On When Science Meets Religion: The Book

Of all the books and articles that I’ve read the past few years about the science and theology interchange, this book by Ian Barbour, When Science Meets Religion: Enemies, Strangers, or Partners? is one that I wish I would have read it relatively early in my journey.

Dr. Barbour, a professor emeritus of Science, Society, and Technology at Carlton College, is a well-known author and authority in the field. Early in this book, Barbour establishes four models/views for examining the complex relationship between science and theology: conflict, independence, dialogue, and integration. However, readers will also find variations of the models – thus more models.

In the majority of the book, Barbour reinforces the four models by examining important issues in light of each model. Chapters/issues are the following:

  • Astronomy and Creation
  • The Implications of Quantum Physics (yes, for you John)
  • Evolution and Continuing Creation
  • Genetics, Neuroscience, and Human Nature
  • God and Nature

I can say that this book is very readable, however, some foundation knowledge on both the broad topic and the individual topics is helpful. Otherwise, it may be a difficult read. For instance, I admit having very limit knowledge about quantum physics. Throughout the journey, Barbour cites numerous examples to support the model he is explaining within the given topic.

The science and religion interchange as a topic is complex, therefore writing a book on the topic would not be easy. However, for anyone interested in the topic, this is a good one encounter early in your process. By the way, check your local library or the library-share organization that it may be a member because that is where I found it.


13 thoughts on “On When Science Meets Religion: The Book

  1. Yeah, “check your library”. Not so easy when the nearest library is some distance away, smaller than my bedroom (seriously – I have more books than they do!), and manned by staff that hit their technological peak at the horsecart. One of these days we’ll get to Columbus for a bookstore crawl – then I’ll have a list longer than both my arms AND my legs! 😀
    I appreciate the little shout-out. 😉 The Wiki write-up on quantum physics isn’t too bad, that might help you out a little with the more technical terminology.
    So, since tomorrow is a two-pronged WW2 anniversary, and the big one hits on Friday, got any military related posts coming up? Or just more …. (grits teeth) …. baseball?


    • John,
      Then, after your bookstore run, your collection will be even larger. 😉 I guess all local libraries are not created equal. BTW, where is that library?

      Hey … I haven’t done baseball for two weeks!


      • You know, that thriving metropolis what is West Lafayette? Sneeze, and you miss the whole dang town? 😀
        Yeah, I knew you hadn’t done baseball for a bit. So I figured we were overdue. :p


  2. Thanks for the tip … this looks interesting. I have long felt that science and religion compliment each other, it’s just figuring out exactly how that’s the trick. 😉

    I have a feeling this one will make the rounds in my family. I’ll have to pass it to the son-in-law and my dad when I’m done with it. 🙂


  3. Hello Frank!

    Haven’t heard of this book until now. I am not really a book person but this one seems to be really interesting. I will check if it’s available in our local library. If not, might look for it online. Hope it does not cost a fortune.

    Religion and Science – debates and questions — a lot of them especially when it comes to creation.

    Have a great day, Frank!


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