science Owen Gingerich looks at the same evidence—along with the fact that the universe is comprehensible to our minds—and sees it as proof for the planning and intentions of a Creator-God. He believes that the idea of a universe without God is an oxymoron, a self-contradiction. God’s Planet exposes the fallacy in thinking that science and religion can be kept apart.
Gingerich frames his argument around three questions: Was Copernicus right, in dethroning Earth from its place at the center of the universe? Was Darwin right, in placing humans securely in an evolving animal kingdom? And was Hoyle right, in identifying physical constants in nature that seem singularly tuned to allow the existence of intelligent life on planet Earth? Using these episodes from the history of science, Gingerich demonstrates that cultural attitudes, including religious or antireligious beliefs, play a significant role in what passes as scientific understanding. The more rigorous science becomes over time, the more clearly God’s handiwork can be comprehended.
In October 2014, a group of mathematicians, physicists, ecologists, philosophers, and theologians gathered at a special conference in Berkeley, California, to present the results of a two-year research program dubbed “Project SATURN.” This program explored many rich avenues of thought at the intersection of modern science and Christian theology. Chief among them is the possibility that specific processes might be so complex that they do not have sufficient physical causes. Known as “ontological indeterminism,” this idea has profound implications for theology. Specifically, it allows God to be thought of as acting providentially within nature without violating the laws and processes of nature.
Such a momentous insight could influence how we understand free will, natural evil, suffering in nature, and the relation between divine providence and human evolution. The essays collected here discussed these topics and were initially presented at the 2014 conference. Part I establishes the scientific basis for conceptualizing specific processes in the universe as inherently random and possibly indeterministic. Part II discusses the philosophical and theological issues that spring from this understanding. Together they represent the cutting edge of thought in the increasingly productive dialogue between science and theology.
Short for the “Scientific and Theological Understandings of Randomness in Nature,” Project SATURN was created by the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, a Program of the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. It was funded with a grant administered by Calvin College and provided by the John Templeton Foundation.
We live in a universe with a very long history, a vast cosmos where things are being worked out over unimaginably long ages. Stars and galaxies have formed, and elements come forth from great stellar cauldrons. The necessary elements are present, the environment is fit for life, and slowly life forms have populated the earth. Are the creative forces purposeful, and in fact divine?
Owen Gingerich believes in a universe of intention and purpose. We can at least conjecture that we are part of that purpose and have just enough freedom that conscience and responsibility may be part of the mix. They may even be the reason that pain and suffering are present in the world. The universe might actually be comprehensible.
Taking Johannes Kepler as his guide, Gingerich argues that an individual can be both a creative scientist and a believer in divine design—that indeed the very motivation for scientific research can derive from a desire to trace God’s handiwork. The scientist with theistic metaphysics will approach laboratory problems much the same as does his atheistic colleague across the hall. Both are likely to view the astonishing adaptations in nature with a sense of surprise, wonder, and mystery.
In God’s Universe Gingerich carves out “a theistic space” from which it is possible to contemplate a universe where God plays an interactive role, unnoticed yet not excluded by science.
Scientists, theologians, and the spiritually inclined, as well as all those concerned with humanity's increasingly widespread environmental impact, are beginning to recognize that our ongoing abuse of the earth diminishes our moral as well as our material condition. Many people are coming to believe that strengthening the bonds among spirituality, science, and the natural world offers an important key to addressing the pervasive environmental problems we face.
The Good in Nature and Humanity brings together 20 leading thinkers and writers -- including Ursula Goodenough, Lynn Margulis, Dorion Sagan, Carl Safina, David Petersen, Wendell Berry, Terry Tempest Williams, and Barry Lopez -- to examine the divide between faith and reason, and to seek a means for developing an environmental ethic that will help us confront two of our most imperiling crises: global environmental destruction and an impoverished spirituality. The book explores the ways in which science, spirit, and religion can guide the experience and understanding of our ongoing relationship with the natural world and examines how the integration of science and spirituality can equip us to make wiser choices in using and managing the natural environment. The book also provides compelling stories that offer a narrative understanding of the relations among science, spirit, and nature.
Grounded in the premise that neither science nor religion can by itself resolve the prevailing malaise of environmental and moral decline, contributors seek viable approaches to averting environmental catastrophe and, more positively, to achieving a more harmonious relationship with the natural world. By bridging the gap between the rational and the religious through the concern of each for understanding the human relation to creation, The Good in Nature and Humanity offers an important means for pursuing the quest for a more secure and meaningful world.
In their search for truth, contemporary religious believers and modern scientific investigators hold many values in common. But in their approaches, they express two fundamentally different conceptions of how to understand and represent the world. Michael E. Hobart looks for the origin of this difference in the work of Renaissance thinkers who invented a revolutionary mathematical system—relational numeracy. By creating meaning through numbers and abstract symbols rather than words, relational numeracy allowed inquisitive minds to vault beyond the constraints of language and explore the natural world with a fresh interpretive vision.
The Great Rift is the first book to examine the religion-science divide through the history of information technology. Hobart follows numeracy as it emerged from the practical counting systems of merchants, the abstract notations of musicians, the linear perspective of artists, and the calendars and clocks of astronomers. As the technology of the alphabet and of mere counting gave way to abstract symbols, the earlier “thing-mathematics” metamorphosed into the relational mathematics of modern scientific investigation. Using these new information symbols, Galileo and his contemporaries mathematized motion and matter, separating the demonstrations of science from the linguistic logic of religious narration.
Hobart locates the great rift between science and religion not in ideological disagreement but in advances in mathematics and symbolic representation that opened new windows onto nature. In so doing, he connects the cognitive breakthroughs of the past with intellectual debates ongoing in the twenty-first century.
Known as one of the most outstanding theologians of the twentieth century, Wolfhart Pannenberg is also considered a great interdisciplinary thinker. Now, essays and articles on science and theology that are central to understanding Pannenberg's theories have been collected into one volume.
Niels Henrik Gregersen, a former student of Pannenberg and now professor of systematic theology at Copenhagen University, has compiled the writings in four sections: Methodology, Creation and Nature's Historicity, Religion and Anthropology, and Meaning and Metaphysics. Included in this volume are:•Translations of Pannenberg's principled argument for the consonance between science and religion, including contingency and laws of nature, field theories and space-time, and divine action
With this collection, the essays of this important contemporary theologian and his illuminating views are presented in one convenient volume.
This new collection of essays reveals how very little we know about God and fundamental spiritual principles. In recent years, scientific research has revealed that the universe is staggering in size and intricacy, and some scientists are now suggesting that our definition of God is much too small. Nine distinguished scholars and scientists present their varied views on the dimensions of God.
Edited by philanthropist John Marks Templeton, this fascinating and challenging book continues the exploration of theological and philosophical implications of the momentous and accelerating scientific discoveries of our times.
In seventeenth-century England, intellectuals of all kinds discovered their idealized self-image in the Adam who investigated, named, and commanded the creatures. Reinvented as the agent of innocent curiosity, Adam was central to the project of redefining contemplation as a productive and public labor. It was by identifying with creation’s original sovereign, Joanna Picciotto argues, that early modern scientists, poets, and pamphleteers claimed authority as both workers and “public persons.”
Tracking an ethos of imitatio Adami across a wide range of disciplines and devotions, Picciotto reveals how practical efforts to restore paradise generated the modern concept of objectivity and a novel understanding of the author as an agent of estranged perception. Finally, she shows how the effort to restore Adam as a working collective transformed the corpus mysticum into a public. Offering new readings of key texts by writers such as Robert Hooke, John Locke, Andrew Marvell, Joseph Addison, and most of all John Milton, Labors of Innocence in Early Modern England advances a new account of the relationship between Protestantism, experimental science, the public sphere, and intellectual labor itself.
In Many Worlds, renowned scientists in fields from physics to astronomy discuss the possibility of a cosmic evolutionary process that guides not only our universe, but other planets and universes as well. Physicist and author Paul Davies observes that “if it turns out to be the case that the universe is inherently bio-friendly, then the scientific, theological, and philosophical implications will be extremely significant.”
Many Worlds first focuses on what lessons might be learned from the latest knowledge of the origin and evolution of life. After establishing a well-grounded relationship between science and religion, authors such as Arthur Peacocke and John Leslie evaluate the intricate configuration of events that must occur to create a dynamic and chemically enriched environment capable of not only supporting life, but evolutionary processes as well. The final section addresses the provocative question of extraterrestrial life. What we may find could drastically change our relation to the universe and our creator.
As we reflect on the possibilities that the universe presents, author and contributor Christian de Duve aptly states, “Many myths have had to be abandoned. But mystery remains, more profound and beautiful than ever before, a reality almost inaccessible to our feeble human means.” Is our existence part of a divine scheme ingenuously designed to support life, or is it an extraordinary chain of accidents that culminate in a life-permitting environment? The scientific advancements of the past century cannot help but capture the imagination and inspire renewed hope for the future. This volume will add dimension and insight to these yet unanswered questions.
Mathematics and Religion: Our Languages of Sign and Symbol is the sixth title published in the Templeton Science and Religion Series, in which scientists from a wide range of fields distill their experience and knowledge into brief tours of their respective specialties. In this volume, Javier Leach, a mathematician and Jesuit priest, leads a fascinating study of the historical development of mathematical language and its influence on the evolution of metaphysical and theological languages.
Leach traces three historical moments of change in this evolution: the introduction of the deductive method in Greece, the use of mathematics as a language of science in modern times, and the formalization of mathematical languages in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. As he unfolds this fascinating history, Leach notes the striking differences and interrelations between the two languages of science and religion. Until now there has been little reflection on these similarities and differences, or about how both languages can complement and enrich each other.
In the main, nineteenth-century German theologians paid little attention to natural science and especially eschewed philosophically popular yet naive versions of natural theology. Frederick Gregory shows that the loss of nature from theological discourse is only one reflection of the larger cultural change that marks the transition of European society from a nineteenth century to a twentieth-century mentality.
In examining this "loss of nature," Gregory refers to a larger shift in epistemological foundations--a shift felt in many fields ranging from art to philosophy to history to, of course, theology. Employing different understandings of the concept of truth as investigative tools, the author depicts varying theological responses to the growth of natural science in the nineteenth century. Although nature was lost to Germany's "premier" theologians, Gregory shows it was not lost to the majority of nineteenth century laypeople or to the various theologians who spoke for them. Like their twentieth-century counterparts, nineteenth-century creationists insisted on keeping nature at the heart of their systems; liberals welcomed natural knowledge with the conviction that there would be no contradiction if one really understood science or if one really understood religion; and pantheistic naturalists confidently discovered a religious vision in the wonder of the Darwinian universe. Gregory suggests that modern theologians who stand in the shadow of the loss of nature from theology are challenged to devise a way to recapture what others did not abandon.
In this study of natural science and religion in nineteenth century German-speaking Europe, Gregory examines an important but largely neglected topic that will interest an audience that includes historians of theology, historians of philosophy, cultural and intellectual historians of the German-speaking world, and historians of science.
In The New Flatlanders, teacher, scientist, and chaplain Eric Middleton challenges traditional ways of looking at reality by engaging readers in a "voyage of discovery starting with questions." The book engagingly begins with a discussion group embarking on an exploratory conversation about the nature of the universe and the place of human beings in it. Daunting questions emerge, such as "How can there possibly be a tear or hole in three-dimensional space? And if there is a hole, can something fall through it? Where would it fall to?" In short order, students and teacher are on a quest to develop a "working theory of everything" that takes them from stone circles to quarks, superstrings, quantum theory, the anthropic principle, evolution, consciousness, miracles, chaos, and the spiritual universe.
The key to exploring these questions is finding a language with which to talk about the awe and wonder of today's science alongside the joy of experiencing the spiritual. This is done by interweaving into the discussions the philosophy of "Flatland," a nonreligious entry point to Jesus posited by nineteenth-century clergyman and educator Edwin A. Abbott in his classic parable Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions.
An ethnographic exploration of technoscientific immortality
Immortality has long been considered the domain of religion. But immortality projects have gained increasing legitimacy and power in the world of science and technology. With recent rapid advances in biology, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence, secular immortalists hope for and work toward a future without death.
On Not Dying is an anthropological, historical, and philosophical exploration of immortality as a secular and scientific category. Based on an ethnography of immortalist communities—those who believe humans can extend their personal existence indefinitely through technological means—and an examination of other institutions involved at the end of life, Abou Farman argues that secular immortalism is an important site to explore the tensions inherent in secularism: how to accept death but extend life; knowing the future is open but your future is finite; that life has meaning but the universe is meaningless. As secularism denies a soul, an afterlife, and a cosmic purpose, conflicts arise around the relationship of mind and body, individual finitude and the infinity of time and the cosmos, and the purpose of life. Immortalism today, Farman argues, is shaped by these historical and culturally situated tensions. Immortalist projects go beyond extending life, confronting dualism and cosmic alienation by imagining (and producing) informatic selves separate from the biological body but connected to a cosmic unfolding.
On Not Dying interrogates the social implications of technoscientific immortalism and raises important political questions. Whose life will be extended? Will these technologies be available to all, or will they reproduce racial and geopolitical hierarchies? As human life on earth is threatened in the Anthropocene, why should life be extended, and what will that prolonged existence look like?
What do modern multiverse theories and spiritualist séances have in common? Not much, it would seem. One is an elaborate scientific theory developed by the world’s most talented physicists. The other is a spiritual practice widely thought of as backward, the product of a mystical world view fading under the modern scientific gaze.
But Christopher G. White sees striking similarities. He does not claim that séances or other spiritual practices are science. Yet he points to ways that both spiritual practices and scientific speculation about multiverses and invisible dimensions are efforts to peer into the hidden elements and even the existential meaning of the universe. Other Worlds examines how the idea that the universe has multiple, invisible dimensions has inspired science fiction, fantasy novels, films, modern art, and all manner of spiritual thought reaching well beyond the realm of formal religion. Drawing on a range of international archives, White analyzes how writers, artists, filmmakers, televangelists, and others have used the scientific idea of invisible dimensions to make supernatural phenomena such as ghosts and miracles seem more reasonable and make spiritual beliefs possible again for themselves and others.
Many regard scientific ideas as disenchanting and secularizing, but Other Worlds shows that these ideas—creatively appropriated in such popular forms as C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, the art of Salvador Dalí, or the books of the counterculture physicist “Dr. Quantum”—restore a sense that the world is greater than anything our eyes can see, helping to forge an unexpected kind of spirituality.
The Revd. Dr. John Polkinghorne is a world-renowned authority in the field of science and religion. His numerous books in this area, written over the past three decades, have been hugely influential. The Polkinghorne Reader brings together key extracts from his writings on core issues such as the nature of science, the physical world, human nature, love, theology, creation, providence, prayer and miracle, time, evil, Jesus, the resurrection, the Trinity, eschatology, and world faiths.
Ideal for readers who are new to Polkinghorne or who are just beginning to explore the interplay between science and religion, this collection will also be welcomed by all who have read his earlier works but would like one handy resource that presents the major facets of his thought in an accessible and systematic fashion.
John C. Polkinghorne, internationally renowned priest-scientist, addresses fundamental questions about how scientific and theological worldviews relate to each other in this, the second volume (originally published in 1988) of his trilogy, which also included Science and Providence and One World.
Dr. Polkinghorne illustrates how a scientifically minded person approaches the task of theological inquiry, postulating that there exists a close analogy between theory and experiment in science and belief and understanding in theology. He offers a fresh perspective on such questions as: Are we witnessing today a revival a natural theology—the search for God through the exercise of reason and the study of nature? How do the insights of modern physics into the interlacing of order and disorder relate to the Christian doctrine of Creation? What is the relationship between mind and matter?
Polkinghorne states that the "remarkable insights that science affords us into the intelligible workings of the world cry out for an explanation more profound than that which it itself can provide. Religion, if it is to take seriously its claim that the world is the creation of God, must be humble enough to learn from science what that world is actually like.The dialogue between them can only be mutually enriching."
Internationally renowned priest-scientist Dr. John C. Polkinghorne examines whether a personal, interacting God is a credible concept in today's scientific age. Encouraging the belief that there is a compatibility between the insights of science and the insights of religion, this book, previously published in the United Kingdom, focuses on the viewpoint that the world is one in which both human beings and God have the freedom to act.
A modern understanding of the physical world is applied to questions of prayer and providence, such as: Do miracles happen? Can prayer change anything? Why does evil exist? Why does God allow suffering? Why does God need us to ask him?
God's involvement in time is considered, from both a temporal and an eternal perspective. The roles of incarnation and sacrament are discussed in terms of whether or not they have a credible place in today's worldview. And the Final Anthropic Principle (FAP) is presented, with its attempt at a physical eschatology, showing it to be an inadequate basis for hope. Real hope can reside only with God, Polkinghorne concludes.
opportunities been greater for fertile interaction between these fields, with mutual benefits to both,” states Rolston. The re-publication of this book provides current researchers and students in the field an invaluable, timeless methodological resource.The new introduction offers updated insights based on new scientific research.
Science and Religion is a record of the 2009 Building Bridges seminar, a dialogue between leading Christian and Muslim scholars convened annually by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The essays in this volume explore how both faith traditions have approached the interface between science and religion and throw light on the ongoing challenges posed by this issue today. The volume includes a selection of relevant texts together with commentary that illuminates the scriptures, the ideas of key religious thinkers, and also the legacy of Charles Darwin.
Originally published in Great Britain and now updated and available for the first time in a U.S. edition, this book is a critically acclaimed work by a renowned theologian-scientist.
Russell Stannard is known for cutting through highly technical data and presenting it clearly and simply. In Science and the Renewal of Belief he sheds light on ways in which science and religion influence each other and can help each other. Science and logic cannot establish belief, he says, but belief can be confirmed and renewed with the changed perspective of modern science.
The many reviews of the U.K. edition of his book cite his lucid presentation of relativity and quantum theory, and the way he uses relativity to explore time and eternity, and indeterminacy to comment on free will. He is also praised for offering fresh insight into original sin, the trials experienced by Galileo, the problem of pain, the possibility of miracles, the evidence for the resurrection, the credibility of incarnation, and the power of steadfast prayer. By introducing simple analogies, Stannard clears up misunderstandings that have muddied the connections between science and religion, and suggests contributions that the pursuit of physical science can make to theology.
Spiritual Information is a collection of one hundred essays that explore a portion of the vast interdisciplinary approaches to the study of science and religion. Individually and together, the essays show how the study of ourselves, our planet, and the universe helps us understand our place as spiritual beings within God’s universe.
The book is a tribute to Sir John Templeton and his pioneering commitment toward new research that results in “one hundredfold more spiritual information than humankind has ever possessed before.” It begins with essays that reflect on Sir John’s principal domains of interest and expertise: free-enterprise based finance and accelerating spiritual progress.
Themes of the sections are:•Science-Religion Dialogue
During the Middle Ages, philosophers and theologians argued over the extramental reality of universal forms or essences. In the early modern period, the relation between subjectivity and objectivity, the individual self and knowledge of the outside world, was a rich subject of debate. Today, there is considerable argument about the relation between spontaneity and determinism within the evolutionary process, whether a principle of spontaneous self-organization as well as natural selection is at work in the aggregation of molecules into cells and the development of primitive forms of life into complex organisms. In Subjectivity, Objectivity and Intersubjectivity, Joseph A. Bracken proposes that what is ultimately at stake here is the age-old problem of the relationship between the One and the Many, universality and particularity on different levels of existence and activity within nature.
Between 1650 and 1750, four Catholic churches were the best solar observatories in the world. Built to fix an unquestionable date for Easter, they also housed instruments that threw light on the disputed geometry of the solar system, and so, within sight of the altar, subverted Church doctrine about the order of the universe.
A tale of politically canny astronomers and cardinals with a taste for mathematics, The Sun in the Church tells how these observatories came to be, how they worked, and what they accomplished. It describes Galileo's political overreaching, his subsequent trial for heresy, and his slow and steady rehabilitation in the eyes of the Catholic Church. And it offers an enlightening perspective on astronomy, Church history, and religious architecture, as well as an analysis of measurements testing the limits of attainable accuracy, undertaken with rudimentary means and extraordinary zeal. Above all, the book illuminates the niches protected and financed by the Catholic Church in which science and mathematics thrived.
Superbly written, The Sun in the Church provides a magnificent corrective to long-standing oversimplified accounts of the hostility between science and religion.
Technology is changing all the time, but does it also have the ability to change us and the way we approach religion and spirituality? In Technology and Religion: Remaining Human in a Co-created World, Noreen Herzfeld examines this and other provocative questions as she provides an accessible and fascinating overview of the relationship between religion and the ever-broadening world of technology.
What is time? Is there a link between objective knowledge about time and subjective experience of time? And what is eternity? Does religion have the answer? Does science?
The Trinity Circle explores the creation of knowledge in nineteenth-century England, when any notion of a recognizably modern science was still nearly a century off, religion still infused all ways of elite knowing, and even those who denied its relevance had to work extremely hard to do so. The rise of capitalism during this period—embodied by secular faith, political radicalism, science, commerce, and industry—was, according to Anglican critics, undermining this spiritual world and challenging it with a superficial material one: a human-centric rationalist society hell-bent on measurable betterment via profit, consumption, and a prevalent notion of progress. Here, William J. Ashworth places the politics of science within a far more contested context. By focusing on the Trinity College circle, spearheaded from Cambridge by the polymath William Whewell, he details an ongoing struggle between the Established Church and a quest for change to the prevailing social hierarchy. His study presents a far from unified view of science and religion at a time when new ways of thinking threatened to divide England and even the Trinity College itself.
Science and religion are often thought to be advancing irreconcilable goals and thus to be mutually antagonistic. Yet in the often acrimonious debates between the scientific and religions communities, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that both science and religion are systems of thought and knowledge that aim to understand the world and our place in it.
Webs of Reality is a rare examination of the interrelationship between religion and science from a social science perspective, offering a broader view of the relationship, and posing practical questions regarding technology and ethics. Emphasizing how science and religion are practiced instead of highlighting the differences between them, the authors look for the subtle connections, tacit understandings, common history, symbols, and implicit myths that tie them together. How can the practice of science be understood from a religious point of view? What contributions can science make to religious understanding of the world? What contributions can the social sciences make to understanding both knowledge systems? Looking at religion and science as fields of inquiry and habits of mind, the authors discover not only similarities between them but also a wide number of ways in which they complement each other.
A crystal-clear, scientifically rigorous argument for the existence of free will, challenging what many scientists and scientifically minded philosophers believe.
Philosophers have argued about the nature and the very existence of free will for centuries. Today, many scientists and scientifically minded commentators are skeptical that it exists, especially when it is understood to require the ability to choose between alternative possibilities. If the laws of physics govern everything that happens, they argue, then how can our choices be free? Believers in free will must be misled by habit, sentiment, or religious doctrine. Why Free Will Is Real defies scientific orthodoxy and presents a bold new defense of free will in the same naturalistic terms that are usually deployed against it.
Unlike those who defend free will by giving up the idea that it requires alternative possibilities to choose from, Christian List retains this idea as central, resisting the tendency to defend free will by watering it down. He concedes that free will and its prerequisites—intentional agency, alternative possibilities, and causal control over our actions—cannot be found among the fundamental physical features of the natural world. But, he argues, that’s not where we should be looking. Free will is a “higher-level” phenomenon found at the level of psychology. It is like other phenomena that emerge from physical processes but are autonomous from them and not best understood in fundamental physical terms—like an ecosystem or the economy. When we discover it in its proper context, acknowledging that free will is real is not just scientifically respectable; it is indispensable for explaining our world.
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