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Book Jacket

512 pages
Jul 2003

Rebuilding the Matrix: Science and Faith in the 21st Century

by Denis Alexander

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


"Timely….introductory and wide-ranging text. Alexander’s strategy of guarding science against questionable implications….enables him to combat both the anti-religious scientism of atheists such as Dawkins and the anti-evolutionism of creationists. [He] also provides a long and informative overview of the history of science-religion interactions. Alexander’s contribution to science and religion helps to move the subject into the 21st century." -- Geoffrey Cantor, Nature

"A book that one mines for information and insights… It places science and religion in an impressive and unfolding context of both dialogue and antagonism from Aristotle to the present day. Alexander is a welcome moderate in a debate that is usually dominated by extremists." -- John Cornwell, Sunday Times

"For believer and non-believer, scientist and non-scientist, Rebuilding the Matrix unfolds with splendid clarity the long, intimate and dynamic relationship between science and religion. It is a book whose argument has an innate excitement. It enriches our understanding of how humankind has meditated on matters of ultimate concern, and at all points it deals with its subject and its reader with scrupulous justice." --Alan Gould, Quadrant

"Persuasive arguments are presented for rejecting a thesis of inevitable conflict, and the claim that science necessarily drives secularisation is subjected to careful criticism. An important and recurrent theme…is that many peoples’ matrix is influenced by items that ‘everyone knows’, but which are, in fact, false’. ‘Throughout the author writes in a style that is clear and even-handed…The urbane tone of the discussion is in pleasing contrast to the fiery assertions that are so often exchanged across the border between evolutionary biology and religion." --John Polkinghorne, Science & Christian Belief

"Alexander writes well and persuasively; I marked many pages for rereading. The exegesis of the Genesis creation stories is excellent, illustrating how bad science and bad theology both miss the punch-lines of the original authors, as they attacked the world-view of their day." --Adam Ford, Church Times

Book Jacket:

Are we just survival machines, evolved for the main purpose of perpetuating our DNA?

Where do our ethical principles—which we use to make decisions about the application of science—come from?

How can we maintain a sense of meaning and purpose when faced with our transient lives in a vast universe?

Science appears to offer one set of answers; Christianity, another. The two seem set in a perpetual attack-and-defend stance against each other. But is the difference as irreconcilable as we’ve been led to believe?

Unfortunately, the most vigorous public responses to this question have come from radicals on either side of the spectrum. The result, says author Denis Alexander, has been “an unnecessary polarization between science and religion in which more moderate voices have often been drowned out by the media attention given to extremist positions.”

In Rebuilding the Matrix, Dr. Alexander speaks for the “silent majority” of working scientists who are tired of the radical rhetoric and critical of the abuse of science for ideological purposes. This book promotes dialogue among scientists across the whole range among professionals, from atheistic evolutionists to young-earth creationists. Full of new insights and fresh perspectives, it is thorough, yet also accessible to anyone interested in issues of faith and science.

Alexander offers evidence that a much greater part of the Western scientific community allows for theism than the media suggest. Rebuilding the Matrix draws on sociologists, historians of science, philosophers, scientists, and theologians to provide an overview of the varied ways in which faith and science interact. Beginning by laying historical groundwork, the book moves on to tackle such key questions as:

· How do scientific and religious knowledge relate?

· Does evolution have any religious significance?

· Can ethics be derived from evolutionary biology?

· Does the anthropic principle support religious belief?

· Are miracles strictly unbelievable?

Rebuilding a “theistic framework for science”—the matrix to which the title alludes—is no easy task. But as you will discover, there are compelling reasons to make the effort. Rebuilding the Matrix is an informed, refreshing, and thought-provoking exploration into some of the biggest issues of our time.