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Quarks, Chaos & Christianity: Questions to Science And Religion [Paperback]

By John Polkinghorne (Author)
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Item description for Quarks, Chaos & Christianity: Questions to Science And Religion by John Polkinghorne...

This bestselling book by a theoretical physicist and Templeton Award winner addresses and bridges the seemingly impassable divide between rational inquiry and faith. Updated to include new scientific breakthroughs, this important work helps us see science and religion as complementary understandings.

Publishers Description
Templeton Award winner and theoretical physicist John Polkinghorne explores the gap between science and religion. "Do we have to choose between the scientific and religious views of the world, or are they complementary understandings that give us a fuller picture than either on their own would provide?"" Quarks, Chaos, & Christianity" shows the ways that both science and religion point to something greater than ourselves. Topics include: chaos theory; evolution; miracles; cosmology; guest for God; how God answers prayer; our human nature; religious fact and opinion; scientists and prayer.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: The Crossroad Publishing Company
Pages   126
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.3" Width: 5.42" Height: 0.39"
Weight:   0.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2006
Publisher   The Crossroad Publishing Company
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  0824524063  
ISBN13  9780824524067  

Availability  7 units.
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More About John Polkinghorne

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! John Polkinghorne, KBE, FRS, is fellow and retired president, Queens' College, Cambridge University. He was founding president of the International Society for Science and Religion and in 2002 was awarded the Templeton Prize. The author of numerous books, he lives in Cambridge, UK.

John Polkinghorne has an academic affiliation as follows - Queens' College, Cambridge University University of Cambridge Universi.

John Polkinghorne has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Theology for the 21st Century
  2. Yale Nota Bene

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Product Categories

2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Science & Religion
3Books > Subjects > Science > History & Philosophy > Science
4Books > Subjects > Science > History & Philosophy

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > Science, Faith & Evolution

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Reviews - What do customers think about Quarks, Chaos & Christianity: Questions to Science And Religion?

Sadly MISGUIDED and uninformed !  Jun 1, 2008
John reveals his complete ignorance of Bible and scientific truth as he has been sadly brainwashed by the paganism of anglicanism!
Chaotic expressions of quarky world  Nov 27, 2007
Worship Quarks not dieties what kind of non-sense are we to swallow next.
I can not get past the complete oddity and utter dull drum of all that is not in this book.
The belief that God is a statistician and that through prayer and meditation one or more people can produce a desirable outcome in a random universe thereby inducing a quantum of influence in an otherwise absurd existence. Quantumism rejects the insertion of an active interventionist deity but a subtle quantum statistical cosmic mechanic. The belief that a force set the physical system in motion and does not adjust the system whimsically but allows the system to be manipulated through quantum prayer at the whimsy of the systems own evolutionary dynamics.

The belief that any outcome is possible but highly improbable if it does not fall in line with the current state of energy and mass in any particular moment. These tenet makes it a more palatable system in a futile effort to satisfy both a deep inner desire to accommodate the traditional grandiose deity and the modernistic scientific explanations of the natural world.

Quantumism's growth remains, for the most part undocumented as it is more of a sub-particle of todays modern religions, and any religion or faction that has tried to measure it has cease to exist almost instantaneously. Leading to the primary paradox that believing in something and practicing it are inherently difficult. Which is believed to be the birth place of the saying "Practice what you preach", the "I told you so" retort.

Quantumism has a long history and came into existence due to the letters between Bohr and Einstien and the many discussions about the ramifications of new realities, relationships and discoveries in the field of physics and impact on society and religion. The belief system has not been well documented or debated like nihilism or existentialism because of the spin. No one is certain of quantumism exact location on the ism scale due to the lack of instrumentations but though it may have a low profile it could simply be due to its existence not being percieved in this dimensional plane.

A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty - it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man. (Albert Einstein)
I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954)
I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings. (Albert Einstein)

Which brings me to my 2nd great epiphany.....

I was hoping to introduce another ism that I am researching.... Quantumism has been linked to another belief system based on massism. Spawned from the theory of relativity. The massism movement is the belief that nothing exists but energy. Time and Mass are simply a result of forms of energy like forms of water. The foundation of the belief is that "God is Mass" and the more massive something is the more godly. As entropy increases the universe cools, and god will reveal himself. Everyday becoming more and more apparent. (i.e. recent polls showing a religious appetite of Americans becoming more godly at the waist line could result in an alteration of Earths spin. As the planet begins to wobble on its axis creating a warping effect in the julian calendar unless a new adjustment variable is added to the already queer formula. The Earths wobble affect is believed to act as a butterfly effect on the whole solar system creating a ripple, the ripple growing into a wave pushing on the whole galaxy. At current estimates and todays weight growth rate in approximately 33.333 billion years (without calendar adjustments) this solar system will act on the entire milky way galaxy moving it out of the way of another galaxy today on a collision course with the milky way therefore avoiding a cosmic disaster.
HOW God acts in the world today  Oct 25, 2007
I highly recommend this book for Christians who are seeking to better understand HOW God acts in the world today and/or seeking to better understand the effectiveness of our prayers, which of course is related to the first issue.

Polkinghorne's answer is summed up in Chapter 5: "Can a Scientist Pray?," which alone is more than worth the price of the book and the time required to read it. His answer, BTW, is yes.

Disappointing  Jun 9, 2005
I found this book to be confusing and contradictory as if the author doesn't really believe what he's saying. I will say that there are many good points made, especially in the first couple chapter. Then in "Whats Been Going On" onward the quality dropped sharply. Here are a few problems I saw reoccuring.

- He makes the point that `Chance" is how nature gains an independence from the strict `laws' of nature.
However, chance may be just more reliable strict laws that we don't understand.

- Having 5 fingers was happenstance, but not being able to worship, consciousness etc. However, he also says that there is no magic ingredient to make life. However when did the worship characteristic come in for humans? He seems to be saying that it is much different than physical attributes which happened by `chance' but also that God does not enter in one day and give humans consciousness (evolution was a continuous process p. 52).

- P. 52, we hope to one day understand the biochemical pathways that got life going, but consciousness is a different story (centuries away from understanding). If we one day understand consciousness too, how is he not being a reductionist?

- He uses chaos theory as a stab against reductionism. Just because we can't take into account every variable does not mean it is not a reducible system. `Clouds' are still mechanical creatures even if we can't predict them. The mechanics is just very complex.

- Can Scientists Pray has a plethora of obvious theological problems dealing with God's will and the future.

- Things not made clear: Where does are self-awareness come from? Some things are determined by evolutionary chance and others not? How do you differentiate between the two? Why does chance give us metaphysical maneuvering? Just because we don't understand something we're going to bring metaphysics into it? Isn't this God of the gaps?

- Overall, this book was not very convincing of any of the points he was trying to make. To the Christian, he seems to want to put God into the box of science. There must be a better approach to the God/science question.

I'm sure if I reread it, some of these might be cleared up, but there's many more books of more worth to read first.
"a leap into the light, not the dark"  Nov 18, 2004
I'm guessing that Polkinghorne wrote this book around the same time he was preparing and presenting the Gifford Lectures (1994) as this book and the text of those lectures (published as "The Faith of a Physicist") cover some of the same themes rather closely. While that volume (FP) is broader in scope, this one sets its sights more narrowly. Neither book precludes the value of the other; both are interesting. QC&C is a rather quick read by comparison, so if theology and physics are not your usual cup of tea, this may be the right choice for you.
Sir John Polkinghorne, for those readers who might not be familiar with him, is acclaimed as both a quantum physicist and an Anglican priest/theologian (and he's been knighted [KBE], but isn't everybody on that side of the pond these days?). He has won the Templeton Prize and is a Fellow of the Royal Society. His theological thinking is, for the most part, quite classical, although he conspicuously also holds some process ideas regarding God's relationship to 'time' (this is an area in which many readers -- me, for example -- will respectfully disagree with him). His views are perhaps slightly different from the usual perceptions of the ID school of theistic scientists, which alone might be seen as recommending him as an interesting author.
My impression is that the target audience for this book is the Christian reader interested in the science-religion dialog and in questions of freedom and the 'problem of evil.' But I also think this might be a valuable book for agnostic scientists and anyone else interested in these topics. Polkinghorne says, "Many people seem to think that faith involves shutting one's eyes, gritting one's teeth, and believing X impossible things before breakfast . . . Not at all! Faith may involve a leap, but it's a leap into the light, not the dark. The aim of the religious quest, like that of the scientific quest, is to seek motivated belief about what is the case . . . "
Polkinhorne's style is both highly learned and gentle, balancing confidence with cognizance of humanity's unknowing. He is one of several important voices in the science-religion dialog.

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