SOURCE: Vision Media

Vision Media

March 03, 2010 13:02 ET

Science, Religion and the Quest to Bridge the Gap - Interviews Priest, Physicist Sir John Polkinghorne Who Promotes Peaceful Parity

PASADENA, CA--(Marketwire - March 3, 2010) -  Sir John Polkinghorne, particle physicist and Anglican priest, has for decades tried to mend the schism between the science and religious worldview. In a recent interview titled "Holes in the Net," writer Dan Cloer talks to Dr. Polkinghorne about the quest to bridge the perceived gap between science and religion.

Winner of the 2002 Templeton Prize, which is awarded for "an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension," Polkinghorne is regarded today as one of the preeminent voices in the quest to bridge the perceived gap between science and belief. "We cannot deny that we are materially embodied beings, but we are not merely material," Polkinghorne told Vision. "We are in a way amphibians: we are in the physical world but we are also in some sort of mental and spiritual world. We live in mind and in matter."

While the Church of England's ruling council advocates a greater awareness of the compatibility of science and religion, in the United States, things aren't so hunky-dory. There, critics claim, Francis Collins has again challenged the dominance of science over religion. The Director of the National Institutes of Health's new book "Belief: Readings on the Reason for Faith" has blurred the line between science and religion. Where should the line be drawn?

In a world where science and religion may seem to be at irreconcilable odds, Polkinghorne has worked hard to build a bridge between the two. He had a notable career as a mathematical physicist at Cambridge, during which time he published numerous books and papers and was elected (in 1974) to the prestigious Royal Society. But in the late 1970s he opted to change paths and join the Anglican clergy.

Since that time, the professor-turned-priest hasn't slowed the pace of his writing, though his preferred subject is no longer physics but the relationship between science and religion.

In his most recent book, "Questions of Truth: Fifty-one Responses to Questions about God, science, and Belief" (2009), written with colleague Nicholas Beale, he writes, "[T]he rational transparency and beauty of the universe are surely too remarkable to be treated as just happy accidents." Science, he concludes, is then "understood to be possible because the universe is a creation and we are creatures made in the image of the Creator."

For the full interview with Dr. Polkinghorne, visit

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