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Pascal's Fire: Scientific Faith and Religious Understanding Paperback – June 27, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (June 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851684468
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851684465
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,168,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Ward is a reliable and entertaining tour guide who explains clearly an extensive arena of ideas in a concise, readable and logical manner. Atheists, agnostics and theists alike will find much in this book on which to chew. -- Chemistry World

About the Author

Keith Ward is Professor of Divinity, Gresham College, London. He is the best-selling author of God: A Guide for the Perplexed, also published by Oneworld.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By xiongmao on July 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
In "Pascal's Fire", Keith Ward reflects on the relationship between faith and the findings of modern science, treating topics such as - among others - chance and necessity, quantum physics and the mechanistic universe, the evolution of order in the universe, leading to life and ultimately to self-awareness and responsibility, the origin and future of the cosmos etc. The existence of an ultimate mind who chose to create a rationally intelligible universe which functions through laws that can be expressed in mathematical terms, but who also freely intervenes in the context of an otherwise autonomous progress of self-organisation of the universe, for which it was originally set up and by which it reaches goals of intrinsic value, are presented - and, in my view, convincingly so - as a rational and coherent explanation for the universe. In other words, the observation of the universe suggests such a mind. The argument progresses to show that this ultimate mind can also be viewed as personal, loving and compassionate, though in a way far beyond anthropomorphic projections. A purely scientific approach, however, is blind to the personal side of God, Ward argues - this is where personal experience, feeling and intuition come in, and may legitimately be taken seriously.

All in all, Keith Ward's holistic approach, integrating faith and reason in his intellectual quest, is inspiring and reminded me of the "two wings" of faith and reason by which man strives toward the truth, of which John Paul II wrote. To me,after having read this book, the apparent contradiction between evolution and intelligent design is resolved. In short, it's a win-win for faith and reason!
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Slainte on April 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
The xiongmao review is good summary of the book's aims. I've enjoyed Keith Ward's previous works and while this book has many interesting passages - primarily because the author has a keen ability to explain complex scientific findings in very accessible language - it appears to have been written because the author has had his faith in traditional religious narratives properly undermined by contemporary science. Eschewing these easily assailable religious stories, he has taken scientific discourse and composed a pseudo religious narrative (somewhat Platonic, somewhat Kabbalisistic) which does not find itself at any point, at odds with the emerging sciences. The trouble is that along the way, he is constantly speaking for his creator god in absentia, apologising on their behalf for what many evolutionary biologists see as a wasteful and violent universe, and all this (especially the chapters on evolution) are propounded in bombastic prose. The author consistently calls scientists who are disturbed or unimpressed by this universe as 'depressed' or 'depressive' (! their conclusions are hardly rash or the result of mental imbalance), but this implies that if the reader agrees with these scientists and not the author they too are 'depressive'. From my layperson's POV it seems that the small biological narratives of individual lives are founded to no small degree in hunger, pain, insecurity and finally death. The meta-narrative of biology IS violent, merciless, and seemingly entropic. The necessity of the enquiring human being to seek beyond these inherently unappealing narratives is a sign, surely, of psychic health, even if one's seeking leads one to agree with the aforementioned evolutionary biologists.Read more ›
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3 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Lin Miao on May 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
the delivery was fast, but it cost too much.
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