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The Evidential Power of Beauty: Science and Theology Meet Paperback – September 1, 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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The physicist who knows nothing about Scripture and the theologian ignorant of calculus may yet see eye to eye on the remarkable power of beauty to manifest the presence of truth. It is this probative force of beauty that drives Dubay's impressive reflection on how the perception of harmony instills a sense of conviction among honest seekers in both science and religion. With the help of testimony from a wide range of scientists, Dubay discerns a pattern of elegance and symmetry uniting everything from the astrophysics of the cosmos to the biology of the cell. Disdaining the crabbed literalism of creationist science (which he dismisses as fallacious), Dubay uses the metaphysical intuition of beauty to challenge neo-Darwinian dogmatists who deny the existence of design in our curiously fine-tuned universe. Non-Catholics may protest that Dubay overextends his argument when he concludes with a defense of Catholicism as the supreme depository of truth and beauty, but readers need not endorse Dubay's Catholic orthodoxy to benefit from his philosophic insights. Bryce Christensen


"This is as complete a theology of beauty in one simple volume as I know, uniting Christian theology, modern science, and daily experience a sort of von Balthasar for the masses. It vastly expands our understanding beyond 'aesthetics', and shows us how nearly right Keats was in saying 'Beauty is truth, truth is beauty.'"


Peter Kreeft, Author, Back to Virtue


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 365 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press; 1St Edition edition (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898707528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898707526
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
As the title suggests, this new book by Fr. Dubay is a wonderfully written and compelling argument for the power of Beauty as a primary evidence of the existence of Truth made evident in the handiwork of the Lord at every level of the created order. One of the most exhilarating books I have read in the past five years, Evidential Power makes the assertion that "every experience of beauty points to infinity".
Fr. Dubay structures this volume in three sections. The first, "Laying The Groundwork", deals primarily with a theology of Beauty, establishing the place that Beauty holds in declaring the glory of God in every created thing. The important cornerstone that is laid in this section is that all beauty in the created order, both in the heavens and on the earth, derives its beauty from the "radiant form" of the Person of Jesus Christ, Who is the express image of the Beautiful God. As human beings created in that image, we are made to resonate with the form of that which is beautiful, and we find ourselves captivated by beauty wherever we see it. All things have beauty in proportion to their conformity to the radiant form of Jesus, and ugliness, or deformity, emerges when the radiant form of Christ is denied or lost.
Fr. Dubay suggests three levels of common understanding of beauty: the comeliness of the appearance of something lovely on the sense level, the spiritual beauty of a person who has begun to transcend the natural realm through the consideration of higher things, and the beauty of Divine glory, which is the pinnacle of Beauty. All these levels find their meaning in relationship with (conformity to) the classical principle of Beauty, that which has unity, harmony, proportion, wholeness, and radiance.
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Format: Paperback
I can't say enough about this book to do it real justice. Evidential Power of Beauty has not only opened my eyes, mind, and senses to creation on a deeper level, but it has intensified my hunger and wonder that is often stifled and desensitized in American pop culture. Though one reviewer commented on Dubay's "attack" on rock and roll, I don't believe it was an attack at all. Quite the opposite. Dubay simply made a point about why certain types of music produced harsh, often filthy, shallow repetitive melodies, while others, such as Mozart, produced a more complicated, pleasing piece that required the best of the mathematical beauty and design he discusses throughout the book. It was just another comparison of the beauty of complicated design versus simplistic noise. However,I can give Dubay grace in that area, as I must allow for his lack of knowledge for a band such as YES (very complicated, very beautiful pieces of music)often categorized as "rock." (Though quite a different caliber than,say,Ozzy Osbourne.)I give Dubay a break on that facet of the book.
I am not a scientist,a theologian, or a Catholic. You don't have to be to enjoy this book immensely and even learn a thing or two about something you probably never thought twice about--for example,water. Dubay takes time to explore the "givens" in our world that are so casually seen as "miraculous accidents." His marvelous prose and fire for God lights every page. The underlying push for even beginning to ponder God's mystery,awe, and love is, as Dubay quoted, the "ability to have the humility to sit at the foot of a dandelion."
The book is simply a masterful work of art, a lovely tour of how theology and science merge together at the point of Beauty. Though both disciplines have opposite starting points, they lead to many of the same conclusions about our Universe.
Buy or borrow this book, find a comfortable chair, and take your time absorbing the "evidential beauty" in this book.
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Format: Paperback
This book is truely wonderfull. My journey with God has always been an interesting one and lately it has been a surprizing one but Thomas Dubay has helped me to understand a deep part of God's call to be that I did not really understand until I read this book.
I have always been fascinated by science and nature but lately in my work with the elderly and with prisoners in the criminal justice system as well as my growning sprituality which includes contemplative prayer. Thomas Dubay's book has helped to to understand how both of these aspects of my walk with God tie to my early appreication of science and nature.
I have also developed a great appreciation for Han Hurs Von Balthasar from this book.
Thomas Dubay is a truely gifted writer and I hope to see many more of his books in the future.
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Format: Paperback
The author's thesis is simply distilled and has often been an overlooked feature of the teleological argument for the existence and nature of God: not only that design is evidence of intelligence and will, but that beauty is evidence of truth. Catholic theologian Thomas Dubay illustrates the connection between beauty and truth. Physicist Richard Feynman said, "You can recognize truth by its beauty and simplicity." Einstein regarded the beauty of a physical theory as a proof superior to empirical evidence. Mathematicians have long regarded the beauty and elegance of an equation or mathematical expression as the most necessary indicator of its truth. We have come to realize that nature is ultimately mathematics, beautiful mathematics (Plato was right). Why is reality, at its core, beauty? Whether the equations that describe the deepest features of the quantum world, the fine tuning of the cosmic initial conditions, the highly specified organization of microbiological cell "cities" (we could go on and on), nature is all about beauty. What does this indicate to the uncallused observer? And what then is the evidential power of ugliness? Dubay contrasts the two contending worldviews: materialism (existence is a meaningless and ultimately absurd accident), or theism (existence is intended, meaningful), concluding that the very ugliness of absurdity is evidence of the falsity of atheism/philosophical materialism.
"... simple observation shows that people, including academics, readily welcome intellectual interventions and therefore design, when the question is free of cultural biases and does not impinge on their personal lifestyle and chosen philosophy.
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