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

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 88%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (18) from $1.99   
  • New (5) from $14.67   
  • Used (13) from $1.99   


“ 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.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781932031676
  • Publisher: Templeton Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2004
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,179,591
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Kitty Ferguson, a former professional musician with a life long interest in science, is an independent scholar and lecturer who lives in Cambridge, England, and South Carolina. She has also written the best-selling books Black Holes in Space Time and Stephen Hawking: Quest for a Theory of Everything.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface xi
A Word about Inclusive Language xiv
Acknowledgements xv
1 'They Buried Him in Westminster Abbey' 1
2 Seeing Things 4
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
3 Almost Objective 35
Where is fancy bred? 37
The spectacles-behind-the-eyes 44
The muse of science: Is truth beautiful? 59
Does truth surpass proof? 63
The elite of science 66
The spirit of the times 69
The essential Godlessness of science 73
At the limits of scientific truth 78
First steps beyond the mind's-eye view 80
Is there anything else? 81
The insidiousness of God 86
The morality of science: Is truth good? 87
4 Romancing the Creation 89
The uncomfortable concept of a beginning 90
The Gordian knot of singularity 102
The magic of imaginary time 108
The pulsing universe and the arrow of entropy 117
The mysterious wobbling of nothingness 123
'Reality (whatever that may be)' 126
Reality in the absence of apples 129
What place for a creator? 134
The third candidate 137
The mother of all chicken-and-egg stories 139
5 The Elusive Mind of God 143
God as the embodiment of the laws of physics 145
A presence behind the process 146
The leap to purpose: The God who wishes to drink tea 147
The watchmaker 149
The universe as a 'put-up job' 163
Second Gordian knot: The anthropic principle 164
Hacking at the second Gordian knot 166
The inflationary universe 167
Baby universes to the rescue! 171
Not the ether again! 173
The longing of Johannes Kepler 178
The fiddler on the roof 184
6 The God of Abraham and Jesus 185
The law-breaker 189
The hard edge of legalism 191
The soft underbelly of legalism 195
The death of the God of the Gaps 204
Chaos meets Control 205
'Top-down' determinism? 221
'IAM' 225
When truths collide 228
The ultimate self-confirming hypothesis 231
The masterful use of parallel perfect fifths 234
Who is the 'I' in 'IAM'? 239
7 Inadmissible Evidence 241
Public vs. private knowledge 242
Admissible evidence? 245
The spectacles-behind-the-eyes, revisited 246
The cloud of witnesses 247
A game of 'I Doubt It' 251
The Lucy problem 253
'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 scripture 260
Is there proof in the pudding? The evidence of results 263
Armchair truth: The argument from reason 266
The argument from explanatory power 270
The argument from nature 274
The argument from availability 277
8 Theory of Everything ... Mind of God 279
Notes 284
Bibliography 293
Index 301
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)