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Religion and Science (Gifford Lectures Series) [Paperback]

Ian G. Barbour
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 2, 1997 0060609389 978-0060609382 Rev Sub

Religion and Science is a definitive contemporary discussion of the many issues surrounding our understanding of God and religious truth and experience in our understanding of God and religious truth and experience in our scientific age. This is a significantly expanded and feshly revised version of Religion in an Age of Science, winner of the American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence and the Templeton Book Award. Ian G. Barbour--the premier scholar in the field--has added three crucial historical chapters on physics and metaphysics in the seventeenth century, nature and God in the eighteenth century, and biology and theology in the nineteenth century. He has also added new sections on developments in nature-centered spirituality, information theory, and chaos and complexity theories.


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[M]agisterial in scope, balanced in perspective, rich in detail, and full of intellectual passion. For a generation to come, anyone setting out to explore the subtle relationships between science, religion, ethics, and technology will begin with Barbour as the guide."--"Religious Studies Review" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Ian G. Barbour has retired from Carleton College where he was professor of physics, professor of religion, and Bean Professor of Science, Technology, and Society. The "preeminent synthetic in the field" (Cross Currents,) he is the author of several influential books, including Ethics in an Age of Technology and Myths Models, and Paradigms, which was nominated for the National Book Award. He gave the world-renowned Gifford Lectures, 1989-1991.


Product Details

  • Series: Gifford Lectures Series (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Rev Sub edition (August 2, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060609389
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060609382
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By Sabian
Format:Paperback
"Religion and Science" is an in-depth philosophical discussion of religion and science. Ian Barbour's initial aim is to analyze the goals and methodologies of both science and religion - determining their similarities as well as their differences. The analysis is broad in scope and thorough in detail. Key scientific theories are examined and their metaphysical and theological implications are discussed. Different points of view are given fair consideration as the author takes the reader on an enlightening journey through a history of philosophical thought.

At issue here is what separates scientific truth from religious truth. To be sure the author goes to great lengths to answer this question and the reader will gain a plethora of insights along the way; however, the bottomline is this - namely, that science relies on objectivity while religion on subjectivity.

Is it possible to reconcile the objective truth with the subjective? Yes. How? Answer: "Process Thought."

What is Process Thought? Process Thought (or Process Philosophy as it is sometimes called) is a metaphysical system that views processes instead of irreducible particles or substances as the fundamental constituents of reality. It overcomes the duality of mind and matter by proposing a "dipolar Godhead" - one with both a physical as well as a mental pole. Moreover, it asserts that each process or event has both a mental and physical aspect. Dipolar Theism (the designated term for this viewpoint) "holds that the world is in God (panentheism), a view that neither identifies God with the world (pantheism) nor separates God from the world (theism)." "God includes the world but is more than the world." pg. 295.

Process Philosophy has important implications for both science and religion.
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39 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Whatever anyone thinks of "Religion and Science," it is clearly a definitive if not the definitive work on this subject because the book's references and discussion of them are extremely comprehensive, almost to the point of being mind-numbing!
I feel that the author does a far better job of explaining science and scientific methodologies than religion and its methodologies, though I do find it useful to consider religion and religious experiences in terms of normally scientific terms, which he defines as agreement with data, coherence, scope, and fertility.
I really enjoyed Chapter 7, entitled "Physics and Metaphysics." Mr. Barbour gives a very good presentation of the basic concepts of twentieth century physics, such as quantum theory, relativity, and chaos theory, and also presents some thought-provoking ideas about how modern physics can and cannot be related to religion, especially Eastern religions and mysticism. Barbour, with some validity, takes on books such as "The Tao of Physics," and criticizes what he feels is overstressing the similarities between physics and mysticism. Again, there are many references provided that are well worth further study.
As I stated above, I found the discussion of religion less appealing, precisely because it is far too intellectual, and is limited to what I will call "human-only" theses, and there are so many models and points of view presented I found it impossible to keep them straight.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good attempt at dialogue October 20, 2006
By Greg
Format:Paperback
In an era where many in the US believe the universe was made 6000 years ago and Adam and Eve walked alongside dinosaurs, and many religious believers are rejecting the theory of evolution (a keystone of modern science), there is a desperate need to bring religion and science into a better and more fruitful relationship.

The situation unfortunately is not helped with the rigid fanatacism on both sides of the fence, either with theologians who dismiss geology and biology because it contradicts the bible, or who reject advanced biotechnology because of medieval theories of the person, or by scientists like Richard Dawkins who try their best to use science as a hammer with which to smash down all religious systems and myths as worthless fictions which belong in the dustbin of history, and try to whitewash any possible influence religion and religious values may have to offer science or a scientific worldview.

Barbour offers in this work an impartial analysis of the relationship between religion and science and offers four basic modes of how the two human enterprises can relate to each other. While he does offer his own perspective, Barbour is rational in his arguments and avoids getting mired in pointless polemics against theological or scientific oppenents, and lets them be.

This book is of interest to any theologian, philosopher or scientist who is concerned about how religion and science relate to each other, especially in our turbulent times.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Religion and Science: Historical and comtemporary issues February 13, 2002
Format:Paperback
Barbour is known for his expertise involving the connection between science and religion. As a student of science/theology this is the best treatise i've seen on this subject. It will serve very nicely as a textbook and for personal reading.It should be part of every library. It will definitely go down as a classic.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is very deep of thought and research. It is written by a...
Much of this book I had to read over and over several times to understand it. Definitely not in leymans terms.
Published 4 months ago by Edward Herbst
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Work on a Challenging Subject
I'm retired now, reading some of the books I should have read before now. This is a relatively recent book, 1990's, that should become a classic in the field. Read more
Published 4 months ago by William P. Shackleford, Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich, dense, challenging, and insightful
I found Barbour's book thought provoking, rich with ideas new to me, and a spring board for more thoughts in my faith and understanding of the world. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Cyrus Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars Religion and Science..A Metaphysical Conundrum Still
A course suggestion this lecture series is overwhelming, enlightening and thought provoking. For an introduction to this metaphysical debate, try Larry Witham's "Where Darwin Meets... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Kittie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Service
I got the book super-fast, really inexpensive, and it was exactly as described!! Thanks for saving me money on a textbook!!
Published on October 3, 2011 by Janae M. Marchant
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK FAST SHIPPING SAVED ME MONEY
I needed this book for an upper division religious class and it helped me tremendously in the class. Read more
Published on June 8, 2011 by Nets
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic text
Barbour famously divided approaches to science and religion into conflict, independence, dialogue, and integration. Read more
Published on April 14, 2011 by Shawn
4.0 out of 5 stars No opposing views please.....
There are so many good things that can be said about this book. It is broadening, thought provoking, and stimulating. Read more
Published on February 20, 2006 by Jack Pyle
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but ...
Barbour's book is interesting and, I think, worth a careful read. The first part of the book, which focuses on the historical dialogue between science and religion, is... Read more
Published on April 26, 2002 by FJC
1.0 out of 5 stars On Dinosaurs and Liberals
I find Barbour's book deeply offensive on several counts. First and foremost is the assumption underlying his entire project that somewhow science provides a kind of massive... Read more
Published on March 20, 2002 by David S. Hale
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