I just noticed for the first time today that Father Robinson's book is highlighted on the Angelus Press website at https://angeluspress.org/products/the-realist-guide-to-religion-and-science
People are free to submit a review on the book at the site. There are 9 reviews presently listed. Of the 9 listed so far 8 of them rate the book with 5 stars. (I tried to copy and paste the stars below, but was unable to do so.) The other rates it at one star and perhaps safe to say due to that fact alone as well as what the person actually wrote in the review, the author Father Robinson has responded underneath that review and that review alone. For the convenience of anyone reading this, I have pasted all the 9 reviews seen so far as well as Father's aforementioned response to one of them.
**************************************************************************************************************************The Realist Guide to Religion and ScienceFr. Paul Robinson, SSPX
Why do some religious believers slaughter those who refuse to convert to their faith, refuse scientific evidence for an ancient universe, or hold God to be an utterly arbitrary being? Why do some scientists believe that universes pop into existence from nothing, that aliens seeded life on earth, or that fish turn into reptiles by chance processes? The answer, for both, is the same: the abandonment of realism, the human way for knowing reality. In The Realist Guide to Religion and Science, Fr Robinson explains what realism is all about, then undertakes an historical exploration to show how religion and science become irrational when they abandon realism and how they are intellectually fruitful when they embrace it.
- “With this volume, the student will be able to safely navigate through the busy halls of philosophy.” Fr Joseph Azize, Ph.D (University of Sydney), Honorary Associate, Dept of Studies in Religion, University of Sydney; Adjunct Assoc. Prof. University of Notre Dame, Australia.
- “The Realist Guide to Religion and Science is an historical and radically interdisciplinary work that provides clear answers to the intellectual confusion that besieges the modern world.” Dennis Bonnette, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, (Retired, Niagara University)
- “Fr Robinson knows that talking about the absoluteness of truth is not very pleasant to a modern scholar … but it is – de facto – a very scholarly thing to do. In my opinion, the author of the ‘Guide’ deserves praise for this attempt.” Jakub Taylor, Ph.D. (Seoul National University), Prof. Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea
Fr. Paul Robinson, a native of Kentucky, USA, received a Masters in Engineering Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Louisville. After two years in the field, he entered St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary to discern his vocation. Since his ordination into the priestly fraternity of the Society of St. Pius X in 2006, he has been teaching Thomistic philosophy and theology at Holy Cross Seminary in Australia. Visit his site here
to learn more. Customer ReviewsRead 9 reviews Write a review
Realist Guide to Religion and ScienceSteven Lantier MD
, Apr 2018
Destined to become a classic for people who care about the maladies of the current culture and where it went wrong. Fr. Robinson does a great job taking you on a tour of philosophy from ground zero, through the roof. He clearly shows how these errors of philosophy have led to the false religions, false gods and inconsistencies of the many Christian denominations. This isn't an easy read, but well worth the effort.Reconciliation ConfirmedStephen Mattia
, Apr 2018
This is not a book by a priest supporting evolution, relativism, or new are nonsense. Far from it...it is a book based on sound Catholic Philosophical thinking by a true son of the Church. In a sweeping analysis of what Realism is - as a way of knowing reality - Father Robinson brings the reader from pagan thinking through to the Middle Ages then to modern thought. The author presents to the lay reader not only an analysis of what Realism is but how historical errors in how we know reality have sidetracked not only religious belief but scientific progress. All throughout the book Father Robinson maintains that the Truth is one...contending that there is not a truth for religion and another for science. Indeed, his efforts at a reconciliation between religion and science go a long way in restoring the traditional Catholic view of intellectual discovery - bringing us an injection of St. Thomas Aquinas' system of thought. "Blessed are the peace makers" - I believe that Father Robinson has successfully restored a lost trust shared by those who believe in God and who also believe in Science based on right reason. Wonderful book for those of Faith and Reason.This is very good - get it and read itAnthony Massey
, Apr 2018
Re my earlier review - the third last word should be foreword not forward. I'm waiting for a Fr Robinson book on the English language.
This is very good - get it and read itAnthony Massey
, Apr 2018
I wish I could have more than 1500 characters to review this book. It's scholarly and exceptional both in its thoroughness and its dispassionate adherence to logic and Aristotelian/Thomistic philosophy. Fr Robinson's philosophical discussion and assessment of the major religions and atheistic empiricisim is a bright light shining in the darkness. It is irrefutable because it remains perfectly loyal to logic. It is also loaded with mountains of really interesting information and scientific facts (not opinions). Atheists like Richard Dawkins, Bertrand Russell et al. are convicted with their own words. Darwinian evolution is refuted with pure science, something macro-evolution is not. Being a 500 page scholarly work it required some hard work to get through it but that doesn't mean it wasn't hugely entertaining and engaging and it was definitely worth the effort. One more thing, just reading bits of it will lead to misunderstanding. One or two negative reviews I have seen so far misrepresent what Fr says because I suspect they have just read bits or maybe have not read any of it beyond the forward. Happy reading. Apologists Secret Weapon Carol Massey
, Apr 2018
Fr Robinson's book is truly a Godsend in explaining creation from a Catholic perspective in a well explained manner, which has been much needed for quite some time. Wow! In-depth analysis beyond my expectations Rob Riforgiate
, Apr 2018
I must admit, when I purchased the book I was expecting, perhaps, a practical guide to resolving the science vs. religion divide currently prevalent in our culture, assuming "Realist" just meant "practical".
Instead, this book is takes a step-by-step progression from showing the philosophical school known as Realism, contrasting it with other schools, and showing the basis of what we humans know and how we know it. Only then does Fr. Robinson move on to resolving the apparent divide, and showing how there is no divide after all.
Fr. Robinson doesn't shy away from communicating difficult concepts, but does so in the manner of a true teacher, by breaking them down so even someone with almost no background in the subject matter can understand and apply them.
I highly recommend this for anyone struggling with the apparent dichotomy between science & faith, and also anyone wanting to get a good working understanding of philosophy.Surprised to say the least [At the time of my post this is the only 1 star rating. The other 8 give it a 5 star rating! Ugh!]John Hoff
, Apr 2018
Pros: Fr. Robinson gives the reader a very articulate description of realism, as well as numerous examples and practical application. Despite the need to by very " philosophy heavy" Fr. Robinson explains things very well to a simple dumb sheep like myself.
Cons: Oh boy. Well for starters, one might notice the book is published by a liberal publisher instead of Angelus press. The forward is particularly hard on those whom I expect to be Fr.'s core group of readers ( saint jp2, saint Paul ect.) I am also exceedingly troubled by the open aceptance of an ancient creation. This is a position based on, shall we say, dubious evidence. The way Fr. portrays it, if you think it is maybe possible for a "young earth", you are obviously an irrational religious like the kind who goes around slaying those who refuse to convert.
In conclusion: I personally was shocked by some of the positions Fr. Robinson takes, so conservative's may not be interested. However if things of that nature do not bother people, this is certainly a very well explained philosophical study of the titled subject. FROM THE AUTHOR:
Thanks for your review, John.
To be honest, I myself, at one time, considered Young Earth Creationism (YEC) to be a ‘conservative’ viewpoint. However, I had to change my mind when I did an in-depth study of the Scriptural encyclicals of Popes Leo XIII, Benedict XV, and Pius XII, as well as the classic pre-Vatican II Scripture manuals: authors like Steinmueller, Simon-Prado, Gigot, Renié, and Vigouroux. What I discovered was that YEC is not a ‘conservative’ viewpoint, but a Protestant viewpoint, motivated by Protestant principles of Scriptural exegesis and the Protestant notion of God. The closest that Catholics ever came to YEC was a position called ‘concordism’, but this is quite different from YEC, and concordism was almost universally abandoned by Catholic exegetes well before Vatican II.
Since the last thing that we should want to do as Catholics is source our cues for Scriptural interpretation from Protestants, I wanted to make clear, in The Realist Guide, how foreign YEC is to the Catholic mindset, theologically, philosophically, and scientifically. This does not mean that Catholics are forbidden to be YEC, as the Church permits it as an opinion. It does mean, however, that it seems to be dangerous for Catholics to be YEC, because it is an opinion that harmonizes with the Protestant spirit and conflicts with the wisdom of papal teaching on Scripture.
- Angelus Press Religion and Science. A Pathway to Their ReconciliationWolfgang Koch, PhD, Bonn, Germany
, Mar 2018
Dr. Koch, was kind enough to write a thorough review of The Realist Guide unfortunately, there simply wasn't enough room to post it all here. To read the full review, you can do so in our blog, https://angeluspress.org/blogs/blog/religion-and-science-a-pathway-to-their-reconciliation
, or read it in our reply, below.
A Short biographical sketch of Dr. Koch: After his studies in Physics and Mathematics, Wolfgang Koch graduated with a PhD degree in Theoretical Physics at Aachen Technical University (RWTH) and a habilitation degree at the University of Bonn in Computer Science. He is head of a research department the Fraunhofer Society, Professor for Computer Science at Bonn University, Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers IEEE, IEEE Distinguished Lecturer, and active in the Board of Governors of IEEE Aero-space and Electronic Systems Society AESS and the International Society of Information Fusion ISIF.
Book Review of The Realist Guide to Religion and Science by, Wolfgang Koch, PhD.
Sedi Sapientiae, Reginae coeli et terrae, Matri universae, to the Seat of Wisdom, to the Queen of Heaven and Earth, to the Mother of all, an important new publication has been dedicated. It has the potential of becoming a substantial contribution to a healing of philosophical thinking about religion and science that our intellectually and spiritually broken time needs. In his own way and covering a certain aspect, the author, Fr. Paul Robinson FSSPX, Her servant and son, is preparing the promised triumph of Her Immaculate Heart.
What reward is awaiting the reader? Being very readable even for non-native speakers, Fr. Robinson’s book does not require any specific prior knowledge, but it does require patience in following the lines of thought from the first to the last page – it is not a book for page hoppers! Its fruit is a unified, unifying, and at the same time joyful view of the universe as a whole, where in an intellectually coherent and satisfying way, religious and scientific thinking co-exist in harmony without excluding but supporting each other.
However, can there exist such an integrity of human reason after all the intellectual and spiritual revolutions since the times of “Enlightenment”, a wisdom where even the highest objects of knowledge come into the view, in whose light all other things begin to shine? Yes - argues Fr. Robinson. Every other answer is logically inconsistent and ultimately leads to despair. Only the realist is an optimist.
After studying engineering, mathematics and computer science at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, U. S. A., where he graduated with a Master's degree, Fr. Robinson spent two years in his profession before joining the American seminary of the Society of St. Pius X. Since his priestly ordination in 2006, he has taught Thomistic Philosophy and Theology, currently at the Holy Cross Seminary in Australia.
His intellectual pathway from the rigorous discipline of reasoning in the realm of science and technology, where "right" and "wrong" is relentlessly valid, has led Fr. Robinson through the school of classical western and ecclesiastical thought, into philosophical realism as mentality, as an intellectual and spiritual way of life. The reviewer had the pleasure of personally meeting with this gracious, humble, and pious priest, who is marked by a deep inner life.
Realism as a mentality refers to a basic mental attitude in which people are able to know something reliably and to relate themselves validly to reality. Why is this mentality no longer indisputably normal? It is due to the abuse of free will, argues Fr. Robinson, which chooses other mentalities. Such a wrong preference then limits the natural ability to perceive the world as it really is – darkening the eye of reason, blurring intellectual perception.
However, whenever reasoning goes wrong, because the will has not chosen a mentality appropriate for human beings, a person’s thinking about the objects of faith and the facts of science also diverges. The apparent incompatibility of religion and science, which has characterized western thinking since the Copernican revolution, is not so much caused by the mutual incompatibility between these two ways of thinking, but by the fact that those who do religion or science or both have made their mindset incompatible with reality. Fr. Robinson therefore seeks to reconcile religion and science with one another, but not through religion or science. He rather seeks to reconcile human reasoning with reality itself.
If there is a single origin of the entire universe as the realistic view of the world suggests, reality is a single whole. Moreover, if that one origin has given man the ability to perceive reality, then there is no reason to assume that this very perception does not also focus on the whole of reality. For the great realist philosopher Josef Pieper, human beings have the potential of “being able to live in the face of and in the midst of the whole of reality. The created spirit is capax universi, open to the whole of truth". (Die Wahrheit der Dinge, 1947).
Elsewhere, Pieper speaks of “the uncharted territory that awaits conquest today, one might say more precisely, the already conquered land that would finally be taken over and used for philosophical world interpretation". It has a vast extension. Which country is it? “First of all, it is the world region opened up by physics and biology”, Pieper explains (Die Aktualität des Thomismus, 1953).
Fr. Robinson’s book is a travel guide to this adventurous country, an intellectual frontier, waiting for its spiritual settlement: The Realist Guide to Religion and Science. With a smiling wink of the eye, the title alludes to a cult novel of the science and technology community, Douglas N. Adams' satirical science fiction series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 1979.
In the first part of his travel guide entitled REASON, Fr. Robinson looks as a realist on reality. Analyzing the logical structure underlying pagan pantheism, the Catholic doctrine of creation, Muslim monotheism and Protestant biblicism, the second part of the book, RELIGION, shows how religion is reasonable as long as it remains realistic but becomes unreasonable as soon as it turns away from reality. The same applies to the interpretation of scientific facts, the theme of the third part, SCIENCE.
For readers from the science and technology communities, the first part is particularly instructive. Shortly and precisely, Fr. Robinson calls upon the three witnesses of reality, the senses, from which all knowledge about the particulars emanates, reason, to recognizing the universals, and authority, which complements all knowledge – for all knowledge needs trust. Starting from the principle that science is certain knowledge through insight into the causes, he then convincingly discusses Aristotle’s analysis of the four aspects of causality, the material, formal, efficient and final causes. An outline of the three ways of knowledge, science, philosophy, religion, concludes this compact and concise introduction to realistic thinking.
The second part offers insights into the inner structure of Muslim and Protestant thinking, which is put into contrast to the balanced character of the Catholic doctrine of creation according to St. Thomas Aquinas which has been called Thomas a Creatore by G. K. Chesterton. These sober insights are particularly valuable in the current debate with intelligent fundamentalists that may seriously inflict injuries to religion and block the pathways to it for many.
In most countries, popularized representations of physical cosmology and evolutionary biology dominate the public mainstream and even the unconscious of modern man, where scientific facts are mixed up with ideologically charged interpretations that usually turn against the Christian faith. Against this backdrop, special emphasis is to be placed at the third part of the book. Fr. Robinson sharply distinguishes between the facts that are scientifically sound and their interpretations that are open to discussion and correction. This distinction could perhaps have been made even sharper.
Right in the beginning of part three, Fr. Robinson addresses a core problem when he cites Albert Einstein: "The man of science is a poor philosopher". Note that Einstein underlined the importance of sound philosophical thinking even though he followed philosophical strands that are unacceptable for Christians. In the first of the four chapters of this part, Fr. Robinson critically analyses the development of philosophical thinking on nature from the late Middle Ages to modern times. The reader realizes how much progress towards the ever more important scientific discoveries coincides with a progressive disintegration of philosophically clear and valid thinking.
The reviewer is able to technically evaluate the content of the chapter on physical cosmology beginning with the important discoveries of Einstein, Hubble, and Lemaître, which he considers convincing, thorough and serious. The representation of the universe in its highly specific peculiarity is comprehensibly presented also for the non-scientist, by which the inhabitability of the universe for living creatures is made possible (keyword: cosmic fine-tuning). Fr. Robinson sharply refutes, by philosophical reasoning, on the other hand, experimentally non-falsifiable cosmologies (keyword: multiverses), which are highly controversial even among physicists because these cease to be part of natural science at all.
Thoroughly in the spirit of Pius XII and his Encyclical Humani generis (1950), the two biological chapters on the origin of life and evolution provide, on the one hand, verified facts of biology. On the other hand, they document the internal contradictions of “biologistical” ideologies, which are associated with names such as Francis Crick, Richard Dawkins and Charles Darwin. Obviously, the same person can make significant biological discoveries and at the same time make serious “biologistical”, i.e. philosophical errors. Fr. Robinson’s discussion seems to be convincing. Since the reviewer has no specific training in biology, a review from a professional biologist would be desirable. Teilhard de Chardin is not an issue for Fr. Robinson. However, his sound realistic principles may prove themselves valuable in the debate about his rehabilitation.
Besides being a sound philosophical book on the realist mentality, Fr. Robinson’s travel guide has at the same time also a profoundly missionary impulse. May his guide open up again pathways to the Catholics faith, especially for the science and technology communities, and may it light the love for the Queen of Heaven and Earth and the Mother of the Universe and be blessed by Her!
- Angelus Press A great book on thinkingJoseph Strong
, Feb 2018
In a very accessible style, Fr. Robinson shows the reader what it means to think rationally No one who knows the teachings of the Church regarding the age of the universe or other strangely controversial topics will be surprised by his analyses. True science and true philosophy work together to give the correct view of God's creation - that is Father's point. One without the other leads to cramming intellectual round pegs into square holes. Father's book will help the reader not fall into that trap.