The New Flatlanders: A Seeker's Guide to the Theory of Everything

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Templeton Foundation Press, 2007 - Religion - 176 pages

In The New Flatlanders, teacher, scientist, and chaplain Eric Middleton challenges traditional ways of looking at reality by engaging readers in a "voyage of discovery starting with questions." The book engagingly begins with a discussion group embarking on an exploratory conversation about the nature of the universe and the place of human beings in it. Daunting questions emerge, such as "How can there possibly be a tear or hole in three-dimensional space? And if there is a hole, can something fall through it? Where would it fall to?" In short order, students and teacher are on a quest to develop a "working theory of everything" that takes them from stone circles to quarks, superstrings, quantum theory, the anthropic principle, evolution, consciousness, miracles, chaos, and the spiritual universe.

The key to exploring these questions is finding a language with which to talk about the awe and wonder of today's science alongside the joy of experiencing the spiritual. This is done by interweaving into the discussions the philosophy of "Flatland," a nonreligious entry point to Jesus posited by nineteenth-century clergyman and educator Edwin A. Abbott in his classic parable Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions.

 

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Contents

Introduction
3
How Did It All Begin
7
2 Mystery Models and Quantum Theory
19
A Theory of Everything for the Twentyfirst Century?
30
4 What Is Reality?
40
6 The Anthropic Principle
59
8 Consciousness and What Comes After
81
9 Miracles and Missions
92
10 Chaos and the Hidden Order
104
11 But Why? The Problem of Evil
115
12 The View from Here
127
The Spiritual Universe
134
Glossary
145
Notes
151
Index
161
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Eric Middleton has master's degrees in natural sciences, psychology, and philosophy. His career as a teacher and lecturer includes a fellowship with the Royal Society of Chemistry, tutoring and lecturing on science and religion at the Open University in the U.K., and teaching and management positions in school systems. In college, he boxed for Cambridge University, and has played violin in the Cleveland Philharmonic and Teesside Symphony Orchestras as well as a local string quartet. He is emeritus principal and chief executive of the Prior Pursglove Sixth Form College. Qualified in theology and accredited with the Association of Christian Counselors, he is now a college chaplain living in Guisborough, England.

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