Science & Religion: An Introduction

Alister E. McGrath, Author Wiley-Blackwell $77.95 (264p) ISBN 978-0-631-20841-9
McGrath's argument in this book is schematic. He begins with three turning points in the history of science: the Copernican and Galilean controversies, the mechanistic universe of Newton and the upset caused by Darwin's theory of evolution. According to McGrath, these landmarks shaped the question of whether religion is an ""ally"" or an ""enemy"" of science. It is his contention that both responses have had considerable impact on religion over the last two centuries, in the form of liberalism, modernism, neo-orthodoxy and evangelicalism. These four strands of Christian theology have developed both confrontational and nonconfrontational models of the relationship between religion and science. McGrath outlines the impact of philosophers of science, such as Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn, on religion as well as the impact of the philosophy of religion on scientific questions. He also explores the use of models and analogies in science and religion and devotes two chapters to an examination of issues and case studies. Most helpful are his short summaries of the positions of key thinkers in this dialogue: Ian Barbour, Arthur Peacocke, John Polkinghorne and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, among others. McGrath's book provides a useful starting point for those entering the study of science and religion. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/1998
Release date: 12/01/1998
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