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Something Old, Something NewContemporary Entanglements of Religion and Secularity$
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Wayne Glausser

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190864170

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190864170.001.0001

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The Rhetoric of Faithful Science

The Rhetoric of Faithful Science

(p.49) Chapter 3 The Rhetoric of Faithful Science
Something Old, Something New

Wayne Glausser

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines books by three distinguished scientists—Francis Collins, Owen Gingerich, and John Polkinghorne—who have strong Christian faith. All three scientists attempt to argue that religious faith and scientific truth are not incompatible. They refuse to cede the territory of science to atheists; they use scientific argument to support theism. Analysis of their rhetoric reveals certain difficulties with these apologetic projects. Although they eschew mere “assertion of fideistic certainties,” they cannot entirely avoid such assertions. Sometimes they elevate their diction to articulate a Romantic truth that transcends science. They use “appeal to authority” with theist-friendly quotations from Einstein and Hawking, but neither of these physicists turns out to be a very good ally. Finally, their use of science to prove theism leads to dubious analogies, mismatched explanatory models, and flawed theodicy.

Keywords:   Francis Collins, Owen Gingerich, John Polkinghorne, Albert Einstein, Spinoza, deism, Stephen Hawking, theodicy

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