Famous Quotes & Sayings

John Polkinghorne Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 44 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by John Polkinghorne.

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John Polkinghorne Quotes 1154466

I was very much on the mathematical side, where you probably do your best work before you're forty-five. Having passed that significant date, I thought I would do something else. — John Polkinghorne

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Quantum theory also tells us that the world is not simply objective; somehow it's something more subtle than that. In some sense it is veiled from us, but it has a structure that we can understand. — John Polkinghorne

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Mathematics is the abstract key which turns the lock of the physical universe. — John Polkinghorne

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The physical fabric of the world had to be such as to enable that ten billion year preliminary evolution to produce the raw materials of life. Without it there would not have been the chemical materials to allow life to evolve here on earth. — John Polkinghorne

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Yes, I was a parish priest for five years. I was a curate in a large working class parish in Bristol and the Vicar of a village in Kent. — John Polkinghorne

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If the physicists seem to achieve their ends more successfully than the theologians, that is simply a reflection of how much easier science is than theology. — John Polkinghorne

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The remarkable insights that science affords us into the intelligible workings of the world cry out for an explanation more profound than that which itself can provide. Religion, if it is to take seriously its claim that the world is the creation of god, must be humble enough to learn from science what that world is actually like. The dialogue between them can only be mutually enriching. — John Polkinghorne

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The test of a theory is its ability to cope with all the relevant phenomena, not its a priori 'reasonableness'. The latter would have proved a poor guide in the development of science, which often makes progress by its encounter with the totally unexpected and initially extremely puzzling. — John Polkinghorne

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People, and especially theologians, should try to familiarize themselves with scientific ideas. Of course, science is technical in many respects, but there are some very good books that try to set out some of the conceptual structure of science. — John Polkinghorne

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The rational transparency and beauty of the universe are surely too remarkable to be treated as just happy accidents. — John Polkinghorne

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Bottom up thinkers try to start from experience and move from experience to understanding. They don't start with certain general principles they think beforehand are likely to be true; they just hope to find out what reality is like. — John Polkinghorne

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Epistemology models ontology. — John Polkinghorne

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It is the faithfulness of God that allows epistemology to model ontology. — John Polkinghorne

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scientific discovery requires the boldness of provisional commitment to a point of view, while remaining aware that this may require subsequent modification in the light of further experience. — John Polkinghorne

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When you realize that the laws of nature must be incredibly finely tuned to produce the universe we see, that conspires to plant the idea that the universe did not just happen, but that there must be a purpose behind it. — John Polkinghorne

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I also think we need to maintain distinctions - the doctrine of creation is different from a scientific cosmology, and we should resist the temptation, which sometimes scientists give in to, to try to assimilate the concepts of theology to the concepts of science. — John Polkinghorne

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Science and religion ... are friends, not foes, in the common quest for knowledge. Some people may find this surprising, for there's a feeling throughout our society that religious belief is outmoded, or downright impossible, in a scientific age. I don't agree. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that if people in this so-called 'scientific age' knew a bit more about science than many of them actually do, they'd find it easier to share my views. — John Polkinghorne

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God didn't produce a ready-made world. The Creator has done something cleverer than this, making a world able to make itself. — John Polkinghorne

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Science cannot tell theology how to construct a doctrine of creation, but you can't construct a doctrine of creation without taking account of the age of the universe and the evolutionary character of cosmic history. — John Polkinghorne

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Nevertheless, all of us who work in quantum physics believe in the reality of a quantum world, and the reality of quantum entities like protons and electrons. — John Polkinghorne

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Hope is much more than a mood. It involves a commitment to action ... What we hope for should be what we are prepared to work for ... as far as that power lies in us. — John Polkinghorne

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God is not a God of the edges, with a vested interest in beginnings. God is the God of the whole show. — John Polkinghorne

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So Whitehead's metaphysics doesn't fit very well on to physics as we understand the process of the world. — John Polkinghorne

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Claims for the
occurrence of miraculous events will have to be evaluated on
a case-by-case basis. There can be no general theory to cover
the character of unique events, but the refusal to contemplate
the possibility of revelatory disclosures of an unprecedented
kind would be an unacceptable limitation, imposed arbitrarily
on the horizons of religious thought. — John Polkinghorne

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Chance doesn't mean meaningless randomness, but historical contingency. This happens rather than that, and that's the way that novelty, new things, come about. — John Polkinghorne

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In
the scientific community, the adjective 'theological' is some-
times used pejoratively to refer to a vague or ill-formulated
belief. I believe this usage to be very far from the truth. It sad-
dens me that some of my colleagues remain unaware of the
truth-seeking intent and rational scrupulosity that character-
ise theological discourse at its best. — John Polkinghorne

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I think it's very important to maintain the classical Christian distinction between the Creator and creation. — John Polkinghorne

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Of course, Einstein was a very great scientist indeed, and I have enormous respect for him, and great admiration for the discoveries he made. But he was very committed to a view of the objectivity of the physical world. — John Polkinghorne

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At present, too much theological thinking is very human-centered. — John Polkinghorne

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I'm a very passionate believer in the unity of knowledge. There is one world of reality - one world of our experience that we're seeking to describe. — John Polkinghorne

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Whitehead reacted strongly against the idea of God as a cosmic tyrant, one who brings about everything. — John Polkinghorne

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I need the binocular approach of science and religion if I am to do any sort of justice to the deep and rich reality of the world in which we live. — John Polkinghorne

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However, as the Eastern churches have always maintained, through Christ creation is intended eventually to share in the life of God, the life of divine nature. — John Polkinghorne

John Polkinghorne Quotes 1338642

As a consequence, scientists who are carefully reflective
about their activity do not instinctively ask the question 'Is it
reasonable?' as if they were confident beforehand what shape
rationality had to take. We have noted how 'unreasonable', in
classical Newtonian terms, the nature of light turned out to
be. Instead, for the scientist the proper phrasing of the truth-
seeking question takes the form, 'What makes you think that
might be the case? — John Polkinghorne

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the strangely elusive and counterintuitive character of the quantum world has encouraged some to suggest that the idea of entities like electrons which can be in unpicturable states such as superpositions of being 'here' and being 'there' is no more than a convenient manner of speaking which facilitates calculations, and that electrons themselves are not to be taken with ontological seriousness. The counterattack of the scientific realist appeals to intelligibility as the key to reality. It is precisely because the assumption of the existence of electrons allows us to understand a vast range of directly accessible phenomena - such as the periodic table in chemistry, the phenomenon of superconductivity at low temperatures and the behaviour of devices such as the laser - that we take their existence seriously. — John Polkinghorne

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Those theologians who are beginning to take the doctrine of creation very seriously should pay some attention to science's story. — John Polkinghorne

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I very much enjoyed my career in science. I didn't leave science because I was disillusioned, but felt I'd done my bit for it after about twenty-five years. — John Polkinghorne

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Well, it's because I gladly acknowledge some ideas that are part of process theology, but which I think are not tied to all the details of process thought, and are very illuminating and helpful. — John Polkinghorne

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Theologians have a great problem because they're seeking to speak about God. Since God is the ground of everything that is, there's a sense in which every human inquiry is grist to the theological mill. Obviously, no theologian can know everything. — John Polkinghorne

John Polkinghorne Quotes 1866279

Theology differs from science in many respects, because of its different subject matter, a personal God who cannot be put to the test in the way that the impersonal physical world can be subjected to experimental enquiry. Yet science and theology have this in common, that each can be, and should be defended as being investigations of what is, the search for increasing verisimilitude in our understanding of reality. — John Polkinghorne

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After all, the universe required ten billion years of evolution before life was even possible; the evolution of the stars and the evolving of new chemical elements in the nuclear furnaces of the stars were indispensable prerequisites for the generation of life. — John Polkinghorne

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If the experience of science teaches anything, it's that the world is very strange and surprising. The many revolutions in science have certainly shown that. — John Polkinghorne

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If we are seeking to serve the God of truth then we should really welcome truth from whatever source it comes. We shouldn't fear the truth. Some of it will be from science, obviously, but by no means all of it. It will sometimes by perplexing, how this bit of truth relates to that bit of truth; we know that within science itself often enough and we find it outside of science as well. The crucial thing is to be honest. — John Polkinghorne

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Evolution, of course, is not something that simply applies to life here on earth; it applies to the whole universe. — John Polkinghorne