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The Physics of Christianity Hardcover – May 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Religion (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385514247
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385514248
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #906,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The relationship between science and religion has long been a tenuous one. Some have worked to put these disciplines in "dialogue" with each other, while others have dismissed any possibility of a collegial relationship. To his credit, Tipler, professor of mathematical physics at Tulane University, attempts the former. He proposes that Christianity can be studied as a science, and its claims, if true, can be empirically proven. "I believe that we have to accept the implications of physical law, whatever these implications are. If they imply the existence of God, well then, God exists." After a cogent description of modern physics, Tipler embarks on a crusade to prove that God exists, that miracles are physically possible and the virgin birth and the bodily resurrection of Jesus do not defy scientific laws. The author's arguments are somewhat intriguing—his knowledge of science seems exhaustive and this may attract other scientists to consider the importance of religion. Many of his theological insights, however, are problematic. Dubbing Christianity a "science" does not automatically make it so, and Tipler seems to dismiss the centuries-old importance of the apophatic tradition in Christianity, that is, approaching the mystical nature of the Divine by positing what cannot be said about God. Tipler's interest in integrating science and religion is noble, but his method is uneven. (May)
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Review

Praise for Frank Tipler’s The Physics of Immortality:

“A thrilling ride to the far edges of modern physics.” --New York Times Book Review

“A dazzling exercise in scientific speculation, as rigorously argued as it is boldly conceived.” --Wall Street Journal

“Tipler has written a masterpiece conferring much-craved scientific respectability on what we have always wanted to believe in.” --Science

“More readable than Roger Penrose’s The Emperor’s New Mind or Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach . . . an imaginative eschatological entertainment appropriate to the approaching end of the millennium.” --New Orleans Times-Picayune

“Undeniably fascinating…” --Seattle Times

“Tipler’s brash announcements are challenging—and entertaining. Although written from the viewpoint of a Ph.D., anyone should be able to get a kick out of the professor’s big-bang ideas.” --Publishers Weekly

“A book that proves the existence of the Almighty and inevitably of resurrection, without recourse to spiritual mumbo jumbo . . . Tipler does it all.” --Mirabella

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Customer Reviews

It was just continually reinterpreted in a way to make it seem like Jesus wasn't wrong.
Lego
Just think the size of the universe, how many we humans (or any other smart extraterrestrial life) are and we don't need to say anything else about this book.
Jose L. Strapasson
And for the more scholarly readers, one can't help but notice Tipler's reliance on secondary sources where primary sources would be relevant.
J. Joens

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Dan on November 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Many people on here have written fine reviews, covering more detail than I am willing. But there's one thing I'd like to point out. The bottom line is, I respect the guy for putting his controversial theories out there, probably fully aware that he was going to get crucified by scientists and non-scientist alike, but this book utterly fails in its goal. In attempting to reconcile Christianity and physics, in a way that describes all the miraculous phenomenon of Christian doctrine, Tipler ends up satisifying neither christians nor phyisicists. For example, in trying to explain the resurrection of Jesus, Tipler imagines some sort of de-materialization of Jesus' body into nuetrinos and then re-materialization back into His resurrection body. I mean, come on. Jesus' resurrection body was more than just physical. There was a supernatural spiritual reality to it that cannot be explained by the laws of physics, for it is not subject to such laws. And there's a whole lot more of this in the book. And to be honest, I found myself glossing over some areas that were so out there I felt that they weren't even worth the time reading. In the end, Tipler presents a far-fetched theory that neither christians nor physicists can accept.
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123 of 160 people found the following review helpful By William Kerney VINE VOICE on May 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Tipler's ideas are again mind-blowing, as they were with the Physics of Immortality. Some issues I have with it, though:

1) His main flaw, is the amount of certainty he gives to his sentences. When you research what he's talking about, you see that the facts, as they are, are much more questionable than what he leads you to believe.

For example, he says that the Shroud of Turin is consistent with XX males. IF the Shroud of Turin is the real burial shroud of Christ, and IF it is consistent with XX males (the only reference on the internet to this fact comes from Tipler), then, maybe, it gives us evidence. But he doesn't use correct qualifiers. (Qualifiers are words like "perhaps".) He states them as flat fact, which casts doubts on his entire book. A good scientist will always qualifies his statements with words indicating the degree of confidence he has in them.

2) He tries to gain a patina of scientific-ness by using big, complicated words, and, perhaps intentionally, explaining things in a confusing fashion. I took a quarter of quantum physics, and have read some books on it since I graduated from college, so I have a moderate understanding in the field, but even when Tipler is explaining things I already know, I find myself becoming confused by his explanations. He really needs to take a class on how to put together better analogies.

3) He has a very cockeyed idea of what his reader needs to have defined for him. For example, after the following line, "More precisely, the uncertainty principle says that the product of the uncertainty in the position of a particle multiplied by the uncertainty in its momentum must always be greater than Planck's constant divided by 4pi." he could have chosen to define a lot of different things.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael Belote on October 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Overall this is a book that I am not sad to have bought and read, but not one I necessarily recommend to others. Tipler has a few really fascinating insights which are valuable to Christian readers...but its effectiveness is lost by the fact that much of what he discusses is simply not orthodox theologically. His approach of Christianity (most particularly his understanding of the afterlife) is so far off of anything relating to historically Christianity that it is perhaps better to call this book "The Physics of Pseudo-Christianity."

A few good ideas, but be aware that you will have to pick through some strange unorthodoxy to find them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jacquelyn Bailey on November 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book jumped the shark for me in Chapter III. That's the one in which Mr. Tipler says that our descendants will be able to download the personalities of all previous human generations into a "quantum computer", and that these downloads will then live happily ever after in a virtual Paradise. This, he says, will satisfy the prediction of the resurrection of the dead. Okay, okay, wait a minute. Assuming for a moment that our descendants would WANT to do this--and I can think of a few of my ancestors I'd rather not resurrect--where are they going to get the information? How are they going to download the personality of a person who left no record because she lived and died before the invention of writing? How would they even know this person existed? How does he imagine they are going to power this computer, and who is going to maintain it after the entire human race has been reduced to bits and bytes? At the same time, he suggests that we should be zooming around the universe destroying baryons in order to bring about the collapse of the universe and the emergence of a singularity--which, he says, is the third Person of God. Ummm--why? Why would our descendants be in any hurry to see the collapse of the universe? And this is just Chapter III. I will read the rest of the book. If the reasoning remains on the same level, it should be good for a laugh, if nothing else.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Doug Erlandson TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
Other reviewers have furnished many of the details of why a significant number of Frank Tipler's explanations of the events recorded in Scripture or part of church tradition are implausible (e.g., the virgin birth, the assumption of Mary, etc.). I will assume that readers interested in the details will look at these other reviews.

I will focus my comments on why "The Physics of Christianity" does a disservice to both science and Christianity. The former is easier to explain. While Tipler clearly has a scientist’s knowledge of physics , he has failed in his role as a scientist because he has gone far beyond what the evidence warrants and engages in wild speculation. In many cases, his argument amounts to little more than the following: “X would explain Y (a surprising event, such as the Virgin Birth) if X were true. Hence, there is reason to believe that X occurred and therefore Y occurred as well.” The fallacy in this line of reasoning should be obvious. To argue, for example, that it is possible to give an explanation of the Assumption of Mary if it occurred, does not show that this explanation is a plausible explanation of the Assumption of Mary.

According to some interpreters of Frank Tipler, he is not arguing that his explanations of the apparently miraculous events of Scripture show that they occur, although, from the way in which he presents his explanations in the book, it is easy to assume that this is what he is arguing. But even if he is not making this stronger claim, he is claiming that his explanation is plausible. However, not all explanations of an event are plausible, and in many cases Tipler hasn’t shown the plausibility of his explanations.

This brings me to why the book does a disservice to Christianity.
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