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Physics and Faith: A Logical Approach to an Irrational Objection
Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins
A review of the book by Michael Guillén
Can a Smart Person Believe in God? (Nashville:  Thomas Nelson, 2004.  170p.)

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This former ABC News Science Correspondent is also a theoretical physicist.  He discusses the logical fallacies of the religious campaign among the atheist minority in the scientific community, and presents the perspective of the vast majority of scientists about the wonder and mystery of the universe.

The author discusses the religious aspects of scientism.  He analyzes the logic and arguments of this perspective, showing that this rationalist reduction to dogma fills the same role for some Rationalists as more traditional religion fills for believers.

He develops a view he calls the Stereoscopic perspective, encouraging people to consider reality from the full range of our spiritual and material perceptions in combination.  This proposes that religious or spiritual endeavors and disciplines have one way of looking at reality and provide insights on aspects of reality that science has not included in its working process and procedures.

The stated parameters, intentions and assumptions in the working model of science, which focuses primarily on materialism and the physical universe, use rationalist reduction to clarify related aspects of our environment and our selves.

On the other hand the metaphysical orientation of religious and mystical or paranormal disciplines investigate and analyze a different range of human experience and life characteristics.  they thus will be in a position to provide different perspectives on reality.

Each has Since each of these groups of disciplines starts with different interests and assumptions, develops different working procedures and goals, they will provide different, overlapping and complementary insights into the whole of human experience and reality.  Each needs to respect the other and not dismiss the other as irrelevant.  As a scientist, he especially reprimands radical scientists for their arrogant dismissal of beliefs and claims about spiritual realities.

He discusses the logical fallacy of the claim that there can be no spiritual realty beyond the physical, simply because science has stated that its realm or domain of investigation is the physical or material world (based in the physical senses, but extended with the various technology of perception and detection we now have).

He also discusses the tendency of recent years in theoretical physics to delve into the unseen, theoretical world beyond the physical, using mathematics or other methods of speculation, putting them in the same place as the previously dismissed metaphysicians discussing origins and ends and the character of the unseen aspects of reality.

Both spiritual and material disciplines can contribute information, knowledge and theory from its own perspective to help us understand ourselves and our world better.  This stereoscopic effect is complementary, not contradictory.

See related reviews and articles on this site:
[review] Biological Evidence for the Human Spirit
[TXT] Did God Create the World?
[review] Darwin and God – Different Domains of Reality
[review] Science and the Supernatural

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Reading notes made 3 March 2012
Reviewed on Amazon 13 April 2012
Developed for OJTR and final review posted 19 June 2012

Orville Boyd Jenkins, EdD, PhD
Copyright © 2012 Orville Boyd Jenkins
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use.  Please give credit and link back.  Other rights reserved.

Email:  orville@jenkins.nu
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