Physicist John Tyndall and his contemporaries were at the forefront of developing the cosmology of scientific naturalism during the Victorian period. They rejected all but physical laws as having any impact on the operations of human life and the universe. Contributors focus on the way Tyndall and his correspondents developed their ideas through letters, periodicals and scientific journals and challenge previously held assumptions about who gained authority, and how they attained and defended their position within the scientific community.
Apocalyptic Anxiety traces the sources of American culture’s obsession with predicting and preparing for the apocalypse. Author Anthony Aveni explores why Americans take millennial claims seriously, where and how end-of-the-world predictions emerge, how they develop within a broader historical framework, and what we can learn from doomsday predictions of the past.
The book begins with the Millerites, the nineteenth-century religious sect of Pastor William Miller, who used biblical calculations to predict October 22, 1844 as the date for the Second Advent of Christ. Aveni also examines several other religious and philosophical movements that have centered on apocalyptic themes—Christian millennialism, the New Age movement and the Age of Aquarius, and various other nineteenth- and early twentieth-century religious sects, concluding with a focus on the Maya mystery of 2012 and the contemporary prophets who connected the end of the world as we know it with the overturning of the Maya calendar.
Apocalyptic Anxiety places these seemingly never-ending stories of the world’s end in the context of American history. This fascinating exploration of the deep historical and cultural roots of America’s voracious appetite for apocalypse will appeal to students of American history and the histories of religion and science, as well as lay readers interested in American culture and doomsday prophecies.
Can religious beliefs survive in the scientific age? Are they resoundingly outdated? Or, is there something in them of great importance, even if the way they are expressed will have to change given new scientific context? These questions are among those at the core of the science-religion dialogue.
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?
•Do the laws of nature exclude miracles?
•Can science provide a wholly naturalistic explanation for moral and religious beliefs?
•Has science made belief in God obsolete? Are there any good science-based arguments for God?
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: An Evaluation of Design provides an overview of design and clarification of the controversial Intelligent Design (ID) movement, and ultimately concludes that there is no scientific proof behind Intelligent Design.
As the controversy over Intelligent Design has grown over the past few years, there has been 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 point out. They begin with a brief historical perspective of the design argument and then examine the major breakthroughs in cosmology, math and physics, and 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 of faith and sensory experience and with the suggestion that science has been successful at describing processes, but has failed at explaining origins.
Chance or Dance is ideal for students and general readers interested in understanding how modern science gives evidence for the creation of nature by the God of the Bible.
The Christian Philosopher
Cotton MatherEdited, with an Introduction and Notes, by Winton U. Solberg University of Illinois Press, 1994 Library of Congress BL180.M4 1994 | Dewey Decimal 215
Published in 1721 by the prominent Puritan clergyman Cotton Mather, The Christian Philosopher was the first comprehensive book on science to be written by an American. Building on natural theology, Mather demonstrated the harmony between religion and the new science associated with Sir Isaac Newton. His survey of all the known sciences from astronomy and physics to human anatomy presented evidence that both celestial and terrestrial phenomema imply an intelligent designer.
Winton Solberg's introduction places Mather's treatise in its widest historical context. In addition to tracing the origins and sources of Mather's work, Solberg analyzes the book's contents, its reception, and its significance in American intellectual and cultural history. This edition affirms Mather's importance to American thought as a deeply religious intellectual who introduced the Enlightenment to America.
Stefan Einhorn Templeton Press, 2002 Library of Congress BL200.E3713 2002 | Dewey Decimal 291.211
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?
•If so, is the concept of God logical and in agreement with the knowledge of the world that science has provided to date?
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.
Walter Thirring is an internationally renowned scientist who took part in and worked among those involved in many of the scientific developments of the twentieth century. His book, about the knowledge of the world as illuminated by twentieth century science, was originally published in German. This is the first English translation and is a book that is easily accessible to readers of popular science books and magazines.
Professor Thirring starts with cosmology as he examines scientific questions and theories concerning the intricacy of nature and the universe. He branches into an exposition of chaos and its connection to the macroscopic world, as well as to life sciences, touching on such diverse related subjects as the structure of the water molecule. He speaks of advances with which he was personally involved, and offers priceless vignettes of great scientists with whom he exchanged discussions, including Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger, and Wolfgang Pauli.
His study of scientific theory and the intricacy of nature and the universe illuminates his argument for the role of a Creator. "Reflections on the creation of the universe lead to reflections about the creator," he writes. And arguing against atheism, he points out:
“When we are moved by a fantastic building, a cathedral or a mosque and have finally realized what is behind the glorious proportions, who would then say, ‘Now we don't need the architect anymore. There might not even be one, that could all just be the random product of circumstance.’”
Furthermore, in making humankind special in his creation, the Creator gave us the responsibility of seeking an understanding of creation and protecting it.
Tackling complex issues in science and religion, Professor Thirring presents a compelling argument for their synthesis. His tenure and influence in the scientific field make this argument even more compelling.
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.
The book is organized into four sections, each preceded by a brief introduction explaining the order of the essays and their internal logic.
•Part one deals with methodology, evaluates the theological interpretation of scientific theories, and proposes a program for a "theology of science."
•Part two looks at the interaction of science and religion from a historical perspective. Topics include the evolution of ideas connected with the place of man in the Universe and the evolution of matter, among others.
•Part three concentrates on the "creation and science" quandary, including the big bang theory and the role of probability and chance in science, well as their impact on theological questions.
•Part four looks for vestiges of transcendence in contemporary science.
Creative Tension joins the Templeton library of resources contributing to the growing global dialogue on science and religion.
When David Gorlæus, a prospective theology student, passed away tragically at twenty-one years old, he left behind two highly innovative manuscripts, which were published posthumously in 1620 and 1651, respectively. As his identity was unknown, seventeenth-century readers understood him both as an anti-Aristotelian thinker and a precursor of Descartes. In contrast, by the twentieth century, historians depicted him as an atomist, natural scientist, and even a chemist. David Gorlæus (1591–1612) seeks to pull together what is known of this enigmatic figure. Combining multiple historical sources, Christoph Lüthy provides a narrative of Gorlæus’s life that casts light on his exceptional body of work and places it firmly at the intersection between philosophy, the nascent natural sciences, and theology.
“Christoph Lüthy is the first to tell the complete story of David Gorlæus and to reconstruct his image on the basis of all remaining sources. Showing in a convincing way that Gorlæus is one of the key figures in the renewal of atomistic philosophy in the seventeenth century and a major influence on many philosophers that are much better known, he leaves us with the melancholy picture of someone who died too young to become one of the heroes of the scientific revolution.”—Theo Verbeek, Utrecht University
Earth has been witness to mammoths and dinosaurs, global ice ages, continents colliding or splitting apart, and comets and asteroids crashing catastrophically to the surface, as well as the birth of humans who are curious to understand it. But how was all this discovered? How was the evidence for it collected and interpreted? And what kinds of people have sought to reconstruct this past that no human witnessed or recorded? In this sweeping and accessible book, Martin J. S. Rudwick, the premier historian of the Earth sciences, tells the gripping human story of the gradual realization that the Earth’s history has not only been unimaginably long but also astonishingly eventful.
Rudwick begins in the seventeenth century with Archbishop James Ussher, who famously dated the creation of the cosmos to 4004 BC. His narrative later turns to the crucial period of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when inquisitive intellectuals, who came to call themselves “geologists,” began to interpret rocks and fossils, mountains and volcanoes, as natural archives of Earth’s history. He then shows how this geological evidence was used—and is still being used—to reconstruct a history of the Earth that is as varied and unpredictable as human history itself. Along the way, Rudwick rejects the popular view of this story as a conflict between science and religion and shows how the modern scientific account of the Earth’s deep history retains strong roots in Judaeo-Christian ideas.
Extensively illustrated, Earth’s Deep History is an engaging and impressive capstone to Rudwick’s distinguished career. Though the story of the Earth is inconceivable in length, Rudwick moves with grace from the earliest imaginings of our planet’s deep past to today’s scientific discoveries, proving that this is a tale at once timeless and timely.
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 brought together 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 greatest 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, a concept also found in the Bible. By examining the similarities and differences, she paves the way for interdisciplinary dialogue.
The synthesis of these three complimentary studies brings out the complicity between belief and knowledge, thus establishing a bridge between two noble human activities: faith and scientific research. It will be of interest to all serious followers of the ongoing science and religion dialogue.
Eight years ago, in an unprecedented intellectual endeavor, the Dalai Lama invited Emory University to integrate modern science into the education of the thousands of Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns in exile in India. This project, the Emory Tibet Science Initiative, became the first major change in the monastic curriculum in six centuries. Eight years in, the results are transformative. The singular backdrop of teaching science to Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns offered provocative insights into how science and religion can work together to enrich each other, as well as to shed light on life and what it means to be a thinking, biological human. In The Enlightened Gene, Emory University Professor Dr. Arri Eisen, together with monk Geshe Yungdrung Konchok explore the striking ways in which the integration of Buddhism with cutting-edge discoveries in the biological sciences can change our understanding of life and how we live it. What this book discovers along the way will fundamentally change the way you think. Are humans inherently good? Where does compassion come from? Is death essential for life? Is experience inherited? These questions have occupied philosophers, religious thinkers and scientists since the dawn of civilization, but in today’s political discourse, much of the dialogue surrounding them and larger issues—such as climate change, abortion, genetically modified organisms, and evolution—are often framed as a dichotomy of science versus spirituality. Strikingly, many of new biological discoveries—such as the millions of microbes that we now know live together as part of each of us, the connections between those microbes and our immune systems, the nature of our genomes and how they respond to the environment, and how this response might be passed to future generations—can actually be read as moving science closer to spiritual concepts, rather than further away. The Enlightened Gene opens up and lays a foundation for serious conversations, integrating science and spirit in tackling life’s big questions. Each chapter integrates Buddhism and biology and uses striking examples of how doing so changes our understanding of life and how we lead it.
“Enriching our Vision of Reality is elegant, erudite, and animated by a constant enthusiasm for its subject. There is everything here—science, theology, philosophy, biography, even some poetry—all enlisted to help us to see the world as it is, both more clearly and with greater delight.” —Reverend Doctor Andrew Davison, Starbridge Lecturer in theology and natural sciences, University of Cambridge, and fellow in theology at Corpus Christi College
“It’s a pleasure to read an introduction to science and Christian belief that is both erudite and accessible. McGrath’s new book is rich with personal examples, biographies of famous scientists and theologians, and effective refutations of their detractors. This invitation to move forward from a bifurcated to an expansive view of reality is recommended for all who seek an ‘integrated understanding’ of science and Christian faith.” —Philip Clayton, editor of The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science
In this exceptional volume, leading theologian Alister McGrath writes for scientists with an interest in theology, and Christians and theologians who are aware of the importance of the natural sciences. A scene-setting chapter explores the importance of the human quest for intelligibility. The focus then moves to three leading figures who have stimulated discussion about the relationship between science and theology in recent years: Charles Coulson, an Oxford professor of theoretical chemistry who was also a prominent Methodist lay preacher; Thomas F. Torrance, perhaps the finest British theologian of the twentieth-century; and John Polkinghorne, a theoretical physicist and theologian.
The final section of the book features six “parallel conversations” between science and theology, which lay the groundwork for the kind of enriched vision of reality the author hopes to encourage. Here, we are inspired to enjoy individual aspects of nature while seeking to interpret them in the light of deeper revelations about our gloriously strange universe.
Contemporary scholarship has given rise to several different modes of understanding biophysical and human nature, each of which is 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.
Editor James D. Proctor has gathered sixteen in-depth essays, each of which examines and compares different aspects of five central metaphors or "visions" of biophysical and human nature. These visions are evolutionary nature, emergent nature, malleable nature, nature as sacred, and nature as culture. The book's diverse contributors offer a wide variety of unique perspectives on these five visions, spanning the intellectual spectrum and proposing important and often startling implications for religion and science alike. Throughout the essays, the authors do a great deal of cross-referencing and engaging each other's ideas, creating a cohesive dialogue on the visions of nature.
Envisioning Nature, Science, and Religion offers a blend of scholarly rigor and readable prose that will be appreciated by anyone engaged in the fields of religion, philosophy, and the natural sciences.
For nearly a century, the central theological message of science seemed to be that there was no need for theology: science could stand alone to explain the universe. But today that message is changing.
In this volume, a gallery of respected scientists describes new developments in their fields and the relationship with theological views of the universe. Contributors include: Owen Gingerich, Russell Stannard, Paul Davies, Walter R. Hearn, Robert Russell, Arthur Peacocke, John Polkinghorne, John C. Eccles, Daniel H. Osmond, and David Wilcox.
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 in three parts.
In his latest book, Ruse 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.
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.
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." 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 from a variety of 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 represented in this volume were selected from a pool of over one hundred and fifty applications, and they offer the very best scholarship from underrepresented regions around the globe. The essays cover a wide 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 the spiritual and philosophical traditions of their cultures. At the same time, they also deftly engage concepts from the ongoing Western dialogue in its own 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 in these truly interdisciplinary essays a multitude of windows into previously underexplored areas of research. Indeed, any one of these pieces could serve as the basis for entirely new programs of long-term study.
God For The 21St Century
Russell Stannard Templeton Press, 2000 Library of Congress BL240.2.G62 2000 | Dewey Decimal 215
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
•Life on other planets
•Faith and medicine
•The mind and the soul
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.
Until recently, science’s ability to describe and define our universe threatened to make religion obsolete. But the well-received hardcover edition of this book demonstrated that, increasingly, God is being revealed through science.
Now available in paperback, this positive work is for all who ponder the mystery and wonder of our universe—and the God who plans and oversees it. Probing the philosophical and theological impact of scientific discoveries, the authors urge us to adopt an analytical and open posture toward both science and religion. In the spirit of Sir Francis Bacon, this fascinating exploration shows us how “the book of God’s works” (natural science) can tell us a great deal about “the book of God’s words” (Scripture).
“We began this book with the idea that the God who has made this awesome and wonderful universe is utterly beyond our capacity to measure and yet is also the God who would be known. He has placed remarkable signs in the heavens, on Earth, and in ourselves: signals of transcendence. We conclude that this universe is here by divine plan, and that science itself, for decades a bastion of unbelief, has once again become the source of humankind’s assurance of intimate divine concern in its affairs.” —from the authors
Owen Gingerich Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress BL240.3.G558 2014 | Dewey Decimal 215
Many scientists look at the universe and conclude we are here by chance. The astronomer and historian Owen Gingerich looks at the same evidence—and the fact that the universe is comprehensible to our minds—and sees it as proof for the intentions of a Creator-God. The more rigorous science becomes, the more clearly God’s handiwork can be understood.
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
•Translations of Pannenberg's theory of theology as a rational hypothetical science, including his discussions with leading British and American scholars such as A. N. Whitehead, John Cobb, and Langdon Gilkey
•Previously unpublished articles on the problems between science and theology in the course of modern history, explaining why chance may be more important for theology than design
•Translations of seminal articles that articulate Pannenberg's understanding of the role of religion in human nature
•One of the few theological articles on aggression as a psychological and social phenomenon
With this collection, the essays of this important contemporary theologian and his illuminating views are presented in one convenient volume.
During the Victorian period, the practice of science shifted from a religious context to a naturalistic one. It is generally assumed that this shift occurred because naturalistic science was distinct from and superior to theistic science. Yet as Huxley’s Church and Maxwell’s Demon reveals, most of the methodological values underlying scientific practice were virtually identical for the theists and the naturalists: each agreed on the importance of the uniformity of natural laws, the use of hypothesis and theory, the moral value of science, and intellectual freedom. But if scientific naturalism did not rise to dominance because of its methodological superiority, then how did it triumph?
Matthew Stanley explores the overlap and shift between theistic and naturalistic science through a parallel study of two major scientific figures: James Clerk Maxwell, a devout Christian physicist, and Thomas Henry Huxley, the iconoclast biologist who coined the word agnostic. Both were deeply engaged in the methodological, institutional, and political issues that were crucial to the theistic-naturalistic transformation. What Stanley’s analysis of these figures reveals is that the scientific naturalists executed a number of strategies over a generation to gain control of the institutions of scientific education and to reimagine the history of their discipline. Rather than a sudden revolution, the similarity between theistic and naturalistic science allowed for a relatively smooth transition in practice from the old guard to the new.
During the first half of the twentieth century, supporters of the eugenics movement offered an image of a racially transformed America by curtailing the reproduction of “unfit” members of society. Through institutionalization, compulsory sterilization, the restriction of immigration and marriages, and other methods, eugenicists promised to improve the population—a policy agenda that was embraced by many leading intellectuals and public figures. But Catholic activists and thinkers across the United States opposed many of these measures, asserting that “every man, even a lunatic, is an image of God, not a mere animal."
In An Image of God, Sharon Leon examines the efforts of American Catholics to thwart eugenic policies, illuminating the ways in which Catholic thought transformed the public conversation about individual rights, the role of the state, and the intersections of race, community, and family. Through an examination of the broader questions raised in this debate, Leon casts new light on major issues that remain central in American political life today: the institution of marriage, the role of government, and the separation of church and state. This is essential reading in the history of religion, science, politics, and human rights.
The great paradox of science in the twentieth century is that the more we learn, the less we seem to know. In this volume, John Templeton and scientist Robert Herrmann address this paradox.
Reviewing the latest findings in fields from particle physics to archaeology, from molecular biology to cosmology, the book leads the reader to see how mysterious the universe is, even to the very science that seeks to reduce it to a few simple principles.
Far from concluding that religion and science are in opposition, the book shows how these two fields of inquiry are intimately linked, and how much they can offer to one another.
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.
The Western moral tradition has been profoundly influenced by attempts to ground moral convictions in an analysis of human nature, whether conceived in rational, emotional, or biological terms. This idea that nature is the ultimate standard of our actions is found in writers as different as Aristotle, Hume, Hobbes, and Darwin, as well as their modern followers. But in an age of rapid biological changes brought on by biotechnologies such as stem-cell research, gene therapy, and mood-altering drugs, can human nature still serve as a basis for our moral thinking?
This is the question explored by Richard Sherlock in Nature’s End: The Theological Meaning of the New Genetics. Sherlock contends that in light of the fact that we can now alter human nature we must find a transnatural standpoint from which to make moral judgments—that is, a theological standpoint. Current and future advances in genetic and biological science require a bold theological response, argues Sherlock, not a response based on pragmatism or arguments from nature, including natural-law arguments.
Sherlock provocatively calls for moral traditionalists to aim not so much for rational agreement as moral conversion, a “mighty change of heart.” Theology must bear witness to its deepest convictions about the meaning of human existence, he writes, and try to get people to see the world anew. Nothing less will serve to meet the deepest moral challenges let loose by the new biosciences.
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.
On the Modern Cult of the Factish Gods continues the project that the influential anthropologist, philosopher, and science studies theorist Bruno Latour advanced in his book We Have Never Been Modern. There he redescribed the Enlightenment idea of universal scientific truth, arguing that there are no facts separable from their fabrication. In this concise work, Latour delves into the “belief in naive belief,” the suggestion that fetishes—objects invested with mythical powers—are fabricated and that facts are not. Mobilizing his work in the anthropology of science, he uses the notion of “factishes” to explore a way of respecting the objectivity of facts and the power of fetishes without forgetting that both are fabricated. While the fetish-worshipper knows perfectly well that fetishes are man-made, the Modern icon-breaker inevitably erects new icons. Yet Moderns sense no contradiction at the core of their work. Latour pursues his critique of critique, or the possibility of mediating between subject and object, or the fabricated and the real, through the notion of “iconoclash,” making productive comparisons between scientific practice and the worship of visual images and religious icons.
Both science and religion explore aspects of reality, providing "a basis for their mutual interaction as they present their different perspectives onto the one world of existent reality," Polkinghorne argues. In One World he develops his thesis through an examination of the nature of science, the nature of the physical world, the character of theology, and the modes of thought in science and theology. He identifies "points of interaction" and points of potential conflict between science and religion. Along the way, he discusses creation, determinism, prayer, miracles, and future life, and he explains his rejection of scientific reductionism and his defense of natural theology.
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.
Sir John Templeton challenges the reader to apply the same energy that has been devoted to scientific inquiry to the pursuit of spiritual information. The world is at a state of unprecedented technical expertise, but why has our knowledge and faith in our own spirituality stalled and become obsolete in recent times?
Possibilities for Over One Hundredfold More Spiritual Information seeks to address this question. It points out that our spiritual knowledge would also have the capacity to increase dramatically if we were to open our minds to the endless possibilities that await us in terms of our spiritual lives. These include altruistic love for all people, new knowledge of the Divine, and a greater sense of our place in the universe. In order for us as human beings to take advantage of all of the spiritual gifts that we have been given, we need to be open and receptive to our individual spiritual natures, and to open ourselves to the limitless spiritual possibilities available to us.
The book acknowledges the ancient scriptures and thinkers who have guided us for centuries. Vastly expanded research and the use of scientific method would only enhance our understanding of the wisdom contained within these wise teachings. The benefits of extending our spiritual knowledge might, in fact, exceed the benefits we have realized thus far from scientific and medical advances.
Possibilities seeks to reawaken our desire for spiritual knowledge pushed aside so long ago in our quest for scientific knowledge. When these fields work together, the world will reap greater rewards that we can ever imagine.
Science and religion have long been thought incompatible. But nowhere has this apparent contradiction been more fully resolved than in the figure of A. S. Eddington (1882–1944), a pioneer in astrophysics, relativity, and the popularization of science, and a devout Quaker. Practical Mystic uses the figure of Eddington to shows how religious and scientific values can interact and overlap without compromising the integrity of either.
Eddington was a world-class scientist who not only maintained his religious belief throughout his scientific career but also defended the interrelation of science and religion while drawing inspiration from both for his practices. For instance, at a time when a strict adherence to deductive principles of physics had proved fruitless for understanding the nature of stars, insights from Quaker mysticism led Eddington to argue that an outlook less concerned with certainty and more concerned with further exploration was necessary to overcome the obstacles of incomplete and uncertain knowledge.
By examining this intersection between liberal religion and astrophysics, Practical Mystic questions many common assumptions about the relationship between science and spirituality. Matthew Stanley’s analysis of Eddington’s personal convictions also reveals much about the practice, production, and dissemination of scientific knowledge at the beginning of the twentieth century.
A committed Lutheran excommunicated from his own church, a friend to Catholics and Calvinists alike, a layman who called himself a “priest of God,” a Copernican in a world where Ptolemy still reigned, a man who argued at the same time for the superiority of one truth and the need for many truths to coexist—German astronomer Johannes Kepler was, to say the least, a complicated figure. With The Pursuit of Harmony, Aviva Rothman offers a new view of him and his achievements, one that presents them as a story of Kepler’s attempts to bring different, even opposing ideas and circumstances into harmony.
Harmony, Rothman shows, was both the intellectual bedrock for and the primary goal of Kepler’s disparate endeavors. But it was also an elusive goal amid the deteriorating conditions of his world, as the political order crumbled and religious war raged. In the face of that devastation, Kepler’s hopes for his theories changed: whereas he had originally looked for a unifying approach to truth, he began instead to emphasize harmony as the peaceful coexistence of different views, one that could be fueled by the fundamentally nonpartisan discipline of mathematics.
Often science and religion are seen as completely separate entities. Science exists in the realm of fact, whereas religion exists in the realm of faith. Conversations about genes, psychology, or even the meaning of life occur in silos. But as Eric Priest, Keith Ward, David Myers, N. T. Wright, and others show, these conversations are so much richer when both science and faith are incorporated.
This is exactly what Reason and Wonder does. Eric Priest has brought together twelve of the leading thinkers in science and theology to discuss everything from the origins of the universe to evolution and evil. At the heart of each essay is an understanding that the best science—and the best theology— are both undergirded by an appeal to reason as well as a deep sense of wonder.
Each of these great scientific and theological thinkers offers a chapter on their area of expertise, and the book closes with a stimulating set of questions for group discussion or personal reflection.
Contributors and their topics include:
Eric Priest: Towards an integration of science and religion
Keith Ward: God, science and the New Atheism
Eleonore Stump: Natural law, reductionism and the Creator
David Wilkinson: The origin and end of the universe: A challenge for Christianity
Jennifer Wiseman: Universe of wonder, universe of life
Kenneth R. Miller: Evolution, faith and science
Michael J. Murray and Jeff Schloss: Evolution and evil
Pauline Rudd: Is there more to life than genes?
David G. Myers: Psychological science meets Christian faith
John Wyatt: Being a person: Towards an integration of neuroscientific and Christian perspectives
John Swinton: From projection to connection: Conversations between science, spirituality and health
Mark Harris: Do the miracles of Jesus contradict science?
N. T. Wright: Can a scientist trust the New Testament?
Although much has been written about the vigorous debates over science and religion in the Victorian era, little attention has been paid to their continuing importance in early twentieth-century Britain. Reconciling Science and Religion provides a comprehensive survey of the interplay between British science and religion from the late nineteenth century to World War II.
Peter J. Bowler argues that unlike the United States, where a strong fundamentalist opposition to evolutionism developed in the 1920s (most famously expressed in the Scopes "monkey trial" of 1925), in Britain there was a concerted effort to reconcile science and religion. Intellectually conservative scientists championed the reconciliation and were supported by liberal theologians in the Free Churches and the Church of England, especially the Anglican "Modernists." Popular writers such as Julian Huxley and George Bernard Shaw sought to create a non-Christian religion similar in some respects to the Modernist position. Younger scientists and secularists—including Rationalists such as H. G. Wells and the Marxists—tended to oppose these efforts, as did conservative Christians, who saw the liberal position as a betrayal of the true spirit of their religion. With the increased social tensions of the 1930s, as the churches moved toward a neo-orthodoxy unfriendly to natural theology and biologists adopted the "Modern Synthesis" of genetics and evolutionary theory, the proposed reconciliation fell apart.
Because the tensions between science and religion—and efforts at reconciling the two—are still very much with us today, Bowler's book will be important for everyone interested in these issues.
In this intriguing history, James Gilbert examines the confrontation between modern science and religion as these disparate, sometimes hostile modes of thought clashed in the arena of American culture. Beginning in 1925 with the infamous Scopes trial, Gilbert traces nearly forty years of competing attitudes toward science and religion.
"Anyone seriously interested in the history of current controversies involving religion and science will find Gilbert's book invaluable."—Peter J. Causton, Boston Book Review
"Redeeming Culture provides some fascinating background for understanding the interactions of science and religion in the United States. . . . Intriguing pictures of some of the highlights in this cultural exchange."—George Marsden, Nature
"A solid and entertaining account of the obstacles to mutual understanding that science and religion are now warily overcoming."—Catholic News Service
"[An] always fascinating look at the conversation between religion and science in America."—Publishers Weekly
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.
This landmark book, first published in 1987, is now back in print, with a new introduction by its award-winning author. An interdisciplinary approach to the central themes of scientific and religious thought, this book was widely heralded upon its publication for the richness and depth of its contribution to the science and religion dialogue.
“notable for its breadth and depth . . . filled with admirably argued and powerfully presented treatments of critical issues.”—Joseph Pickle, Colorado College, Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
“a superb and subtle book.”—David Foxgrover, Christian Century
“a monumental work . . . [T]he book is truly outstanding.”—John H. Wright, Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, Theological Studies
“Rolston’s presentation of the methods of science, along with up-to-date summaries of the main achievements of the various sciences, is commendable for its clarity and critical acumen.”—Choice
According to Holmes Rolston III, there are fundamental questions that science alone cannot answer; these questions are the central religious questions. He uses the scientific method of inquiry to distill key issues from science, and then he integrates them in a study that begins with matter and moves through life, mind, culture, history, and spirit. Incorporating religious and scientific worldviews, he begins with an examination of two natural sciences: physics and biology. He then extrapolates examples from two human sciences: psychology and sociology. Next, he moves to the storied universe and world history, raising and addressing religious questions. “Never in the histories of science and religion have the
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.
Threatened by the proliferation of cheap, mass-produced publications, the Religious Tract Society issued a series of publications on popular science during the 1840s. The books were intended to counter the developing notion that science and faith were mutually exclusive, and the Society's authors employed a full repertoire of evangelical techniques—low prices, simple language, carefully structured narratives—to convert their readers. The application of such techniques to popular science resulted in one of the most widely available sources of information on the sciences in the Victorian era.
A fascinating study of the tenuous relationship between science and religion in evangelical publishing, Science and Salvation examines questions of practice and faith from a fresh perspective. Rather than highlighting works by expert men of science, Aileen Fyfe instead considers a group of relatively undistinguished authors who used thinly veiled Christian rhetoric to educate first, but to convert as well. This important volume is destined to become essential reading for historians of science, religion, and publishing alike.
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.
In his Descent of Man , Charles Darwin placed sympathy at the crux of morality in a civilized human society. His idea buttressed the belief that white, upper-class, educated men deserved their sense of superiority by virtue of good breeding. It also implied that societal progress could be steered by envisioning a new blueprint for sympathy that redefined moral actions carried out in sympathy's name. Rob Boddice joins a daring intellectual history of sympathy to a portrait of how the first Darwinists defined and employed it. As Boddice shows, their interpretations of Darwin's ideas sparked a cacophonous discourse intent on displacing previous notions of sympathy. Scientific and medical progress demanded that "cruel" practices like vivisection and compulsory vaccination be seen as moral for their ultimate goal of alleviating suffering. Some even saw the so-called unfit--natural targets of sympathy--as a danger to society and encouraged procreation by the "fit" alone. Right or wrong, these early Darwinists formed a moral economy that acted on a new system of ethics, reconceptualized obligations, and executed new duties. Boddice persuasively argues that the bizarre, even dangerous formulations of sympathy they invented influence society and civilization in the present day.
If cosmology connotes an understanding of the structure of both a physical and a transcendent universe, contends Erich Robert Paul, it is virtually impossible to understand Mormonism outside the dimensions of cosmological thinking. This unique study examines how Mormonism shaped its cosmic vision by using and developing cosmological ideas, and what this process says about science, religion, and Mormonism itself.
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:
•Cosmology, Physics, and Astronomy
•Mathematics, Musicology, and Speculation
•Biological Evolution—the Human Being
•Social Evolution—the Human Mind and Heart
•Religion and Health
•The Nature of the Divine
•Theology and Philosophy
“Sir John’s leadership has enabled us to edge ever closer to the frontier where knowledge meets wisdom at the threshold of ‘ultimate reality,’” notes the editor in the preface to this volume. As Spiritual Information presents an overview of how far we have come in the science and religion dialogue, it also opens windows to the vast possibilities for additional research and further advances in spiritual information.
Storm of Words is a study of the ways that southern Presbyterians in the wake of the Civil War contended with a host of cultural and theological questions, chief among them developments in natural history and evolution.
Southern Presbyterian theologians enjoyed a prominent position in antebellum southern culture. Respected for both their erudition and elite constituency, these theologians identified the southern society as representing a divine, Biblically ordained order. Beginning in the 1840s, however, this facile identification became more difficult to maintain, colliding first with antislavery polemics, then with Confederate defeat and reconstruction, and later with women’s rights, philosophical empiricism, literary criticisms of the Bible, and that most salient symbol of modernity, natural science.
As Monte Harrell Hampton shows in Storm of Words, modern science seemed most explicitly to express the rationalistic spirit of the age and threaten the Protestant conviction that science was the faithful “handmaid” of theology. Southern Presbyterians disposed of some of these threats with ease. Contemporary geology, however, posed thornier problems. Ambivalence over how to respond to geology led to the establishment in 1859 of the Perkins Professorship of Natural Science in Connexion with Revealed Religion at the seminary in Columbia, South Carolina. Installing scientist-theologian James Woodrow in this position, southern Presbyterians expected him to defend their positions.
Within twenty-five years, however, their anointed expert held that evolution did not contradict scripture. Indeed, he declared that it was in fact God’s method of creating. The resulting debate was the first extended evolution controversy in American history. It drove a wedge between those tolerant of new exegetical and scientific developments and the majority who opposed such openness. Hampton argues that Woodrow believed he was shoring up the alliance between science and scripture—that a circumscribed form of evolution did no violence to scriptural infallibility. The traditionalists’ view, however, remained interwoven with their identity as defenders of the Lost Cause and guardians of southern culture.
The ensuing debate triggered Woodrow’s dismissal. It also capped a modernity crisis experienced by an influential group of southern intellectuals who were grappling with the nature of knowledge, both scientific and religious, and its relationship to culture—a culture attempting to define itself in the shadow of the Civil War and Reconstruction.
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.
Bracken rejects traditional models of this relationship, wherein either the One or the Many is presupposed to have priority over the other. He instead suggests that a new social ontology—one that is grounded in a theory of universal intersubjectivity—protects both the concrete particularity of individual entities in their specific relations to one another and their enduring corporate reality as a stable community or environment within Nature.
What emerges is a bold reimagining of the sometimes strained relationship between religion and science. Bracken's clear writing, sophisticated philosophical analysis, and exemplary scholarship will lend this new work an enthusiastic appreciation by readers with deep interests in philosophy and philosophical theology.
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.
In order to consider fully a topic as wide as technology, Herzfeld approaches the field from three different angles: technologies of the human body—such as genetic engineering, stem cells, cloning, pharmaceutical technologies, mechanical enhancement and cyborgs; technologies of the human mind—like human and artificial intelligence, virtual reality and cyberspace; and technologies of the external environment—such as nanotechnology, genetically modified crops and new agricultural technologies, and energy technology. She takes a similarly broad approach to the field of religion, focusing on how these issues interface with the three Abrahamic traditions of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Throughout, readers will find nuanced examinations of the moral and ethical issues surrounding new technologies from the perspectives of these faith traditions.
The result is a multifaceted look at the ongoing dialogue between these two subjects that are not commonly associated with one another. This volume is the third title published in the new Templeton Science and Religion Series.
Our attempts to understand the world around us are greatly advanced by scientific research, which holds nearly unlimited potential to address our questions of what? and how? Some scientific fields, however, seem to take a hands-off approach to the big question of why? Why does the universe work the way it does? Why do our brains make us think certain thoughts or feel certain sensations? Why did we evolve the way we did? Some fundamental scientific understanding is necessary before one can venture too deeply into these types of inquiries, which almost inevitably involve larger philosophical and theological implications. The Templeton Science and Religion Reader invites readers to explore some of these fascinating questions and offers them the kind of knowledge they’ll need in order to seriously consider possible answers.
In the Templeton Science and Religion Series, scientific experts from a wide range of fields have distilled their experience and knowledge into brief tours of their respective specialties. The series was launched in 2008 with the publication of the inaugural volume, Medicine, Religion, and Health. Since that time, the series editors J. Wentzel van Huyssteen and Khalil Chamcham have expanded it to nine titles covering everything from paleontology to neuroscience to technology. Now, in The Templeton Science and Religion Reader, the editors have gathered together the very best chapters from these volumes into a single edited collection.
These chapters presuppose no scientific background and are designed to be accessible to the general reader. Each section may have a different focus—a quantum, a star in a galaxy, a bee, or the seat of human intelligence, which some may call the soul—but the editors have done a great service to the reader by juxtaposing these subjects in a way that suggests how each one relates to other entities, including both its own kind and the wider global environment. The end result is a truly cohesive collection that will both broaden and deepen our understanding of these interconnected relations and, in turn, the world around us.
Contributors include Denis R. Alexander, Justin L. Barrett, R. J. Berry, Warren S. Brown, Noreen Herzfeld, Malcom Jeeves, Harold G. Koenig, Javier Leach, Joseph Silk, and Ian Tattersall.
The conflict between science and religion seems indelible, even eternal. Surely two such divergent views of the universe have always been in fierce opposition? Actually, that’s not the case, says Peter Harrison: our very concepts of science and religion are relatively recent, emerging only in the past three hundred years, and it is those very categories, rather than their underlying concepts, that constrain our understanding of how the formal study of nature relates to the religious life.
In The Territories of Science and Religion, Harrison dismantles what we think we know about the two categories, then puts it all back together again in a provocative, productive new way. By tracing the history of these concepts for the first time in parallel, he illuminates alternative boundaries and little-known relations between them—thereby making it possible for us to learn from their true history, and see other possible ways that scientific study and the religious life might relate to, influence, and mutually enrich each other.
A tour de force by a distinguished scholar working at the height of his powers, The Territories of Science and Religion promises to forever alter the way we think about these fundamental pillars of human life and experience.
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?
Internationally known scholar Antje Jackelén investigates the problem and concept of time. Her study draws on her experiences in the Continental-European science and religion dialogue, with a particular focus on the German, Scandinavian, and Anglo-American dialogues. Her analysis of the subject includes:
•The notion of time and eternity as it is narrated through Christian hymn books stemming from Germany, Sweden, and the English-speaking world, with insights into changes of the concept and understanding of time in Christian spirituality over the past few decades
•Theological approaches to time and eternity, as well as a look at Trinitarian theology and its relation to time
•The discussion of scientific theories of time, including Newtonian, relativistic, quantum, and chaos theories
•The formulation of a "theology of time," a theological-mathematical model incorporating relational thinking oriented toward the future, the doctrine of trinity, and the notion of eschatology
In Trying Biology, Adam R. Shapiro convincingly dispels many conventional assumptions about the 1925 Scopes “monkey” trial. Most view it as an event driven primarily by a conflict between science and religion. Countering this, Shapiro shows the importance of timing: the Scopes trial occurred at a crucial moment in the history of biology textbook publishing, education reform in Tennessee, and progressive school reform across the country. He places the trial in this broad context—alongside American Protestant antievolution sentiment—and in doing so sheds new light on the trial and the historical relationship of science and religion in America.
For the first time we see how religious objections to evolution became a prevailing concern to the American textbook industry even before the Scopes trial began. Shapiro explores both the development of biology textbooks leading up to the trial and the ways in which the textbook industry created new books and presented them as “responses” to the trial. Today, the controversy continues over textbook warning labels, making Shapiro’s study—particularly as it plays out in one of America’s most famous trials—an original contribution to a timely discussion.
The Universe and I: Where Science & Spirituality Meet offers scholar and theologian George F. Dole’s thought-provoking insights on the dynamic nature of the ongoing science and religion debate. Why are we here? Where are we headed? Dole argues that to understand these questions, we need not only the grounding of science but also the insights of spirit.
As experts continue to work out the relationship between cosmology and human evolution, Dole, who has spent a lifetime making sense of the spiritual world, joins the conversation with a clarity that only he can provide. Shaped primarily as a response to the scientific community, he engages with a wide spectrum of thinkers, including Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins, and eighteenth-century polymath Emanuel Swedenborg, just to name a few.
Accessing a wealth of knowledge from across a wide variety of disciplines—philosophy, religion, biology, physics, and more—Dole presents his own model for our physical and spiritual existence. Starting with what we don’t know and what we can observe about the fundamentals of existence, Dole explores “the creative tension between differentiation and integration”—the drive to be individual and yet be united to a greater whole, a tension whose persistent progress since the Big Bang has brought about such gifts as the emergence of life and consciousness.
Dole not only presents us with the empirical evidence of science but also provides us with a first-person understanding of the spiritual dimension and how it might inform the way we consider those grand speculations on the meaning of the universe and of life. Reflecting on how life began leads to questions of how we will continue to advance humanity and goodwill for all—both as a species and as individuals striving for personal growth.
Asking the question “How can I, infinitesimal I, have the gall to regard myself as significant in the context of the universe?”, Dole embarks on a journey that spans the life of the universe itself, making every effort along the way to answer this question—for all of us.
Unlocking Divine Action
Michael J. Dodds Catholic University of America Press, 2012 Library of Congress BT135.D63 2012 | Dewey Decimal 231.7
Provides a sustained account of how the thought of Aquinas may be used in conjunction with contemporary science to deepen our understanding of divine action and address such issues as creation, providence, prayer, and miracles.
The Village Enlightenment in America focuses on three nineteenth-century spiritual activists who epitomized the marriage of science and religion fostered in antebellum, pre-Darwinian America by the American Enlightenment.
A theologian, writer, and apologist for the nascent Mormon movement, as well as an amateur scientist, Orson Pratt wrote Key to the Universe, or a New Theory of Its Mechanism, to establish a scientific base for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Robert Hare, an inventor and ardent convert to spiritualism, used his scientific expertise to lend credence to the spiritualist movement. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, generally considered the initiator of the American mind-cure movement, developed an overtly religious concept of science and used it to justify his system of theology.
Pratt, Hare, and Quimby all employed a potent combination of popular science and Baconianism to legitimate their new religious ideas. Using the same terms--matter, ether, magnetic force--to account for the behavior of particles, planetary rotation, and the influence of the Holy Ghost, these agents of the Enlightenment constructed complex systems intended to demonstrate a fundamental harmony between the physical and the metaphysical.
Through the lives and work of these three influential men, The Village Enlightenment in America opens a window to a time when science and religion, instead of seeming fundamentally at odds with each other, appeared entirely reconcilable.
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.
When Science and Christianity Meet
Edited by David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers University of Chicago Press, 2003 Library of Congress BL245.W485 2003 | Dewey Decimal 261.55
This book, in language accessible to the general reader, investigates twelve of the most notorious, most interesting, and most instructive episodes involving the interaction between science and Christianity, aiming to tell each story in its historical specificity and local particularity.
Among the events treated in When Science and Christianity Meet are the Galileo affair, the seventeenth-century clockwork universe, Noah's ark and flood in the development of natural history, struggles over Darwinian evolution, debates about the origin of the human species, and the Scopes trial. Readers will be introduced to St. Augustine, Roger Bacon, Pope Urban VIII, Isaac Newton, Pierre-Simon de Laplace, Carl Linnaeus, Charles Darwin, T. H. Huxley, Sigmund Freud, and many other participants in the historical drama of science and Christianity.
“Taken together, these papers provide a comprehensive survey of current thinking on key issues in the relationships between science and religion, pitched—as the editors intended—at just the right level to appeal to students.”—Peter J. Bowler, Isis
Why Free Will Is Real
Christian List Harvard University Press, 2019 Library of Congress BJ1461.L55 2019 | Dewey Decimal 123.5
Many scientists and scientifically-minded philosophers are skeptical that free will exists. In clear, scientifically rigorous terms, Christian List explains that free will is like other real phenomena that emerge from physical laws but are autonomous from them—like an ecosystem or the economy—and are indispensable for explaining our world.
Each world faith tradition has its own distinctive relationship with science, and the science-religion dialogue benefits from a greater awareness of what this relationship is. In this book, members of the International Society for Science and Religion (ISSR) offer international and multi-faith perspectives on how new discoveries in science are met with insights regarding spiritual realities.The essays reflect the conviction that “religion and science each proceed best when they’re pursued in dialogue with each other, and also that our fragmented and divided world would benefit more from a stronger dialogue between science and religion.”
In Part One, George F. R. Ellis, John C. Polkinghorne, and Holmes Rolston III, each a Templeton Prize winner, discuss their views on why the science and religion dialogue matters. They are joined in Part Two by distinguished theologians Fraser Watts and Philip Clayton, who place the dialogue in an international context; John Polkinghorne’s inaugural address to the ISSR in 2002 is also included. In Part Three, five members of the ISSR look at the distinctive relationships of their faiths to science:
•Carl Feit on Judaism
•Munawar Anees on Islam
•B.V. Subbarayappa on Hinduism
•Trinh Xuan Thuan on Buddhism
•Heup Young Kim on Asian Christianity
George Ellis, the recently elected second president of ISSR, summarizes the contributions of his colleagues. Ronald Cole-Turner then concludes the book with a discussion of the future of the science and religion dialogue.