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John Polkinghorne, an international figure known both for his contributions to the field of theoretical elementary particle physics and for his work as a theologian, has over the years filled a bookshelf with writings devoted to specific topics in science and religion. In this new book, he undertakes for the first time a survey of all the major issues at the intersection o John Polkinghorne, an international figure known both for his contributions to the field of theoretical elementary particle physics and for his work as a theologian, has over the years filled a bookshelf with writings devoted to specific topics in science and religion. In this new book, he undertakes for the first time a survey of all the major issues at the intersection of science and religion, concentrating on what he considers the essential insights for each. Clearly and without assuming prior knowledge, he addresses causality, cosmology, evolution, consciousness, natural theology, divine providence, revelation, and scripture. Each chapter also provides references to his other books in which more detailed treatments of specific issues can be found. For those who are new to what Polkinghorne calls "one of the most significant interdisciplinary interactions of our time," this volume serves as an excellent introduction. For readers already familiar with John Polkinghorne's books, this latest is a welcome reminder of the breadth of his thought and the subtlety of his approach in the quest for truthful understanding.


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John Polkinghorne, an international figure known both for his contributions to the field of theoretical elementary particle physics and for his work as a theologian, has over the years filled a bookshelf with writings devoted to specific topics in science and religion. In this new book, he undertakes for the first time a survey of all the major issues at the intersection o John Polkinghorne, an international figure known both for his contributions to the field of theoretical elementary particle physics and for his work as a theologian, has over the years filled a bookshelf with writings devoted to specific topics in science and religion. In this new book, he undertakes for the first time a survey of all the major issues at the intersection of science and religion, concentrating on what he considers the essential insights for each. Clearly and without assuming prior knowledge, he addresses causality, cosmology, evolution, consciousness, natural theology, divine providence, revelation, and scripture. Each chapter also provides references to his other books in which more detailed treatments of specific issues can be found. For those who are new to what Polkinghorne calls "one of the most significant interdisciplinary interactions of our time," this volume serves as an excellent introduction. For readers already familiar with John Polkinghorne's books, this latest is a welcome reminder of the breadth of his thought and the subtlety of his approach in the quest for truthful understanding.

30 review for Science and Religion in Quest of Truth

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    This might be one of the wisest books I've ever read. John Polkinghorne is a physicist and Anglican priest who has spent something on the order of five decades thinking and writing about the interaction, if not confrontation, between science and religion. Science and Religion in Quest of Truth reads something like a summary of that thought and those writings. As an introduction to Polkinghorne's writing – which it is for me – it seems almost tailor-made. The result is not really a deep dive into This might be one of the wisest books I've ever read. John Polkinghorne is a physicist and Anglican priest who has spent something on the order of five decades thinking and writing about the interaction, if not confrontation, between science and religion. Science and Religion in Quest of Truth reads something like a summary of that thought and those writings. As an introduction to Polkinghorne's writing – which it is for me – it seems almost tailor-made. The result is not really a deep dive into any one facet of the science-religion debates, but rather a broad-level discussion of how science and religion seek for truth in different ways, and how their respective modes of investigation or interrogation can complement each other. That's nice because Polkinghorne is not an easy read; he rarely uses a $1 word when he can find a $10 one (e.g., "complexification" in place of "complexity"), so keeping the subject matter surface-level ensures that a layperson doesn't stay lost too long if they can't quite get their mind around topics such as the block universe or quantum mechanics. I do wish Polkinghorne had an easier writing style to grasp; his insights and suggestions are too good to stay confined among the academic among us. In an effort to spread his thoughts a little more widely, following are a few quotes I most enjoyed: pp. 21-22: An honest science addresses only one set of questions (roughly How? – concerned with the processes of the physical world), while theology addresses another set (roughly Why? – concerned with the meaning, value, and purpose present in what is happening). Neither side can claim to answer the other's questions, but we are perfectly familiar with the fact that both kinds of question are meaningful and necessary to ask. ... The resulting binocular vision onto reality [that comes from usng the congruence of science and theology to seek truth] may be expected to yield a view that is deeper and more comprehensive than either discipline could offer on its own. p. 44: One could write a history of modern physics as being variations on the theme of an increasing realization that 'reality is relational.' p. 65: Perhaps the most astonishing event in cosmic history that is known to us is the dawning of self-conscious life here on Earth. In our ancestors the universe had become aware of itself. p. 69: Theology asserts the universe to be a divine creation, and it therefore should be gratefully attentive to all that science can tell it about the universe's nature and history. pp. 71-72: Science has disclosed to us a world which, in its rational transparency and beauty, is shot through with signs of mind, and religious belief suggests that it is indeed the Mind of the Creator that lies behind the wonderful order of the universe. I believe that the reason within and the reason without fit together because they have a common origin in the God who is the ground both of human mental experience and of the existence of the physical world of which we are a part. ... The claim being made is not that this insight is logically incontestable and could not be denied, but that it offers the deeply intellectually satisfying best explanation of the remarkable access that science has been able to attain to the deep structure of the universe. p. 80: Such a Creator [the evidence for whom is only found in the gaps of scientific knowledge] could be nothing more than a 'Cheshire cat deity', continually disappearing from sight with th advance of scientific knowledge, continually driven to take refuge over the next intellectual horizon. p. 93: Prayer is not a substitute for action but a commitment to action. Those who pray for their neighbors must be prepared to go and help their neighbors. p. 109: Hell is not a place of unending torture, painted red, but of unending boredom, painted grey, because the divine life that is life inedeed has been excluded from it by its inhabitants. p. 117: Neither the Christian believer nor the unbeliever has access to indisputable proofs of the kind that it would be wholly irrational to dismiss, but there is the possibility for serious discussion that can be pursued with intellectual integrity and truthful intent.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Frank Peters

    This was one of the most pleasant and enjoyable books that I have read from John Polkinghorne. His thoughts flow clearly and systematically onto the page, and for the most part I appreciate what he is saying and what he is struggling with. As Polkinghorne wrestles with the interface between science and religion, he does an excellent job in describing the limitations and rationality of both. This is possibly the best portion of the book. Polkinghorne repeats his classic statement about why the wa This was one of the most pleasant and enjoyable books that I have read from John Polkinghorne. His thoughts flow clearly and systematically onto the page, and for the most part I appreciate what he is saying and what he is struggling with. As Polkinghorne wrestles with the interface between science and religion, he does an excellent job in describing the limitations and rationality of both. This is possibly the best portion of the book. Polkinghorne repeats his classic statement about why the water in the kettle is boiling, which has an evident scientific answer but also a more accurate answer that has nothing to do with science: because he wanted to prepare a cup of tea. I really appreciated his discussion on free will and determinism, both from a scientific and theological perspective. On the other hand I did not agree with his conclusions which embraced and openness theology. He then contemplates some very difficult philosophical problems like how God resides in time, which were very interesting. Near the end of the book, Polkinghorne presents a summary of a Christian apologetic. Most of this was excellent, but I was also stung by how Polkinghorne is happy to nearly arbitrarily throw away portions of scripture as mythological.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Negar

    📝📚«علم و دین» بریده ای از کتاب: درباره چگونگی ارتباط علم و دین، «یان باربور» چهار حالت را پیشنهاد کرده است؛ این چهار حالت عبارتند از: «تعارض»، «استقلال»، «گفتگو» و «یکپارچگی». «تعارض» زمانی رخ می دهد که این یا آن رشته معرفتی مدعی می شود که خود تنها منبع حقیقت و فهم درست است یا علم است که گفته می‌شود به تمام سوالات معنادار و قابل پرسش پاسخ می دهد یا الهیات است که گفته می‌شود کلید ارزشمند معرفت را در اختیار دارد کلیدی که آن را توانمند می سازد تا پاسخ های معتبری حتی به سوال از چه زمان و تاریخ زندگی بد 📝📚«علم و دین» بریده ای از کتاب: درباره چگونگی ارتباط علم و دین، «یان باربور» چهار حالت را پیشنهاد کرده است؛ این چهار حالت عبارتند از: «تعارض»، «استقلال»، «گفتگو» و «یکپارچگی». «تعارض» زمانی رخ می دهد که این یا آن رشته معرفتی مدعی می شود که خود تنها منبع حقیقت و فهم درست است یا علم است که گفته می‌شود به تمام سوالات معنادار و قابل پرسش پاسخ می دهد یا الهیات است که گفته می‌شود کلید ارزشمند معرفت را در اختیار دارد کلیدی که آن را توانمند می سازد تا پاسخ های معتبری حتی به سوال از چه زمان و تاریخ زندگی بدهد این ادعاها امروزه در هیاهوی بنیاد گران هر دو طرف شنیده می شود. در واقع هر دوی این مواضع نادرست است اعتقاد نسبتاً گسترده ای در جوامع امروزی وجود دارد مبنی بر این که علم و دین در کشاکش ای هستند که نهایتاً به مرگ یکی از آنها منجر خواهد شد این کشاکش از ادعاهای خام هر دو طرف ناشی می شود . علم مدعی است که کاملاً صالح است و دین خود را مطلقاً مصون از خطا می‌داند،[ اما هم علم و هم دین باید از چنین موضعی عدول کنند] علمِ راستگو فقط به بررسی مجموعه خاصی از سوالات می‌پردازد (تقریباً سوال از «چگونگی؟» ، سوالی که متوجه فرایند های جهان فیزیکی است) در حالیکه الهیات به مجموعه دیگری از سوالات متمایل است (تقریباً سوال است «چرایی؟» سوالی که با معنا ارزش و هدف موجود در اتفاقات سروکار دارد.) هیچ یک از علم و دین نمی توانند مدعی پاسخ به پرسش‌های آن دیگری باشد اما ما به خوبی با این واقعیت مأنوسیم که هر دو سنخِ سوالات ، معنادار بوده و پرسش از آنها ضرورت دارد. جوششِ کتری، هم به این دلیل است که شعله گاز آن را گرم می‌کند( توضیح علمی) و هم به این دلیل است که من می خواهم یک فنجان چای بنوشم (توضیحی که مستند به هدف است). ما ملزم به انتخاب یکی از این دو نگاه نیستیم؛ زیرا هر دوی اینها درستند؛ بدون ملاحظه همزمان هر دوی این پاسخ ها حادثه جوشیدن کتری به شکل ناقص خواهد شد. اگر ما صادقانه به دنبال فهم جهان پیچیده و چند سطحی که در آن زندگی می کنیم هستیم هم به نگرش علمی و هم به نگرش الهیاتی نیاز خواهیم داشت. 📙#کتاب «علم و دین، در جست و جوی حقیقت» صفحه ی ۳۵ ⁦🖋️⁩اثر «جان پوکینگهورن» 📝ترجمه ی میلاد نوری و رسول رسولی پور 📚نشر « حکمت»

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kailey Smith

    Awesome book. I love Polkinghorne's writing style and the way he conveys information. Awesome book. I love Polkinghorne's writing style and the way he conveys information.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gordon Ebert

    Polkinghorne's writing and thoughts on the science/faith interface are engaging, as usual, and this book provides a great survey of his work over the past 30+ years, with frequent references to his previous works. By way of comparison, I found Exploring Reality to be better written and more original; but with Science and Religion in Quest of Truth we get the seasoned wisdom of this octogenarian giant. Here are a few gems: "The kettle is boiling both because gas heats the water (the scientific ex Polkinghorne's writing and thoughts on the science/faith interface are engaging, as usual, and this book provides a great survey of his work over the past 30+ years, with frequent references to his previous works. By way of comparison, I found Exploring Reality to be better written and more original; but with Science and Religion in Quest of Truth we get the seasoned wisdom of this octogenarian giant. Here are a few gems: "The kettle is boiling both because gas heats the water (the scientific explanation) and because I want to make a cup of tea (an explanation invoking purpose)...If we are truly to understand the rich, many-levelled world in which we live, we shall need the insights of both science and religion." "If the multiverse is to be truly explanatory, it needs some extra collateral support since without it, attempting to hide a significant particularity in a hypothetical infinity of other possibilities would not amount to an explanation at all...Any needle of significance could be hidden in the conjecture of a significantly capacious haystack." "There has been much speculation in the discussion of this section. In many ways, the best answer to eschatological questioning is to say 'Wait and see.' The discussion has rested on two solid foundations, however, the everlasting faithfulness of God and the resurrection of Jesus Christ." Polkinghorne does not toe all the evangelical lines (e.g., open theism, post-mortem repentance), yet he finishes the book with a compelling defense of the divine nature of Christ and the Trinitarian understanding of God - the aim of which is "to say enough to indicate that there are rational motivations for these beliefs to which a bottom-up thinker, open to the possibility of the unexpected, should be prepared to give serious consideration." Polkinghorne's faithfulness to Christ and his relentless pursuit of the unity of knowledge have led to a lifetime's worth of insight. If you have never read him, may I suggest you prepare yourself to give serious consideration.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kristal Serna

    I’m always interested in learning how science and religion can coexist. This physicist/priest is an engaging and thought-provoking writer, and I enjoyed his book. However, I don’t have a scientific background and posses only scant knowledge of physics. Therefore, I was unable to fully grasp some of the scientific information he presented. I’d recommend this book to people who have a working knowledge of physics.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christe McMenomy

    John Polkinghorne is a physicist-turned-Anglican-priest, and so he speaks from experience in both realms, making his approach somewhat of a rarety among those taking a stance on the relationship of science to religion. Polkinghorne's book is targeted toward the layman, but his precise language and fine distinctions of terms make this a serious read — not something to relax with while drowsing on a Sunday afternoon, but something to read upright, slowly, pondering the points he raises carefully, John Polkinghorne is a physicist-turned-Anglican-priest, and so he speaks from experience in both realms, making his approach somewhat of a rarety among those taking a stance on the relationship of science to religion. Polkinghorne's book is targeted toward the layman, but his precise language and fine distinctions of terms make this a serious read — not something to relax with while drowsing on a Sunday afternoon, but something to read upright, slowly, pondering the points he raises carefully, and if you are like me, taking lots of notes. Following Ian Barbour's work in "Issues in Science and Religion", Polkinghorne identifies four possible relationships between science and religion: irreconcilable conflict, independently dealing with different domains, in dialogue and complementary but neither complete, and finally interdependent and moving toward integration into a single world view. While he maintains that the complementary relationship is a good starting point, Polkinghorne believes that complete integration is possible when recognizing how similar methods of science and theology actually are. To show how the complementary approach might work, he explores scientific insights and methods that could benefit theologians, and the theological insights and methods that could benefit scientists, as they look together at the same universe. Along the way, he also points out how science rests on fundamental principles that cannot be determined from observation and experiment, but whose origins lie in metaphysical concepts, and how theological concepts rest on human experience where close observation render new ways of appreciating Divine activity. After reading a number of works by opinionated authors on why science and religion — and even more distressing, scientists and people of faith — have nothing to say to one another — Polkinghorne's serious approach and concern for establishing common ground among all those who sincerly seek the truth is refreshing, and this introduction to his larger body of work well repays the effort required to read it carefully.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    Actually, I skimmed this book. I like Polkinghorne's thinking--he's a physicist and an Anglican priest--but, it's deep stuff and I wasn't feeling all that contemplative when I had it from the library. Ah well. Actually, I skimmed this book. I like Polkinghorne's thinking--he's a physicist and an Anglican priest--but, it's deep stuff and I wasn't feeling all that contemplative when I had it from the library. Ah well.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Crouch

    Whilst nowhere near as qualified as the Author, I also have a background that was originally in Science and am now in Religion (in the sense of being a Lutheran Pastor). This is a reasonable book to introduce to someone to some of the arguments of Intelligent Design - though I do think that the Author sees his view of Intelligent Design as the only one - not even allowing for Old Earth Creationism (and especially ignoring Young Earthers). Whilst he does highlight, especially at the end, the diff Whilst nowhere near as qualified as the Author, I also have a background that was originally in Science and am now in Religion (in the sense of being a Lutheran Pastor). This is a reasonable book to introduce to someone to some of the arguments of Intelligent Design - though I do think that the Author sees his view of Intelligent Design as the only one - not even allowing for Old Earth Creationism (and especially ignoring Young Earthers). Whilst he does highlight, especially at the end, the differences between world views/faiths - he seems to be reasonably certain that most Christians would agree with him - which is simply not the case. Having a more Mathematical background I enjoyed his coverage of Physics and Cosmology - but I admit I still struggle with the macro aspects of Biological Evolution. The Author doesn't seem to see that it has any issues. Whilst admitting that the Science has had major changes from Newtonian Mechanics to Special/General Relativity to Quantum Mechanics (though I do note he does not seem to be a big fan of String Theory / M Theory), he seems to grant Science a far greater level of "certainty" then I think is warranted. I think his apologetic is aimed more at getting Christians to accept Science, then to argue for Science to accept/allow a place for Religion. Perhaps the book was too short for him to fully make his case, but I was left feeling that the book was wanting.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    As Polkinghorne states in the Introduction, this book is a summary and overview of the ideas he espouses in his many previous books. As such this book summarizes why he believes that science and theology are similar pursuits for knowledge. After briefly describing the alternate viewpoints that science and theology are in conflict or that they need to be integrated, he summarizes his case for his belief that they are complementary but cannot really be integrated. He gives numerous references to h As Polkinghorne states in the Introduction, this book is a summary and overview of the ideas he espouses in his many previous books. As such this book summarizes why he believes that science and theology are similar pursuits for knowledge. After briefly describing the alternate viewpoints that science and theology are in conflict or that they need to be integrated, he summarizes his case for his belief that they are complementary but cannot really be integrated. He gives numerous references to his previous writings where the reader can get more in depth arguments for the views he summarizes here. This book is not likely to convince someone who has an opposing viewpoint of Polkinghorne's position, but it shows his holistic worldview and directs the reader where to read more. Polkinghorne has a more rigorous training than any other author I have read to discuss the topic of science and theology. After a prize-winning career as a physicist, he switched careers and became an Anglican priest.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Cleveland

    What a great read! The author weaves together a brilliant answer to the question "can Science and Religion live together in peace?". It is not a quick read. A number of times I had to look up the meaning of the sophisticated terms he uses to support his thesis. But the effort is worth it. I would strongly endorse this work to anyone who is struggling with the apparent conflict between the two. Rest easy ... both search for the truth and as the author clearly states ... the unity of knowledge dem What a great read! The author weaves together a brilliant answer to the question "can Science and Religion live together in peace?". It is not a quick read. A number of times I had to look up the meaning of the sophisticated terms he uses to support his thesis. But the effort is worth it. I would strongly endorse this work to anyone who is struggling with the apparent conflict between the two. Rest easy ... both search for the truth and as the author clearly states ... the unity of knowledge demands that we all (believers and atheists) accept the undeniable fact that truth is truth regardless the source.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Gunn

    Polkinghorne, a physicist, explains how he can be a scientist and Christian without compromises. In short: let science do science (i.e. the physical world) and let theology do theology (i.e. the metaphysical), all the while complementing one another (theology gives us a purpose, science gives us a greater understanding of the universe that God created). This is a good book to get an overview on the subject without getting too deep into either discussion.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    This is the best book that I've read dealing with the compatibility of science and religion. Some of the heavy science sections I couldn't fully appreciate, but he had so many insightful and interesting points! Polkinghorne is a physicist turned Anglican priest. This is the best book that I've read dealing with the compatibility of science and religion. Some of the heavy science sections I couldn't fully appreciate, but he had so many insightful and interesting points! Polkinghorne is a physicist turned Anglican priest.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I enjoyed what I understood from this book. But the majority of the content was way over my head. I did like the section on eschatology!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ginger

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alex Fagen

  19. 5 out of 5

    Russ

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Brinkmeyer

  21. 4 out of 5

    Robert Stead

  22. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

  24. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Martin

    At times this was over my head, but overall it was a thoughtful, intelligent discussion.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth D

  26. 5 out of 5

    Zack Locklear

  27. 4 out of 5

    Steve Norris

  28. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Spalding

  29. 5 out of 5

    Allie

  30. 4 out of 5

    T

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