|Ian Graeme Barbour|
October 5, 1923 |
|Occupation||Author, Scholar, University Professor|
Ian Graeme Barbour (born 5 October 1923), is an American scholar on the relationship between science and religion. According to the Public Broadcasting Service his mid-1960s Issues in Science and Religion "has been credited with literally creating the contemporary field of science and religion."
In the citation nominating Barbour for the 1999 Templeton Prize, John B. Cobb wrote "No contemporary has made a more original, deep and lasting contribution toward the needed integration of scientific and religious knowledge and values than Ian Barbour. With respect to the breadth of topics and fields brought into this integration, Barbour has no equal"
He earned a B.Div. in 1956 from Yale University's Divinity School. Barbour taught for many years at Carleton College with appointments as professor of religion and as Winifred and Atherton Bean Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and Society. He has held emeritus honors there since 1986.
Barbour gave the Gifford lectures from 1989 – 1991 at the University of Aberdeen. These lectures led to the book Religion in an Age of Science. He was awarded the Templeton Prize in 1999 for Progress in Religion in recognition of his efforts to create a dialogue between the worlds of science and religion.
Philosophy and theology
In his efforts to link science and religion in Issues in Science and Religion, Barbour coined the term ‘critical realism’. This has been adopted by other scholars. He claimed the basic structure of religion is similar to that of science in some ways but also differs on some crucial points. They are part of the same spectrum in which both display subjective as well as objective features. The subjective include the theory on data, the resistance of comprehensive theories to falsification, and the absence of rules for choice among paradigms. Objective features include the presence of common data, evidence for or against a theory, and criteria which are not paradigm-dependent. The presence of subjective and objective features in both science and religion makes his thinking valuable and original. Barbour’s arguments have been developed in significant and diverse ways by a variety of scholars, including Arthur Peacocke, John Polkinghorne, Sallie McFague and Robert John Russell. His subjective / objective approach is prominent in the evolving paradigm of Religious Naturalism.
Barbour considered critical realism an alternative to the competing interpretations of scientific theories: classical or naive realism, instrumentalism and idealism. A critical realist perspective sees scientific theories yielding partial, revisable, abstract, but referential knowledge of the world that can be expressed through metaphors and models.
During the 1970s Barbour presented a program of interdisciplinary courses that dealt with ethical issues in the applications of science, exploring the social and environmental consequences of a variety of technologies. In 2000 in When Science Meets Religion (2000) he used a fourfold typology (Conflict, Independence, Dialogue, Integration) to relate religion and science that he had developed in his earlier writings. In his works, Barbour writes from a Christian perspective.
Barbour compares methods of inquiry in science and religion, and has explored the theological implications of the Big Bang theory, quantum physics, evolutionary biology and genetics. He also has lectured widely on ethical issues in such fields as technology policy, energy, agriculture, computers and cloning.
Forrest Clingerman ties Barbour to the Religious Naturalism movement via his theology of nature. His subjective/objective approach to religious is prominent in this evolving paradigm. Michael Dowd calls Barbour the granddaddy of the evolutionary Christianity movement.
- Christianity & the Scientists (1960)
- Issues in Science and Religion (1966)
- Science & Religion (1968)
- Science & Secularity: The Ethics of Technology (1970)
- Myths, Models and Paradigms (1974), ISBN 0-334-01037-3
- Religion in an Age of Science (1990), ISBN 0-06-060383-6
- Foreword in Religion & Science: History, Method, Dialogue (1996), W. Mark Richardson (ed.) and Wesley J. Wildman (ed.), ISBN 0-415-91667-4
- Religion and Science: Historical and Contemporary Issues (1997) ISBN 0-06-060938-9 (revised and expanded version of Religion in an Age of Science)
- When Science Meets Religion, (2000), ISBN 0-06-060381-X
- Nature, Human Nature, and God (2002), ISBN 0-281-05545-9
- "The PBS Online Newhour May 28, 1999". Retrieved 2008-06-30.
- Critical Realism: The Original Bridge Between Science and Religion retrieved 4/15/2011
- Gifford Lectures retrieved 4/18/2011
- Christian perspective
- Basics of Religious Naturalism
- Technology, Trust and Religion – Willem Drees, Amsterdam University Press, 2009), page 143, ISBN 90-8728-059-9 retrieved 4/16/2011
- Grandddaddy of Evolutionary Christianity retrieved 4/15/2011
- Hallanger, Nathan J. 'Ian G. Barbour' in The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity J.B. Stump and Alan G. Padgett (eds). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell (2012)
- Russel, Robert John (Ed.): Fifty Years in Science and Religion - Ian G. Barbour and his Legacy. Ashgate, Burlington 2004.
- Russel, Robert John: Ian Barbour's Methodological Breakthrough: Creating the 'Bridge' between Science and Theology. pp. 45–59. In: Russel, R. J. (Ed.): Fifty Years in Science and Religion - Ian G. Barbour and his Legacy. Ashgate, Burlington 2004. Esp. p. 45
- Gregersen, Niels Henrik: Critical Realism and Other Realisms. pp. 77–95. In: Russel, R. J. (Ed.): Fifty Years in Science and Religion - Ian G. Barbour and his Legacy. Ashgate, Burlington 2004. Esp. p. 77, 85-88.
- May 28, 1999 Elizabeth Farnsworth interview
- Templeton Prize press release on Carleton College website.
- Ian Barbour -Introduction to the Teleseries on Evolutionary Christianity, Followed by, “God and Evolution”