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The Soul of Science: Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy (Turning Point Christian Worldview Series) Paperback – August 16, 1994


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Product Details

  • Series: Turning Point Christian Worldview Series (Book 16)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway Books (August 16, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891077669
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891077664
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #239,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The authors, both science writers, argue that science in the West has progressed because of, rather that in spite of, Christian faith, since belief in an ordered universe, governed by God-given laws, was essential for its advance. The authors show a good grasp of both science and theology, something rare these days, although, as the authors show, not quite so rare among the earlier scientists. This is a well-presented and much-needed contribution to the discussion about the so-called conflict between religion and science, although it is perplexing that Stanley Jaki's The Savior of Science (Regnery Gateway, 1988), which already made the same point, and at a more sophisticated level, is not mentioned. For lay readers and specialists alike.
Augustine J. Curley, Newark Abbey, N.J.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Pearcey and Thaxton deliver what they call a more accurate portrayal of the progress of science by . . . recognizing the influence of Christianity on science. Refuting the popular impression that great discoveries were made despite or in refutation of Christian beliefs, rather than within the framework of religious and philosophical ideas, the authors show the influence of the medieval church upon scientific advancement, and demonstrate that Newton, Descartes, and others were working to prove or expand upon their religious principles. Moving from history to contemporary scientific thinking as it relates to or contests religious thinking, their story is interesting, but not as free of polemics as they assert. Denise Perry Donavin

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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She is very easy to read.
Kimberly De Boer
This section is very helpful in outlining the difference between the Platonic and Aristotelian worldviews, and their impact on the practice of science.
Russ White
And yes, it did convince me that Christianity really is the mother of science.
Jim Stewart

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Jim Stewart on October 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
I bought this book because I was looking for material that discusses the supposed link between Christianity and the development of modern science. In my class on western thought and culture my professor said that Christianity was the foundation for the modern scientific method. I was extremely skeptical about this claim, and I started searching for literature on the subject that I could really trust. I was pleasantly surprised when I found this very well-documented and readable book. This is easily the best treatment of the topic I have ever found. And yes, it did convince me that Christianity really is the mother of science.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By David T. Wayne on April 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
Most of the books I read, I read because I delight in them and think I'll enjoy them. There are other books I read merely because I think they will contain some information that will be useful to me in life or in ministry. Then there are some books which are flat out difficult for me to read. Yet I read them to stretch myself and broaden my horizons.

Such is the book The Soul of Science by Nancy Pearcey and Charles Thaxton. It's not the book is any way deficient, as can be seen by the endorsements of the book. Phillip E. Johnson says this is a "brilliant book that deserves a wide readership." J. P. Moreland says it would be an excellent text for courses on science and religion. James W. Sire says that "this book should destroy for all time the persistent myth that Science and Christianity have always been at war with each other."

Truly, this is a great book, but it was difficult for me to read, being a non-scientist. And when I say that I am a non-scientist I am giving myself far too much praise and credit as a scientific scholar. I have always done poorly in science. I somehow survived all of the biology classes I had to take in High School and College and nearly bombed out in chemistry. The fact that I passed a required chemistry class in college, I attribute to either the generosity of the professor or that he was in a drunken stupor when he was handing out grades. I went to college hoping to be an engineer but abandoned all hope of such a career when I took my first physics class. The only time in my life I can ever remember having a complete mental block in a subject was when I took that physics class - I just couldn't get it. Two weeks into the semester I dropped the class and changed my major.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Discovery Reviewer on June 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
A metanarrative has become ingrained in our culture which states that science is the means by which we threw off our religious superstitions and entered a brave new world of reason and progress. Does this metanarrative itself need to be overthrown? In this work Discovery fellows Nancy Pearcey and Charles Thaxton explain how Christian theism has played a vital role in the historical development of science. Moreover, the next scientific revolution may bring science back to a point where it will reconsider the possibility that life was designed.

First, Pearcey and Thaxton shed light on the fact that the "Dark ages" were not quite so dark. While the medieval scholars lacked much of our accumulated knowledge, medieval scientists like Jordanus de Nemore anticipated the work of subsequent scientists through his work on statics. When the scientific revolution swung into full force, early scientists like Newton were devoutly religious and motivated by religion. As one historian they quote put it, "God had designed the universe, and it was to be expected that all phenomena of nature would follow one master plan. One mind designing a universe would almost surely have employed one set of basic principles to govern related phenomena." (pg. 129) Even today, they find that "the DNA code originated from a cause similar in relevant aspects to human intelligence." (pg. 244)

The authors begin by observing that "the idea of a war between science and religion is a relatively recent invention--one carefully nurtured by those who hope the victor will be science." (pg. 19) After reviewing all of the contributions which theists, the church, and Christianized societies have made to science, they conclude, "The Christian religion, hand in hand with various philosophical outlooks, has motivated, sanctioned, and shaped large portions of the Western scientific heritage." (pg. 248)
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Rouse on December 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
In this book, Pearcey and Thaxton lay bare the foundation and motivation for science: philosophy. They reveal how science is pushed along by philosophy, and how philosophical views lead to scientific theories (see esp. the chapter on interpretations of quantum mechanics). Before reading this book I had not realized just how strong the influence of philosophy was upon science, but this book opened my eyes. They also do an excellent job of showing the relationship between science and theology, though if this you are looking for anything beyone a basic introduction to this subject, better books are available (try John Polkinghorne and Stanley Jaki, though be warned that they are not easy reads).
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By "donald_jr" on August 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
A truly scholarly and excellent work! A must have for any serious Christian and/or scientist who is interested in the role Christianity played in fostering the western/modern science. I like the chapter 1 in particular as it gives a well-organized, rational, consise and methodical account on the histroy of science. I agree with one reviewer, though, that this book might seem to be a little bit ponderous for some readers, but it is a must have so you can read it over and over as a good classical textbook. I am a Christian and I hold a Ph.D from Caltech in Electrical Engineering with minor studies in Applied Physics and I am becoming a lecturer in UC San Diego's ECE department next year. If I ever teach a class on the history of science in a university in the future (I am already doing some of that for my church's Sunday school class), this book will definitely be one of my textbook.
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