Intended to provide a basis for discussion, this book evaluates the evidence of modern science in relation to the debate between the atheistic and theistic interpretations of the universe. Written like a scientific detective story, this excellent introduction to the current debate grew out of the author's lengthy experience of lecturing and debating on the subject.
John Carson Lennox is Professor of Mathematics in the University of Oxford, Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science, and Pastoral Advisor at Green Templeton College, Oxford. He is also an Adjunct Lecturer at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University and at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and is a Senior Fellow of the Trinity Forum. In addition, he teaches for the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme at the Executive Education Centre, Said Business School, Oxford University.
He studied at the Royal School Armagh, Northern Ireland and was Exhibitioner and Senior Scholar at Emmanuel College, Cambridge University from which he took his MA, MMath and PhD. He worked for many years in the Mathematics Institute at the University of Wales in Cardiff which awarded him a DSc for his research. He also holds an MA and DPhil from Oxford University and an MA in Bioethics from the University of Surrey. He was a Senior Alexander Von Humboldt Fellow at the Universities of Würzburg and Freiburg in Germany. He has lectured extensively in North America, Eastern and Western Europe and Australasia on mathematics, the philosophy of science and the intellectual defence of Christianity.
He has written a number of books on the interface between science, philosophy and theology. These include God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? (2009), God and Stephen Hawking, a response to The Grand Design (2011), Gunning for God, on the new atheism (2011), and Seven Days that Divide the World, on the early chapters of Genesis (2011). Furthermore, in addition to over seventy published mathematical papers, he is the co-author of two research level texts in algebra in the Oxford Mathematical Monographs series.
After watching Lennox debate Hitchens and seeing how well they both did I decided to pick up this book. I wasn’t disappointed and the arguments made in here are solid and persuasive. Lennox, a mathematician from Oxford University, uses math and probability to prove the existence of God. Indeed, he also shows that science and God are not at odds at all. I was quite impressed to see that a majority of the sources Lennox used came from agnostics rather than theists. Out of fairness I’ll be reading a book from Hitchens next.
I've dreaded reviewing this book, as it's the type of polarizing work that yields predictable reactions: most believers are going to love it, and most non-believers are going to... not love it. It is not the sort of work that leads to conversions on either side - rather, it's written as an apologetic tract to bolster Christians with arguments to debate atheists, or to simply feel confident ignoring atheists. As a former Christian who has been an atheist for 12 years, I am not the target audience. At the same time, I regularly read apologetic works because I am interested in considering the arguments and hope to run across some new and thought-provoking ideas. Also, this book was recommended by a respected friend.
John C. Lennox is an Oxford Mathematics professor who also holds degrees in Philosophy and Bioethics, so he seems a good candidate to talk about whether or not science has "buried God". He has debated the Oxford biologist (and prominent atheist) Richard Dawkins, and Dawkins is clearly the central figure upon which Lennox builds his arguments. In a book just over 200 pages, a search yields 170 mentions of Dawkins. I waited until after reading the book to watch their debate (of the same title), which sums up most of the talking points of the book (but allows Dawkins to respond to the points): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0UIb.... Suffice it to say, Lennox clearly bears an unrequited fascination with Dawkins, and this book could better be called "Au Contraire, Richard Dawkins!"
One of his first arguments is that many respected scientists believe in God. Lennox spends a lot of time pointing out all the usual suspects (Francis Collins, John Polkinghorne, et al.). One could write a much longer book filled only with the names of scientists who don't share Lennox's belief, but certainly the point is taken that you can do good science and also believe in God. Or aliens, for that matter. Lennox also triumphantly points to the religious belief of classical scientists like Newton and Galileo... products of a time where there was no real precedent for unbelief. More irritating, Lennox quote-mines prominent scientists (Hawking is a frequent target) to make it seem as if they truly agree with the Christian perspective, despite their public stances. Another tact is to regularly quote fringe figures as having important voices in the debate who really do not, without giving any sense of their marginal status (Michael Behe, Hugh Ross, William Dembski, Guillermo Gonzalez, David Berlinski, Antony Flew, and even Fred Hoyle come to mind). All in all, there is a fixation on authority and name-dropping that one simply doesn't see in books on the other side of the debate.
He also focuses on the definition of science, protesting that "supernatural" explanations have been defined out of the enterprise a priori. However, Lennox never names one testable claim that hasn't been given due attention from the scientific community. It's not that scientists aren't open to evidence of the supernatural, it's just that those phenomena don't tend to be measurable or repeatable, let alone falsifiable. It has been tried. There's been plenty of research about the effectiveness of prayer, for example (turns out, it doesn't do anything). I'd be really curious to hear about an avenue of research that could be followed to explore supernatural hypotheses, and I'm sure the scientific community would be all ears, too. In the meantime, buddy, stop whining about being excluded.
Lennox insists the universe needs a creator, but wriggles out of the question of where God came from by saying God is not the sort of thing that is created. (Ta-da!!) He spends a lot of time talking about the precise tuning of the physical constants that led to life (that only exists, as far as we know, on one infinitesimal pale blue dot) and the amazing odds of those constants being calibrated as they are. Lots of, "the odds of this happening are one in one hundred billion, billion" statements. He doesn't like being accused of making God of the Gaps arguments, and tries to differentiate "good gaps" from "bad gaps". If anyone can explain the distinction better than he can, please let me know. He moves on to the watchmaker argument, and tries to point to reasonable inferences of design (the Ford analogy is oft-repeated and excruciating).
Here he wanders into the subject of biology (and information theory), and does a really dishonest job of misrepresenting Dawkins' arguments. For example, Lennox dissects the analogy of monkeys on typewriters producing Shakespeare ad nauseam, refusing to understand the point of the analogy. Of course Dawkins is not saying that the biological equivalent of the phrase "methinks it is like a weasel" is already out there, waiting to match specific gene sequences. That would indeed be absurd. That's why it's a metaphor. Rather, Dawkins is describing how certain random mutations are beneficial and sustained by successive generations, leading to cumulative adaptation. Lennox absolutely refuses to grasp this concept, and endlessly attacks the literal understanding of a metaphor about monkeys on typewriters. Elsewhere, Lennox quotes Dawkins's bold concluding sentence (made after a chapter's worth of supporting explanation) without context. He then accuses Dawkins of jumping to conclusions. I'd be curious to know what Lennox thinks was happening for 3.5 billion years of evolution. Apparently he agrees on the timeline, but doesn't feel it was sufficiently long for natural selection to do its thing. In which case... I might wonder why God sat around staring at single-celled organisms for 3 billion years.
I would have called that the most embarrassing part of the book, except that Lennox then abandons any pretext of neutrality and goes straight into talking about the resurrection of Jesus and the importance of the Bible. He also defends miracles, saying that of course they're extremely rare and impossible to prove... otherwise they wouldn't be miracles! (Ta-da!!)
I highlighted many passages that I felt to be misleading, but to respond to them in any kind of detail would make this an unbearably long review, so I shall resist the urge to expound any further. I'll just sum up by saying that Lennox is clearly a clever fellow - he is quite adept at spinning an argument to make a weakness in his own position sound like an advantage. It's an impressive display of mental gymnastics - something an intelligent person can accomplish when he's already got a conclusion fixed in his mind. At best, he is simply unaware of the process. At worst, this is pious fraud. Either way, it is geared toward inoculating believers against challenging ideas before those ideas have a chance to be presented fairly.
John Lennox is a mathematician by profession yet quite a clever philosopher in his own right. He tackles the great questions against theism, even from the "new atheists" and does not shy away from the strongest objections. His reasoned and balanced tone is a breath of fresh air and you will find yourself thinking, "what a profound thought" and "why didn't I think of that?"
I recommend it for everyone who thinks about the great questions, the ultimate questions of life.
Brilliant book on various philosophical and scientific apologetic ideas. The last paragraph of the book sums its central argument up so well:
"...far from science having buried God, not only do the results of science point towards his existence, but the scientific enterprise itself is validated by his existence. Inevitably, of course, not only those of us who do science, but all of us, have to choose THE PRESUPPOSITION WITH WHICH WE START. There are not many options - essentially just two. Either human intelligence ultimately owes its origin to mindless matter; or there is a Creator. It is strange that some people claim that it is their intelligence that leads them to prefer the first to the second."
This is a book for layman who aren't involved in the scientific field, and also for those who are. His scientific explanations and examples were immensely insightful and based on relevant and real data, since the author himself is a mathematician and an expert in the philosophy of science and is renowned for debating Richard Dawkins (author of The God Delusion) publicly at highly esteemed universities, such as Oxford (where he works by the way). I especially enjoyed the rebuttals he provided against Dawkins various arguments, and how contradictory those arguments appear once they are objectively analyzed or merely compared to basic philosophical criteria.
What stood out the most for me as a philosophy student, (something we learn to detect everyday), is the fact that all theories are based on and thoroughly entrenched with presuppositions and worldviews. The one cannot be separated from the other, and hence the two most rationalistic persons can still differ on logical conclusions, as the basis of their deductions are wrought with what makes personal sense to them. Through this I am not propagating an irrationalist relativism, but merely that our philosophical responsibility is to expose the presuppositional foundation of theories before we choose which works best and where.
كتاب تأصيلي منطقي محكم، يدحض أساطير العلم في تغوله على كل ميادين المعرفة، والمؤلف بارع في الطرح والتأصيل العقلي لا سيما وأن له مناظرات جماهيرية مع أساطين الإلحاد الجديد مثل ريتشارد دوكنز ولورنس كراوس، فهو خبير بمغالطاتهم وثغراتهم المنطقية وبتهافت بنائهم الفلسفي اللاعلمي. أنصح بقراءته ودراسته.
I didn't expect this book to be indecipherable. I found myself frequently rerun my eyes and refocus myself on the book while reading. John C. Lennox is a scientist as well as a philosopher, the fact that is missing from Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and many other Christians and atheists. You could not find an attack on atheism like you could find on Dawkin's book on religion. Nor will you find a Lennox's defense of his belief in this particular book (maybe you can find it on his other books).
First of all this book is written as a counterattack of Dawkin's The God Delusion, so anyone who has an objection of why Lennox brought up so much of Dawkin's arguments, well you should did background check why Lennox wrote this book in the first place. Secondly, for anyone who thought this book will provide her with easily-grasp answers for atheism worldview, well, you better be prepare to be disappointed (or at least shocked, like I did). You will definitely find scientific and philosophical essays; and they are (of course) lengthy. To have more general overview, go check Lennox's speeches and debates on Youtube, instead.
Two important arguments I draw from this books are: 1. There isn't a war between science and God. They aren't alternatives, they are complementary. 2. To quote from the Epilogue: Far from science having buried God, not only do the results of science point towards his existence, but the scientific enterprise itself is validated by His existence.
One last (not very central) thing I love from this book: it is beautifully written. Lennox is a mathematicians, philosopher, and apparently, also a strong word composer; which I firstly noticed from his speeches, it then went more obvious when I read this book. More than understanding his arguments, I learnt his ways of thinking: it is tidy. He has a casual and non-attacking delivery, a careful exposition of his objections and his claims. Though I think, Lennox in some occasion failed to explain several (philosophical etc) terms that common people may not have the knowledge of; for example when he talked about Freud and Freudian arguments and when he talked about 'begging for questions'(come to think about it, there must be arguments that I didn't fully comprehend). Therefore, though God's Undertaker is a sound book, it can be made simpler, by making another version probably (like 7 habit for teens)?
The best thing I can say about this book is that it was short. It would have been a lot shorter without all the logical fallacies, special pleading and quote mining though. What I expected to be a relatively sophisticated defense of belief in gods began quite well before turning into creationist propaganda and then finally into a declaration of Christian belief. Lennox is a professor of mathematics and therefore can be forgiven for his lack of knowledge about biology (although one wonders why he chose to devote so much of his book to a subject he knows so little about) but he cannot be forgiven for his equivocation, deliberately quoting out of context, falsely reporting the results of experiments, and a blatant misunderstanding of elementary mathematics. Well, maybe Jesus can forgive him but I can't! Lennox quotes from Denton, Behe and Dembski as if they were authorities on evolution. He cites the bacterial flagellum as an example of irreducible complexity without mentioning the Dover trial, he talks about the chirality of amino acids without mentioning any of the possible theories (other than chance or design) of why this is the case, and he equates the atheism of ancient Greek philosophers with the monotheism of Moses (as both are a rejection of polytheism). I could go on, as the majority of the book left me gasping at the weakness of the arguments There are some arguments in this book that are a little more sophisticated than the usual creationist or ID arguments, and he does highlight some weak analogies used by Dawkins and others, but then focuses on these analogies rather than the actual argument. Ultimately, this book is unworthy of an Oxford professor, no matter what his area of expertise.
Oh how I enjoyed this book. John Lennox is such a great philosopher and scientist. He does more than his due diligence in constructing his arguments for the idea that science has not only been powerless to do away with God, it has only done more to demonstrate that God does indeed exist and was instrumental in creating the cosmos, life, and everything else that is. I'm dumbstruck when I see some of the faith-based statements of some hard line New Athiests that they seem to take as axiomatic when they are so obviously beliefs and not facts. As a doctor I was taught to take a history and do an examination before arriving at a conclusion, but some people have decided what they believe must be true beforehand and overreach in their attempts to match the findings to their conclusion. In the end their conclusions appear straining under the burden of too much manipulation and the arguments begin to bleed illegitimacy. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever read anything by Richard Dawkins or believes that there is no place for any sort of creator in the world as we know it.
I decided to read Richard Dawkins' “The God Delusion” and John Lennox's “God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?” after listening to part of their debate (found at http://www.dawkinslennoxdebate.com/) on the radio while running errands one weekend morning.
Overall, I was underwhelmed by both books, but I'll discuss each individually.
The God Delusion (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/74...) Dawkins spends the first half of the book making his case against the existence of God. Throughout this section, I felt like he was writing for his friends who follow his escapades on a regular basis and I didn't find it useful. Often he cuts his arguments short by essentially saying this is a well documented argument so I'm not going to bother with the details in this book. Yet, he has plenty of space dedicated to the spats he's had with creationists and defending his honor. Mostly he attacks the weaker of the creationists' arguments. Bottom-line, I found this section disappointing.
The latter half of the book is focused on the morality of the three major religions-- pointing out that they are not very moral. For instance, it's bad for men to have sex but okay to offer your daughters up for rape (as told in Genesis 19). Or thou shall not kill unless you're killing a non-Jew (as in the battle of Jericho). Etc. He also makes some comparisons to the Taliban radicals and the religious-right radicals in America. This section of the book is more compelling and it was these arguments in the debate with Lennox that drew me in that Sunday morning while I was listening to the radio.
God's Undertaker (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16...) First, I found this book to be annoying in its format. The print size was small. He uses many quotes without indention so its easier to lose track of when he's quoting someone or making his own arguments. And, probably due to the nature of his topic, he's forced to use many quotes which I do not find as compelling; I was often thinking that there are probably just as many quotes saying the exact opposite.
That being said, he essentially attacks Dawkins weakest arguments. He lays out arguments for why science alone is not proof of the absence of a God. Through science, he lays out the Intelligent Design argument.
What I Took Away From the Two Books There are people in this world who see the amazing world around them and say “God created this” while others see the same thing and say “Chemistry, and biology, and physics explains all that is here.” Both take a leap of faith as neither is provable (at this time).
On the question of creation, I found that both often rely on silly simple analogies that I don't find convincing (a man made watch or an aunt made cake, etc.). So neither book convinced me that God does/ does not exist.
On the question of morality, which Lennox does not address, I agreed with Dawkins' view that regardless of whether there is a God, organized religion is nor morally superior and should be watched carefully as it can be misused.
Bottom-line, I wouldn't recommend either book as I found them both aggravating in their weak arguments. And frankly, we can talk until we're blue in the face and we won't have any answer on God's existence. Though, check out the debate; at least I found part of that interesting enough to waste money on these books.
Yes, for although the Bible is not a science textbook, it is accurate when it mentions matters of science. Consider some examples showing that science and the Bible agree and that the Bible contains scientific facts that differed greatly from the beliefs of many people living at the time it was written.
The universe had a beginning. (Genesis 1:1) In contrast, many ancient myths describe the universe, not as being created, but as being organized from existing chaos. The Babylonians believed that the gods that gave birth to the universe came from two oceans. Other legends say that the universe came from a giant egg.
The universe is governed day-to-day by rational natural laws, not by the whims of deities. (Job 38:33; Jeremiah 33:25) Myths from around the world teach that humans are helpless before the unpredictable and sometimes merciless acts of the gods.
The earth is suspended in empty space. (Job 26:7) Many ancient peoples believed that the world was a flat disk supported by a giant or an animal, such as a buffalo or a turtle.
Rivers and springs are fed by water that has evaporated from the oceans and other sources and then has fallen back to earth as rain, snow, or hail. (Job 36:27, 28; Ecclesiastes 1:7; Isaiah 55:10; Amos 9:6) The ancient Greeks thought that rivers were fed by underground ocean water, and this idea persisted into the 18th century.
The mountains rise and fall, and today’s mountains were once under the ocean. (Psalm 104:6, 8) In contrast, several myths say that the mountains were created in their current form by the gods.
Sanitary practices protect health. The Law given to the nation of Israel included regulations for washing after touching a dead body, quarantining those with infectious disease, and disposing of human waste safely. (Leviticus 11:28; 13:1-5; Deuteronomy 23:13) By contrast, one of the Egyptian remedies in use when these commands were given called for applying to an open wound a mixture that included human excrement.
Are there scientific errors in the Bible?
A reasonable examination of the Bible shows the answer to be no. Here are some common misconceptions about the scientific accuracy of the Bible:
Myth: The Bible says that the universe was created in six 24-hour days.
Fact: According to the Bible, God created the universe in the indefinite past. (Genesis 1:1) Also, the days of creation described in chapter 1 of Genesis were epochs whose length is not specified. In fact, the entire period during which earth and heaven were made is also called a “day.”—Genesis 2:4.
Myth: The Bible says that vegetation was created before the sun existed to support photosynthesis.—Genesis 1:11, 16.
Fact: The Bible shows that the sun, one of the stars that make up “the heavens,” was created before vegetation. (Genesis 1:1) Diffused light from the sun reached the earth’s surface during the first “day,” or epoch, of creation. As the atmosphere cleared, by the third “day” of creation, the light was strong enough to support photosynthesis. (Genesis 1:3-5, 12, 13) Only later did the sun become distinctly visible from the surface of the earth.—Genesis 1:16.
Myth: The Bible says that the sun revolves around the earth.
Fact: Ecclesiastes 1:5 says: “The sun rises, and the sun sets; then it hurries back to the place where it rises again.” However, this statement merely describes the apparent motion of the sun as viewed from the earth. Even today, a person can use the words “sunrise” and “sunset,” yet he knows that the earth revolves around the sun.
Myth: The Bible says that the earth is flat.
Fact: The Bible uses the phrase “the ends of the earth” to mean “the most distant part of the earth”; this does not imply that the earth is flat or that it has an edge. (Acts 1:8; footnote) Likewise, the expression “the four corners of the earth” is a figure of speech referring to the entire surface of the earth; today a person might use the four points of the compass as a similar metaphor.—Isaiah 11:12; Luke 13:29.
Myth: The Bible says that the circumference of a circle is exactly three times its diameter, but the correct value is pi (π), or about 3.1416.
Fact: The measurements of “the Sea of cast metal” given at 1 Kings 7:23 and 2 Chronicles 4:2 indicate that it had a diameter of 10 cubits and that “it took a measuring line 30 cubits long to encircle it.” These dimensions might have been merely the nearest round numbers. It is also possible that the circumference and diameter represented inner and outer measurements of the basin respectively.
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Many Great Scientist now also Accept That Evolution is Lie and Bible is true A Biochemist Explains His Faith
Just when I thought it safe to relinquish my agnosticism and declare myself an atheist, I have been challenged deeply by this book.
Lennox presents the evidence from the cosmos and from the biosphere to show how science reveals the stunning improbabilities of 1. a stable universe that could support life and 2. the emergence of life from purely mindless physical elements. As a mathematician, he analyses the information in DNA, leaving me struggling to keep up, but forced to acknowledge that materialism is hardly likely to be responsible for non-material information.
The book is too rich to attempt to do it justice in a brief review so I won't attempt it. Instead I’m off now to read Anthony Flew’s ‘There is a God’ - the story of a leading atheist who became a deist.
Lennox here offers a variety of resources for those interested in the current debates over science and religion.
1. He has read widely, and offers an impressive range of quotations from people on various sides of the question, including some of the most eminent scientists of our time. The book is worth reading and owning merely for this wealth of citations.
2. He generally argues well: carefully, clearly, modestly. Once in a while, yes, he allows himself a quip, and not always does he make his point thereby (e.g., referring to Dawkins as having "blind faith" on p. 17).
3. He introduces a much wider range of argumentation than is typically found in "science and religion" books, especially at this middle level.
From time to time, to be sure, his argumentation fails, particularly when he ventures into philosophical territory (e.g., he strays into "possible worlds" theory without the benefit of understanding clearly "essences" and "identity," calling absurd what actually can't obtain; p. 76). My margins include a couple of dozen annotations, in fact, in which I correct or clarify what I think are shortcomings of argumentation or expression.
Nonetheless, the book generally is extraordinarily erudite, powerful, and helpful to anyone seriously engaged in this controversy. Only die-hard, fingers-in-their-ears Dawkinsians can fail to see its merits, so it's a book you can recommend to almost anyone to read--with the proviso that they are reasonably well read, as Lennox does write to a university-educated audience.
excellent. as much as science is a HUGE help to our lives, personally and culturally, there is life well beyond what science can tell us. this book is a most excellent mapping out of rational thought and using science to correct science where ideology makes for wrong turns. highly recommended.
This book could be split in two as the first section covers that apparent confict between science and religion and the second part talks about the "Intelligent Design" issue in biology.
I have only read the first half and if the book was only that part I would give it 5 stars. I have nothing against I.D. and for many it would enhance this book greatly. Sadly for some people with a prejudice against I.D. its inclusion might make them prone to dismiss the first section of the book.
On the first section, this was the book that made it all clear for me. The clarity comes from the way that Lennox shows how many leading Atheists use/abuse science as their sole justification for metaphysical naturalism. Unfortunately many of these Atheists are scientific leaders and public figures. Their abuse of science as a universal refuting defeater for the supernatural has sadly been widely adopted in pop culture today. Lennox exposes the flaw in this reasoning and it is a must read for anyone who is struggling to come to grips with these issues.
The book is pitched for laymen and could be read by anyone. IMO it should be read by everyone.
This is the second time I've read this book. I enjoyed it as much this time as before, though I still find some of the scientific explanations just a bit above my head. Lennox demolishes Richard Dawkins' weak arguments over and over again with true science, and again and again makes a very good case for there being a Creator - and with true science. It probably won't impress Dawkins-believers, but since they don't actually seem to worry much about real science anyway, as Dawkins often doesn't, that's not surprising.
Don't be fooled by this books size (a little over 200 pages), this book packs a punch. Not only is it overflowing with science and scientific evidence, the font size makes this book really a 400 page book crammed into a 200 page one. That's not a bad thing, I was sad when it was over because of how much I learned. Dr. Lennox has truly dismantled the New Atheist arguments in powerful prose. Highest recommendation
Great and comprehensive book. His case against evolution is underargued. The compelling evidence for common descent in the genome is beyond just the interrelatedness of species; the breaks in our DNA with that of a chimp falls exactly where Darwin predicted.
اثار جون لينوكس في هذا الكتاب موضوعا كنت اتحاشى قرأته لفتره طويله ظنا مني بان ما من كاتب مؤمن بالله يستطيع ان يجادل ويدافع عن ايمانه بطريقه علمية ومنطقيه مقنعه لاحد او لي على الأقل نظرا لما اقرأه هنا وهناك من محاولات بائسه للدفاع عن الايمان، في الحقيقة وجدت الكتاب في مقدماته ضعيفا من هذه الناحيه حتى اني ساورني شعور بالقائه جانبا منعا لاهدار الوقت، وما ان تقدمت في مطالعته حتى ادركت ان المؤلف ليس كما يبدو في بادئ الامر ، استطاع لينوكس ان يسرد دلائل وقرائن عدة في الفيزياء و الكون وعلم الاحياء تدل على وجود مصمم ذكي وراء هذه التركيبات الدقيقه في الصنع مهما كبرت او صغرت، و ادلته الرياضية رغم صعوبتها كونه مختص بالرياضيات الا انها مذهلة، يستنتج المرء من مثل هذه الكتب بان اثار الخلق الالهي ليس من السهولة بمكان محوها بكلام العلماء الملاحدة وان الجدل مستمر بهذا الصدد، خاتمة الكتاب للاسف ضعيفه وتذكرني بمقوله غوستاف لوبون " المعتقد هو ايمان لا تطلب لثبات امره ادلة وكثيرا ما لا يتحقق بالادلة " الاراء والمعتقدات ص٢٣١
In this book, John Lennox (updating an earlier work) attempts to address the age-old question of how one can honestly hold a serious religious belief in the age of modern science. Lennox starts out by discussing the scope and limits of science, including the limits of reductionism. This is followed by a discussion of some intriguing developments in cosmology, which may suggest that ours is a "designer universe".
Lennox then addresses that old bugaboo evolution. He first treads a number of well-worn paths, including (yes) Paley's example of the watch and a number of philosophical points as well.
It is at this point (Chapter 6: The Nature and Scope of Evolution) that Lennox's exposition breaks down. Here he quotes Michael Behe, the Intelligent Design scholar who has made a big deal of "irreducible complexity", and William Dembski, the ID scholar who has argued from information theory and probability. In one section, entitled "What say the mathematicians", for instance, Lennox claims that distinguished mathematicians find evolution to be fantastically improbable. This section is followed by a discussion of the fossil record, where Lennox claims that "punctuated equilibria" is in "complete contrast" to the gradualist approach of "ultra-Darwinians".
In Chapter 7, Lennox calculates, for instance, that the chances of getting some protein right involving 100 amino acids is one part in 10^(130), and the chances of getting all proteins right is one chance in 10^(40,000) -- ie far far too small to be taken seriously. This material is followed by discussions of information content and complexity, and, in conclusion, denies that Dawkins' "Mount Improbable" is climbable.
Sadly, all of these probability and information theory arguments are fallacious. The principal fallacy is to presume that a protein, for instance, can only form by an all-at-once chance assembly of a large number of amino acids or other components. But note that this is the *creationist*, not the scientific theory, of the formation of these proteins -- scientists hold that they are the end product of a very long process involving many steps that were useful in earlier contexts. Probability calculations that ignore the process by which the structure came to be are *not* meaningful and may easily deceive. Consider, for instance, the fact that Lennox's analysis applies equally well to snowflakes -- probability calculations applied to these intricate, symmetrical structures yield even more remote probabilities than arise in analysis of biomolecules, yet no one seriously suggests that supernatural action is required to explain their existence. Instead, they form over a period a several minutes, with each step governed by natural law.
Such errors would be merely amusing if not for the fact that thousands of readers, who are not well versed in the potential fallacies of probability calculations, are likely to read and be impressed by this book. Religious believers are *not* well served by fallacious arguments. As Paul warned the Corinthians, "For if a trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall make himself ready to battle?" (1 Cor 14:8).
Also, one can ask why Lennox feels he must "prove" God by means of "scientific" arguments. Is faith no longer necessary in religion? After all, the notion that religion can and should be placed under the microscope is curiously in full concordance with the assertions of persons at the other extreme of the intellectual spectrum -- namely scientists such as Dawkins who claim that science proves religion to be utterly false and vain. Lennox would have done much better to have contested this (false) dichotomy, rather than to affirm it and then trying (in vain) to "prove" religion.
There are many good points to this book and represents much of the best Theistic defense against atheism. There is not much that is new, to me at least, but to a large extent Lennox is up to date with modern science and has credibility from his professional background and, dare I say it, not being American... The cosmology section was the strongest, I felt, whilst the final chapter on miracles/intervention was also well argued. There are some justifications for the special nature of the universe and the Earth out there but they feel ad hoc compared to a theistic perspective.
The treatment of evolution is fairly comprehensive, with the main objections concerned with macro evolution, the biology of the cell and the emergence of life from inorganic matter. In each case, natural selection acting on genetic material is deemed to be inadequate. This is certainly true in the latter case - no DNA means no Darwinian evolution. However, Paleontology and genetic drift were dealt with weakly in my opinion, giving too much credence to intelligent design advocate Michael Behe's argument (nor was the point very clear) whilst not considering the broader evidence available, as laid out in - for example Evolution and Belief: Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist. The case for macro evolution is not the same as for micro evolution or natural selection, but there is stronger inference available than Lennox makes out here.
I thought that the arguments are largely respectful of all views and as far as I could tell, quoted in context. I would have preferred some more clarity on the background of some he quoted: as Lennox himself points out, the science someone describes is not easily disentangled from their 'theological' starting point. Some 'popular' books I've read recently, such as Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life's Origins and Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life are not referenced, which is a pity, since addressing the issues they raise would have given Lennox's arguments greater depth. I would be happy to reccomend this as a starting point for anyone getting into the subject.
This is a good introduction to some of the scientific issues that are facing Christians today. I like Dr. Lennox' car analogy. While talking about atheist's who claim that religion was just used to explain things that people couldn't understand, but has become no irrelevant because science has now taken its place, he uses a car sent back in time a few thousand years. The people who would see it would first think that it ran by magic, but after explaining the internal combustion engine and electricity to them they would cease believing that the car was run by magic, but that wouldn't remove the need for a designer and maker of the car. This analogy addresses a philosophy of science question, but there are many other scientific questions that Dr. Lennox addresses in the book. It can get a bit technical, so you'll need to put your thinking cap on, but overall I found it quite helpful. In fact, I think I'll go read it again.
An extremely accessible book examining whether or not recent scientific advancements finally render God unnecessary. I found it to be a very enjoyable read. Lennox does not go into excruciating detail and that makes the book quite readable. I'm a Christian, and I found it to be a refreshing reminder that being a Christian, does not mean checking my brain at the door. Highly recommended for anyone interested in a quick discussion of God and science.
It's a fantastic introduction to the philosophical debate of science versus the existence of God. Either way you lean towards, this book keeps up with modern science and physics and presents these facts in an easy to understand format. I loved this book.
Being neither a mathematician nor a scientist, certain aspects of this book skimmed over my head. Still, I found it to be a fascinating, memorable, moving, and convincing argument thus: not only are science and God compatible, they validate each other.