A dispassionate, exhaustive examination of God, mankind and seemingly everything else under the sun.
The author, in his debut, may hold dear his own understanding of the ultimate nature of reality, but it doesn’t prevent him from giving diverse viewpoints their due. On the contrary, this intelligent, consistently provocative discourse on who we are, where we come from and where we might be headed appears to revel in possibilities. Many examples of perceived truth that humankind has attained through revelation or experimentation are put center stage for close scrutiny. One moment, the book provides a careful overview of Galileo Galilei’s run-in with the Inquisition; the next, it offers an in-depth analysis of color and its fundamental properties. Quantum physics gets equal time with ontological uncertainty, epistemic anxiety, free will and the philosophy of David Hume. The book also treats readers to generous helpings of hermeneutics, causality, determinism, evolution, cosmology and more. History’s greatest philosophers are balanced against the world’s great religions: “Science is based on a belief in a real world whose governing principles can be determined by observation, experimentation and reason….Religion is based on a belief that the universe has a purpose, and that human beings should seek to discover this purpose.” Curiously, the author notes, it’s at the intersection of science and religion that things get most unpredictable; stout men of science are revealed to be fundamentally faithful, while some of the most outwardly devout historical figures are found to harbor the most acute pessimism. After he painstakingly peels all the layers away, the author intriguingly finds lots of faith in science and plenty of cleareyed reasoning in religion.
A refreshing intellectual discussion of religious and scientific themes.
To read the review on the Kirkus webpage, click here
A more critical review was posted in June 2014 on the Science & Religion webpage of the University of Edinburgh. This was later published in the Expository Times, 126, 355-356 (April, 2015). Brief quotations from the review by Jamie Boulding are
… a sprawling and eclectic survey not only of science and religion, but also of art, music, and literature.
There is a frenetic and rather arbitrary rhythm: key figures and concepts in science and religion are cycled through extremely quickly, while subjects of relatively dubious significance (such as a long reflection on the role of colour in our perception of reality) are treated extensively.
… his contention that Christ’s resurrection can be “meaningful without being literally true” is an attempt to dissolve the particular facts of the event into a universally acceptable story about transformation in a way that would be deeply unacceptable to many Christians.
To cover the full breadth of issues in science and religion, and to arrive at some kind of reconciliation between them, is difficult—if not impossible—to achieve in a single volume. While ambitious and learned, Creature and Creator serves primarily to highlight this dilemma.
To read the full review, click here