The late Owen Barfield, remembered chiefly for his friendship with C. S. Lewis, was a remarkable thinker in his own right. In his 1957 book, Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry (1957), Barfield noted that "physical science has for a long time stressed the enormous difference between what it investigates as the actual structure of the universe … and the … appearances, which are presented by that structure to normal human consciousness." Even when our attention is explicitly drawn to this "gulf," he added, we choose instantly to forget about it, carrying on with business as usual.
Perhaps it is the sheer difficulty of sustaining such willful forgetting that accounts for the extraordinary flourishing of science writing as we approach the century's end. The picture of the universe as seen by science simply forces itself on our attention, and we must come to terms with it. Hence also the growing number of conferences devoted to the relation between science and religion—many of them sponsored by the John M. Templeton Foundation, which has also funded innovative curriculum proposals—and the steadily growing stack of books and journals devoted to the same topic.
Simply to list the most important books on religion and science published in the last year would exceed our space. Quantum physicist and Anglican priest John Polkinghorne is among CT's 1999 Book Award winners; the title of his book, Belief in God in an Age of Science (Yale Univ. Press), might serve as a generic title for the field. Alister McGrath, a leading evangelical theologian with advanced scientific training, has published the first two volumes of an ambitious multivolume work (Blackwell) and is directing a major research project funded ...1
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