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Quarks, Chaos & Christianity: Questions to Science And Religion Paperback – September 1, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: The Crossroad Publishing Company; Rev Upd edition (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824524063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824524067
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This is a great book, written relatively non-technically, for those interested in the related subjects of science and theology.
This crowd is generally open to revisions of traditional themes, and modifying religious content to conform to current scientific ideas poses little problem for them.
J. Storey
Although I strongly disagree with much of the author's theology, the book is nonetheless worth reading - it makes many good points, and is thought-provoking.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By David Marshall on September 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
Simplistic and erroneous thinking about "religion" and "science" is rife in our era. John Polkinghorne sets himself the task of accurately describing the relationship between them. He refutes the usual lazy assumption that the two belong to completely unrelated categories, like walruses and carpenters. Polkinghorne is convinced that in fact science and religion (at least Christianity) both require a similiar method of truth-seeking. He believes that the search for truth in science was influenced by the Christian belief in God, and that the logical connection between believing in a Creator and studying the creation still holds. He thinks scientific metaphors shed light on theology, and vice-versa. Thus, not only is there no conflict between being a scientist and a follower of Christ, the two disciplines inform and supplement one another.
Polkinghorne's words seem to carry a special gravitus. Part of the reason for this, of course, is that he knows his stuff: he was a first-class scientist, physics prof at Cambridge, before getting into theology. Also, in this book, he writes with the kind of restrained simplicity that is good style for scientists writing for the masses, that strongly suggests great intellectual power, sheathed as it were. But probably what gives his argument greatest force is his honesty. The more I read Polkinghorne, the less believable it seems to me that his argument for Christianity might be given either in ignorance or in defiance of the evidence. He might concede too much at times, and he tends to be cautious, but he does not seem to put more weight on an argument than the evidence can bare.
I especially liked what Polkinghorne said about faith and reason.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Wesley L. Janssen VINE VOICE on November 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm guessing that Polkinghorne wrote this book around the same time he was preparing and presenting the Gifford Lectures (1994) as this book and the text of those lectures (published as "The Faith of a Physicist") cover some of the same themes rather closely. While that volume (FP) is broader in scope, this one sets its sights more narrowly. Neither book precludes the value of the other; both are interesting. QC&C is a rather quick read by comparison, so if theology and physics are not your usual cup of tea, this may be the right choice for you.
Sir John Polkinghorne, for those readers who might not be familiar with him, is acclaimed as both a quantum physicist and an Anglican priest/theologian (and he's been knighted [KBE], but isn't everybody on that side of the pond these days?). He has won the Templeton Prize and is a Fellow of the Royal Society. His theological thinking is, for the most part, quite classical, although he conspicuously also holds some process ideas regarding God's relationship to 'time' (this is an area in which many readers -- me, for example -- will respectfully disagree with him). His views are perhaps slightly different from the usual perceptions of the ID school of theistic scientists, which alone might be seen as recommending him as an interesting author.
My impression is that the target audience for this book is the Christian reader interested in the science-religion dialog and in questions of freedom and the 'problem of evil.' But I also think this might be a valuable book for agnostic scientists and anyone else interested in these topics. Polkinghorne says, "Many people seem to think that faith involves shutting one's eyes, gritting one's teeth, and believing X impossible things before breakfast . . . Not at all!
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Symes on July 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
Polkinghorne has written a clear and simple (but not simplistic) account of how you can be a scientist and still accept the central truths of Christianity. It is concise and straight to the point, but written so that even the non-scientific or non-theologically trained can follow the argument. This would be an ideal book for anyone who thinks that science has `disproved' God. Polkinghorne is one physicist who doesn't think so.
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34 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Brett Williams on February 14, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Polkinghorne writes a book with remarkable ideas though not without weaknesses. He doesn't view religion as our internal response to an external world, but considers science and religion intellectual cousins, each providing answers. He goes some distance, surely to be misunderstood and misused, in showing the malleability of practicing science "an act of intellectual daring" when viewing fact and interpretation, experiment and theory as independent while they are actually mixed up in perspectives we bring to nature. This is more about scientists as humans than science as flawed. Science invites challenge, inherently policing itself, sometimes scientists do neither. Though bias is present, this is not the end point as open publication, debate and test are always available. Science is refutable. He touches upon absurdities proffered by "modern philosophers" who state we invent theories of nature, we do not discover them. As Polkinghorne notes, our theories wouldn't work if they didn't represent part of the truth. Nature continues to impose itself as final judge, regardless of fashionable politics.
Given that unpictureable electrons provide surprises, Polkinghorne is not surprised to find an unpictureable God to do the same. He accepts the oddness of quantum like he accepts the oddness of Jesus as simultaneously man and God. We're not sure how the oddness of say, astrology, with a longer history, many texts and practitioners may fit this view. To Polkinghorne the issue is not fact vs. opinion but interpreting our experience of the way the world really is, without adding "to us", which without the verifiability science bears, may have less to do with reality outside our minds while much to do with what it means to be human. He views God as "faithful".
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