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Evidence of Purpose Hardcover – April 1, 1994
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Ten renowned scientists weigh the possibility of intentional design in the universe. They cover a broad spectrum of theological and philosophical conviction, yet all see evidence of a deep meaning written into the laws and processes of nature. Astronomer Owen Gingerich writes that nature, with its astonishing details (a blade of grass or a cone shell, for example), suggests a God of purpose and design. Paul Davies, a professor of mathematical physics, says that the fact that the universe's form is linked so intimately with our own existence is evidence that the universe exists for a purpose, and that in our small yet significant way, we are part of that purpose. Among the other essayists, John Eccles, winner of a Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine, analyzes the evolution of purpose, and science professor Waiter Hearn discusses the evidence of purpose in the universe, taking into consideration the subject of science as a challenger of religious concepts. The book may be too scholarly for some readers, but for those willing to stick with it, there is much to be gleaned. George Cohen
About the Author
John Marks Templeton has been described by The New York Times Magazine as "the dean of global investing", and is the founder of the Templeton group of mutual funds. He retired in 1992 and now devotes his time to philanthropic activities, principally via the John Templeton Foundation, which is dedicated to progress in the areas of science and religion, spirituality and health, moral education and the appreciation of freedom, free markets and free societies.
Top customer reviews
In many minds, science is science and religion is religion. Some also make the distinction that faith is also faith. In a lab, most conversations will be about science. In a church, religion will predominate. While praying, faith will probably take the lead.
Is it possible to cross such boundaries and to connect the perspectives? In Evidence of Purpose, scientists provide ten footnoted essays based their perspectives as follows:
"Dare a Scientist Believe in Design?" -- Professor Owen Gingerich (astronomy and history of science)
"God's Purpose in and Beyond Time" -- Professor Russell Stannard (physics)
"The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Science" -- Professor Paul Davies (physics)
"Evidence of Purpose in the Universe" -- Adjunct Professor Walter R. Hearn (biochemistry)
"Cosmology: Evidence for God or Partner for Theology?" -- Dr. Robert John Russell (Ph.D. in physics and an ordained United Church of Christ minister)
"Science and God the Creator" -- Reverend Doctor Arthur Peacocke (chemistry)
"A Potent Universe" -- Dr. John Polkingborne (physics)
"The Evolution of Purpose" -- Nobel Laureate John C. Eccles (physiology and medicine)
"A Physiologist Looks at Purpose" -- Professor Daniel H. Osmond (physiology and medicine)
"How Blind a Watchmaker?" -- Professor David Wilcox (biology)
These essays will mostly appeal to those who don't know much about science and haven't heard much about what scientists think other from those who are committed atheists. The essays also make some interesting observations about the potential relationships between scientific and theological thinking. While the reading isn't heavy-duty science by any means, the essayists assume that you have some passing familiarity with the major scientific findings of the last century or so. Given the subject, that's not too much to expect.
As you might suspect from the book's title, the essays argue for useful roles of science and theology engaging with one another. It's far from a full range of opinions. There are no essays arguing against any possibility of engagement, and no one comes from a Bible as literal truth view of the physical world.
If you like to think about "big questions," I think you'll enjoy most of the essays. I found "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Science" to be the most thought-provoking essay. "A Physiologist Looks at Purpose" was the most engaging exposition. If you find you like those, you'll probably be interested in some of the other scientific perspectives.