The Fire in the Equations

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1995-09-01
  • Publisher: Eerdmans Pub Co

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Since the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species in 1859, many have found science and belief in God irreconcilable. Now, in the final decade of the twentieth century, stunning advances in physics, biology, and the new fields of chaos and complexity have brought the conflict to a crucial stage. More and more, scientists have begun to look for a single fundamental law or truth that underlies the beginning of the universe and its continued existence. But can we truly find either God or a scientific theory that will erase once and for all the notion of God? This strikingly original book expertly yet clearly encapsulates the various cosmological arguments from science, religion, and philosophy for the nonspecialist. Called "a brilliant intermediary between the thinking of the physicist and the thinking of ordinary people" by a German radio commentator, Kitty Ferguson provides a tour de force review of the modern search for fundamental truth, writing in simple, readable prose and using relevant analogies. The result is a provocative, sometimes mind-bending challenge to reconsider the way we think about ourselves, our origin, and our destiny. Moving beyond Stephen Hawking's quest (in A Brief History of Time) "to know the mind of God", Ferguson takes us one step nearer the answer to science's ultimate question: What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?

Author Biography

Kitty Ferguson is an independent scholar and lecturer who lives in Chester, New Jersey. She has also written the bestselling books Tycho & Kepler: The Unlikely Partnership That Forever Changed Our Understanding

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
A Word about Inclusive Languagep. xiv
Acknowledgementsp. xv
'They Buried Him in Westminster Abbey'p. 1
Seeing Thingsp. 4
Is the rational universe an illusion?p. 12
'In Nature's infinite book of mysteries ...' can we read very much at all?p. 19
Is objective reality a mirage?p. 25
Are we really free agents?p. 30
Is the universe a uni-verse?p. 33
Almost Objectivep. 35
Where is fancy bred?p. 37
The spectacles-behind-the-eyesp. 44
The muse of science: Is truth beautiful?p. 59
Does truth surpass proof?p. 63
The elite of sciencep. 66
The spirit of the timesp. 69
The essential Godlessness of sciencep. 73
At the limits of scientific truthp. 78
First steps beyond the mind's-eye viewp. 80
Is there anything else?p. 81
The insidiousness of Godp. 86
The morality of science: Is truth good?p. 87
Romancing the Creationp. 89
The uncomfortable concept of a beginningp. 90
The Gordian knot of singularityp. 102
The magic of imaginary timep. 108
The pulsing universe and the arrow of entropyp. 117
The mysterious wobbling of nothingnessp. 123
'Reality (whatever that may be)'p. 126
Reality in the absence of applesp. 129
What place for a creator?p. 134
The third candidatep. 137
The mother of all chicken-and-egg storiesp. 139
The Elusive Mind of Godp. 143
God as the embodiment of the laws of physicsp. 145
A presence behind the processp. 146
The leap to purpose: The God who wishes to drink teap. 147
The watchmakerp. 149
The universe as a 'put-up job'p. 163
Second Gordian knot: The anthropic principlep. 164
Hacking at the second Gordian knotp. 166
The inflationary universep. 167
Baby universes to the rescue!p. 171
Not the ether again!p. 173
The longing of Johannes Keplerp. 178
The fiddler on the roofp. 184
The God of Abraham and Jesusp. 185
The law-breakerp. 189
The hard edge of legalismp. 191
The soft underbelly of legalismp. 195
The death of the God of the Gapsp. 204
Chaos meets Controlp. 205
'Top-down' determinism?p. 221
'IAM'p. 225
When truths collidep. 228
The ultimate self-confirming hypothesisp. 231
The masterful use of parallel perfect fifthsp. 234
Who is the 'I' in 'IAM'?p. 239
Inadmissible Evidencep. 241
Public vs. private knowledgep. 242
Admissible evidence?p. 245
The spectacles-behind-the-eyes, revisitedp. 246
The cloud of witnessesp. 247
A game of 'I Doubt It'p. 251
The Lucy problemp. 253
'I should not believe such a story were it told me by Cato!'p. 254
'The Invincible Ignorance of Science'p. 259
'For the Bible tells me so'--the evidence of scripturep. 260
Is there proof in the pudding? The evidence of resultsp. 263
Armchair truth: The argument from reasonp. 266
The argument from explanatory powerp. 270
The argument from naturep. 274
The argument from availabilityp. 277
Theory of Everything ... Mind of Godp. 279
Notesp. 284
Bibliographyp. 293
Indexp. 301
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