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The Physics of Theism: God, Physics, and the Philosophy of Science

ISBN: 978-1-118-93281-0
288 pages
January 2015, Wiley-Blackwell
The Physics of Theism: God, Physics, and the Philosophy of Science (1118932811) cover image


The Physics of Theism provides a timely, critical analysis of the ways in which physics intertwines with religion. Koperski brings clarity to a range of arguments including the fine-tuning argument, naturalism, the laws of nature, and the controversy over Intelligent Design.

  • A single author text providing unprecedented scope and depth of analysis of key issues within the Philosophy of Religion and the Philosophy of Science
  • Critically analyses the ways in which physics is brought into play in matters of religion
  • Self-contained chapters allow readers to directly access specific areas of interest
  • The area is one of considerable interest, and this book is a timely and well-conceived contribution to these debates
  • Written by an accomplished scholar working in the philosophy of physics in a style that renders complex arguments accessible
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

I.1 Maps 1

I.2 Cosmology: Singularity and Creation 2

I.3 Overview 5

1 Science and Religion: Some Preliminaries 11

1.1 Conventional Wisdom 11

1.2 History 12

1.3 The Structure of Science 25

1.4 The Relation between Science and Religion 32

2 Fine-Tuning and Cosmology 58

2.1 What Is Fine-Tuning? 58

2.2 Examples 59

2.3 No Explanation Needed 66

2.4 Naturalistic Explanations 82

3 Relativity, Time, and Free Will 102

3.1 Physics and Freedom 102

3.2 STR and the Nature of Time 104

3.3 Contra the Block Universe 117

3.4 Two Suggestions from the Philosophy of Science 134

4 Divine Action and the Laws of Nature 146

4.1 Divine Intervention(?) 146

4.2 The Problems with Intervention 148

4.3 The Nature of the Laws of Nature 156

4.4 Noninterventionist Divine Action 159

4.5 QD: Pro and Con 165

4.6 Noninterventionism: Goring the Sacred Cow 177

4.7 Intervention and Determinism 182

5 Naturalisms and Design 197

5.1 Science, Myths, and Legends 197

5.2 Intelligent Design 198

5.3 It’s Not Science 201

5.4 Faulty Demarcation 204

5.5 The Real Problems 214

5.6 A Last Word on Conservatism 219

6 Reduction and Emergence 225

6.1 Nothing but Atoms? 225

6.2 The Rise of Reductionism 226

6.3 Popping the Reductionist Bubble 228

6.4 Emergence 233

6.5 Problems and Puzzles 235

6.6 Physics, Causes, and Levels 238

6.7 Theology and Emergence 242

7 The Philosophy of Science Tool Chest 246

7.1 Tools 246

7.2 Realism and Truth 247

7.3 Antirealism 249

7.4 Realism and Religion 257

7.5 Models 259

7.6 Faith, Reason, and Trust 262

7.7 Anomalies and Mystery 266

Index 275

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Author Information

Jeffrey Koperski is Professor of philosophy at Saginaw Valley State University, Michigan. While his early work in the philosophy of science focused on chaos theory, he has more recently moved into issues at the intersection of the philosophy of science and the philosophy of religion.  He is an editorial board member for Philosophy Compass and has published articles in Philosophy of Science, the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, and Zygon, among others.

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Jeffrey Koperski has produced an impressive book, written in a lively and accessible style, and providing a well-informed treatment of the broad range of topics it covers. I do not know of any work that is quite comparable with this in its treatment of the breadth of philosophical and theological issues raised by modern physics. I can heartily recommend it.—Rodney Holder, University of Cambridge

Koperski's book reminds us that understanding the meaning of physics requires philosophical acumen; he brings this to bear on issues where physics has something to say about religious issues. The result is a thought-provoking journey that will move readers beyond facile generalizations about the relation between science and religion.—Hans Halvorson, Princeton University

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