Over the centuries and now into the new millenium, scientists, theologians, and the general public have shared many questions about the implications of scientific discoveries for religious faith. Trained both as a physicist and as a theologian, Ian Barbour is distinctly qualified to examine the interrelationship between religion and science. "When Science Meets Religion" is the sum of all he has learned and taught in his illustrious career. In simple, straightforward language, Barbour explores Creation and the Big Bang, Quantum Physics and Ultimate Reality, Evolution and Continuing Creation, Genetics and Human Nature, God and Nature, and other fascinating topics which illuminate the critical encounter of the spiritual and quantitative dimensions of life.Publishers Description
The Definitive Introduction To
The Relationship Between
Religion And Science
∗ In The Beginning: Why Did the Big Bang Occur?
∗ Quantum Physics: A Challenge to Our Assumptions About Reality?
∗ Darwin And Genesis: Is Evolution God′s Way of Creating?
∗ Human Nature: Are We Determined by Our Genes?
∗ God And Nature: Can God Act in a Law-Bound World?
Over the centuries and into the new millennium, scientists, theologians, and the general public have shared many questions about the implications of scientific discoveries for religious faith. Nuclear physicist and theologian Ian Barbour, winner of the 1999 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion for his pioneering role in advancing the study of religion and science, presents a clear, contemporary introduction to the essential issues, ideas, and solutions in the relationship between religion and science. In simple, straightforward language, Barbour explores the fascinating topics that illuminate the critical encounter of the spiritual and quantitative dimensions of life.
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Release Date Jun 1, 2000
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
|An excellent book Mar 19, 2007|
|This book covers a difficult topic with detail, logic an openness, and really makes you think!|
|An Accessible Overview of Key Issues May 22, 2006|
|When Science Meets Religion: Enemies, Strangers, or Partners?, involves what Holmes Rolston, III, fittingly describes as a distillation of "a lifetime of thinking about how science and religion relate." As dean of and senior statesman for the science and religion discussion, Barbour draws together, in a user-friendly way, a variety of critical issues in that conversation. The book is "intended as an introduction to the field," says the author, and the book is "briefer and more accessible than my early writings."|
That Barbour is capable of pulling off a project of this magnitude will come as no surprise to those acquainted with his work. Barbour, the Winifred and Atherton Bean Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and Society at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, launched the current era in the dialogue between science and religion thirty-five years ago with his groundbreaking book, Issues in Science and Religion.
Since the release of that publication, Barbour's works have become standard texts for those both inside and outside the interdisciplinary science and religion discussion. In 1999, this physicist and theologian won the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.
What makes When Science Meets Religion different from Barbour's previous books is the innovative method he uses to explore the pertinent material, most of which has been addressed in earlier writing. In the book's opening chapter, Barbour explains varying way that science and religion are considered to be related using his now classic four-fold typology (conflict, independence, dialogue, and integration). He then applies this typology in subsequent chapters to discuss (1) astronomy and creation, (2) quantum physics, (3) evolution and continuing creation, (4) genetics, neuroscience, and human nature, and (5) God's action in nature.
While the majority of the book's space is devoted to summaries and explanations, Barbour's novel use of his typology results in a book more apologetic in tone than books he has previously authored. In particular, Barbour gives reasons for disagreeing with the "conflict" thesis type, and, although pointing out valid themes in the independence type, he also does not accept the "independence" conclusions. The proposals he does appreciate fit appropriately in the "dialogue" and "integrationist" types. Barbour believes, then, that the preferred answer to the book's subtitle "Enemies, Strangers, or Partners?" is that science and religion are best understood as capable of a mutually enriching partnership.
Barbour calls his own theory for how science and religion best "meet" a "theology of nature." "Proponents of a theology of nature," he explains, "draw extensively from a historic tradition and a worshipping community, but they are willing to modify some traditional assertions in response to the findings of science." He cautiously uses notions from process philosophy, among other integrationist theories, to construct this theology of nature hypothesis.
The chapter summaries provide readers with glimpses into Barbour's personal conclusions on matters central to the science and religion discussion. With regard to astronomy and creation, Barbour notes that, "at the moment, a singular Big Bang seems the most plausible theory, and the theist can see it as a moment of divine initiation." However, he cautions, "we should not tie our religious beliefs irrevocably to one theory."
In summarizing his discussion of genetics, neuroscience, and human nature, Barbour contends that "both recent theology and recent science support a view of the person as a multilevel psychosomatic unity who is at the same time a biological organism and a responsible self." That both religious and scientific theories are able to support such a view provides grounding for further work in these general areas.
In the final chapter, in which conceptions pertaining to God's relation and activity in nature are addressed, Barbour returns, at least implicitly, to issues explored in previous chapters.
John B. Cobb, Jr., in his citation nominating Barbour for the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion that Barbour subsequently won, said that "no contemporary has made a more original, deep and lasting contribution toward the needed integration of scientific and religious knowledge and values than Ian G. Barbour. With respect to the breadth of topics and fields brought into this integration, Barbour has no equal." Barbour's latest contribution, When Science Meets Religion: Enemies, Strangers, or Partners?, provides further confirmation for Cobb's true statement.
Thomas Jay Oord
|Process this . . . Aug 13, 2003|
|When Science Meets Religion is the winner of the Templeton Prize for advancing religious understanding. As a humanist, this topic is always of interest to me, and I found Barbour's view on process theology most interesting. The typology of the book was such that four "topics" were discussed in each chapter with respect to the "view" being discussed: Conflict, Independence, Dialogue, and Integration. So, for instance Astronomy and Creation are "analyzed" from those four points, as are the other major sticking points between science and religion.|
Barbour seems to treat each position with respect and objectivity and clearly states his own position so that the reader is not required to "guess" where he is coming from in his own thinking. For example, in chapter five (Genet6ics, Neuroscience, and Human Nature) Barbour states clearly the "I will defend an integral view of the person as a psychosomatic unity, which I believe is closer to both the biblical view and the evidence from contemporary science." And so it goes through all the major topics of the book. And, in the next to the last paragraph, we have this conclusion: "Finally, I find the concepts of process philosophy particularly helpful, but I am aware that a single coherent set of philosophical categories may not do justice to the rich diversity of human experience."
In the end, Barbour has not convinced me to leave off my Humanist views, but he has indeed given me the framework I need to understand the need for others to use a religious model to express their sense of unity with all the Cosmos. As he so eloquently explains, all models are limited and partial, and none gives a complete or adequate picture of reality. So it is just a matter of where you wish to put your faith when it comes to understanding your own place in that infinity. One can put faith in science eventually giving us answers to the major questions we have or one can put faith in religion explaining the mysteries. Whichever system one chooses, one must keep in mind that no one model fulfills all needs or answers all questions.
From the Foreword:
"Quantum Physics: A Challenge to Our Assumptions about Reality?
Classical physics was deterministic and reductionistic in assuming that the behavior of all objects could be exactly predicted from accurate knowledge of their smallest components. Quantum physics, by contrast, acknowledges an inherent uncertainty in the prediction of events at the atomic and subatomic levels. It is also holistic in showing that the behavior of larger wholes is not simply the sum of the behavior of their parts, but involves distinctive system laws. More over, the quantum world can never be known as it is in itself, but only as it interacts with the observer in a particular experimental system. Quantum physics thus suggests the openness of the future, the inter connectedness of events, and the limitations of human knowledge. Some theistic interpreters propose that God determines the indeterminacies left open by the laws of quantum physics. Advocates of Eastern mysticism say that quantum holism supports their belief in the fundamental unity of all things. The new physics has led scientists, philosophers, and theologians to exciting discussions about time, causality, and the nature of reality."
|Is there a physicist in the house? May 14, 2002|
|Plain and simple. There is some thought-provoking points made in this book. But there are some difficulties for the average reader to comprehend.|
|When science meets religion Feb 14, 2002|
|Barbour is known for his expertise involving the connection between science/religion. As a student of both science and theology I highly recommend this text. The only flaw in this treatise is the material covered is limited. For a more complete text I suggest Barbour's " Science and Religion: Historical and contemporary issues."|
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