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Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence? [Paperback]

Henry F., III Schaefer
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 2004
Known the world over, Dr. Schaefer's world-renowned university lectures have been expanded into full-length essays. Focusing on explaining how a person can be both a believer in Christ and a follower of science, Dr. Schaefer compares and contrasts the tenets of the two extremes. Thus we have a first-hand account of the lively (and timely) science vs. Christianity discussions by one of the major participants in the topic.

In addition to addressing mind-boggling questions (Does God exist? Is there meaning in Life?), the book also describes how Dr. Schaefer became a Christian as a young professor of chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley, and how this momentous decision affected his career path. Throughout, the book retains the highly personal character of the university lectures and a delightful sense of humor.

An intensely personal account of the lively current dialogue between science and religion.

One of the world's great physical scientists addresses many of the current controversies between science and religion

Does science tell us anything about ultimate questions? What is life? Is there meaning in the universe? Does God exist?


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Captures Author's Public Wit & Personna July 8 2004
Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence?
by Henry F. Schaefer, III
Having "seen the movie" with great pleasure, I was reticent to "read the book," thinking it would lose something. I was not disappointed when I finally did. I have been in Dr. Schaefer's audience many times as his lecture host, international liaison and traveling companion. "How could a book," I therefore wondered, "capture the warmth, spontaneous wit, wonder, and disarming humor that make Fritz so appealing to curious academics, young and old?" Indeed Science and Christianity does all that, transporting you into Schaefer's hundreds of public lectures on the university circuit. Not only are these lectures timelessly preserved from two decades, but they are fresh. I was delighted to see the new scholarship and developments in a chapter which I last heard ten years ago."
- David DeHuff, M.A.,
Christian Leadership Ministries
at the University of Pennsylvania
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3.0 out of 5 stars "Old Set" is wrong July 6 2004
By A Customer
The review by "Old Set" shows that this person knows little about science and religion. For science, let me cite some works from much greater minds:
Vincent Cheung:
...the scientific method itself precludes the knowledge of truth, so that even with the correct presuppositions, science is completely incompetent as a way to discover the nature of reality. Ronald W. Clark comments, "Contemplation of first principles progressively occupied Einstein's attention," and in such a context, he quotes Einstein as saying, "We know nothing about it at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren....the real nature of things, that we shall never know, never." The typical college student would disagree, but the typical college student is not Einstein. Of course, he could only speak as a representative of science and not revelation.
Karl Popper:
Although in science we do our best to find the truth, we are conscious of the fact that we can never be sure whether we have got it....In science there is no "knowledge," in the sense in which Plato and Aristotle understood the word, in the sense which implies finality; in science, we never have sufficient reason for the belief that we have attained the truth....Einstein declared that his theory was false - he said that it would be a better approximation to the truth than Newton's, but he gave reasons why he would not, even if all predictions came out right, regard it as a true theory.
W. Gary Crampton:
In the laboratory the scientist seeks to determine the boiling point of water. Since water hardly boils at the same temperature, the scientist conducts a number of tests and the slightly differing results are noted. He then must average them.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Boring and Meaningless July 2 2004
By Old Set
Dr. Schaefer appears here as a shining example of the fundamentalist Christian and the dichotomy they embrace. On the one hand, Christianity is based on unending love and mercy; and science is good because it is skeptical and objective. On the other hand, the Christian God will cast you into Hell (I challenge the reader to come up with a more horrific and barbaric punishment)if you don't believe in him and any skepticism regarding religion is totally intolerable!
As far as the conflict between science and religion goes, the truth of the matter is that there really isn't much of one. They seek to answer completely different questions. Science tries to explain how things work while religion tries to give meaning to life. The only conflict comes when religion tries to make statements of fact about history or the workings of the universe. The reasonable solution in this case, which the Vatican has adopted, is to regard any mistakes in religion in regard to the physical world as metaphors and really irrelevant in regard to religion's true purpose.
A conflict does come in the underpinnings of science and fundamentalism. Science is skeptical and inquisitive. An idea must be tested and varified by multiple observations to be accepted. Conversely, fundamentalists believe that no one should ever question their particular religion, and if one does it's because they are evil and licentious and want to do a lot of "sinning" without having to worry about a future judgement. Dr. Schaefer tries to adhere to both though. He attempts to dispell the conflict by saying science supports his religion. This idea is completely silly because modern science is composed almost entirely of mathematical equations and dry secular explanations.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Coherence! June 23 2004
Dr. Schaefer allows us to poke into his personal and professional life in this candid collection of essays. Bonded together by the common theme of "Science and Christianity", we are offered a detailed account of his own conversion experience as well as anecdotes from his friends and colleagues. He also offers a brief history of Christian scientists - identifying both current professionals and historical pioneers of science.
Because these are a collection of essays, there is some overlapping material - there are some paragraphs that are reapeated in other essays, for example. And though he quotes heavily in some essays, there are no footnotes/endnotes for documentation or further study. But these are small complaints and easily looked over when you consider the format.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Christian / Great Scientist
Schaefer has written an honest and highly personal account which shows that it IS possible to be a devout Christian AND an excellent scientist. Read more
Published on May 28 2004 by Todd J Martinez
4.0 out of 5 stars A Reasonable Faith
Physical Scientist, Henry Schaefer, has written a book, largerly based of his lectures at Universities, about the true nature of science in its relation to reason, Christianity and... Read more
Published on May 23 2004 by K.H.
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
This is an excellent book. To the reviewer who said Christianity is naive and how psychology has all the answers:
A. Read more
Published on May 2 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Apologetics Published
At last I read a book which convince me that bible is probably right. My major is food scince and I find that the author, despite his chemical physics background, tells the... Read more
Published on April 23 2004 by Andreas Kristanto
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing Discussion @ Christianity and Science
Professor Schaefer is refreshing, humorous, and insightful about a "hot topic" today -- the intersection of science and religion (or more specifically, Christianity). Read more
Published on April 21 2004 by Scott Luley
5.0 out of 5 stars Demythologizing Science/Faith Conflict
Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence does an excellent job of pulling together a history of the thinking of a large number of scientists over the several centuries of... Read more
Published on April 17 2004 by William Bordeaux
5.0 out of 5 stars Quantum Coherence
This is an intensely personal book. It should be required reading for every scientist who is willing to publically identify themselves as a Christian. Read more
Published on April 13 2004 by Gary D. Patterson
2.0 out of 5 stars Anthropomorphic God lives here
Dr. Henry Schaefer may be among the top living research chemists in the world but his deep Christian belief in an anthropomorphic God shows through and makes him ill suited to... Read more
Published on March 31 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A Non-scientific Perspective
What a thrill to experience such a powerful affirmation of our God! Of course, I was exposed to somewhat more technical information than I am used to, but it seemed to be very... Read more
Published on March 4 2004 by Josh Beckham
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