The certainties which underpinned Christian belief have crumbled in a world where science sets the standard of what is true. A rational case for belief must therefore be constructed out of uncertainties. Probability theory provides the tools for measuring and combining uncertainties and is thus the key to progress.
This book examines four much debated topics where the logic of uncertain reference can be brought to bear. These are: miracles, the paranormal, God’s existence, and the Bible. Given the great diversity of evidence, it is not surprising that opposite conclusions have been drawn by supposedly rational people. An assessment of the state of the argument from a probabilistic perspective is overdue.
In this book Professor Bartholomew examines and refutes some of the more extravagant claims, evaluates the weight of some of the quantitative evidence, and provides an answer to the fundamental question: can a rational person be a Christian?
In 1633, at the end of one of the most famous trials in history, the Inquisition condemned Galileo for contending that the Earth moves and that the Bible is not a scientific authority. Galileo’s condemnation set off a controversy that has acquired a fascinating life of its own and that continues to this day. This absorbing book is the first to examine the entire span of the Galileo affair from his condemnation to his alleged rehabilitation by the Pope in 1992. Filled with primary sources, many translated into English for the first time, Retrying Galileo will acquaint readers with the historical facts of the trial, its aftermath and repercussions, the rich variety of reflections on it throughout history, and the main issues it raises.
How does modern science bear upon such ultimate questions as the origin of the universe and the existence of God? Cosmos, Bios, Theos is a portfolio of opinions and arguments from 60 scientists, including 24 Nobel Prize winners, on the relationshiip between the scientific enterprise and the religious view of reality.
In Cosmos, Bios, Theos Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe, Life, and Homo sapiens.
The book is edited by Henry Margenau and Roy Abraham Varghese.
Why did an atheist like Carl Sagan talk so much about God? Why does NASA climatologist James Hansen plead with us in his recent book not to waste “Our Last Chance to Save Humanity”? Because science advisors are our new prophets, Lynda Walsh argues in Scientists as Prophets: A Rhetorical Genealogy. She does not claim, as some scholars have, that these public scientists push scientism as a replacement for religion. Rather, she puts forth the provocative argument that prophetic ethos is a flexible type of charismatic authority whose function is to manufacture certainty. Scientists aren’t our only prophets, Walsh contends, but science advisors predictably perform prophetic ethos whenever they need to persuade their publics to take action or fund basic research.
Walsh first charts the genealogy of this hybrid scientific-prophetic ethos back to its roots in ancient oracles before exploring its flourishing in 17th century Europe. She then tracks its performances and mutations through several important late-modern events in America: Robert Oppenheimer‘s role in the opening of the atomic age; Rachel Carson‘s interventions in pesticide use; the mass-media polemics of science popularizers such as Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, and Stephen Jay Gould; and finally the UN’s climate change panel and their role in Climategate. Along the way, Walsh highlights the special ethical and political defects embedded in the genealogy of the scientist-prophet, and she finishes by evaluating proposed remedies. She concludes that without a radical shift in our style of deliberative policy-making, there is little chance of remedying the dysfunctions in our current science-advising system. A cogent rhetorical analysis of over 1,000 archival documents from 10 historic cases, Scientists as Prophets engages scholars of scientific rhetoric, history, and literacy, but is also accessible to readers interested in the roots of current political debates about the environment, nuclear energy, and science education.
In recent years, the relations between science and religion have been the object of renewed attention. Developments in physics, biology and the neurosciences have reinvigorated discussions about the nature of life and ultimate reality. At the same time, the growth of anti-evolutionary and intelligent design movements has led many to the view that science and religion are necessarily in conflict.
This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the relations between science and religion, with contributions from historians, philosophers, scientists and theologians. It explores the impact of religion on the origins and development of science, religious reactions to Darwinism, and the link between science and secularization. It also offers in-depth discussions of contemporary issues, with perspectives from cosmology, evolutionary biology, psychology, and bioethics.
The volume is rounded out with philosophical reflections on the connections between atheism and science, the nature of scientific and religious knowledge, and divine action and human freedom.
Like detectives sleuthing out the greatest mystery of all, scientists over the centuries have uncovered clues about the structure and origins of the universe. The work of Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and a host of other tenacious researchers and thinkers reveals a cosmos of almost unimaginable wonder and beauty.
If we then honestly follow the evidence of science wherever it leads, where do we end up? Karl Giberson takes us on a fascinating guided tour of planets and protons, galaxies and gamma rays. We discover that if gravity were slightly stronger, neutrons a tiny bit lighter, the size of our sun somewhat larger or a dozen other factors altered by fractions, there would be no life.
The author shows that for many observers, even those who do not embrace religious faith, all of this looks suspiciously like the expression of a grand plan–a cosmic architecture capable of both supporting life such as ours, and inspiring observers like us to seek out hints of a creator.
Hints of God in Our Fine-Tuned World
Historian Edward Grant illuminates how today’s scientific culture originated with the religious thinkers of the Middle Ages. In the early centuries of Christianity, Christians studied science and natural philosophy only to the extent that these subjects proved useful for a better understanding of the Christian faith, not to acquire knowledge for its own sake.
However, with the influx of Greco-Arabic science and natural philosophy into Western Europe during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the Christian attitude toward science changed dramatically. Despite some tensions in the thirteenth century, the Church and its theologians became favorably disposed toward science and natural philosophy and used them extensively in their theological deliberations.
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 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.
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.”