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When Science Meets Religion: Enemies, Strangers, or Partners?

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  219 ratings  ·  31 reviews
The Definitive Introduction To

The Relationship Between

Religion And Science

∗ In The Beginning: Why Did the Big Bang Occur?

∗ Quantum Physics: A Challenge to Our Assumptions About Reality?

∗ Darwin And Genesis: Is Evolution God′s Way of Creating?

∗ Human Nature: Are We Determined by Our Genes?

∗ God And Nature: Can God Act in a Law-Bound World?

Over the centuries and into the new
Paperback, 205 pages
Published May 16th 2000 by HarperOne (first published January 12th 2000)
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Ben Holloway
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Barbour's introduction to the relationship between science and religion is a masterpiece of taxonomy. Barbour effortlessly categorizes the ways in which we relate science and religion--conflict, independence, dialogue, and integration--and proceeds to exemplify each approach in response to various flashpoint between science and religion: cosmology, quantum theory, creation/evolution, and human nature. His eye for a concise quote makes this a source book for the various views on offer.

Alan Fuller
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science
The author offers four views of science and religion through conflict, dialogue, independence, and integration. The fields of astronomy, evolution, quantum physics, genetics and neuroscience are looked at. Barbour concludes;

"In summary, I believe that Dialogue and Integration are more promising ways to bring scientific and religious insights together than either Conflict or Independence. In responding to the problems presented by the monarchial model of God, I find exciting new possibilities in
Jun 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Good one; however, lots of menutia. Don't get bogged down in it. As I tell my students, a critical thinker goes for the throat. Get to the gist of it. Those questions, points, concerns, things that apply or affect the most. Who cares about dates and terminology and individual confrontations. What can you get from this book that will help you with you to see why you are here, where you came from and where you're going. Another good book to read in this regard is A Brief History of Time, Stephen H ...more
Mar 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sciencereligion
Highly regarded by many reviewers and experts on the subject.
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Published in the year 2000, Ian Barbour’s When Science Meets Religion might already be partly out of date, but its arguments stand the test of time, and one can only hope present arguments about the enmity of science and religion might become as out of date (but still relevant) as Galileo’s revolution in world-view, as presented early in this book.

The author divides faith-and-science arguments into four types—conflict between the different ideas, independence (therefore no place to argue), dialo
Lynn Smith
Aug 01, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a good book but it got into a lot more depth on the science side than I cared to read or explore. I like the basic premise of the book, which is that science and religion should not be enemies or strangers but partners. I'm a Christian who was raised by parents without a high school education in a small Arkansas town and church which had very simple beliefs. I was brought up to believe in the literal interpretation of the bible. However, since then, my knowledge (and hopefully wisdom) h ...more
Shyann Kilgore
Jun 24, 2017 rated it liked it
This book presented a comprehensive view of all possible relationships between science and religion as disciplines. The examples were thorough and tried to incorporate a wide range of scientific disciplines from anthropology to physics and religious practices from Christianity to "Eastern Mysticism." My one critique is that the book focuses largely on Christianity rather than branching out more. A great introduction to studying how to make peace and progress in an often dualistic world.
Jun 28, 2017 rated it liked it
An overview that's handled well, with a couple of caveats. Due to brevity, some subtle points are glossed over. Also, for better or worse, the author's personal opinions are apparent. On the good side, I appreciate his honesty and openness. On the other hand, he doesn't critique his positions as well as he does others.
Willy Akhdes
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: in-my-library
The author seems to reconcile science and religion doctrines in anyway possible. He argued too hard to prove that science and religion is not corrosive each other. But, sadly, his argument is too tendentious without any significant correlation each other. The only thing I got from this book is some facts or commentary from other proficient about the topic he brings up.
Jeff Pedersen
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it
thought it was all very interesting, but i felt like it could have delved into the topics a little bit more. I know the author intended this to be a kind of introductory book to the debate of science vs. religion, but it would have been nice to get a better insight into some of the positions rather than the strangely vague overview that the author sometimes gives.
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book was ooooooozing with bias, so if examined through the secular eye it was difficult to discern how much was really based in 'unbiased research' and how much was a discussion on the author's personal belief system. It also lacked any significant discussions outside of the Judeo-Christian mythology which was disappointing.
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A demanding read, but well organised and comprehensive. Respects, I think, all positions while arguing for a particular, though certainly not mainstream or orthodox, position on the question of God.
Jeff Elliott
No fault of the author; I'm not smart enough to comprehend all this.
Jun 08, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: religions, science
Sadly, this wasn't such a great book. The book is broken down into five main chapters--Astronomy and Creation; The implications of quantum physics; Evolution and continuing creation; Genetics, neuroscience, and human nature; and God and Nature--each of which are then also broken down into how religion and science are in Conflict, Independence, Dialogue, and Integration with each other.

In theory, the book and its layout sound like a great idea. In reality, though, the book didn't really tell me m
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The title and cover of the book are really goofy, and this does not do justice to the very well-organized, well-considered content within. Ian Barbour is a professor emeritus at Carleton, who both got a physics degree from Fermi as well as a theology degree from Yale Divinity School. He clearly and concisely characterizes the different aspects of the relationship between science and religion, and then applies his categorizations to different fields of science. This would make a great primer for ...more
Nov 26, 2013 rated it liked it
The author is a far greater optimist than I am but he presents fascinating insight in to different ways to view the concept of God. Unfortunately, it seems the more science advances, the more the author needs to revise and shoe-horn his concept of God in to the natural order of things. His discussion of where God may exist within Quantum Mechanics is enlightening and I would separately give that chapter four to five stars.
Jan 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: popular-academic
Smart book that examines the relationship between sceince and religion. In each chapter he takes an issue and figures out if it shows the two to be in dialogue, at odds, the same, or totally independent of one another. He argues that overall there is a substantive dialogue between the two and that argument proves tenious at times. Good stuff though.
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was one of the first books I read that showed how much grey area exists between the biblical literalists and scientific rationalists. It definitely sparked my interest in what is so often portrayed in the media as irreconcilable and opposing groups. Too bad people try to simplify such complex matters.
Scott Franklin
Jul 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Barbour presents a number of issues by looking at four possible positions on the relationship between faith and science: conflict, independence, dialogue and integration. Tough reading but well presented.
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
If you want to see what the modern Pluralist philosophy is when it combines with all of the other minds debating God and evolution and computers. Again its what we humans do without God, make ourselves feel too smart and then wonder why "the issues" seem so confusing.
Jan 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
I was not convinced by the author.
Apr 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Written by Carleton Professor Ian Barbour. Long before the likes of Depak Chopra and his ilk, he was the first MF to point out that science and religion don't always have to be in conflict.
Eliza Coleman
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
Interesting subject matter but very dry...
Apr 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Barbour provides an excellent analysis of various views on the relationship between science and religion (mostly Western science and Christianity).
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Barbara by: Rev. Kerr, Ph.D.
Recommended reading prior to the 2008 Pastor's School in Idaho. Speaker was a member of Society of Ordained Scientists.
Edy Chandra
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Comprehensive view on science-religion relation cronologically and theme based
Melissa Tyson
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well written but not worth reading. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
katen moore
I tried. I'll try again, maybe
Vance J.
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found this an insightful analysis of the the relationship between science and religion, particularly in the context of the Catholic faith. I read this book as a pre-requisite for a seminar I am attending in the Summer. There is a lot of deep thought here, and some of my co-participants seemed frustrated at Barbour's structure (each chapter examines the issue in the context of four different ways the science and faith look at the issue). Yet, on finishing the book, I found it very holistic and ...more
Ken Orton
May 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
I tried to read this through several times but just ended up skimming through it. It reads like a physics textbook and is too much for me. The only person I know that might enjoy it is Rodney Bond. That doesn't make it a bad book and makes it difficult to rate - my rating is based on an average reader. If you're into Quantum Physics, Quarks and such you might enjoy it.
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