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The Wonder of the Universe: Hints of God in Our Fine-Tuned World Paperback – March 14, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Giberson finds hints of God in our fine-tuned world . . . His restraint in writing the first nine chapters of the book ‘through the lens of a scientist sifting evidence’ makes the book a useful resource for pastors to recommend to seekers with scientific backgrounds." (Christina M.H. Powell, Enrichment, Fall 2012)

"The Wonder of the Universe is written in a style easily accessible to a broad audience. Avoiding the extremes of too much science jargon or sidestepping the science altogether, Giberson explains his scientific arguments in terms and examples that engage both scientist and layperson alike. He weaves a rich tapestry of the history of science, scientific discoveries and the many great―albeit sometimes quirky―minds of groundbreaking scientists themselves. Observing the remarkable lawful order and suitability for life we find in our universe, Giberson explores the fine-tuning 'problem' and cautions his readers not to simplify the debate between the competing explanations of the multiverse hypothesis versus purposeful design as merely science versus religion. He comments on the shortcomings of science when it comes to questions of meaning and purpose, and asserts that while evidence for fine-tuning in nature does not prove God's existence, it 'fits comfortably, supportively and logically' within a belief system holding God as Creator. This book is a very well-written, thought-provoking and enjoyable read." (Leslie Wickman, Center for Research in Science, Azusa Pacific University)

"Giberson lays out the case that the universe is 'wonderful, surprising and provocatively friendly to life' in an appealing and readable way. This book will be a welcome addition to the library of books on science and faith, one in which the reader is encouraged to see scientific advances as 'encouragements to faith, rather than challenges.' Individuals, churches and student groups will find it helpful." (Dorothy Boorse, professor of biology, Gordon College)

"In The Wonder of the Universe, Karl Giberson takes us on a delightful journey through space and time, offering enlightening insights into key historical events that shaped our understanding of the universe with glimpses of the wonder and glory of our Creator." (Randy Isaac, American Scientific Affiliation)

"Readers looking for a clear, accurate and interesting account of modern cosmology and the religious questions it raises should buy this book." (Edward B. Davis, professor of the history of science, Messiah College)

About the Author

Karl Giberson (PhD, physics) is an internationally known scholar, speaker and writer. He has written or coauthored nine books and lectured on science and religion at the Vatican, Oxford University, London´s Thomas Moore Institute and many prestigious American venues including MIT, The Harvard Club and Xavier University. Dr. Giberson has published more than two hundred reviews and essays, both technical and popular, in outlets that include the New York Times, CNN.com, The Guardian, USA Today, LA Times and Salon.com. He is a regular contributor to the public dialogue on science and faith, and has appeared as a guest on NPR´s Morning Edition and Talk of the Nation as well as other radio programs. He blogs at The Huffington Post where his articles have generated thousands of comments and are frequently featured. From 1984 to 2011, Dr. Giberson was a professor at Eastern Nazarene College (ENC) where he received numerous recognitions and awards. From 2007 to 2010 he headed the Forum on Faith and Science at Gordon College. For three years, ending in 2009, he was the program director for the prestigious Venice Summer School on Science & Religion. Dr. Giberson now teaches writing and science and religion in the Cornerstone Program at Stonehill College.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (March 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830838198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830838196
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #633,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By George P. Wood TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
Like many Christian ministers, I did not study science at the undergraduate or graduate level. Instead, I opted for philosophy and theology, academic disciplines which I felt would better prepare me for ministry. Thus, while I am not wholly ignorant of modern science, my understanding of it is admittedly thin. My conversations with ministerial colleagues indicate that this thin understanding is the rule among us, not the exception.

Such a thin understanding of science is, it now seems to me, a hindrance to ministry in the modern world. While the most enduring objections to Christianity--the problem of evil, for example--do not arise from scientific inquiry, the most interesting ones today do: the origins of the universe (Big Bang cosmology) and the origin of the species (biological evolution). According to the so-called New Atheists, scientific explanations have displaced theological ones, so that God is a "failed hypothesis," as the subtitle of a book by Victor J. Stenger puts it.

One response to the scientific critique of Christian belief is simply to reject the science. This is the strategy of Young Earth Creationism and the Intelligent Design Movement, both of which reject biological evolution, although they disagree on cosmological issues such as the age of the universe and the Big Bang. These two responses are very prominent within North American Pentecostalism and evangelicalism.

Another response--more commonly found among Christian academics and professional scientists than among laypeople--is to accept the scientific consensus on cosmology and biology but to reject the atheistic inference. This is the strategy of Karl W. Giberson in his new book, The Wonder of the Universe.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Karl Giberson is part philosopher, part teacher, and all scientist; but he refuses, just refuses to step into the realm of theology. In his latest solo offering, Giberson takes us through various scientific revolutions (from Aristotle to Einstein and beyond) and shows us what they are giving us in terms of a universe uniquely fitted, not designed, but fitted for human life. Indeed, he is as much anti-design as he is anti-creationist, but he has the good sense not to discuss the theology of these matters, only the science behind them. But, the science is divine.

The book is divided into two parts. Part One deals with the Book of Nature as many have called it. What does science look like and how has it aided us in our understanding of the physical world? It is a valid method of looking at the physical world? Does science continuously change? These are some of the questions that Giberson is taking up in the first several chapters. One of the more important points in this part, and it is one subtly repeating in the next part, is that science is in the habit of making predictions that will many times turn out to be true (Neptune is given as an example in the book, but today we should also not the Higgs boson). Giberson is writing to the lay person, a student with no background in physics or the higher sciences, and it is this lay person who more often than not is confused about the basic method of science. Giberson induces us to the Bacon method of inductive reasoning rather than the syllogistic route of Aristotle and many Christians today. It doesn't take much to understand that science and philosophy (of which theology is a subset) arrive at truth, at different types of truth, in different ways.
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Format: Paperback
Karl Giberson has really written two books here. The first, which is the first half of this book, is a wonderful overview of science and some of the great scientists of history. Giberson looks at the major discoveries, the evolution of understanding about our world, the universe and space; the smallness of earth in comparison to the vastness of space and much more. Giberson's overview is extremely well written both in terms of content and information.

The second half of the book looks at the argument of design in the universe. Giberson does this very well. He is both a scientist and a Christian but he does not make exaggerated claims either way but seeks to navigate a very sensible, logical process. He writes "I have tried in this book to be cautious but not timid in drawing connections between the wonder of the world and belief in God. I don't think the profound character of mathematics proves that God exists. But I do think it makes belief in a reality that transcends the physical world entirely reasonable and, I would argue, necessary."

Giberson is not a theologian trying to find a theology - but a scientist who obviously loves science and the process of discovering information, looking at the process of science through the lens of a believer in God.

I have a non-existent background in science - but I found this book more than just readable, but enjoyable as well as informative.

Recommended!
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I have been struggling with some "God issues" for quite some time. My background is in theology and biblical studies as well as religious studies. I have always had a strong interest in science and actually tested out of my first 2 years of it when I went to college. My interest is fitting together my studies with science. I saw this referenced in another book so ordered it. I am loving it!! Karl makes his points well, bringing things together in a sensible way. His material is being a GREAT help to me. Not only convincing me there HAS to be something behind what we see "out there" but generally just causing more amazement in me about the universe around us. It is beyond my grasp and just wondrous to even read about and ponder.

I highly recommend this book!!!
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