- Paperback: 132 pages
- Publisher: IVP Academic (19 Sep 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0830827323
- ISBN-13: 978-0830827329
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.1 x 21.5 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 694,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Dr. Reppert begins by covering the history of Lewis' use of the argument, with particular emphasis on how Lewis developed it (in the 2nd edition of _Miracles: A Preliminary Study_) in response to criticisms. (Some of the first chapters are an apology, not so much for the AfR, as for Lewis being a useful philosophical resource for scholars other than popular apologists.)
Having developed, in parallel, a variety of standard critical (and uncritical!) responses to Lewis' AfR, Dr. Reppert then traces the idea through its more modern developments by recent philosophers such as Alvin Plantinga and William Hasker, although Reppert provides a generous spread of other commenters as well, both pro and con. From these developments, Reppert derives and presents six 'Best Explanation' variations of the AfR (along with some other varieties which don't receive his critical approval); and then (somewhat like Lewis himself) proceeds to field some expected initial ripostes.
One interesting feature, is Dr. Reppert's relatively widespread use of publicly available internet articles published. Visitors and members of the Secular Web (aka infidels.org), for instance, may be pleased to see some of this site's materials made use of in CSLDI (not always in an oppositional manner, either.)
Ironically, I think the Argument from Reason (especially Lewis' version, with some tweaks not strictly covered by Dr. Reppert) ends up being a lot more dangerous than the results of this book would indicate. The colorful title notwithstanding, Reppert doesn't really present the argument (any variety of it) as being nearly as 'threatening' to atheism, as atheists (Daniel Dennett, for instance, from whose book the title is borrowed) have commonly presented Darwin's ideas being threatening to supernaturalistic theism.
On the other hand, this may help the book be more readable by opponents, as Dr. Reppert routinely minimizes claims for the argument (properly so, too, as far as he goes with it). Plus, he's certainly far more polite and charitable to his opponents than Dennett. Readers who insist on a deductive use of the argument, however, should find another book (such as Lewis' _Miracles: A Preliminary Study_ itself).
Meanwhile, this book is broad enough in scope, and yet short enough in length, to be a good choice for use in various college courses; especially as a springboard for discussion, and to help bring students more up-to-date on a promising field of apologetic work.
Although short, only 132 pages, I must admit Reppert's arguments are quite through and engaging. The only possible defense the Darwinist has against this argument is to say that advanced reasoning abilities favor man's survival and would thus be selected by nature. Yet, this argument doesn't necessarily have to be true and only begs the question since assumes what it is attempting to establish. In a discussion I recently had with an individual who studied psyhcolinguistics, I employed this argument against a materialist argument in favor of mind equating with brain. When I discussed Lewis' argument the individual I was talking with conceeded the point that relying on reason in the naturalist paradigm was tenuous and could not be relied upon.
This compact book also delves into the issue of dualism vs. materialism, or the argument over mind is synonomous with brain or whether mind and brain are dichotomous entities. I personally favor the dualist view since it meshes with my views as a theist and safeguards human integrity. The materialist view must necessarily deny free will since our brains are ruled by natural laws and therefore the atoms in the brain operate according to fixed laws that can be studied and accurately predicted. If free will is denied, then this has serious implications for our society in areas such as law, education, and religion. Although Reppert's arguments for dualism are not as deep as they could be, he does an admirable job arguing in favor of the dualist position. For further study in favor of the dualist position I would recommend reading J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig.
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