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God and the New Physics Paperback – October 16, 1984
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"The concepts are breathtaking...the general thrust of modern physics is amazingly well described." -- The New York Times Book Review
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Anyone hoping for a scientific justification for a specific religion or for God in general will be disappointed. Although the author puts up a variety of possible cosmological points that might do so, he generally comes to the conclusion that they do not. The work is a superb examination of a variety of philosophical issues that plague even the average thinking person: How did the universe begin, did God create the universe, why does it exist at all, what is life, what is the mind, what is the soul, what is the self, does free will exist? He also discusses scientific issues that have baring on religion: what is time, what is matter, did the universe arise by accident or design, what is chaos, how will the universe end?
Any student of theology or philosophy would do well to be acquainted with this book. Certainly every point is covered with regard to the existence of God and the meaning/purpose of life. The key scientific facts are lucidly put forth in a way that even the least math minded can understand them. For the blindly faithful, the book will do little to effect your point of view. It certainly won't bring about any change in your religious affiliation since no specific religion is endorsed.Read more ›
Davies is one of this reader's favorite science writers, but I'll not recommend this volume. Your time will be better spent reading any of the four books that I mentioned above. Developments of the past twenty years have countered some of the cosmology presented here, but this is nothing to hold against the author, it is what happens in science. Rather worse is Davies' understanding of theology, it is strangely uninformed for someone with his apparent interest in the discipline. On several points he is dealing with mere straw men.
One of several problems is Davies treatment of theology's famous 'cosmological argument' which has been variously employed by such thinkers as Aristotle, Leibniz, and Swinburne. In this discussion (third chapter) he appears to accept that Bertrand Russell had succeeded in defeating the general argument through the introduction of his famous "sets of sets" paradox. The argument is this: if the cause-effect relationships within the temporal universe are taken as sets of relationships, then the universe as a whole is the set of these sets. Russell then demonstrated, using the 'library books / catalogs of library books' paradox, that the universe itself need not be subject to the rules of causal relationships that apply within the universe.Read more ›
In his book 'God and the New Physics', Davies continues a new tradition in which physicists particularly and scientists more generally write about their fields in philosophical, nearly theological terms discussing first causes, ultimate meanings, and the place of God and humanity in the overall scheme of the universe. Our understanding of the universe has changed dramatically in the last century, having been a fairly stable image for the past several hundred years. This has understandably made the philosophic and anthropomorphic considerations of the universe change dramatically as well.
'Science and religion represent two great systems of human thought. For the majority of people on our planet, religion is the predominant influence over the conduct of their affairs. When science impinges on their lives, it does so not at the intellectual level, but practically, through technology.'
Davies explores first the idea of genesis of the universe, exploring the intricacies of the big bang theory. This is a theory that has difficulties philosophically, that a purely scientific approach does not have an answer to, not least of which because it isn't asking the same question. Essentially, according to the big bang theory, the universe began as a singularity, essentially an infinitely small point from which all space and time (and all that is in it) emerged in an explosion-like phenomenon.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent! An objective and pertinent assessment of the pitfalls of a rigid approach to a subject that requires a clear and reasonable mind. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book seems to be timeless. It is good now, compared to the time it was written. The book is generally very easy to read except in the chapter on sub-atomic particle physics. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Neil Karl
This book was yellowed and the first 50 pages fell out when I opened it. This was not a book to sell. It belonged in a recycling bin.Published 17 months ago by timeus
Very disappointed! Both from physics side and from theology side. The author is a physicist with some reputation, but know little on Christian theology. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Chengyu Li
Paul Charles William Davies (born 1946) is an English physicist, writer and broadcaster, who is currently a professor at Arizona State University as well as the Director of BEYOND:... Read morePublished on May 27, 2014 by Steven H Propp
St. Augustine of Hippo was quite advanced for his day. He corrects those who see the cosmological argument as seemingly contradictory because you can't ask `Who made God? Read morePublished on November 11, 2013 by Mr. D. P. Jay
The author is a fine physicist who is also a good writer. He presents both scientific and theological views of such subjects as time, the existence of God, and the origin of the... Read morePublished on November 5, 2013 by Oliver Axtell