American Scientific Affiliation On-line Book List
a service to our readers

Francis S. Collins, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (Hardcover), 304 pp., 
ISBN: 0743286391, 2006, Free Press. (List $26.00, CBD $18.99)

"...So what are we talking about when we talk about God? The geneticist Francis S. Collins bravely sets out to answer this question in light of his scientific knowledge and his Christian faith. Having found for himself "a richly satisfying harmony between the scientific and spiritual worldviews," he seeks to persuade others that "belief in God can be an entirely rational choice, and that the principles of faith are, in fact, complementary with the principles of science." As a researcher who helped discover the genetic basis for cystic fibrosis and other diseases and as the director of the Human Genome Project, Collins brings strong credentials to the scientific side of his argument. For the spiritual side, he draws on Christian authorities such as Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas and C. S. Lewis. His aim is to address "extremists on both sides of the science/faith divide." On one extreme are those scientists who insist that the universe is purely and exclusively matter, and on the other are literal interpreters of the Book of Genesis who reject the last two centuries of scientific discovery. Although Collins's purpose is grand, his manner is modest and his prose clear, as befits a man more concerned with sharing his views on the nature of things than with displaying his ego..." - Russell Sanders,  The Washington Post

Francis S. Collins is Director of the Human Genome Project

Owen Gingerich, God's Universe, Hardcover, 144 pp., ISBN 0-674-02370-6, 2006, Harvard University Press. (List $16.95,  CBD $15.95))

In God's Universe Owen Gingerich makes the case that the probability is miraculously minute, first, that a planet hospitable to life could form after the Big Bang and, second, that once it had formed, intelligent life could develop there. Whether one agrees or disagrees, one will learn from this beautifully presented account of the relevant astronomy and physics. But that isn't all; Gingerich's reflections (as a liberal Christian) on the theological significance of all this are sensitive and deep. A truly fascinating read. -- Hilary Putnam

This is a timely and important book. In contrast to the shrill dogmatics on both sides of the current intelligent design debate, Gingerich offers a sweeping and authoritative account of our continuing encounter with, and understanding of, the Universe of which we find ourselves a part. Meticulous in its scholarship,  humane in its approach, generous in its tone, restrained in its assertions, but audacious in its scope, this little book is a solid and significant contribution to the ongoing  debate. -- Frank Rhodes, President Emeritus, Cornell University

Owen Gingerich is Professor of Astronomy and of the History of Science, Emeritus,  Department of Astronomy and the Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Harvard University.  

Lindberg, David C. and Ronald L. Numbers, editors When Science and Christianity Meet. 368 p., ISBN 0-226-48214-6, 2003,  University of Chicago Press. Cloth (List $29.00, CBD $27.99) PSCF Review

[jacket image]"The twentieth century receives the attention of three chapters. Jon H. Robert’s “Psychoanalysis and American Christianity, 1900–1945” opens new ground.....“The Scopes Trial in History and Legend” offers Edward J. Larson’s engaging take on what may have been the paradigmatic event of American science and religion in the last century: “… the Scopes trial grew to symbolize not simply anti-evolutionism, but religiously motivated intrusions into public policy generally … because they embody the characteristically American struggle between individual liberty and majority rule and cast it into the timeless debate over science and religion”.  Ronald Numbers’ “Science without God: Natural Laws and Christian Beliefs” brings perspective to more recent concerns over the place of God in nature—including the efforts of “partisans of ID…to rewrite the ground rules of science to allow the inclusion of supernatural explanations of phenomena. Notes on each chapter and a guide to further reading offer valuable supplements to the text. The chapters are well integrated and the work is accessible for the general reader. When Science & Christianity Meet should be part of the library of any Christian who seeks to understand the influence of science on faith." - PSCF

Ronald L. Numbers, Hilldale and William Coleman Professor of the History of Science, University of Wisconsin - Madison.
David C. Lindberg is the Hilldale Professor of the History of Science, University of Wisconsin - Madison

Darrel R. Falk , Coming to Peace with Science Bridging the Worlds Between Faith and Biology, 235 pp., ISBN: 0-8308-2742-0, 2004, 
book coverIntervarsity Press, Paperback,  (List $17.00,  CBD $12.99 ) PSCF Review

"In my book, Coming to Peace with Science: Bridging the Worlds between Faith and Biology, published in 2004, I explain my personal struggle with trying to bring harmony between my life as a biologist and the evangelical faith of my youth. I spend considerable time explaining how I have become certain that all organisms are related to each other through common descent, while simultaneously attempting to show that this belief is not contrary to any tenets at the core of what it means to be an evangelical. In doing so, I take on young-Earth creationism, obviously, but also express grave doubts about the premise of the intelligent design movement, especially that one might be able to use scientific techniques to demonstrate God’s hand in creation. My biggest goal in all of this has been to make it clear that one can be a full-fledged evangelical — with a sincere faith in personal salvation, a God who knows our name and hears our prayers, the reality of the virgin birth and resurrection, the pervasive presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our world, the reality of miracles and the inspired authority of Scripture — and yet still believe God created the Earth gradually over billions of years using biology’s tools."-- Science and Theology News

Falk is professor of biology, associate provost, and dean of graduate studies and continuing education at Point Loma Nazarene University in Point Loma, California.

John Polkinghorne, Science and Providence: God’s Interaction with the World 140 pages. 2005, West Conshohocken, Pa. Templeton Foundation Press, paperback, ( List: $14.95, discounted)  PSCF Review

"Science and Providence was published in 1988. Why is it important today? For starters, it was republished with new information explaining how John Polkinghorne’s views have changed over the years. The book’s main point, however, remains unchanged: Science does not disprove that God acts within our lives." Science and Theology News. 

 Re-reading Science and Providence is like strolling down a memory lane with an old friend, remembering gems of the past and rediscovering themes as important now as they were in the past. Templeton Foundation Press has re-issued a classic resource and performed a valuable service for the science and religion community. PSCF   
Read Polkinghorne’s essay about his book.

The Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne is a fellow and former president of Queens’ College at Cambridge University.

Keith B. Miller (Editor), Perspectives on an Evolving Creation 528 pages, ISBN: 0-8028-0512-4, 2003, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing,  (List $36.00, CBD: $27.99)

Click for larger image "Here is a book that I would call 'state of the art' in this controversy."  Terry Morrison (former director of Faculty Ministry for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship).   full-length review}
 "An ambitious book with an impressive list of able contributors, Perspectives on an Evolving Creation should be read by everyone interested in the question of biological origins from a biblical perspective."     Edward Larson (lawyer, historian, and author, winner of Pulitzer Prize).
   "This book is superb: of much interest to the scholar, it provides absolutely essential classroom resources not available anywhere else.  I am so grateful to Keith Miller for putting this collection together."  Nancey Murphy (professor of Christian philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary).
 "All Christians should read this book for instruction and perspectives on science that they can trust and think about.  So should all scientists, Christian or not, who are interested in the practical rapprochement that is possible between science and religion."     Kevin Padian (professor and curator, Dept of Integrative Biology & Museum of Paleontology, U of California at Berkeley).
"Perspectives on an Evolving Creation will immeasurably benefit young Christian scholars about to embark on careers that will entail a great deal of strenuous thinking on their part about the interrelationships between science and theology;... it is essential reading for those interested in these relationships."     Davis A. Young, professor of geology, Calvin College.

Dr. Keith B. Miller is research assistant professor of geology at Kansas State University

Dorothy F. Chappell (Editor), E. David Cook (Editor), Not Just Science: Questions Where Christian Faith and Natural Science Intersect  320 pages. ISBN: 0310263832, 2005, Zondervan , paperback, (List $24.99, CBD $17.99)

"This book argues that it is possible for our study of the natural world to enhance our understanding of God and for our faith to inform andNot Just Science influence our study and application of science.   Whether you are a student, someone employed in the sciences, or simply an interested layperson, Not Just Science will help you develop the crucial skills of critical thinking and reflection about key questions in Christian faith and natural science. The contributors provide a systematic approach to both raising and answering the key questions that emerge at the intersection of faith and various disciplines in the natural sciences. Among the questions addressed are the context, limits, benefits, and practice of science in light of Christian values. Questions of ethics as they relate to various applied sciences are also discussed. The end goal is an informed biblical worldview on both nature and our role in obeying God’s mandate to care for his creation." -Books of Distinction

Dr. Dorothy F. Chappell is Professor of Biology, Dean of Natural and Social Sciences, Wheaton College IL

David L. Wilcox, God and Evolution: A Faith-based Understanding, 136 pages. ISBN 0-8170-1474-8, 2004. Judson Press, Paperback. (List: $14.00, CBD:  $11.99) , PSCF Review

"While discussing the earth’s age, Wilcox does a creditable job of showing that, logically, a young earth is not possible given evidence from geology and fossil coral reefs. He shows that we should believe the evidence, unless we wish to think that God is in the business of writing fiction upon the earth. Wilcox states that we should not avoid these controversial subjects in our teaching, so that misunderstandings will not be taught without challenge. When considering questions of life’s origin, Wilcox says that the Bible tells us that God works through nature, and it is thus wrong to pit God against nature; it is his handiwork. The author brings in many ideas about how evolution occurred, as seen by his inclusion of topics such as mutation, missing links, punctuated equilibrium, and adaptive radiation. Each of these is discussed briefly, as is necessary in such limited space, but basic information necessary for understanding the concepts is presented.

It is refreshing to me, as a Christian biologist, to see an open-minded discussion of evolution from a man of faith. While much evidence for evolutionary change is omitted (such as endosymbiosis, and many excellent plant examples), this is a good starting point for anyone wanting to learn more about evolution and avoid the creationist rhetoric often used in such discussions. The bottom line in this debate is this: Christians cannot proclaim that God’s glory can be seen in nature while they ignore nature’s complexity and the evidence it provides of evolutionary change. This is intellectual dishonesty and does nothing to convince a nonbeliever that our message can be trusted." - Michael A. Vincent

A professor at Eastern University in St. Davids, PA, Dr. David Wilcox has authored numerous articles on science and religion. He holds a Ph.D. in population genetics from Penn State University

Alister E. McGrath, The Science of God: An Introduction to Scientific Theology, 271 pages. ISBN 0-8028-2815-9, 2004. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, paperback. (List $25.00, CBD: $17.99 ). PSCF Review

Front Cover" introductory guide to the author's groundbreaking and highly acclaimed three-volume work A Scientific Theology, which Religious Studies Review called "one of the best systematic theologies to appear in some time." The Science of God aims to achieve a high degree of explanatory clarity in a shorter introduction that is still faithful to the ideas and approach of the original volumes, making it accessible to a wide readership. McGrath outlines the distinctive themes of his scientific theology, explains how he developed the approach over a period of twenty years, and describes the theological potential of the natural sciences as dialogue partners for Christian thought. He explores the legitimacy of a scientific theology, the purpose and place of natural theology, the foundations of theological realism, the failure of classic foundationalism , the nature of revelation, and the place of metaphysics in theology." - Books of Distinction.

Dr McGrath is Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University

William A. Dembski, The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions about Intelligent Design, 330 pages. ISBN 0-8308-2375-1, 2004. InterVarsity Press, Hardcover. (List $22.00, CBD $15.99), PSCF Review

"The Design Revolution is highly readable with many illuminating, down-to-earth illustrations. All thinking scientists will enjoy the read, even if it is only to sharpen their own rhetoric skills. Dembski is widely read and interacts with the leading voices of a wide range of disciplines. His logic is at times devastating and more than once he comments on the irony of a particular attack against ID. His chapter on Selective Skepticism is highly amusing." - Bryan Ezard,

A mathematician and a philosopher, William A. Dembski is the Carl F. H. Henry Professor of Science and Theology at Southern Seminary in Louisville where he heads its Center for Theology and Science.