The Fire in the Equations: Science, Religion, and the Search for God

The Fire in the Equations: Science, Religion, and the Search for God

by Kitty Ferguson
     
 

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ISBN-10: 1932031677

ISBN-13: 9781932031676

Pub. Date: 04/28/2004

Publisher: Templeton Press

“ In this beautifully and intelligently written book, Ferguson not only reports on some of the intellectual tremors jolting the world of thinking women and men, but also considers the basic questions with penetrating analysis, yet at a very readable level. . . . An excellent book.”Choice

Heralded for its readability and

Overview

“ In this beautifully and intelligently written book, Ferguson not only reports on some of the intellectual tremors jolting the world of thinking women and men, but also considers the basic questions with penetrating analysis, yet at a very readable level. . . . An excellent book.”Choice

Heralded for its readability and scholarship, The Fire in the Equations offers a fascinating discussion of scientific discoveries and their impact on our beliefs. The book’s title is derived from Dr. Stephen Hawking’s pondering, “What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?”

Originally published in the U.S. in 1995, it provides an excursion through new theories of quantum physics and cosmology, ranging from the nature of time, the big bang, the “unreasonable effectiveness” of mathematics, laws of nature and their possible relation to God, chaos theory, black holes, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, particle physics, Darwin's theory of evolution, and the role of God in all these equations. It even raises such questions as “how God might answer prayers” from the point of view of physics.

While she gives no absolute answers, Kitty Ferguson takes the reader through a world of paradoxes and improbabilities, explaining how it is possible to believe both in a pre-determined universe and in free will as a theory of human behavior. She concludes that what we know about science doesn't necessarily make God inevitable, but does not rule God out either.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781932031676
Publisher:
Templeton Press
Publication date:
04/28/2004
Edition description:
1
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Prefacexi
A Word about Inclusive Languagexiv
Acknowledgementsxv
1'They Buried Him in Westminster Abbey'1
2Seeing Things4
Is the rational universe an illusion?12
'In Nature's infinite book of mysteries ...' can we read very much at all?19
Is objective reality a mirage?25
Are we really free agents?30
Is the universe a uni-verse?33
3Almost Objective35
Where is fancy bred?37
The spectacles-behind-the-eyes44
The muse of science: Is truth beautiful?59
Does truth surpass proof?63
The elite of science66
The spirit of the times69
The essential Godlessness of science73
At the limits of scientific truth78
First steps beyond the mind's-eye view80
Is there anything else?81
The insidiousness of God86
The morality of science: Is truth good?87
4Romancing the Creation89
The uncomfortable concept of a beginning90
The Gordian knot of singularity102
The magic of imaginary time108
The pulsing universe and the arrow of entropy117
The mysterious wobbling of nothingness123
'Reality (whatever that may be)'126
Reality in the absence of apples129
What place for a creator?134
The third candidate137
The mother of all chicken-and-egg stories139
5The Elusive Mind of God143
God as the embodiment of the laws of physics145
A presence behind the process146
The leap to purpose: The God who wishes to drink tea147
The watchmaker149
The universe as a 'put-up job'163
Second Gordian knot: The anthropic principle164
Hacking at the second Gordian knot166
The inflationary universe167
Baby universes to the rescue!171
Not the ether again!173
The longing of Johannes Kepler178
The fiddler on the roof184
6The God of Abraham and Jesus185
The law-breaker189
The hard edge of legalism191
The soft underbelly of legalism195
The death of the God of the Gaps204
Chaos meets Control205
'Top-down' determinism?221
'IAM'225
When truths collide228
The ultimate self-confirming hypothesis231
The masterful use of parallel perfect fifths234
Who is the 'I' in 'IAM'?239
7Inadmissible Evidence241
Public vs. private knowledge242
Admissible evidence?245
The spectacles-behind-the-eyes, revisited246
The cloud of witnesses247
A game of 'I Doubt It'251
The Lucy problem253
'I should not believe such a story were it told me by Cato!'254
'The Invincible Ignorance of Science'259
'For the Bible tells me so'--the evidence of scripture260
Is there proof in the pudding? The evidence of results263
Armchair truth: The argument from reason266
The argument from explanatory power270
The argument from nature274
The argument from availability277
8Theory of Everything ... Mind of God279
Notes284
Bibliography293
Index301

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