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Serious Talk: Science and Religion in Dialogue Paperback – April 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 117 pages
  • Publisher: Trinity Press International (April 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563381095
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563381096
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,705,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Western culture needs constant, varied, and skilled attention to loosen the knot that scientism hold upon its open-mindedness. Since religion is frequently accused by scientists of tying just such a knot of its own, all the more urgent that scientists with theological training, such as Polinghorne, be incoved in the apologetic enterprise to motivate a belief based upon rational inquiry." (Barbara Smith-Moran, Anglican Theological Review Anglican Theological Review)

"This book is Polkinghorne at his best — knowledgeable as a distinguished quantum physicist, believing as an Anglican priest, delightfully curious and insightful as a "would-be theologian" (his words), earnestly trying all the while to demonstrate the possibility of a fruitful consonance between science and theology in the quest for understanding." —Charles L. Currie, S.J., Theological Studies (Charles L. Currie, S.J. Theological Studies)

"Western culture needs constant, varied, and skilled attention to loosen the knot that scientism hold upon its open-mindedness. Since religion is frequently accused by scientists of tying just such a knot of its own, all the more urgent that scientists with theological training, such as Polinghorne, be incoved in the apologetic enterprise to motivate a belief based upon rational inquiry." (Sanford Lakoff Anglican Theological Review)

"This book is Polkinghorne at his best — knowledgeable as a distinguished quantum physicist, believing as an Anglican priest, delightfully curious and insightful as a "would-be theologian" (his words), earnestly trying all the while to demonstrate the possibility of a fruitful consonance between science and theology in the quest for understanding." —Charles L. Currie, S.J., Theological Studies (Sanford Lakoff Theological Studies)

About the Author

John Polkinghorne is the president of Queen's College, Cambridge and the author of Reason and Reality (Trinity), Serious Talk: Science and Religion in Dialogue (Trinity), and The End of the World and the Ends of God (Trinity).

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Once again, scientist-theologian John Polkinghorne has written a lucid and accessible treatment of the relationship between science and religon. "Serious Talk" is just what its title implies: a conversational, but by no means superficial, discussion of key issues in the ever-growing dialogue between science and theology, to which Polkinghorne himself has made significant contributions. These issues include the interpretation of quantum theory, parallel features of the two disciplines, creation, resurrection,and eschatology. The chapter on "Providence" is especially helpful, as it relates developments in chaos theory to our understanding of God's interaction with the world. Overall, this book makes an essential contribution to the Polkinghorne corpus and to the larger science-theology debate; readers of his earlier works will not be disappointed, as some material here (again, note the "Providence" chapter} marks clear advances in his consideration of these issues.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Morrison on November 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
I was assigned to read this book for a basic science class at the college I attend. Bottom line: Polkinghorne is an open theist, doesn't believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, and doubts God's ability to perform miracles. Further, he seems to take Gould's general NOMA model, which basically says that science and religion deal with different questions: science with the question of how, and religion with the question of why.

Polkinghorne's general ideas seem to be more about how theology is influenced by science than vice versa; thus, the book may well be a discussion on how theology and science are related, but if so, it is only of how liberal theology (Polkinghorne even goes so far as to appeal to process theology!) can be integrated with science. As such, it will be of little interest for those trying to understand how a conservative theologian can approach scientific issues.

A final criticism is that the basic question--what is the relationship between science and theology?--is neither scientific nor theological; it is philosophical. The author dabbles a bit in basic philosophy, but his idea that epistemology affects ontology is somewhat bizarre. How could what we know (or think we know?) about reality change what reality actually IS? The reverse is true. Our knowledge is affected by reality, not reality by our knowledge. That Polkinghorne misunderstands this admittedly basic philosophical idea should give anyone pause in accepting his further musings on more sophisticated philosophical questions.

2/3 stars: 3 for general usefulness, especially for his exposition of modern quantum theory, but minus one for somewhat cumbersome language.
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