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Quarks, Chaos and Christianity: Questions to Science and Religion Paperback – 13 Oct 1994

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 113 pages
  • Publisher: Triangle; 1st edition (13 Oct. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0281047790
  • ISBN-13: 978-0281047796
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 268,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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By Neutral VINE VOICE on 15 Jan. 2016
Format: Paperback
John Polkinghorne's writings provide a direct challenge to the atheistic approach to science inasmuch as he is both a scientist and and Anglican priest. In 2008 the Royal Society destroyed its own credibility by forcing Michael Reiss to retire from his position as Director of Education primarily because he was a clergyman. In doing so they did not rely on evidence but chose to misrepresent what Reiss said in relation to dealing with questions raised by students who did not accept the existing scientific method. Polkinghorne takes a different view. He considers science and religion are friends not foes rejecting the idea that religious belief is outmoded or impossible in a scientific age. Those who confuse creationism with religion fail to appreciate that most Christians accept the major scientific interpretation of the origins of the universe, although the question tends to take the universe as given rather than explore the elements that brought it into being.

Polkinghorne does not accept the notion that science is based on facts and leads to real knowledge whereas religion is just based on on opinion. The crude perception of science is that an hypothesis is provided, an experiment is performed and a discovery is announced. However, the discovery does not become interesting or meaningful until it is interpreted, often in accordance with a theoretical framework. 'In science, experiment and theory, fact and interpretation, are always mixed up with each other.' Science is a mixture of fact and opinion while historically opinion changes with each paradigm shift. For example, when Uranus was discovered in the eighteenth century astronomers found it did not move through the heavens as Newton's theory of gravity had predicted.
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Format: Paperback
John Polkinghorne was a better physicist than I will ever be, and was a vicar as well, so I feel reluctant to criticise this book. In many ways it is a good introduction to science for Christians, and a clear presentation of his views of the relationship between science and God.
His view of God's interaction with nature is one of rigid scientific laws, and God acting primarily in the chaotic uncertainty (like the famous Butterfly Effect, except purposefully) - a God of the Gaps model, but one where the gaps cannot be shrunk. He does accept some miracles, notably the resurrection, and describes them as being operations of the physical laws in a certain regime (usually where God is revealing things).
However, his view of Scripture is too weak, so he succeeds in meshing moderately liberal Christianity (accepting the incarnation and the resurrection) with science, while avoiding both the possibilities and the problems of a less watered down version of Biblical truth.
Having said that, I think it's still one of the best books I've read on the subject by a scientist. But it's not up to Schaeffer's No Final Conflict.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ideal - needed for school course work.
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Format: Paperback
Worth reading, there is plenty to make you think, lots that makes sense, but a good deal that doesn't mesh with the God I know from experience and from the Bible. This is not to say that it is incorrect (although I suspect some of it is!), just not in line with my (limited) understanding and experience that I cannot just dismiss on the basis of human wisdom / philosophy.
Nevertheless - there is plenty in this book for people - probably Christians in particular - who feel the need to ignite some trains of thought on the subject. Even something so obvious as the difference between 'How' and 'Why' questions helps with understanding Science in the context of Christian understanding and experience.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christian Beliefs 25 Oct. 2011
By hanks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must for those scientists who also believe in Jesus Christ. I found that Polkinghorne's writings make it easier for me to allow science to be science and religion to be religion. The two are compatible and more science does not threaten my beliefs.
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