Questions of Truth

Hi – thanks for visiting. Ian’s piece has generated lots of comment and traffic so we thought people might like something that addresses the points he makes directly.

Ian was disappointed that John Polkinghorne didn’t give more specific positive reasons for his belief in God. The book does discuss this in some detail, you might want to click here.

He also wondered about whether religious belief was some form of neuropathology – this is also discussed and if you’re interested you could click here.

Launch ay Royal Society: Denis Alexander, Eric Priest FRS, Onora O'Neill PBA, John Polkinghorne FRS & Nicholas Beale

British Academy President Onora O'Neill chairing launch discussion at Royal Society

There was an interesting launch discussion at the Royal Society (which upset poor Grayling so much that he went on about it being a scandal). In fact it was a very high-level discussion event chaired by the immensely distinguished philosopher Prof Onora O’Neill to which all FRSs and FBAs who reasonably might attend were invited (including Dawkins) – videos and partial transcripts are on the “Launch Discussion at the Royal Society” tab.

There is some more discussion of Ian’s article on the starcourse blog here

Science and religion are both vital to our understanding of the universe, and there is no contradiction between up-to-date science and Christianity. John Polkinghorne, renowned scientist-turned-theologian, demonstrates this clearly in a new book with collaborator Nicholas Beale. Questions of Truth outlines fifty-one important questions on science and religion and their responses by both Polkinghorne and Beale. The book has a foreword by Tony Hewish and an endorsement from William D Phillips – both Nobel Prizewinners – as well as endorsements from renowned evolutionary scientists Prof Martin Nowak and Dr Francis Collins. The science is solid, the responses intruiging. Questions posed in the book include:

  • Can God’s existence be proved?
  • Is God a Delusion?
  • What about Evil – natural and human?
  • How did the universe begin?
  • Is evolution fact or theory?
  • Why is there cancer?
  • Does religion inspire evil acts?
  • Do we have souls?

Readers can follow their own paths through the book, selecting questions that interest them and looking at the additional material if they choose.

Jim McCarthy chairing Launch Workshop at AAAS with authors

AAAS President Jim McCarthy chairing US Launch Workshop at AAAS with authors

If anyone wants to know why we believe that small objects can be both waves and particles; that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead; that the theory of evolution (properly understood as science, not as dogma) is true; that God exists and loves us; that most of the matter in the universe is not composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons; that other people have minds; or why, even without treatment, HIV can take many years to develop into AIDS, then we have to answer, “Come and see.”

“a refreshing contrast to the polemic and misinformation that have characterized much of the writing in this area” William Phillips

“Richly nuanced responses … simply a fantastic resource” Francis Collins

“Wonderfully accessible, informative and authoritative.” Alister McGrath

“an important contribution” Martin Nowak

“this matters to every man and every woman” Onora O’Neill

“of universal interest. Many readers will welcome this accessible format” Publishers Weekly

“antidote to Richard Dawkins … intriguing … a thought-provoking work” Library Journal

“deals eloquently with many of the issues…in the science-religion debate.” Times H. E.

“commendably clear…those who would most benefit from reading it are… atheists who believe that the religious are manifestly irrational” FT.

“remarkably even-handed …lucid explanations … a valuable lesson” Physics World

“rich…digestible..intriguing” Church Times

“evokes the shimmering beauty of a stained glass window … will repay rereading and rereading” Living Church.

One Erratum has been found in Appendix A – see here.

The new Polkinghorne Q&A website is now here.