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John Polkinghorne

Beyond Science

The relationship between science and religion, and the authority of science on deep philosophical issues are hotly debated topics at present. Unfortunately many of the contributions to this debate don't seem very well thought out, and so it is refreshing to find a book such as 'Beyond Science' in which the author has tried to give a sensible discussion of these issues. Polkinghorne had a career as a particle physicist before becoming ordained as a priest and so is well qualified to look at this area.

The first part of the book describes the author's experiences as a physicist and comments on some of the famous names in the subject. I have to say that he comes over as having an over-serious, 'headmasterly' viewpoint . He criticises Murray Gell-Mann for being too frivolous in the choice of names such as strangeness and charm for particle properties, so you can imagine what he has to say when he gets on to Richard Feynman.

The second half of the book looks at more philosophical issues including the nature of the mind, and the anthropic principle. My feeling here was that too much was crammed into too small a space. It seems just to say 'this is what I believe' without much discussion, which doesn't do justice to the depth of thought which the author clearly has given to these issues.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 144 pages  
ISBN: 0521625084
Salesrank: 2008878
Weight:0.44 lbs
Published: 1998 Cambridge University Press
Amazon price $10.95
Marketplace:New from $3.59:Used from $1.99
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 144 pages  
ISBN: 0521625084
Salesrank: 782172
Weight:0.44 lbs
Published: 2008 Cambridge University Press
Amazon price £22.99
Marketplace:New from £17.99:Used from £0.01
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 144 pages  
ISBN: 0521625084
Salesrank: 781329
Weight:0.44 lbs
Published: 1998 Cambridge University Press
Amazon price CDN$ 41.06
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 31.51:Used from CDN$ 0.29
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Product Description
John Polkinghorne has had a distinguished career as a particle physicist and as an author of books exploring themes in science and religion. In Beyond Science Polkinghorne examines the nature of scientific inquiry itself and the human context in which science operates. The book looks at issues of meaning and value, such as scientific competition and subjectivity, as well as more practical aspects of the discipline such as the conference circuit and the nurturing of new research.