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4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive scholarship, 26 April 2014
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This is an excellent book. The author impresses by the sheer volume and range of material that he has surveyed in order to produce it. Astronomy, astrophysics, biology, philosophy and theology are all drawn in to make a fascinating and thought provoking book. David Wilkison is mildly sceptical about the possibility there being 'life as we know it' elsewhere in the universe but thinks that the search must go on. He is among those Christians who consider that belief in extraterrestial intelligence is not inconsistent with Christian faith and argues his position with the help of an impressive array of theological, biblical, philosophical and scientific tools.
On alien abduction, although he brings in Susan Blackmore's 'sleep paralysis' theory to explain some of these experiences he seems unaware of the general area and wide study of false memory that show how these firmly held beliefs can arise when hypnosis and other suggestive techniques are used.
I would also criticise his use of C.S. Lewis's argument that Jesus must have been mad, bad or God and that because he was neither mad nor bad he must be God. There is another possibility, namely, that, like believers in alien abduction who may not be mad or bad, he could have been mistaken. I don't think Jesus was mistaken but it is an issue that needs to be recognised by Christian apologists and this is done, for example, by Alister McGrath in his recent biography of CS Lewis (p. 227).
Altogether, and excellent book in which complicated matters are made understandable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book!, 16 Jan 2014
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Colin Humphreys (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Science, Religion, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (Hardcover)
This is an excellent, well-balanced book. It sets out the scientific case very clearly both for and against intelligent life on other planets. As I read this book I found myself oscillating between these two viewpoints, which I had not expected before I read the book. It then discusses the possible significance for other religions, particularly the Christian religion, if intelligent life is found outside our planet. The author has world-class expertise in both science and theology. The book is aimed at the general reader, but astronomy specialists and Christian leaders would also find it of considerable interest. I have already given it to an astronomer! The book is very clearly written. I thoroughly recommend it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling read!, 7 Nov 2013
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A good book is always hard book to summarise! But several things really stood out for me.

First, the importance of placing the life, death and resurrection of Christ at the heart of how we see the world. It really removes the clatter when we come difficult issues. And this book has given me a deeper appreciation of that!

Secondly, the degree to which someone likes this book will depend largely on how they are able to tolerate a different reading of Genesis 1 than the one they may hold. Wilkinson unfortunately too readily assumed that Christians have signed up to Darwin, so he leaves many of the difficult questions around that unexplained. Doing that helps him to focus on ET but it will leave many dissatisfied. So I fear the people who will get most out of this book are those who have read widely on theological nuances. It also means that one should not immediately recommend this book just to anyone!

Thirdly, the book perhaps is 70-30 on science and theology. It would have been good to see a 50-50 balance of material to allow theological issues to be fully fleshed out. Also perhaps more disappointing is that there isn't much quoting from very strong contemporary orthodox theologians. But I suspect that is because they have not dealt with the ET subject. But I note that even for questions around the "image of God", sin, salvation and so forth, there's no reference to well know strong theologians in this area. Of course Wilkinson comes across very strong, but I would liked to see other voices besides old masters!

Fourtly, the book really throws down a gauntlet to other orthodoxy theologians to come forward and weigh in on the issues! This is too important a topic to leave to Jesuit priests only!

Fifthly, there are some real gold mines in the book - like his treatment of "God as an alien?". Also his early chapters on the science of discovering where breathtaking!

Finally, Satan is not discussed and the "angels" and "demons" controversy is not given air time. Missler would not be happy! Lol!

I can go on and on! In general a great and challenging read! And one to be read slowly!
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Science, Religion, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
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