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Finis Freestyler Hand Paddles
Finis Freestyler Hand Paddles
Price: £8.80 - £17.59

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best paddle on the market by far, 19 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The first time I used them I could feel instantly how best to press the water back behind me. An often overlooked advantage is their weird star trek emblem shape and the protrusion that it makes behind your wrist. When your arm passes under you, you have to rotate your hip out of the way to stop the bit protruding above your wrist colliding with your hip. Of course this is what is meant to happen. You do it wrong the first time and then after rotating your hip out of way as your hand moves under you becomes second nature.

Sportcount Chrono 100
Sportcount Chrono 100

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheaper than all those smart watches!, 27 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Sportcount Chrono 100
I bought this item because I just can’t keep track in my head the number of lengths I swim. Fourteen lengths counted in my head seems to be my record before the count is lost. Was that 13, or 14, it wasn’t 15, was it? If you’ve ever swum pool lengths you will know what I mean - random thoughts begin to enter your head, such as: what am I having for tea tonight (probably around 6:30). It wasn’t 30 lengths was it? Surely not. And woe betide an attractive girl getting into the lane next to me. Surely it wasn’t 32 lengths, no don’t be daft, that’s part of her vitals. You get the picture.

Onto the actual review though, the only let down is that you have to have a quick glance at it upon every length to ensure that you pressed it correctly; or pressed it properly at all. Press it twice within quick succession by mistake and it thinks you want a pause. This is particularly annoying when you find out the next time that you look at it that a length or more has been swum and it thinks you’ve been sat there looking at the girl in the next lane!!

But overall, it’s on average three times cheaper than all those watches that do it automatically. Do you really want to spend three times more when you can basically touch a button on your finger at the end of every length?

Gunning for God: Why the New Atheists Are Missing the Target: A Critique of the New Atheism
Gunning for God: Why the New Atheists Are Missing the Target: A Critique of the New Atheism
by John Lennox
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

19 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Missed the target, 23 May 2012
Lennox propagates the erroneous belief that scientific reason and advances were brought about by Christianity and the bible itself. It is about time that this fallacy is squashed. We have the years from 40AD, to approx 1550 where there were 1,500 years of Christianity without a scientific revolution occurring. Why did it happen when it happened? Perhaps it is merely a coincidence that it occurred in a Christian culture merely because factors other than religion helped kick-start it. This viewpoint totally blots out all of the advances of the Greeks as well as ancient and contemporary Muslim scientists. For a complete debunking of this viewpoint please read Chapter 15: Christianity Was Not Responsible for Modern Science by Dr. Richard Carrier in Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails.

Lennox states that one of God's first commandments is to name all the animals. Thus we are led to believe that this is proof that the bible is true. Quite how we were to describe our encounters with animals without naming them without God's facile commandment is not understood. I can't help but think he said this as some bizarre tongue-in-cheek humour. But his writing doesn't convey humour at all.

John explains the various nuances of faith and how that word isn't really descriptive enough to convey all its separate meanings. I say that what we need in this debate is a new vocabulary to focus our attentions. John readily agrees with me and he quotes the new atheists (when they are questioned further) that faith requires evidence - or a probability weighting (as I would prefer to name it). John lambasts Baggini (a fellow philosopher) for believing that Napolean fought the battle of waterloo when Baggini could not have seen this. And John rightly says Baggini didn't see Jesus perform a miracle either and the evidence - on the face of it - is the same. Why should one person choose to believe and the other not based on historical evidence? Later in the book John will list the sources available to the New Testament historian but he will not once mention textual criticism and how the copyists often altered the text to suit their particular theological viewpoint. I doubt if anyone is altering the historical text for Napolean. Lennox says that the evidence for Jesus is not only the miracles themselves but the signs within the miracles. For instance, when Jesus feeds the multitude he states that I am the "bread" of life. And this is a sign of evidence which encourages faith for Lennox!

Lennox advances that atheism is a philosophy and a worldview and a faith. If he believes this then he must also concede that atheism needs a better vocabulary. Atheism isn't a worldview or a faith or a philosophy it is merely the negation of a particular belief - nothing more, nothing less. Lennox has wasted a chapter arguing against a falsehood (that atheism is a faith). Secular humanism is a worldview (and maybe a faith). I do wish he would realise this and get over it. Lennox should also realise that he is an atheist in respect to the God of the Jews and the God of Islam and the polytheistic gods of Hinduism. Lennox must concede according to his own reasoning that he is an atheist as well. He should also concede that the Bible and the Koran are a journey out of polytheism and into monotheism. The Koran states that Jesus was not divine and the New Testament often talks about other false gods. Lennox has believed one over the other based on the accident of being born in a Christian culture.

Lennox says that atheism is empty because ultimately the wronged are never righted and that Christianity provides ultimate justice. Quite what the justice is and how it is metered out is never mentioned. Lennox obviously doesn't want to guess the mind of God - I wish he would he might find some disturbing doubts entering his faith. Christianity promises to burn the wrongdoers in hell forever. The punishment does not ever fit the crime. This isn't justice - it's warped and ultimately barbaric. What I don't understand is when there is justice in the following situation. Two people named Joyce and Sidney meet in Heaven. Joyce says to Sidney, "Hey weren't you the guy that raped and killed me". Sidney replies, "Yeah, that was me. I repented and said that I believed and here I am". Joyce says to God, "Where's my justice that was a horrible experience and a horrible death. God replies you've got it - you're with me now". I fail to see justice.

Lennox conveniently skirts over the issues that cause his Christian faith concern. He knows that if he dwells on the problems too much that a conflict may arise. For example Lennox never tries to harmonise evolution and the fall of man. The nearest he can come to harmonise this is by saying that: most scientists believe that homosapiens descended from a lower life form. Most scientists! John spent a whole chapter arguing for the sinfulness of man (because of the act of scrumping) and didn't once try to harmonise this with science.

John uses the appeal to authority fallacy to promote his arguments. Be careful to spot that the authority he appeals to is his own. He says, "I believe in heaven and I believe that in heaven there is perfection. And I say this as a scientist!" In his writings he rubbishes Hawking who said that philosophy is dead by (quite rightly) arguing that Hawking is employing philosophy to say that philosophy is dead. Lennox isn't employing science to say that heaven is real - or even philosophy - he is employing Christian Theology. To try to conflate - in an underhand way - science and Christian Theology is disingenuous.

John mentions penal substitution theory and uses the imaginary triangle of people named X,Y and Z. X wrongs Y says John. Z has neither the power nor the link to X to forgive X and give justice to Y. This is true of three humans but imagine if Z is God; God has the power and the link to both of them to forgive and to meter out justice. No, no, no John. Always question, always think one step further, please. Here's another triangle - well more a square this time. W (Jim) wrongs X (Bill) and in doing so through the act of sin wrongs Y (Jesus) and Z (God). Z (God) has to forgive W (Jim) by punishing Y (Jesus). But here's the snag if W (Jim) doesn't believe that Z (God) has punished Y (Jesus) then W (Jim) will be punished forever and ever. But it gets more bizarre. God forgives all who believe because of the punishment of Jesus. But the punishment is merely symbolic. If we were to represent one face slap as one sin committed by one repentant person then we can clearly see Jesus' punishment is merely symbolic. If it is merely symbolic then the question is begging: why do it at all?

John mentions that the New Testament is a reliable historical document. He quotes many New Testament historians who support his case. He often introduces them as agnostic or even atheistic. Yet he doesn't dwell on this odd fact. If even the most knowledgeable of New Testament scholars are not convinced that Jesus is the risen God then there is something fishy going on here. John mentions the process of copying text by hand and remarks that the monks got it largely right give or take a few spelling mistakes. He fails to mention facts like various genealogies were copied out in rows when they were meant to be copied out in columns (or was it vice versa) resulting in them being mixed-up. He also fails to mention the various additions to the texts which didn't exist in earlier copies. The additions were to get across a certain theological viewpoint of the author or the copier. Sometimes the changes are subtle and sometimes the changes are large but always they reflect the bias of the scribe/author. John mentions the secular evidence for Jesus but fails to mention the fact that outlandish occurrences are never mentioned in the secular text. For example, Matthew 27:45-53 tells of the dead walking the streets and appearing to many. Not one mention of zombies walking the streets is mentioned in the secular texts of the time. Not one. Furthermore, some mentions of Jesus in secular texts of the time have been found to be forgeries.

Lennox again chooses his evidence and arguments and ignores the rest. When talking of the origin of morality he doesn't mention the research conducted in the morality of our evolutionary cousins such as chimpanzees. For a great secular explanation of morality please read The Origins of Virtue (Penguin Press Science)

The most striking thing about Lennox's defence of Christianity is that the damnable doctrine of hell is never even mentioned and hence defended. I think that he is avoiding the issue. This is true with many of John's books. He likes to cherry pick his opponents' arguments and ignores the ones that trouble him.

If I were a Christian or even a weak atheist then I believe that I would be impressed by this book. The trouble is Lennox is answering the new atheists and defending the Christian faith from attack. I must say that he has a rather easy job to do because the new atheists' attacks on Christianity are so weak. I must inform you of the new breed of new-new atheists spearheaded by John W. Loftus. They include many ex-Christians in their ranks and the arguments are much stronger than Dawkins et al. You won't find one of them trying to blame religion for its role in wars or crusades.
Comment Comments (15) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 19, 2014 11:27 AM GMT

Onkyo NDS1 Silver iPod Digital Transport - for amplifiers with Optical or Coaxial digital inputs
Onkyo NDS1 Silver iPod Digital Transport - for amplifiers with Optical or Coaxial digital inputs

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fantastic, 26 Nov. 2010
This is by far the best sound I have got from an iPod. I've had a number of docks and this magic device beats them all hands down. Attached to your home cinema system via the digital optical cable (which is supplied) it gives CD quality sound previously unheard from an iPod.

The video capabilities when linked to my CRT TV are below that of even standard def. But that's not necessarily the fault of the ND-S1 and is more than likely to do with up scaling the image.

Please be aware that iOS 4.1 caused a high occurrence of loud popping noises to be heard in the reproduction of music. The exact reason for the fault was unbeknownst to me at the time as I could only conclude that it was a fault with the ND-S1. This caused me to send it back under warranty only to find that the new unit gave exactly the same error in the reproduction of music. Thankfully the noise caused by iOS 4.1 was fixed with iOS 4.2.

God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?
God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?
by John Lennox
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

14 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ID in disguise, 14 Sept. 2010
Lennox starts the opening chapters of his book by explaining the worldviews on offer when one contemplates our own existence. These are materialism and supernaturalism. He offers more in depth analysis of these worldviews than all the popular atheism vs. theism debate books that I've encountered. This, in itself, is a worthwhile reason for reading the book. But, the trouble is, and here's my analysis: that there are other worldviews available to help us view the evidence. Lennox believes that materialism and supernaturalism is a full on dichotomy and there aren't other angles from which to approach the issue of existence that could give rise to other dichotomies. For instance, other competing worldviews are: epistemology by revelation vs. epistemological empiricism. One views that the bible and the Koran are true merely because the books themselves say they are true and the other one builds up knowledge without recourse to ancient books whose writers didn't know of the scientific method. Yet more competing worldviews are: credulity vs. scepticism. One worldview believes that we should submit to belief and, at the other end of the spectrum, that we should only accept evidence when we see it with our own eyes. Lennox gives the impression of grasping the full picture but he fails to go further. And in all fairness my other worldviews may have been beyond the remit of his book. But this is a case of Lennox cooking the analysis to suit his conclusions.

The front cover asks, "Has science buried God", and by the end of the book you're expected to answer, "No". Only it isn't quite that simple. Lennox didn't really adequately define science or religion. We just got a feeling by what he meant by each along the way. If you believe in the kind of science that Lennox believes in and the kind of God that he described then of course science has not buried God. But the kind of God that Lennox believes in was strutting his stuff 2000 yrs ago and casting out demons onto a herd of pigs. When we look at this God and his book we are forced to concede that this is a supernatural, demon haunted world - but, it is not, and evidently so. And so with science - Lennox's science is the sort that has gaps, but the kind of science that most people believe in has extra-ordinary explanatory powers for our origins. Has this kind of science buried that kind of God? Absolutely, yes.

Lennox doesn't talk of the power of the scientific method and the evidence for evolution he only talks of the problems with evolution. For example, he quotes one ID Christian biologist who conducted experiments on e-coli bacterium for 30 years and didn't spot them evolving once. Good job that that same biologist didn't conduct experiments on the MRSA bug (now in its super-duper version). He even says that there is no evidence for macro-evolution or change out of species. Shame he didn't look at the goat and the sheep.

Lennox just loves Behe's example of the irreducible complexity of the flagellum. But various studies and analogies (most notably by Ken Miller) have shown that the various parts of the flagellum exist in their multitude in other cells. Ken miller (himself a Roman Catholic believer) has adequately debunked Behe's analogy of the irreducible complexity of the mousetrap by using the analogy of spandrels; where the various incomplete parts of the flagellum can function to produce many other useful systems that give a `survival of the fittest' advantage over other systems.

Lennox moves on to an in-depth analysis of Dawkins' `ME THINK IT IS LIKE A WEASEL' analogy and rips it apart. He properly devastates it and shows there to be many insurmountable problems with the analogy. But, Lennox has forgotten that he is analysing an analogy and he would do well to turn his attention to the premise that the analogy explains: evolution by Darwinian natural selection.

Lennox has an overtly mathematical view of everything. He should try turning this view on himself and if he chose another religion other than the one he was born into then he would be mathematically more probable of choosing the one true religion (whatever that may me). I am talking of the mathematical premise that is the "Monty Hall problem".

Like many theists before him he gives the evidence for God as the fine tuning of the universe and the compelling evidence that there seems to be pre-information loaded algorithms in our DNA and in its underlying proteins. His conclusion is that this information loading was done by God. But, be careful to spot, that it wasn't done by a generic God it was done by his Christian God. Here he gives up on his overtly mathematical analysis of everything and assumes without evidence that the God who put that information into our DNA just happens to be his Christian God. But to look further with a, dare I say materialist mindset, such evidence of a God fussing with starting parameters for the big bang is consistent with a God who committed suicide after his last act of creation; or, it is consistent with the deistic God who has never meddled with human affairs; or it is consistent with a God who only appears to the Amish people.

Much is made of his friend Antony Flew - the avowed atheist turned deist. Lennox's labels for Flew tend to wobble to suit his argument. Twice he incorrectly labelled Flew as a Theist and only once did he correctly label him as a Deist.

When one looks at the fine tuning within physics and biology and concludes that an eternal God did it they just aren't following the conclusion of their own findings. Such questions need also to be asked of an eternal God, viz: Why are the laws of physics just right to allow for an eternal uncreated God to be uncreated in three equal parts with one part ready-made for self-sacrifice? Likewise, with the laws of biology, God must be comprised of a meta-physical-spirit-ether consciousness, that in turn is comprised of smaller entities that seem irreducibly complex, that in turn have information pre-loaded, where did this information come from? Not one theist has ever come close to answering the problem of infinite regress ending with an eternal God. Or to ask the question in its simplest form, "Who created God?"

All in all, despite the many omissions and lack of analysis and it being ID in disguise, this was one of my favourite debate books for the other side.

Wired for God?: The Biology of Spiritual Experience
Wired for God?: The Biology of Spiritual Experience
by Charles Foster
Edition: Paperback

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collation of the biology of spiritual experience, 27 July 2010
Foster expertly collates a number of concrete spiritual experiences that are found to occur in all religions and in non-religious activity such as meditation and drug-induced spirituality. These experiences have real and demonstrable biological affects in our neurology and our bio-chemistry.

Foster's worldview is that of a theist (one who readily concedes that supernatural things occur) but he realises this and fairly gives the views of his naturalistic counterpart in these areas: Susan Blackmore. Blackmore is quoted at length from her findings and they do make intriguing reading; so much so that I want to read something by her in this area. For me, a naturalistic explanation trounces the supernatural one every time. The way that he phrases his conclusions and gives the naturalistic explanations from his counterparts is excellent.

The concluding paragraphs to the chapters follow Foster's normal writing style, that is: the reader is brought into his day at the time of writing and from here the reader is led out of the reverie to his conclusion. But, in this work, the conclusion is often left open ended - asking you to make up your own mind. What supernatural explanations there are, are given tentatively.

I can't help but wonder how the plurality of spiritual experience affects Foster's Christianity. Certainly, if I were still a Christian, and I would have read this book then I would have realised that my spirituality was not unique to my religion and this would have caused some doubts.

The Selfless Gene
The Selfless Gene
by Charles Foster
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.43

6 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh, the irony!, 22 Dec. 2009
This review is from: The Selfless Gene (Paperback)
Foster writes, and I paraphrase, "Much ink has been used trying to push genetic kin selection, reciprocal altruism and group selection into the theory of evolution by natural selection". Of course, much more ink has been used in trying to push the fall and Genesis into the theory of evolution. And this book is one such example of the latter. Oh, the irony!

Foster writes that Genesis is a kind of `poke' at the polytheistic religion of the Mesopotamians and the Egyptians and it isn't an explanation of origins for ancient or modern man. But let's consider how devastatingly simple Genesis 1 could have been written (and in such a way as to be understandable to ancient and modern man) to be congruent with what science now teaches us. Or, if it could not have been written to be understandable to men of all times then God could have created our psychology to better understand why Genesis is so poorly written in respect to science. The fact that Foster thinks his psychology has been crafted to understand such science vs. Faith conflicts is irrelevant to the majority of non-Christians.

After destroying creationism with knowledge of evolution Foster then descends into some kind of far-out theory about how altruism (and necessarily civilization) is the result of the fall and it wasn't a fall but an `up'. The answer behind pain, death and suffering is really that fallen angel known as Satan. Yes, you've read right. This polymath actually believes this is a better explanation than reciprocal altruism, genetic kin selection and group selection for why humans are moral and altruistic.

That harmony between God and Darwin promised on the front and back covers never actually came. This book was however an interesting delve into the mind of an intellectual Christian (sounds like an oxymoron to me). I've read the testimonies of many high level Christians turned apostates and one commonality strikes me again and again. They continued to be Christians because of their intellect. Foster's intellect allows him to think in knots. John W. Loftus often describes the intellectual compensation for the craziness of Christianity as like trying to spin too many plates at once. Just add one more plate or one more contradiction or one more genocidal act of God and the whole lot comes tumbling down.

This kind of theory weaving of ancient books and modern science can be done for all the creation myths from the myriad of societies around the world. Foster has fashioned this theory merely based on the accident of being born into a Christian society in the post-Darwinian age.

In short, it's pure craziness.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 18, 2010 6:55 PM BST

There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind
There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind
by Antony Flew
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

8 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Should be an agnostic, 24 Nov. 2009
The first chapter is a bit odd and basically reads as a CV with a bit of family history chucked in for good measure. Really, was this necessary? Shouldn't he let the marketing department of his publisher do this? He then tells of his father's high status as a theologian and his subsequent denial of his father's faith at the age of 15.

The following chapters tell of his old defence of atheism and a rather poor defence it is. I must say that Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, Loftus et al can do much better. All too often an atheist will cede too much ground to a theist because there are so many theists and can they all be wrong? (Can 1 billion Chinese people be wrong about rice being better than chips?) Much ground is also ceded because theists seem so sincere in their beliefs.

The following chapters then say why he has changed his mind and he now believes in God because of the insuperable problems of: the fine tuning in the physical laws of the universe; the problems of spontaneous chemical bonds eventually, after eons, giving rise to life; why there is something rather than nothing - or, any laws at all to be fine tuned. On the plus side, he doesn't bang on about our difficulty explaining consciousness like other theists do.

He was shy to give himself a new label to replace the old atheist label. He states that he has not had a transcendental or personal meeting with the God of any religion but this is just a merely logical outcome of the facts as he sees them. Of course his new label is Deist which means belief in a God that does not meddle with human affairs and has not revealed himself to humans. People rashly describe him as a theist (someone who believes in the God of a particular religion). However you take this book you must still agree that he's still an atheist in regard to the Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Mormon and Hindu Gods and gods.

Flew's about turn has indeed caused ripples throughout the atheistic universe and theists have jumped on this. Of course, they don't mention the number of high profile Christian apologists (John W. Loftus being one) who are now atheists based on the evidence.

I admire his Socratic oath: to go no matter where the evidence leads. But his new found worldview is not self-questioned. When Flew engages Swinburne's idea of a non-corporeal, non-created, pure consciousness he could only think to say, "That sounds very strange to me". He didn't try to see where the evidence leads him. I too like to follow where the evidence leads me. Flew used the tired mind boggling probability of a monkey typing a legible sentence on a typewriter to indicate how improbable spontaneous abiogenesis really is. Let's forget that monkeys typing is a rather poor analogy for the probability of chemicals finding bonds for each other. When we look close at the nature of God we too can see equally high probabilities for listening to and answering prayers. God must be scanning every 100 billion neurons of every 6 billion people on the planet on a second-by-second rate. Now, to answer the prayers that he finds he must answer them in such a way to stop mutually exclusive events from occurring and other events from non-occurring that would negatively affect the desired outcome. If we take a simple matrix of three people and one has a prayer that God wants to answer and there are 20 possible steps to it being answered and at each step each person could make 3 possible choices then the number of possible outcomes to lead to the prayer being answered is: 3 (choices) to the power of 20 = 31,381,059,609. Then to factor in the three people in our matrix = 31,381,059,609 to the power of 3 which results in a number 32 digits long. When we factor that this is one matrix upon a possible 1 billion Christians then we see how improbable God is. But Christians maintain he is simple and uncaused (to get around the infinite regress problem) and that he acts outside of time (to get around other problems - mainly the one that I mentioned). One can quite clearly see that Santa Claus is a much more plausible entity in which to believe.

Flew should follow his Socratic oath and become agnostic, if he's intellectually honest he must realise that the notion of God (both the deistic and theistic notions) have many, many insuperable problems.

I believe he loses all credibility when near the end (of the book) he spends just a few paragraphs of open questions as to whether God has revealed himself to humans. He says that Christianity is the revealed religion to beat because it has a noble and charismatic figurehead in Jesus and a first class intellectual in St. Paul. Oh really, Jesus actually needed help from the devil in order to sacrifice himself (Luke 22:3) and St. Paul really did believe that madness is caused by demon possession (as did Jesus).

Why There Almost Certainly Is a God: Doubting Dawkins
Why There Almost Certainly Is a God: Doubting Dawkins
by Keith Ward
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

36 of 58 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Clear definitions and sharp arguments, no: double-thinking theist, yes, 3 Nov. 2009
I am an atheist. Welcome to my world a world of clean, sharp ideas, of naturalistic explanations. Keith Ward (I'll call him Ward for short - in the hope that he might gain household status) is a theist and his world is far from the clean and sharp arguments promised in the introduction to his supposed rebuttable to Dawkins.

Ward is a theistic philosopher. When someone writes reams about something we have no evidence of they often descend into pure banality and Ward is no exception. His philosophy background enables him to understand the crux of the matter and that is a clash in worldviews of naturalism and theism (read supernaturalism). Ward uses the word materialism to denote what I phrase as naturalism. I'm not aware of the distinction between the two - indeed, there may not be one. He's very gracious in his temerity to postulate God at every point and ultimately he says that his God hypothesis relies on a personal explanation.

Lift the lid on the arguments and you'll find at the heart of them the God of the gaps. These are: our difficulty explaining consciousness and the argument from first cause.

Ward slowly builds his God hypothesis and it relies on his (and our) trouble explaining consciousness. Ward follows our established norms by stating that consciousness arises from brain matter but he also believes that there is a ghost in the machine. Quite what this ghost is he never actually states but upon trudging your way through the book you just know he's talking about the soul.

One part to his God hypothesis is that God is "an unembodied mind, a pure spirit that has knowledge and awareness". This seems a shaky foundation for a hypothesis. He can't possibly think of a rebuttal and the only thing he can think to defend it is, "I see no reason why not?" Well, metaphysical-spirit-ether clouds consisting of pure consciousness have never been common in my world. They seemed very common in Star-Trek [the original series]. We have only two models of intelligence (the brain and the computer) and they, at their very basic level, consist of the processing and storage of data. Obviously, metaphysical-spirit-ether consciousnesses are simple and contain no working parts. In short, I think it's sheer baloney.

When one engages in theology they just sound stupid. Ward thinks that because our ghost in the machine (soul) is pure consciousness and because God is pure consciousness then our soul is attracted to God because it is good and enjoyable. I'm condensing a number of paragraphs throughout the book into a simple sentence but, believe me, I have kept his thoughts intact and have shown them to be pure lunacy.

Dawkins has often parodied the religious mind saying that it is - allow me to paraphrase - a hotbed of contradictions never resolved and the most amazing double-think existing. Ward uses this parody back at Dawkins and it fell flat on me and I'll explain why. Ward writes that the pure consciousness that is God would be incapable of doing evil, has he read the Old Testament? And that God would be incapable of committing suicide, has he read the New Testament where God kills himself to appease himself? Again, the Christian God that he believes in isn't a simple consciousness. According to the bible and Christians, God exists in three centres of consciousness with one centre ready-made for self-sacrifice. Such double thinking is part of the natural theistic mind. The atheistic mind is free from such absurd contradictions.

Ward is explaining the God hypothesis and not the God of any particular religion. He's a class philosopher and Ward knows that to move from the deistic God to the Christian God is like climbing a philosophical cliff face and would need an argument so clever that it would look like Dawkins' mount improbable explanation. Sadly, Ward can't come close to battling Dawkins in argument.

On the plus side however, he does write some useful thoughts on the multiverse theory which, I admit, undermines it somewhat.

Ward, being a philosopher, must and should try to look for a superlative to the naturalism vs. theism dichotomy. I believe that John W. Loftus has found it and describes it adequately in his book, "Why I became an atheist". Ward, if you're reading this then please write a rebuttal to this unanswerable book.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 13, 2010 8:59 AM BST

Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity
Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity
by John W. Loftus
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.25

37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chrisitianity has been debunked, 14 May 2009
If there were one book that I would recommend to a Christian to make him see his religion from the outside it would be this. It's written in a language that a Christian would understand.

John chooses to attack Christianity from a sceptical bias and uses the tools of philosophy and even theology itself to give increasing credibility to the extremely low probability of the existence of the theistic god.

Step back and think... dear Christian, if Christianity were true it couldn't be attacked on any front. I believe that John's approach is the best and more notably I think it will have the greatest affect on the Christian. My only reservation is that they just won't read it because John doesn't have the mass-media appeal of Dawkins, Dennet, Hitchens and Harris. The approaches used so far are: the open scepticism backed with keen insight from Harris; the openly acerbic attack of Christianity's core professed by Hitchens; the cowardly philosophical, softly-softly approach of Dennet and the overtly scientific approach used by Dawkins. John's approach wins hands down and he even explains why.

This is a well rounded work as each argument is laid out and the responses to it from the intellectual Christian community (sounds like an oxymoron to me) are given and John duly gives his responses. The writing and argumentation shows many years of dealing with the debate at the highest level.

It's written for a university level undergraduate audience. John writes that many lecturers in courses in theology and philosophy have recommended the book for reading and study. The level that it is aimed at maybe off-putting and heavy-going for the more general audience. However, I feel if its depth of study was lessened then John would be accused of attacking a strawman version of Christianity.

Come on Christian, read it. You won't encounter a better attack of your faith. If your faith is the sort that doesn't stand up to attack then it is a faith not worth having. If it does stand up to the attack then you can rejoice and your faith can grow.

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