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Science and Religion - A New Introduction

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  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2020-04-13
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

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The leading introductory textbook on the study of religion and the natural sciences, including new coverage of the latest topics in the field

Science and Religion provides students with a thorough introduction to the major themes and landmark debates in the interaction of science and religion. Incorporating history, philosophy, the natural sciences, and theology, this popular textbook examines how science and religion approach central questions and discusses the relationship between the two areas through the centuries. The authoritative and accessible chapters are designed for readers with minimal knowledge of science or theology. 

Written by one of the world’s leading authorities on the study of religion and science, this fully revised and updated third edition addresses contemporary topics and reflects the latest conceptual developments in the field. New and expanded chapters and case studies discuss Scientism, evolutionary theodicy, the Theory of Relativity, warranted belief in science and religion, the influence of science and religion on human values, and more. The most up-to-date introduction to this exciting and rapidly growing field, this textbook:

  • Offers an engaging, thematically-based approach to the subject
  • Provides historical context for major events in science and religion
  • Explores scientific and religious perspectives on Creation and the existence of God
  • Discusses models, analogies, and issues at the intersection of science and religion

One of the most respected and widely adopted textbooks in the field, Science and Religion: A New Introduction, 3rd Edition is an ideal resource for college, seminary, and university students in courses in science and religion; church or community courses in the relation of science and faith; and general readers looking for an inclusive overview of the field.

Author Biography

Alister E. McGrath is Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion and Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at the University of Oxford, UK. He is the editor of the Ian Ramsey Centre Studies in Science and Religion and the author of many influential works, including Dawkins' God: From the "Selftsh Gene" to the "God Delusion."

Table of Contents

Preface to the Third Edition ix

1 Science and Religion: Exploring a Relationship 1

Why Study Science and Religion? 2

The Chessboard: The Diversity of Science and Religion 5

Ian Barbour’s Four Models of the Relation of Science and Religion 7

Conflict 8

Independence 9

Dialogue 10

Integration 11

Four Ways of Imagining the Relation of Science and Religion 13

Science and Religion Offer Distinct Perspectives on Reality 13

Science and Religion Engage Distinct Levels of Reality 14

Science and Religion Offer Distinct Maps of Reality 15

The Two Books: Two Complementary Approaches to Reality 15

2 Getting Started: Some Historical Landmarks 19

Why Study History? 20

Inventing the ‘Warfare’ of Science and Religion 21

The ‘Essentialist Fallacy’ about Science and Religion 24

Dispelling Myths about Science and Religion 25

The Importance of Biblical Interpretation 28

The Emergence of the Medieval Synthesis 29

Copernicus, Galileo, and the Solar System 31

Newton, the Mechanical Universe, and Deism 38

Darwin and the Biological Origins of Humanity 43

The ‘Big Bang’: New Insights into the Origins of the Universe 50

3 Religion and the Philosophy of Science 57

Fact and Fiction: Realism and Instrumentalism 58

Realism 59

Idealism 61

Instrumentalism 62

Theology and Debates about Realism 64

Explanation, Ontology, and Epistemology: Research Methods and the Investigation of Reality 65

A Case Study in Explanation: Nancey Murphy on ‘Non‐Reductive Physicalism’ 68

What Does it Mean to Explain Something? 70

Ontic and Epistemic Approaches to Explanation 71

Religion and Explanation 73

Philip Clayton on Explanation in Religion 75

How Do We Decide What is the Best Explanation? 76

‘Logic of Discovery’ and ‘Logic of Justification’ 77

Inference to the Best Explanation 79

A Case Study: Darwin and Natural Selection 81

Theory Choice and Religion 82

Verification: Logical Positivism 84

Falsification: Karl Popper 86

Theory Change in Science: Thomas S. Kuhn 89

4 Science and the Philosophy of Religion 95

Science, Religion, and Proofs for God’s Existence 96

Traditional Philosophical Arguments for the Existence of God 98

Thomas Aquinas’s Five Ways 99

The Kalam Argument 102

A Case Study: William Paley’s Biological Argument from Design 103

The Ambiguity of ‘Proof ’: Justification in Science and Theology 108

God’s Action in the World 111

Deism: God Acts Through the Laws of Nature 112

Thomism: God Acts Through Secondary Causes 114

Process Theology: God Acts Through Persuasion 116

Quantum Theory: God Acts Through Indeterminacy 118

Miracles and the Laws of Nature 120

David Hume’s Critique of Miracles 121

Keith Ward on Miracles 123

Wolfhart Pannenberg on Miracles 124

Natural Atheology? Evolutionary Debunking Arguments against God 125

Natural Theology: Is God the ‘Best Explanation’ of our Universe? 128

A Metaquestion: Creation and the Uniformity of Nature 133

5 Models and Analogies in Science and Religion 143

The Use of Models in the Natural Sciences 145

The Kinetic Model of Gases 148

Complementarity: Light as Wave and Particle 151

Analogical Reasoning: Galileo and the Mountains of the Moon 153

Using Scientific Models Critically: Darwin’s Principle of Natural Selection 155

The Use of Models and Metaphors in Christian Theology 158

Thomas Aquinas on the Analogia Entis (‘Analogy of Being’) 159

Ian T. Ramsey on the Model of the Divine Economy 160

Arthur Peacocke on the Theological Application of Models and Analogies 162

Sallie McFague on Metaphors in Theology 163

Using Religious Models Critically: Creation 164

Using Religious Models Critically: Theories of the Atonement 167

Models and Mystery: The Limits of Representation of Reality 169

Ian Barbour on Models in Science and Religion 173

6 Science and Religion: Some Major Contemporary Debates 179

Moral Philosophy: Can the Natural Sciences establish Moral Values? 179

Evolution and Ethics: The Debate about Darwinism and Morality 180

Neuroscience and Ethics: Sam Harris on the Moral Landscape 182

Philosophy of Science: Is Reality Limited to What the Sciences Can Disclose? 185

Philosophy of Religion: Theodicy in a Darwinian World 189

Theology: Transhumanism, the ‘Image of God’, and Human Identity 192

Mathematics: Science and the Language of God 196

Physics: Does the ‘Anthropic Principle’ have Religious Significance? 199

Evolutionary Biology: Can we speak of ‘Design’ in Nature? 203

The Psychology of Religion: What is Religion All About? 207

The Cognitive Science of Religion: Is Religion ‘Natural’? 213

Conclusion 218

Sources of Citations 225

Index 245

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What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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