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One World: The Interaction of Science and Theology Paperback – March 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Polkinghorne's remarkable facility to communicate science, his honest and non-dogmatic style in setting forth his own religious convictions, and his fairness to scientific, philosophical and theological issues make One World one of the best introductory books in religion and science today."--Religious Studies Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

John C. Polkinghorne’s renowned trilogy on the compatibility of religion and science is back in print.

 

One World (originally published in 1986) introduces issues in science and religion that Dr. Polkinghorne subsequently continued in Science and Providence and Science and Creation. The books have been widely acclaimed individually and as a series.
In the new preface to One World, Dr. Polkinghorne assesses his original writing of this book, pointing to themes that have remained important to his thinking and topics that have been expanded and modified through recent scientific discoveries. In fact, he contends, in today’s postmodern culture “the issue of what we can know and how we can gain knowledge is one of even greater criticality than it was in 1986.”
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.
Science does not have an absolute superiority over other forms of knowledge, nor does religion have all the answers. Both are searching for “the truth.” Both explore the universe as it is and submit to the evidence before them. And both must be open to continual correction.We live in one world. Polkinghorne’s insights continue to illuminate it as a world in which science and religion can stimulate and benefit each other. 
“Why do I regard this book as so important? Primarily because it makes sense of the scientific enterprise and the pursuit of theology, and in doing so it makes sense of the universe. . . . For arguing this so persuasively and with clarity and caution we owe him grateful thanks.”—The Expository Times
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Templeton Press; 1st edition (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599471116
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599471112
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #929,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on June 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Written by Anglican priest and former professor of mathematical physics John C. Polkinghorne, One World: The Interaction of Science and Theology is the first book in a trilogy written to examine reality through the dual perspectives of science and religion. Chapters offer a historical reassessment of the scientific method, a defense of natural theology as a discipline, the concept of sacrament as the point of connection between scientific and theological understanding, discussions of creationism, determinism, prayer, miracles, and future life, and much more. "Theology differs from science in many respects because of its very different subject matter, a personal God who cannot be put to the test in the way that the impersonal physical world can be subjected to experimental enquiry. Yet science and theology have this in common, that each can be, and should be, defended as being investigations of what is, the search for verisimilitude in our understanding of reality." A serious-minded quest for truth, highly recommended.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By C.L. Grant on October 3, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Had it up to here with pompous "Christian" dismissals of scientific endeavor? Ready to throw all Christians into that category?
Polkinghorn offers a refreshingly different and humble perspective as he explores ways in which the methodologies of science and of Christian theology are surprisingly consonant. He also suggests some intriguing possibilities for how these disciplines can inform each other.
A breath of fresh air in a room where so-called "scientific creationism" has made breathing difficult.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ky. Col. on April 7, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
John Polkinghorne in a sense stands between two worlds. On one hand, he was a noted scientist who specialized in mathematical physics. On the other he became a Anglican priest. In "One World", Polkinghorne gives readers a brief but very readable view of some of his opinions on science and theology. He shows what he feels are differences in mindsets and similarities as well. I don't agree with all of Polkinghorne's opinions (I am a Christian so it is specific points rather than his whole system that I disagree with), but I confess that he has the ability to make a person think outside the box. I recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. H. A. Jones on August 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is the first of three books dealing with the relation between science and religion by this author, formerly a professor of theoretical physics at Cambridge University but now an Anglican priest, ordained in 1982. John Polkinghorne, KBE, FRS, aims to show that science supports the notion of God rather than contradicts it. These three books (this one, with Science and Creation, and Science and Providence) sit together as a trilogy, but Polkinghorne has written about two dozen books in all about the interaction of science and theology.

Chapter 1, The Post-Enlightenment World gives a brief (5-page) philosophical commentary on some scientific discoveries over the last 500 years. Chapter 2, The Nature of Science, discusses scientific truth, Kuhn's concept of the scientific paradigm, Popper's unique view of science, the significance of the quantum world in relation to the Newtonian view, and Gödel's theorem. Polkinghorne notes the importance of an individual's beliefs, even for scientists, in the interpretation of data: `In order scientifically to interrogate the world we have to do so from a point of view'.

This statement also takes account of the importance of tradition in science as much as in religion - a point made in Chapter 3, The Nature of Theology. Here, Polkinghorne first takes issue with Paul Davies's statement that `religion is founded on dogma and received wisdom which purports to represent immutable truth'. Refreshingly, Polkinghorne says: `Theology, like science, is corrigible. There is nothing immutable in its pronouncements.' He shares the view of St. Anselm regarding theology as `faith seeking understanding' and draws on A.N. Whitehead for support in drawing parallels between science and religion.
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