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By Stephen M Barr

A enormous volume of public debate and media print has been dedicated to the “war among technology and religion.” In his obtainable and eminently readable new e-book, Stephen M. Barr demonstrates that what's rather at warfare with faith isn't technology itself, yet a philosophy referred to as medical materialism. Modern Physics and historical Faith argues that the nice discoveries of recent physics are extra suitable with the valuable teachings of Christianity and Judaism approximately God, the cosmos, and the human soul than with the atheistic standpoint of clinical materialism.

Scientific materialism grew out of clinical discoveries made up of the time of Copernicus as much as the start of the 20 th century. those discoveries led many considerate humans to the belief that the universe has no reason or function, that the human race is an unintentional spinoff of blind fabric forces, and that the last word fact is topic itself. Barr contends that the progressive discoveries of the 20 th century run counter to this line of inspiration. He makes use of 5 of those discoveries—the giant Bang thought, unified box theories, anthropic coincidences, Gödel’s Theorem in arithmetic, and quantum theory—to forged critical doubt at the materialist’s view of the realm and to offer better credence to Judeo-Christian claims approximately God and the universe.
 
Written in transparent language, Barr’s rigorous and reasonable textual content explains glossy physics to common readers with out oversimplification. utilizing the insights of recent physics, he unearths that sleek medical discoveries and non secular religion are deeply consonant. someone with an curiosity in technological know-how and faith will locate Modern Physics and historical Faith invaluable.
 
“A sleek physicist who writes with notable readability and verve, and knows the highbrow arguments lengthy utilized by the traditional faiths, Stephen Barr supplies a super safeguard of the integrity of technological know-how within the the teeth of its strongest glossy bias, by way of telling the intriguing tale of the increase, complacency, and fall of medical materialism. As his tale crackles alongside, and simply on the element of achieving particularly tricky suggestions, he has a knack for inventing illustrations that make one's internal gentle bulbs flash back and again.” —Michael Novak, Winner of the 1994 Templeton Prize for growth in Religion
 
“Barr has produced an excellent and authoritative safeguard of Biblical religion within the mild of up to date technological know-how. He perceives a major clash, now not among sleek physics and historical religion, yet among faith and materialism. I comprehend of no different publication that makes the case opposed to materialism so lucidly, in truth, and deftly.” —Owen Gingerich, Harvard-Smithsonian heart for Astrophysics
 
“Written from the point of view of an complete physicist, this booklet is a useful contribution to the becoming curiosity within the dating among technology and faith. The arguments are carefully logical and the documentation is excellent.” —Robert Scherrer, Ohio nation University

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It is all too simple for one who has narrowed his intellectual vision and who is interested only in chains of actual causation to be misled into considering that materialism presents a whole scheme of explanation of reality. He can maintain this illusion as long as he is able to keep his nose down on the trail of past physical causes. This is why the idea of an eternal universe is comforting to him: if time had no beginning then the trail he is doggedly pursuing will never run out, he can follow it ever deeper into the past and thus forestall indefinitely the point at which he must face the more fundamental questions of why the universe has the nature it does and why it exists at all. In any event, the historical fact is that Jews and Christians believed in a beginning of time, while scientific materialists strongly preferred the idea of an ageless universe. five How Things Looked One Hundred Years Ago As scientific discoveries accumulated in the centuries leading up to our own, the expectations of the materialist appeared to be proven. There was once no facts that the universe had a beginning, and several discoveries seemed to indicate that it had always existed. To start with, in Newtonian physics, time was once conceived of as a unmarried size stretching without limit into both past and future, just as space was conceived of as an infinite three-dimensional volume stretching without limit in every direction. In Newtonian physics, it was natural to assume that time goes on forever just as numbers go on forever, from -∞ to +∞. Later, “the principle of conservation of energy”—the First Law of Thermodynamics—was chanced on. As we all learned it in school, “energy can never be created or destroyed, but only changed in form. ” I vividly remember that when I was ten and had just learned this principle in school, I used it to argue against an older brother, that the universe did not have to be created because the energy in it could always have existed. Indeed, I argued, the law of conservation of energy says that this energy could not have been created. I suppose this was a clever argument for a ten-year-old. I certainly thought so at the time. In the nineteenth century, chemists discovered the law of conservation of mass. In chemical reactions, the total mass of the reactants does not change—at least as far as could be measured back then. Therefore, not only energy but matter itself was both indestructible and uncreatable. Eventually, with the equivalence of mass and energy, which was discovered by Einstein, these two principles were subsumed into a single principle. No violation of this principle has ever been observed. To all appearances, therefore, either the international of area and time, and all the subject and energy in it, had always existed and always would. To say that time had a beginning, while not absolutely ruled out, would have seemed very strange from the viewpoint of nineteenth-century physics. It would have been as strange as saying that space did not go on forever but had edges to it somewhere.

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