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Shane (Northern Ireland)

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The LEGO Movie 70816: Benny's Spaceship
The LEGO Movie 70816: Benny's Spaceship
Price: £76.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 22 Aug. 2015
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Daniel totally loved this. Epic set, some really nice features.

FPUK 3 Metre 3.5mm to 3.5mm Stereo Jack to Jack Cable Lead GOLD [Electronics]
FPUK 3 Metre 3.5mm to 3.5mm Stereo Jack to Jack Cable Lead GOLD [Electronics]
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 22 Aug. 2015
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No frills, but does the job. That's what it's for!

Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End
Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New thinking for looking into a scary place, 3 Aug. 2015
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Compelling, compassionate and important. Are we doing old age and death wrong? Are we locked into an inevitable cycle of degrading care and escalating costs? Atul Gawande suggests that there may be other approaches - approaches that work, preserve dignity and remove the fear. This book is essential reading.

New Atheism: A Survival Guide
New Atheism: A Survival Guide
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If you start out with a God-shaped hole, you end up with a hole-shaped God., 12 Aug. 2014
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I really wanted to like this book; I felt the need to read a solid dig at the "New Atheism" that seems to get so many people's knickers in a twist. As a Christian who does not believe in God, while I enjoy the cut and thrust of some of the arguments of those more argumentative atheists, I agree with Graham Veale and others that sometimes they don't get to the core of why people believe in God, or even that they engage with what God actually means to most Christians. That is not to say that most Christians (ditto Jews, Muslims or any religious folks) have the sort of "sophisticated" theological concept that envisages some sort of amorphous undefinable "necessary perfect being" that gets wheeled out when those chirpy New Atheists strike a couple of blows at the "Sky Fairy" concept of God. In reality, most Christians most of the time *do* have a sort of "Sky Fairy" conception of God. Veale thinks it ridiculous that God intervene to stop children dying of cancer, yet I'm sure he knows full well the praise that is heaped on Heaven above when there's nice weather for the church barbecue. The old gag about nailing jelly to the wall is entirely apposite for this sort of slippery theology. What Veale is doing here is fighting a rearguard action - an attempt to corral the sheep and protect from the wiles of Dawkinsians. What he manifestly does not do is offer any substantive fight-back against the assertions of the New Atheists.

Of course the term "New Atheism" is meant to carry some baggage. Gone are the supposed good old days of crusty dons philosophising their laments for the death of God - ah, Veale might lament, if only modern atheists were as respectful and contemplative of the theology they criticise as their pre-war forebears! Such an attitude is of course designed to convey the impression that modern atheists are uncouth and ignorant. And, you may be surprised to hear me say, this is not altogether an invalid point. Many "Internet Atheists" can indeed behave as agressive louts, and scarcely more learned than the sort of clowns who teach creationism in schools or picket reproductive health clinics. But it's one thing to laugh at the sillies - it's quite another to come up with sensible arguments, and here is where Veale really fouls up.

After a preface outlining why "New Atheism" (which isn't really new - there were plenty of atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, Unitarians and others saying similar things for centuries) really rankles, Veale sallies forth in chapter 1 to slay a spaghetti monster. His argument is that the FSM (surely everyone knows about the Flying Spaghetti Monster these days? Yes? OK) is a poor argument against God. Embarrassingly the FSM is not *supposed* to be an argument against God or gods or whatever - it was conceived as an argument (and a highly effective one at that) against religious privilege. If you're allowed state protection for wearing a crucifix or a niqab or whatever, you can't argue that someone else doesn't have the right to wear a collander on their head if they claim it is part of a deeply-held religious conviction. Yes, it is silly. It is supposed to be. But is it an argument against God? No. However it does alert us to the fact that humans make up stories to explain the world all the time; in many ways the FSM is no sillier than a lot of religions out there; Veale tries hard to make sure that literalist Christianity escapes this problem. Hopefully he does not believe that Baalam's donkey really spoke, because that's worth a whole meatball all by itself.

So, not a promising start. Where next? Well, to cut a long story short (it's not really that long), Veale has three main planks to his argument. The first is that the universe shows evidence of design by a personal agent. The universe is ordered - surely if there were no God, we would not expect to see any order - the universe would be chaotic. Our universe obeys laws, and those laws apply everywhere. Our universe is exquisitely fine-tuned to allow intelligent life. And so on. Science cannot explain what is outside the universe, because science necessarily deals with what is in the universe. However, having blithely stated this (and largely ignoring the fact that scientists very much regard "outside the universe" as something interesting and worthy of speculation, usually not involving gods), Veale proceeds to use what he thinks he knows about "agents" (and proceeding as if he has never even heard of neuroscience) to extrapolate an agent as the cause of the universe, and also to psychoanalyse this agent to deduce its desires and what it "would" do, given a certain set of circumstances. Talk about man making God in his own image! An attempt to tackle the design argument clearly misses the fact that evolution, even *given* the apparent "fine tuning" of the universe, should act as a consciousness raiser against attributing personal agency to things that happen without such information processing elements. Veale totally misses this.

The second argument is what might be termed a "moral argument" - objective morality exists, therefore it must be grounded in something, and that something has to be God. Yet if morality (and "meaning" and "good" and "evil" etc) are grounded in something, they cannot be objective - at best they can only be subjective from the viewpoint of God. This is even less satisfying than the usual atheist view that morality is a shared enterprise among humans, and we refine it as we learn more about how we as individuals interact. Later in the book, Veale brings in CS Lewis's trite and frankly ridiculous notion that if we have a desire, the object of our desire must necessarily exist, in order for us to want it. This is good news. I want a hyper-drive-enabled galactic battle-cruiser. Go figure. There is a serious misunderstanding of ethics and moral theory here, and Veale makes no effort to engage with the reams of ethical literature and philosophy out there which explore approaches to a purely humanistic morality - a system by which we govern our horizontal relationships (i.e. between each other) without recourse to a vertical element (i.e. with a supernatural entity).

The third strand to Veale's scamper through the undergrowth of apologetics concerns the resurrection of Jesus. The claim is made (as many apologists do) that Jesus's resurrection is perhaps the best-attested event in ancient history. This is total nonsense. We can certainly accept that Jesus lived, made a claim to kingship in Jerusalem, was captured, tried for sedition and executed by the Romans, and at some point his followers experienced visions suggesting he was alive. Some atheists have challenged these, but I'll agree with Veale that they're not that controversial. The four canonical gospels are totally at odds over the sequence of events at the resurrection, which shows clearly that not all early Christians viewed the resurrection the same way, and that whatever happened after Jesus's death, even a couple of decades later the precise story was subject to a fair degree of hearsay and embellishment. Veale prefers to steer clear of this rather problematic biblical evidence - I would strongly advise the reader to go back to the bible, and see what the four gospels actually say. But suffice it to say here that Veale fails to make a case that the resurrection represents an actual historical event.

Perhaps the most absurd justification for "theism" is the argument from religious experience. Personal emotional experiences that reveal the divine are adduced as evidence for God - presumably only when experienced by Christians, though. Francis Collins saw God revealed in a frozen tri-partite waterfall. I'm guessing here in assuming that Veale is not as impressed by Muhammad's revelations in a cave in Arabia. To call this reasoning a "proof by selected examples" is being too kind.

In the final chapter Veale launches a sermon of sorts, trying out a few fairly standard flawed theodicies (excuses for why God allows evil and suffering in the world). In fairness he does recognise the shortcomings of all these, and I do not feel it unfair to point out that this counts as evidence for the non-existence of God. But we're all flawed sinful beings, we desire "salvation" (well, I don't anymore, but maybe I'm odd), and the only way to get that is by merging ourselves with Christ and accepting his sacrifice on the cross etc etc. It's a clear appeal to the emotions of people who are already believers - if you don't believe in Veale's version of Christian Theism, you'll not be convinced, but if you're already up to your neck in the Evangelical Kool-Aid, you'll identify with the themes expressed, and you will probably be successfully dissuaded from exploring whether what you've been told all these years actually is true.

And in that sense, perhaps this book is indeed a survival guide. Stay away from those nasty New Internet Atheists. You really can rely on what apologists tell you about the bible - make sure you read it with an appropriate study guide to steer you gently around those "difficult passages" where this supposedly perfect God commands genocide or sets bears on small boys or changes his mind or sets out to deceive. Certainly don't read the gospel accounts of the resurrection side-by-side! But at the end I'm left with a certain sadness. Graham Veale is not a stupid person - he is a very intelligent man. Yet what we have in this book is not a quest for the truth, but a piling up of random bits of apologetic furniture against the door, trying to keep the bogey atheist from getting in. If we are to establish fruitful dialogue between religious and non-religious people (including members of other religions who do not share the Evangelical Protestant narrative), we need to be a bit more humble.

I do not know that there is definitely not a God. Maybe there is. I do see value in Christianity - after all, Christianity gave birth to modern Humanism, which is why I regard myself as a Christian, although I do not believe in God or the resurrection (and the Apostle Paul can go take a jump). I've been harsh in this review - maybe even harsher than when I reviewed John Lennox's "Gunning for God" (a truly awful book) - but I feel it is important that other Christians are aware that Veale's arguments are not convincing to anyone who has spent a bit of time looking at them from the other side. There is so much more out there - including in the writings (and occasional rants) of the New Atheists. Do you just want to survive? Or do you want to *live*?

Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality
Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality
by Max Tegmark
Edition: Hardcover

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prepare to meet your maker - Mathematics., 23 Mar. 2014
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If Max Tegmark is correct (and I have to say I think he *is*), we inhabit a universe that is just one of several hierarchies of multiverse that exist by virtue of the fact that they are mathematical structures. Not simply "describable" by mathematics, but that they fundamentally *are* maths. It's a conclusion that a lot of people have reacted against, and some of the implications are mind-boggling, but Max outlines his reasoning with wit and clarity in this very enjoyable romp between the physics of the Very Big to the Very Small and back to us humans. What is the meaning of Life? What *gives* meaning to the Universe? The ultimate answer is *us*, self-aware substructures within a larger mathematical entity, apparently evolving as the Schroedinger wavefunction through infinite-dimensioned Hilbert space, seeding clones at every quantum decoherence point, generating vast (infinite) numbers of parallel universes that are themselves part of this grander mathematical multiverse.

Max writes in an accessible and engaging style - it is clear that he is enjoying himself in coming up with his ideas (they seem to usually strike him when he's riding a bike (unlike a huge truck in Stockholm when he was a kid, fortunately for the Max in this universe) or walking in a park with one of his colleagues - in some ways these little biographical details add to the charm, and allow parallels to be drawn to the incredible writing of Richard Feynman.

That said, you can tell that Max knows this is an uphill struggle - many of his ideas strike deeply at some of the core notions we have as humans. Could there really be an infinite number of "yous" within *this* contiguous spacetime, not to mention within an infinite number of parallel spinoffs of this universe, each with the same subjective feeling that they are unique? These are not concepts that Max tosses out to deal with tricky problems - they are a fundamental prediction of certain formulations of physics. I have to say that I have not read a better description of cosmic inflation than Max presents here - I thought I had run the gamut of popular science descriptions, but this book makes several aspects much clearer, and provokes the reader to think on a wider level about the implications, and how we might test them.

The final chapter is a gem - what are the major existential threats facing humanity, and what should we be doing about them? As far as we can tell, we are alone in the Universe. He's a bit pessimistic here, in thinking that other civilisations are unlikely, and I very much hope that he is wrong (or do I?), but even so, there are multiple hazards that we will need to avoid if we are going to fulfil the role that we seem compelled to adopt - WE are what gives the universe meaning, so WE need to protect ourselves, our planet, our science. Whether it's dodging asteroids, or avoiding hostile artificial intelligence take-over, we would do well to plan ahead. Increasing scientific literacy is critical - this will drive both research and the intelligent use of new information as it arises. In the end, this is the only way we can hope to avoid a possible Great Cosmic Filter - if it lies ahead of our current technological state, it could well be the reason why we have not found other alien civilisations yet.

Is this an easy introduction to a complex subject? Is it a sales pitch for a radical reformulation of what we think of as "reality"? Is it Max's musings through the worlds of physics and ethics? It's all of the above and more. In at least *some* universes it is destined to become a classic, and those are the universes that are most likely to retain intelligent life. Probably.
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 17, 2014 12:07 AM BST

JUSTOP K9 Android 4.2 TV Dongle (MK809 Jelly Bean OS), Cortex A9 Dual Core 1.6Ghz, 1GB DDR3, 8GB NAND Flash Android Mini PC, Smart Internet TV Box Adapter, Built-in WIFI, Support Flash 11 , Skype , Youtube, BBC iPlayer, DLNA, uPNP Play, 3D, Great for Watching HD Movies, Youtube Videos, Surfing Internet, Online TV, Play Android Games On your TV
JUSTOP K9 Android 4.2 TV Dongle (MK809 Jelly Bean OS), Cortex A9 Dual Core 1.6Ghz, 1GB DDR3, 8GB NAND Flash Android Mini PC, Smart Internet TV Box Adapter, Built-in WIFI, Support Flash 11 , Skype , Youtube, BBC iPlayer, DLNA, uPNP Play, 3D, Great for Watching HD Movies, Youtube Videos, Surfing Internet, Online TV, Play Android Games On your TV

4.0 out of 5 stars JUSTOP - not a bad wee gadget, 2 Mar. 2014
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This Android-based "mini PC' works fairly well. I bought it for hacking, but actually it works well enough as a media machine that I haven't really felt the need to do much to it yet! The YouTube app doesn't work for some reason, and video playback is a bit jumpier than running XBMC on a Raspberry Pi, but with the right keyboard, that doesn't matter too much. Definitely worth it.

Space Tourism: A Quickie on Health, Pregnancy, and Sex Issues
Space Tourism: A Quickie on Health, Pregnancy, and Sex Issues

4.0 out of 5 stars Great quick primer on health issues in Space, 24 Feb. 2014
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Who isn't fascinated by our (possible? likely?) future in space? Well, while many of the risks may have been overstated, there are some issues we need to have the heads-up on. David Warmflash provides a quick read covering several issues - nausea, bone mineral loss, sex and pregnancy etc - in this short overview. It's an ideal brain-seed, to plant ideas that you can mull over. But it doesn't answer every question. For example, how *do* you have sex in microgravity? Mechanically, how would a baby be born? What about all that icky fluid that would float around? These important items await coverage, but this will certainly give aspirant space tourists pause for thought.

Smeg Dishwasher Upper Basket Spray Arm
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you need it you need it., 13 Dec. 2013
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Original one broke; this product is a like-for-like replacement - works perfectly. In fact, although identical, I'd say this works even better. The dishwasher gods have blessed it.

Gunning for God: A Critique of the New Atheism
Gunning for God: A Critique of the New Atheism
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76 of 119 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars God's Gunslinger Runs Out of Ammo, Tries Hurling Turnips, 11 April 2012
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I gave John Lennox's previous book "God's Undertaker" a fairly positive review, because although he ultimately fails in his objective of showing that belief in the gods remains a respectable intellectual position, at least he made an effort in putting forth the very best arguments that theists had to offer in the Religion vs Atheism debate. In truth, the arguments were the best of a bad lot, so I was hoping that in "Gunning for God" Lennox would up his game a bit, and perhaps take things to a more interesting level.

Sadly, it seems there is no game to up. "Gunning" is a much worse book than "Undertaker" for a number of reasons (hence this rather long review). The declared objective is to take on the "Four Horsemen of New Atheism" as they have sometimes been called, and to provide an argument for Christianity. The "Four Horsemen" epithet gets Lennox in something of a comedy fluster; aware of the allusion in Revelation he priggishly fails to see the joke. Our doughty and doubty renegades are (or were, as one of their number is sadly no longer with us) Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens, Dan Dennett and Sam Harris. In the middle of the last decade their books unleashed a publishing phenomenon that placed outright assertive atheism centre stage, and a slightly more conciliatory version on the sides of Britain's buses. Lennox wants to shine up his Deputy's badge and ride these varmints out of town.

Chapter 1 commences the embarrassment: apparently in order for "Naturalism" (by which he means the usual atheistic position that there is no supernatural realm beyond the universe, and what we have is all that there "is") to work, we need to presuppose a god. I don't propose to go over the many philosophical reasons why Lennox is talking nonsense here, and he doesn't address the arguments in any substantive fashion. Quotes from people he disagrees with (that's our New Atheists of course) are generally very short, usually out of context, and there is no attempt to analyse their meaning. Often they are hopelessly inappropriate, for example (in a subsequent chapter) accusing Hitchens of being "foolish" for his flourish: "Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith." The last refuge of the poor philosopher is always the Oxford English Dictionary, so off Lennox trots to try a little dance whereby the word "faith" ends up being the cornerstone of science. Sadly, all this involves is a crude sophist equivalent of the old ball-under-the-cups trick that's not fooling anyone.

Chapters 2 and 3 are no better. Several of our Horsemen (and other commentators, whether they believe in the gods or not) have criticised religion on the basis of the many atrocities committed in its name. Rather than address this issue, Lennox pulls the old switcheroo, by trying to exonerate "true" religion and pin the blame on atheism. I have some sympathy for him in respect of some criticisms of religious violence being over the top, but he cannot deny that religion has been responsible for a great deal of evil in the world - heck, even Jesus said so. So what he does instead is claim that when religious people carried out atrocities, "whatever these evil men were by label or background, they were atheists in practice." This is a pretty appalling thing to say, as he merrily daubs more whitewash on the sepulchres.

In Chapter 4, Lennox tries to take on the question of the origin of morality. The foregoing should give a taste of what to expect, and, yes, it's a train wreck. Our New Atheists are unable to make moral statements, because to do so requires a theistic position as a base. You can't derive an "ought" from an "is" (perfectly true), and since science can only deal with ises, it has nothing to say about oughts. Several people might agree with him on this, including me, but Lennox makes no effort to unpick exactly what morality itself is. Moreover, he largely ignores (apart from a small nod to painted eyes above honesty boxes) the vast reams of research into the neuroscience of morality, as well as the fact that behaviours that we might call "moral" are found in related species, such as chimps and gorillas. This lapse in scholarship is nothing less than astonishing, given that Richard Dawkins' first major foray into the publishing world was "The Selfish Gene", and deals with these issues extensively. But Lennox is not interested in finding stuff out - that might confuse his audience. Gotta stay on-message.

And on we go with what is essentially a crude and graceless fundamentalist Christian apologetic that does major injustice to the bible, philosophy, history and science alike. Lennox squirms to exonerate the god of the Old Testament from commanding genocide against the Canaanite tribes, loftily suggesting that the Israelites were oh so enlightened in their conduct of war, and that women and children were to be spared rapacious slaughter. Sadly, this is outright nonsense as the biblical descriptions of the conflicts of the Israelites (historically dubious though they are) clearly show divinely sanctioned massacre of women and children and even livestock. Evidently they deserved it because it is OK to kill the children of people who engage in child sacrifice.

The wheels really come off Lennox's ramshackle wagon over the issue of justice. Atheism, you see, is deficient because it denies that injustices suffered in this life will be rectified in the next (obviously). He fails to recognise that under his own fundamentalist viewpoint, they're not going to be corrected in the next life either - your two possibilities are heaven or hell, and the basis for going to one or the other is not the balance of justice/injustice you've ended up with in this life, but your acceptance or otherwise of this salvation business. So the injustices you suffer here are actually taken from you, assumed by god, and you as the wronged party are left with nothing whatsoever - not even the right to say that you personally have a claim. What kind of justice is that? Sadly (or perhaps not), our plucky author doesn't even go there, so whether Jesus' horrible death works as an atonement for this daylight robbery really doesn't even come into the picture.

Do I need to go on? Unfortunately I do, because the next topic (after having a go at Hume's classic work on miracles) is a risibly ad hoc defence of the alleged resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion. For the record, I do think Jesus existed, that he was crucified, and that after his death a story arose suggesting that he had somehow "risen". Lennox takes this, and attempts to cobble together a case that a resurrection actually happened. This is brave, given that we have precisely no eyewitness accounts of the resurrection event or the resurrected Christ (no, the vision of Saul Paulus on the road to Damascus does not count); the gospels, even when they come from the same source, are contradictory and were only written several decades after the alleged event by people who were not there. With the resurrection and other miracles, Lennox just can't get his head around the point that what we have now in the 21st century CE, and what the writers of the New Testament had in the late 1st and early 2nd centuries, are not miracles, but stories of miracles. Stories of miracles are ubiquitous in every culture worldwide. Many Muslims believe the miracle that Mohammed made a mystical journey to Jerusalem one night on a flying human-headed horse. Enough said.

We are told by Lennox that the New Atheists have avoided trying to deal with the resurrection myth. Our particular Four Horsemen perhaps haven't gone there in detail, but many other atheist and agnostic (and even theistic) authors have picked it over, revealing that our "modern" view of a physical resurrection is not supported by the biblical texts. If Lennox really wanted to deal with this issue, he could have had a crack at folks like Bart Ehrman or Robert Price, but he doesn't. Indeed, he might even suggest that his readers go back and check the biblical texts for themselves, but that would endanger his project, if Christians actually started reading the bible off-piste. So we're left with a mess. It's not that miracles and resurrections are physically impossible (who cares? Yeah, if the gods are real they could in principle do miracles. Big deal) - it's that they are not supported by evidence that they actually happened in the first place.

And that effectively sums up this entire book. Poorly researched, poorly argued, hopelessly naÔve with regard to science and the philosophy of naturalism, arguably slanderous of atheists, and not even particularly biblically literate. If God is relying on cowpokes like Lennox to cover his back as he dashes across the street from the saloon to the sheriff's station, he really is screwed. But times have arguably moved on from Dodge City. The work of the New Atheists is (I would suggest) largely done for Phase One. Arguing against - or for - the existence of the gods/"God"/whatever is pretty pointless, because none of this tackles our human situation. It is not, as Lennox moans, a problem of "sin" - it is a problem of the way we work as a primate species whose brain has evolved the smarts much faster than the rest of our nature has had a chance to catch up with.

We are, suggest authors such as Alain de Botton, left with something in our psychology which religions have over the millennia, perhaps unwittingly, learnt to deal with reasonably well. Vanilla Atheism may be unable to cope with this puzzle (even if atheism happens to be true in the factual sense), so once we've decided that there actually aren't any gods (at least not of the type who are that interested in designing, saving or damning us), where we go next should be to take the good things (if we can find them) from religion and apply them to secular life. I'm not sure that's the best approach. Perhaps a more straightforward and subversive solution is for atheists to simply go back to church, reimagine all those "god" references as referring to concepts that we humans have invented, and seek to carve out a space for honest and assertive unbelief alongside our friends and neighbours who may hold different views. Maybe Atheism 2.0 and Christianity 2.0 can meet, not in a shootout, but in constructive dialogue, and the days of the tired old gunslingers will be gone.
Comment Comments (82) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 1, 2014 7:26 AM BST

God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?
God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?
Price: £8.20

3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, devious, but ultimately dishonest, 31 Mar. 2012
I was bought this book by a friend, who thought I needed a dent or two in my atheism. Lennox is a fellow Ulsterman, so I wanted to give the oul' haun' a fair crack of the whip, and approached it with as positive an attitude as I could muster. I did wrestle with whether to give this book 5 stars or 1, and I'll explain that as I go along. Let's get the positives out of the way first - it's reasonably well written, although tends to vanish into philosophical sophistry at times. It's also not that long - a blessing in some ways. Several other christian apologist writers have attempted to rebut the claims of the so-called "New Atheists" in much lengthier tomes, but in my view Lennox's effort is unquestionably the most comprehensive yet concise offering.

So the fact that it represents the best of a bad bunch is what gets it the stars. If you're a Christian Theist (I'm a Christian Atheist) and you're looking for the absolute best arguments, then this is where you'll find them.

However, the big question is whether Lennox ultimately succeeds in his aim of knocking down the logic of Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris and others. Sadly, he doesn't land a punch. His logic is seriously flawed in many places, and puzzlingly he seems to realise this. For example, he is perfectly happy to round off a chapter on evolution with reference to the Intelligent Design Creationist arguments of Michael Behe, yet fails to point out that Behe's arguments have been roundly trashed scientifically - even by god-believers like Ken Miller and Francis Collins. This is nothing short of astonishing for someone who makes pretensions to being a scientist and philosopher as well as a theologian. What's more, you get the impression that Lennox himself is aware of his subterfuge, which is why I have used the terms "devious" and "dishonest" in my review title. Maybe that's unfair - maybe Lennox does indeed believe his own arguments.

Another key feature is the teleological fallacy - the inbuilt assumption that there is an "end" to a process such as life. He compares the universe to a cake, and notes the absurdity of a cake existing without the intention or plan that it be eaten. This is nonsensical sophistry at its most disingenuous. The book has many other examples of similar logical dodges and attempts to explain away the fundamental problems with the god hypothesis.

This is not to say that the "New Atheists" have been universally correct in their salvos against theistic belief. I have crows to pluck with several of the main protagonists, but that's neither here nor there. Do I recommend this book? Yes I do - if only because this is the very best that theistic believers have yet come up with by means of rebuttal to the arguments of atheism, and therefore I feel that atheists - whether Christian or otherwise - should be aware of these tactics in order to deal with them effectively.

And it's a lot less turgid and sanctimonious than anything by the likes of McGrath or Craig, hence 5 stars for at least putting something out there that can be regarded as an effort in the debate.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 11, 2012 10:35 PM BST

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