- Taschenbuch: 128 Seiten
- Verlag: Trinity Press International (1. April 1995)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1563381095
- ISBN-13: 978-1563381096
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 14 x 0,7 x 21,6 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 3.085.513 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Serious Talk: Science and Religion in Dialogue (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. April 1995
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"This book is Polkinghorne at his best -- knowledgeable as a distinguished quantum physicist, believing as an Anglican priest, delightfully curious and insightful as a "would-be theologian" (his words), earnestly trying all the while to demonstrate the possibility of a fruitful consonance between science and theology in the quest for understanding." ----, "Theological Studies "
"Western culture needs constant, varied, and skilled attention to loosen the knot that scientism hold upon its open-mindedness. Since religion is frequently accused by scientists of tying just such a knot of its own, all the more urgent that scientists with theological training, such as Polinghorne, be incoved in the apologetic enterprise to motivate a belief based upon rational inquiry."--Sanford Lakoff "Anglican Theological Review "
"This book is Polkinghorne at his best knowledgeable as a distinguished quantum physicist, believing as an Anglican priest, delightfully curious and insightful as a "would-be theologian" (his words), earnestly trying all the while to demonstrate the possibility of a fruitful consonance between science and theology in the quest for understanding." Charles L. Currie, S.J.--Sanford Lakoff "Theological Studies "
Although now an Anglican priest and head of one of the prestigious colleges in Cambridge University, John Polkinghorne has spent most of his adult life working as a theoretical physicist. He is therefore uniquely qualified to set forth the relationship between science and religion in a way that takes the two disciplines seriously. Professor Polkinghorne argues that the habits of thought that are natural to the scientist are the same habits of thought that can be followed in the search for a wider and deeper kind of truth about the world. He calls this "bottom-up" thinking, that is, starting not with general principles but with the particularity of experience, and asking what is sufficient to explain the phenomena and give an understanding of what is going on. Serious Talk begins with the search for an acceptable meeting point for science and religion. Following this are examinations of specific theological issues approached in the spirit of such a meeting point: creation, the role of chance, God's engagement with time, the anticipation of a destiny awaiting humanity beyond death, and the end of the universe.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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He wrote in the Preface to this 1995 book, “It is a common theme among many of us who want to take science and theology seriously that, despite the great differences of their subject matter, the two disciplines are in many ways intellectual cousins as they pursue the search for motivated belief. I believe I can identify eight parallel characteristics of each subject through which their kinship is clearly displayed… The first half of this book … seeks to establish a comradely meeting point for science and religion. The second half… is concerned with looking at some specific theological issues approached in the spirit of such an encounter.”
He warns, “My instinct as a scientist is not to ask, Is something reasonable? but rather, What reason do we have to think it might be the case? We know the physical world is very surprising, and we cannot guess beforehand what it is going to be like. Who would have guessed quantum theory beforehand? The answer is nobody! Similarly, in our encounter with God, we must expect surprises. In a search for motivated belief, we ask: What is the evidence? What are the things that might make us think this was the case? I am also looking for a unified explanation, a unified understanding; one world and one truth is what I am looking for. The theological search is the ultimate search for a Grand Unified Theory…” (Pg. 2-3)
He rejects the “multiverse” theory: “People try to trick out a ‘many universe’ account in sort of pseudo-scientific terms, but that is pseudo-science. It is a metaphysical guess that there might be many universes with different laws and circumstances. I am not against metaphysics. In fact, we cannot live without it… But an alternative metaphysical guess is that there is one universe, which is a creation whose fine-tuning is the expression of the fruitful will of its Creator. That is to me a more economic and elegant metaphysical conjecture than the ‘many universes’ one.” (Pg. 6-7) Later, he adds, “This ‘portfolio of universes’ approach… is a metaphysical guess. Its interest lies in the fact that by making such guesses people indicate clearly that they feel there is really something calling for an explanation. To my mind, a metaphysical speculation of equal coherence and greater economy is that there is just one universe, anthropically finely tuned because it is the creation of a Creator who wills it to be capable of fruitful process. Again, I present that as a proffered insight, not a knockdown argument.” (Pg. 70)
He asserts, “I believe the God raised Christ from the dead that first Easter day. Of course, that is a very bold and astonishing assertion to make and I could easily explain at length why I think that is a motivated belief. It is a belief that can be neither proved nor disproved. But it is a motivated belief for me. All I can do is say why I think such an astonishing thing actually happened.” (Pg. 11)
He admits, “I am trying to offer … what it means to have Christian belief in a scientific age … not accepting things because the Bible tells me so, or the pope tells me so, but because I have derived them from looking at the evidence… Does this world look like the creation of an almighty and loving God? The frank answer is, not at first sight. There are various philosophical answers that one could make. There is the free-will defense… There is what I call the free-process defense in relation to physical evil; that God allows the world to be itself and does not stoop tectonic plates from slipping and producing an earthquake, because they are allowed to be themselves just as we are allowed to be ourselves…. I would not want to suggest that there is any facile answer to the problem of suffering. But there is a particular Christian answer … It is this: the Christian God is not a benevolent spectator looking down upon the suffering of this strange and bitter world; rather the Christian God is a fellow participant who knows suffering from the inside. The Christian God is the crucified God… [in Jesus’ crucifixion] we see God in human terms opening his arms to embrace the bitterness of the world and to be impaled upon its contradiction. That… is for me the makings of the Christian answer to the problem of suffering.” (Pg. 13-14)
He notes, “We now know that the universe has had a history. Far from the world as we experience it having come into being almost instantaneously and ‘ready made,’ it was once very different from the way it is today. Its many-billion-year history of evolving fruitfulness will discourage any thought of a Creator who works by magic. The Creator is not a God in a hurry; rather God is patient and subtle in relation to a world that its Creator has allowed largely to ‘make itself.’ The theologian may well reflect that there is unlikely to be any other way in which love would choose to work.” (Pg. 45)
He acknowledges, “That thirst for understanding will not be quenched by science alone. If we are to explain why the reason of our minds so perfectly fits the rational structure of the world, it is likely that the clue will be found in some deeper rationality that embraces both. The rational will of the Creator provides just such an explanation. I do not present that as a knockdown case for theism. I do not believe that there are any strict proofs either of God’s existence or of God’s nonexistence. But I do present it as an intellectually satisfying insight. I would not claim that atheism is stupid, merely that it is less comprehensive in its explanatory grasp than is belief in God.” (Pg. 50)
He contends, “There is a deep human longing to know what God is like, to discover what is the nature of Ultimate Reality. As a Christian I believe that that disclosure has been made in Jesus Christ… God in Christ has redeemed that life from its manifest limitation and distortion by sin… I cannot explore these great themes any further, defending their rationality and explaining why I believe in their truth. All I can say is that the possibility that these things might be so is surely the most important matter that we could ever be called upon to investigate.” (Pg. 56) He adds, “theology is still the ‘Queen of Sciences’ … because it can take the results of those inquiries and embed them in the most profound and comprehensive matrix of understanding… [Science] will never touch more than the periphery of our human experience… Deep within us is an intuition of hope and human significance , despite the manifest transience of life in this world… I believe that both science and theology are to be taken with the utmost seriousness and that they are cousinly partners in that necessary search for the fullest possible understanding.” (Pg. 58-59)
He states “three great affirmations of Christian belief: (1) that the physical world is a creation sustained by the will of God and that its history contains the unfolding of God’s purpose; (2) that God interacts with his creatures, who are the objects of his providential care; and (3) that Jesus was raised from the dead the first Easter day by a great divine act that is the guarantee and foretaste of a destiny beyond death for all of us.” (Pg. 60)
He says, “Whatever meaning the deep myth of the Fall has for us today, it cannot play that etiological role of accounting for present ills as arising from a previous act of degeneration. Cosmic history has been the weaving of a seamless evolutionary web, and death has always been the necessary price of new life. The need for consonance with the findings of science can be a healthy corrective for theology…” (Pg. 63)
He further argues, “Science does not explain the mathematical intelligibility of the physical world, for it is part of science’s founding faith that this is so. We can always decline to put the question, shrug our shoulders, and say, ‘That’s the way it is, and good luck for you mathematical chaps.’ It goes against the grain for a scientist to be so intellectually lazy. The meta-question of the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics insists on being answered… The physical universe in its rational beauty and transparency seems shot through with signs of mind… for it is God’s mind that lies behind its rational beauty. I do not offer this as a knockdown argument for theism… but as a satisfying insight that finds a consistent place in a theistic view of the universe.” (Pg. 67-68)
He insists, “Something happened between Good Friday and Pentecost. The demoralization of the disciples… is certain. Equally certain is the fact that within a short space of time, those same disciples were defying the authorities, who had previously seemed so threatening, and were proclaiming the one who had died disgraced and forsaken as being both Lord and Christ… So great a transformation calls for an equally great cause… it has been suggested that what happened was a faith event in the minds of the disciples, a conviction achieved after a period of reflection… That does not seem to me to begin to be sufficiently powerful enough to be the explanation of so great a transformation.” (Pg. 93-94)
He concludes, “I have tried to indicate how these twin convictions work out for ma as a physicist who is also a priest. I am convinced that the survival of Christianity in a scientific age does not call for watering down the faith… The religion of the Incarnation is mysterious and counter to our everyday intuition… We can see neither God nor electrons, but both make sense of the richness of reality. If I can persuade some of my readers to take both seriously, I shall be well content.” (Pg 111)
Polkinghorne’s unique status (as both a physicist and a priest/theologian) give him a unique status; his books are key reading for anyone studying the relationship between science and religion.
Polkinghorne's general ideas seem to be more about how theology is influenced by science than vice versa; thus, the book may well be a discussion on how theology and science are related, but if so, it is only of how liberal theology (Polkinghorne even goes so far as to appeal to process theology!) can be integrated with science. As such, it will be of little interest for those trying to understand how a conservative theologian can approach scientific issues.
A final criticism is that the basic question--what is the relationship between science and theology?--is neither scientific nor theological; it is philosophical. The author dabbles a bit in basic philosophy, but his idea that epistemology affects ontology is somewhat bizarre. How could what we know (or think we know?) about reality change what reality actually IS? The reverse is true. Our knowledge is affected by reality, not reality by our knowledge. That Polkinghorne misunderstands this admittedly basic philosophical idea should give anyone pause in accepting his further musings on more sophisticated philosophical questions.
2/3 stars: 3 for general usefulness, especially for his exposition of modern quantum theory, but minus one for somewhat cumbersome language.