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Rebuilding the Matrix: Science and Faith in the 21st Century 1st Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0310250180
ISBN-10: 0310250188
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Editorial Reviews


A highly praised overview of the varied ways that science and religious faith interact as rapid scientific advances challenge traditional understandings of human values and identity. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Are we just survival machines, evolved for the main purpose of perpetuating our DNA? Where do our ethical principles—which we use to make decisions about the application of science—come from? How can we maintain a sense of meaning and purpose when faced with our transient lives in a vast universe?

Science appears to offer one set of answers; Christianity, another. The two seem set in a perpetual attack-and-defend stance against each other. But is the difference as irreconcilable as we’ve been led to believe?

Unfortunately, the most vigorous public responses to this question have come from radicals on either side of the spectrum. The result, says author Denis Alexander, has been "an unnecessary polarization between science and religion in which more moderate voices have often been drowned out by the media attention given to extremist positions."

In Rebuilding the Matrix, Dr. Alexander speaks for the "silent majority" of working scientists who are tired of the radical rhetoric and critical of the abuse of science for ideological purposes. This book promotes dialogue among scientists across the whole range among professionals, from atheistic evolutionists to young-earth creationists. Full of new insights and fresh perspectives, it is thorough, yet also accessible to anyone interested in issues of faith and science.

Alexander offers evidence that a much greater part of the Western scientific community allows for theism than the media suggest. Rebuilding the Matrix draws on sociologists, historians of science, philosophers, scientists, and theologians to provide an overview of the varied ways in which faith and science interact. Beginning by laying historical groundwork, the book moves on to tackle such key questions as: · How do scientific and religious knowledge relate? · Does evolution have any religious significance? · Can ethics be derived from evolutionary biology? · Does the anthropic principle support religious belief? · Are miracles strictly unbelievable?

Rebuilding a "theistic framework for science"—the matrix to which the title alludes—is no easy task. But as you will discover, there are compelling reasons to make the effort. Rebuilding the Matrix is an informed, refreshing, and thought-provoking exploration into some of the biggest issues of our time.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; 1 edition (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310250188
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310250180
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,990,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By wolvie05 VINE VOICE on June 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is by far the best introduction to a Christian scientific worldview. The author weaves together philosophy of science, history, the scientific literature in evolutionary biology and neuroscience, theology and sociology to mount a compelling case for a theistic 'matrix' for science. This is not your usual 'science and religion need not be at odds' homily. Alexander wants to rehabilitate the context within which science first flourished, namely Christian theism. The chapters on history are fascinating, while Alexander's critique of evolutionary naturalism, focusing on morality in an evolutionary context, is one of the most balanced and scientifically rigorous I have ever seen (unlike the politically motivated attacks of the like of Lewontin, Gould, et al.). Far away from the heat and dust generated by the futile Intelligent Design debate, in Darwin's homeland, orthodox Christian scholars work passionately in science for the glory of God. In a way it is the Christian equivalent of E.O. Wilson's "Consilience", and even more convincing. A must read.
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Format: Hardcover
A 6 star book on a 5 star rating system, truely one of those must read now type of books. Not just for those interested in the immediate topic of how do science and religion interact, but those interested in how scientists can use their training to illuminate topics outside their field with both caution and great value. In many interesting ways it is like another book i greatly appreciated _Modern Physics, Ancient Faith_. One of the striking parallels is the type of person that wrote each, the intensity of their desire to communicate their insights to the general public, the book as a long term work of love, and their use of science as a support for their theological viewpoints while very conscious of science's limitations in the discussion.
Pick up the book, unlike most books you can start reading almost anywhere to get an idea of the writing and topic. It is written to a generally educated audience, avoids jargon, shows evidence that it was written over a long time, i suspect 15-20 years as a passion outside of the author's professional life. It is remarkably evenly written, the only chapter i saw dipping in intensity or interest was 11="Determined to Love?: A Critique of Evolutionary Naturalism'. It is a rebuttal of M.Ruse's _Taking Darwin Seriously_ and its sociobiological/evolutionary psychology viewpoint.
The first part of the book, culminating in an excellent motif in chapter 7="The Warfare Mechants: The Roots of Modern Science (4)- Darwin, Evolution and the Victorian Conflict Thesis", is a historical introduction to the topic of how science and theology/religion have interacted in Western history. IMHO, he has hit all the important peaks in the discussion and dwells on the issues that are really important.
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By A Customer on September 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Why is there order in the universe?
And why is this order comprehensible
or discoverable at all, even if, in part?
What are the implications of a comprehensive
order in the universe?
As noted in this book,
the theistic framework of Christianity
is helpful.
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Format: Hardcover
Denis Alexander attacked the 'small but vocal group of scientists...using science as a weapon for attacking religious beliefs'. He was also unhappy with extremist creationists trying to ban science from the classroom. His purpose was to show that religion is compatible with science. He wanted to show that scientists can and do believe in God. He wrote: 'This book is an attempt to address the issue from the perspective of a working scientist who is tired of the rhetoric of the extremists and who wishes to present the views of that silent majority of scientists who, though the pressures of their professional lives rarely allow them to contribute to the debate, would nevertheless disassociate themselves from such extremes.'

That is a misleading and statement. First, he has not shown where he obtained the authorisation to speak for that silent majority of scientists. Secondly, he does not know or does not disclose that according to the National Academy of Sciences, 93% of the scientists in America do not believe in God.
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By A Customer on August 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is at its best when describing the interaction of science and religion over time. However when trying to justify Christianity as a reasonable way to view reality (ultimate or otherwise) the book falls flat. The author like many of his ilk tries to fall back on a line of thinking which is kind of like "because science doesn't know everything about everything you should therefore accord my worldview a certain legitimacy by default".
Sometimes the author is just clearly misinformed such as when on p. 446 he says ""There has only ever been a single occasion when water was allegedly turned into wine......" Sorry Dr. Alexander but a little reading of ancient and mystery religions would refute that point quite nicely. Dr. Alexander of course might respond that in Jesus' case this really happened whereas the other accounts are just "myth and legends".
As someone who works in the field of science, the only concept of God I can even begin to believe in is the Deist one. The God of revealed religions is just "God in the image of man".
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