Believers and non-believers often take it for granted that traditional religious faith is, in principle, incapable of the sort of justification which might be given to a scientific theory. Yet how are scientific theories justified and is it the case that religious belief cannot satisfy the same standards of rationality? Based on a critical examination of recent accounts of the nature of science and of its justification given by Kuhn, Popper,
Lakatos, Laudan, and Newton-Smith, this book contends that models of scientific rationality which are used in criticism of religious belief are in fact often inadequate as accounts of the nature of
science. It is argued that a realist philosophy of science both reflects the character of science and scientific justification, and also suggests that religious belief could be given a justification of the same sort.
`Banner has interesting things to say about the ad hoc character of some scientific explanations, about simplicity in explanation, and about the convergence of lines of argument and evidence.'
Times Higher Education Supplement
`interesting and informative monograph' Times Higher Education Supplement
`very clearly written and contains useful summaries of a number of important discussions' Theology
`if the book does nothing more than awaken philosophically-minded theologians to recent developments in the philosophy of science which undermine certain entrenched prejudices in this area of debate, it will have justified its publication'
'an ambitious and wide-ranging book, seeking to illuminate the present task of Christian apologetics by reference to the present state of the philosophy of science ... The book that he has given us has many excellent features. Dr Banner's treatment of the present state of play in the philosophy of science is fascinating ... Review
``Michael Banner provides a sane and balanced account of the issues involved. The book not only seeks to uphold the place of rationality in both science and religion, but is itself a superb example of the use of rationality in this area.'
Journal of Theological Studies
`The work is a model of how the dialogue between science and theology should be conducted ... admirably clear argument.' Heythrop Journal
'an ambitious and wide-ranging book, seeking to illuminate the present task of Christian apologetics by reference to the present state of the philosophy of science ... The book that he has given us has many excellent features. Dr Banner's treatment of the present state of play in the philosophy of science is fascinating ... it is a bold and informed attempt to bring into close and fertile relation two areas of philosophy that easily fall apart to the
detriment of both alike. He has clearly embarked on an enterprise that may prove uniquely profitable, and this reviewer can only express the hope that he will continue.'
Donald M. MacKinnon, Epworth Review
`Banner's book is a significant contribution to an important trend in the philosophy of religion.'
Journal of Religion
`Michael Banner adds an admirable volume to a number of vigorous studies recently affirming the rationality of religious belief, especially that of monotheism ... this fine book is well worth reading.'
Journal of the American Academy of Religion
`Dr Banner, a former doctoral student of Basil Mitchell, lucidly defends the idea that it makes sense to justify religious belief ... The book is a detailed and learned treatment of a subject which sharply divides philosophers of religion today.'
MC Vol XXXIV
`Professor Banner demonstrates throughout this book that his grasp of the currently relevant literature is as broad as it is sensitive. He entertains a remarkable range of positions, invariable slicing efficiently to the heart of alternative viewpoints. His criticisms are graciously balanced and sharply relevant, if not always particularly original ... an excellent basic text for advanced courses concerned with the relation of science to religion.'
Philosophy of Religion
'Banner's style - which is concise but lucid and easy to read - and the book's structure, including frequent summaries, make both the specific debates and the overall argument clear and accessible. It is of value both in the discrete analyses and discussions of specific thinkers and issues ... and in the overall argument of which these are a part ... I would ... recommend this book to anyone with an interest in and some background knowledge of philosophy of
science and religion.'
Sally Alsford, University of Greenwich, Science & Christian Belief, Vol. 5, No. 1
Introduction; Part I: The Justification of Science; Kuhn's Challenge to the Rationality of Science; In Defence of Rational Realism; Part II: The Rationality of Religious Belief; Does Philosophy of Religion Rest on a Mistake?; Faith and the Religious Adequacy of Explanatory Justification; Theism and Inferring to the Best Explanation; Conclusions: The Problem of Evil and the Philosophy of Science; Afterword; Bibliography; Index