What Is Physics?

A Defence of Classical Theism

Author: Nigel Cundy

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

ISBN: 9781974401659

Category:

Page: 720

View: 6500

The modern world-view is very much shaped by the scientific revolution of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. However, the science behind Newtonian-based physics, and its daughters, has been shown to be wrong. Almost every philosophical assumption behind the mechanistic philosophy that inspired Galileo, Newton and their successors through to Maxwell, and even Einstein's classical theory of relativity, has been shown to be wrong by the experimental success of quantum field theory in the latter part of the twentieth and early twenty first centuries. Key philosophical principles, which underlie much of contemporary thought, such as nominalism, empiricism, determinism and the enlightenment views on causality are also undermined.The scientific revolution was accompanied by an unremitting criticism of classical philosophy. However, much of that criticism was based on the premise that physics is fundamentally mechanistic, an assumption we now know to be incorrect. So how well does that criticism measure up against today's science? The critical arguments are far weaker than they are often claimed to be.So what if we compare contemporary physics against classical philosophy? Classical philosophy is not unscathed, but it survives the encounter. Key classical concepts such as formal and final causality, potentiality and actuality, and the principle of (classical) causality have (when not misunderstood as the renaissance and early modern thinkers tended to do) direct analogues in quantum field theory. While it requires modification, and needs to be given a secure mathematical and geometrical foundation, the philosophy of the high medieval scholastics provides a far better basis for a philosophy of quantum physics than the various modern philosophies.The medieval philosophers showed rigorously that the premises behind classical philosophy logically imply classical monotheism. So how well do those arguments stand up when compared against modern physics, and how successful are the modern objections to those arguments? Again, the classical philosophers fare better than their later critics. For example, much of the modern criticism of the classical arguments attacks the form of causality used by the Greek, Islamic and medieval European philosophers. In the light of the mechanistic pre-twentieth century physics, such attacks seemed plausible, and were used to avoid the force of the medieval arguments. But quantum indeterminacy undermines the alternative enlightenment visions of causality (or visions of its absence), leaving only the classical version surviving. The conservation of four momentum, derived from the secure principle of locality at the foundation of quantum field theory, demands the classical principle of substance causality.In classical theism, God is not only an uncreatable creator of the universe, but actively sustains it at every moment. Physics is thus seen as a description of how God upholds and constantly guides matter. Scientific explanations are not a rival to theological explanations, but a part of the theological explanation. If this picture is correct, then how would our knowledge of God relate to our knowledge of physics? The rationality of God implies that nature can be described abstractly, and understood through reason, mathematics and probability. God's free will implies that it is impossible to predict the future with certainty, but only ascribe a certain likelihood to each outcome. God's transcendence of space and time and equal relationship to every particle in the universe enforces certain local symmetries on the physical description. But these are among the foundational principles used to construct quantum field theory. Thus it is possible to reason from the existence of God to the existence of a universe which closely (or identically) resembles the universe we live in.Modern thinkers have frequently claimed that science, reason and religious beliefs are in conflict. Those claims need reexamining.

God and Contemporary Science

Author: Philip Clayton

Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing

ISBN: 9780802844606

Category: Religion

Page: 274

View: 653

It is widely believed that contemporary science has ruled out divine action in the world. Arguing that theology can and must respond to this challenge, Philip Clayton surveys the available biblical and philosophical resources. Recent work in cosmology, quantum physics, and the brain sciences offers exciting new openings for a theology of divine action. If Christian theism is to make use of these opportunities, says Clayton, it must place a greater stress on divine immanence. In response to this challenge, Clayton defends the doctrine of panentheism, the view that the world is in some sense "within" God although God also transcends the world. God and Contemporary Science offers the first book-length defense of panentheism as a viable option within traditional Christian theology. Clayton first defends a "postfoundationalist" model of theology that is concerned more with the coherence of Christian belief than with rational obligation or proof. He makes the case that the Old and New Testament theologies do not stand opposed to panentheism but actually support it at a number of points. He then outlines the philosophical strengths of a panentheistic view of God's relation to the world and God's activity in the world. The remainder of the book applies this theological position to recent scientific developments: theories of the origin of the universe; quantum mechanics, or the physics of the very small; the debate about miracles; and neuroscientific theories of human thought.

Free Will and Classical Theism

The Significance of Freedom in Perfect Being Theology

Author: Hugh J. McCann,Professor of Philosophy Hugh J McCann

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190611200

Category:

Page: 224

View: 5774

The articles in the present collection deal with the religious dimension of the problem of free will. All of the papers also have implications for broader philosophical and theological issues, and will thus be of interest to a wide variety of scholars, both religious and secular. Together they provide a historical and contemporary overview of problems in the theology of freedom, together with recent work by some important philosophers in the field aimed at resolving those problems. The chapters are divided into four sections. The first addresses central issues about the nature of free will and how free will relates to theological topics such as theological fatalism and the problem of evil. The second section focuses on historical debates about free will and theism, but with an eye toward how those historical discussions can be brought into discussion with contemporary debates. The third section aims to address and understand divine freedom, while the final section explores implications of the doctrine of divine omnicausality.

The Harvest HandbookTM of Apologetics

Author: Joseph M. Holden

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers

ISBN: 0736974288

Category: Religion

Page: 528

View: 6429

Do You Truly Understand Your Faith? Can You Defend It? Scripture calls every believer—including you—to be prepared to defend the faith (1 Peter 3:15)? From the preacher to the churchgoer, the teacher to the student, The Harvest Handbook™of Apologetics is the comprehensive resource all believers need in a world full of uncertainty and relentless criticism. This collection of well-reasoned, Scripture-based essays comes from respected Christian apologists and Bible scholars, including... Norman L. Geisler Josh McDowell Gary R. Habermas Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. Ron Rhodes Edwin M. Yamauchi John Warwick Montgomery William A. Dembski Randy Alcorn Stephen C. Meyer Randall Price Ed Hindson What is the evidence for Jesus's existence? How can you address the seeming contradictions in the Bible? How can you best explain the relationship between science and faith? You'll discover concise and convincing responses to these questions and many more. Defending your faith is a lifelong quest, and this handbook is the perfect guide to help you skillfully answer the topics people ask about. Prepare to "contend for the faith" you call your own (Jude 3)—and become equipped to evangelize with wisdom and passion.

Einstein and Religion

Physics and Theology

Author: Max Jammer

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400840872

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 6605

The philosophy of religion and the quest for spiritual truth preoccupied Albert Einstein--so much that it has been said "one might suspect he was a disguised theologian." Nevertheless, the literature on the life and work of Einstein, extensive as it is, does not provide an adequate account of his religious conception and sentiments. Only fragmentarily known, Einstein's ideas about religion have been often distorted both by atheists and by religious groups eager to claim him as one of their own. But what exactly was Einstein's religious credo? In this fascinating book, the distinguished physicist and philosopher Max Jammer offers an unbiased and well-documented answer to this question. The book begins with a discussion of Einstein's childhood religious education and the religious atmosphere--or its absence--among his family and friends. It then reconstructs, step by step, the intellectual development that led Einstein to the conceptions of a cosmic religion and an impersonal God, akin to "the God of Spinoza." Jammer explores Einstein's writings and lectures on religion and its role in society, and how far they have been accepted by the general public and by professional theologians like Paul Tillich or Frederick Ferré. He also analyzes the precise meaning of Einstein's famous dictum "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind," and why this statement can serve as an epitome of Einstein's philosophy of religion. The last chapter deals with the controversial question of whether Einstein's scientific work, and in particular his theory of relativity, has theologically significant implications, a problem important for those who are interested in the relation between science and religion. Both thought-provoking and engaging, this book aims to introduce readers, without proselytizing, to Einstein's religion.

Mind and Emergence

From Quantum to Consciousness

Author: Philip Clayton

Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand

ISBN: 9780199291434

Category: Philosophy

Page: 236

View: 4926

Strong claims have been made for emergence as a new paradigm for understanding science, consciousness, and religion. Tracing the past history and current definitions of the concept, Clayton assesses the case for emergent phenomena in the natural world and their significance for philosophy and theology. Complex emergent phenomena require irreducible levels of explanation in physics, chemistry and biology. This pattern of emergence suggests a new approach to the problem of consciousness, which is neither reducible to brain states nor proof of a mental substance or soul. Although emergence does not entail classical theism, it is compatible with a variety of religious positions. Clayton concludes with a defence of emergentist panentheism and a Christian constructive theology consistent with the new sciences of emergence.

God Without the Supernatural

A Defense of Scientific Theism

Author: Peter Forrest

Publisher: Cornell University Press

ISBN: 9780801432552

Category: Religion

Page: 256

View: 5512

"Peter Forrest expounds a program of best-explanation apologetics. He contends that since the existence of God would provide the best possible explanation of various facts, those facts support theism. Among the facts cited are the suitability of the universe for life, the regularity of the universe, the human capacity for intellectual progress, the experience of a moral order, and various forms of beauty. The beauty that interests Forrest as evidence for the existence of God includes sensuous beauty; the beauty of the natural order, as revealed by the sciences; and the beauty of necessity discovered by mathematicians." "In addressing the need for an adequate motive for creation, Forrest conjectures that God created the universe for embodied persons not for their life on earth alone but also for an afterlife. Forrest acknowledges the speculative nature of such an account. He suggests that philosophical speculation is also required to defend theism against the charge that it is too extravagant a hypothesis to be warranted. Providing a speculative defense against the argument from evil, he explains how such speculations can be used to support best-explanation arguments without the conclusions themselves being rendered purely speculative."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Physics of Theism

God, Physics, and the Philosophy of Science

Author: Jeffrey Koperski

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1118932773

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 3340

The Physics of Theism provides a timely, critical analysis of the ways in which physics intertwines with religion. Koperski brings clarity to a range of arguments including the fine-tuning argument, naturalism, the laws of nature, and the controversy over Intelligent Design. A single author text providing unprecedented scope and depth of analysis of key issues within the Philosophy of Religion and the Philosophy of Science Critically analyses the ways in which physics is brought into play in matters of religion Self-contained chapters allow readers to directly access specific areas of interest The area is one of considerable interest, and this book is a timely and well-conceived contribution to these debates Written by an accomplished scholar working in the philosophy of physics in a style that renders complex arguments accessible

Modern Cosmology & Philosophy

Author: John Leslie

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: Philosophy

Page: 363

View: 8488

"...engaging…a fascinating mix of opinion and scientific/philosophic discussion...quite readable and enjoyable...a book that should be in one’s library."-Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith Did the universe originate from a "big bang" as argued by leading astrophysicists and others? Or does some other theory more accurately describe its beginnings? Are there other forms of life in our universe? What about other universes? Was our universe specially formed to support life? Does our universe have a purpose? What are the conditions under which life begins, evolves, and how does it become extinct? These questions propel Modern Cosmology & Philosophy as the leading text in this hotly debated area where science and philosophy meet. Edited with an introduction by noted scholar John Leslie, this volume offers superb selections on modern cosmology, relativistic theories of the universe, the Big Bang, the problem of God and creation, cosmology and verifiability, coincidences, origins and evolution, multiple universe theories, infinity, chaos, life forms, the end of time, and the limits of our knowledge. This volume includes work by H. Bondi, William Lane Craig, Paul Davies, R. H. Dicke, G. F. R. Ellis, Stephen Jay Gould, Adolf Grunbaum, Heinz R. Pagels, Sir Martin Rees, Quentin Smith, Richard Swinburne, and others.

Is Goodness Without God Good Enough?

A Debate on Faith, Secularism, and Ethics

Author: Robert K. Garcia,Nathan L. King

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

ISBN: 9780742551718

Category: Philosophy

Page: 220

View: 8374

Is Goodness Without God Good Enough contains a lively debate between William Lane Craig and Paul Kurtz on the relationship between God and ethics, followed by seven new essays that both comment on the debate and advance the broader discussion of this important issue. Written in an accessible style by eminent scholars, this book will appeal to students and academics alike.

Creation and the God of Abraham

Author: David B. Burrell,Carlo Cogliati,Janet M. Soskice,William R. Stoeger

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1139490788

Category: Religion

Page: N.A

View: 2803

Creatio ex nihilo is a foundational doctrine in the Abrahamic faiths. It states that God created the world freely out of nothing - from no pre-existent matter, space or time. This teaching is central to classical accounts of divine action, free will, grace, theodicy, religious language, intercessory prayer and questions of divine temporality and, as such, the foundation of a scriptural God but also the transcendent Creator of all that is. This edited collection explores how we might now recover a place for this doctrine, and, with it, a consistent defence of the God of Abraham in philosophical, scientific and theological terms. The contributions span the religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and cover a wide range of sources, including historical, philosophical, scientific and theological. As such, the book develops these perspectives to reveal the relevance of this idea within the modern world.

Five Proofs for the Existence of God

Author: Edward Feser

Publisher: Ignatius Press

ISBN: 1681497808

Category: Religion

Page: 336

View: 3345

Five Proofs of the Existence of GodÊprovides a detailed, updated exposition and defense of five of the historically most important (but in recent years largely neglected) philosophical proofs of God's existence: the Aristotelian proof, the Neo-Platonic proof, the Augustinian proof, the Thomistic proof, and the Rationalist proof. Ê This book also offers a detailed treatment of each of the key divine attributes -- unity, simplicity, eternity, omnipotence, omniscience, perfect goodness, and so forth -- showing that they must be possessed by the God whose existence is demonstrated by the proofs.Ê Finally, it answers at length all of the objections that have been leveled against these proofs. Ê This book offers as ambitious and complete a defense of traditional natural theology as is currently in print.Ê Its aim is to vindicate the view of the greatest philosophers of the past -- thinkers like Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, Aquinas, Leibniz, and many others -- that the existence of God can be established with certainty by way of purely rational arguments.Ê It thereby serves as a refutation both of atheism and of the fideism which gives aid and comfort to atheism. Ê