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on 1 July 2013
Lennox is always a sensible read. He manages to sensibly criticize Hawking without malice or pomposity. If you are unsure about a Christians view of science this is the book for you.
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on 26 January 2016
Having been totally disappointed with the arguments in Hawking's book, I was curious to read this. It's a small, fast read without filler.

I found his arguments very convincing, and his classic line 'nonsense is still nonsense, even when spoken by a famous scientist' was perfect.

If you've read Hawking's book and not been very convinced, then read this - it will help you see the flaws in Hawking's book, but may also open your eyes to a truth you've either overlooked or refused to acknowledge.

This was an eye-opener for me!
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on 30 September 2014
This is an amazing little book. I read it on Kindle. His reasoning is easy to follow, and very convincing.
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on 6 October 2015
Great balanced writer with the knowledge necessary to convince serious readers that scientists can be arrogant in thinking that they alone have access to truth. This particular book is a demanding read unless one is well versed in philosophical reasoning - this was my experience.
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on 28 July 2015
Excellent riposte to Stephen Hawking's "Grand Design" showing the inconsistencies and lack of rigorous logic that Hawking adopts. Only a short book and a little repetitive in places, but a good read to get a balanced view of a complex subject.
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on 22 April 2013
Lennox is a clear writer with an incisive approach. Just occasionally in this book he seems to ride a hobby-horse rather than deal precisely with the issue
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on 16 November 2015
I really enjoyed reading this book and gained a real understanding about the existance of god and the universe John C Lennox makes it easy to understand is arguement and is clear in his delivery. A good and interesting!
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on 10 August 2013
Lennox shows that Hawking has descended into the same philosophical incoherence as Dawkins and the other New Atheists. Essentially, he shows that if you can believe that something can come from nothing without the intervention of an act of creation you have lost the plot.
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on 3 March 2011
John Lennox's little book says very little that his previous book `God's undertaker' does not. At just 85 pages of written word, this is indeed a small book.

The contents of each chapter can be summarised as follows:

Chapter 1 : Considers Hawking's argument that `Philosophy is dead'. Anyone familiar with the rudimentary argument against this claim knows that Hawking is in fact making a circular claim, i.e. that philosophy kills philosophy. This is because the claim is itself made FROM philosophy. The second half of this chapter looks at Hawking's idea of God. Like Dawkins he limits God to a mere `God of the Gap's' hypothesis and thereby fails to consider any other derivative concept of him. Lennox is quick to expose this and offer an alternative explanation - i.e. God as the uncaused cause.

Chapter 2 : Considers Hawking's claim that because of gravity the universe will create itself out of nothing. Lennox again raises the rudimentary rebuttal to this argument by asking, who then created the laws of gravity. The second half of the chapter then asks the ultimate question, i.e. are the "laws" of nature actually "something". The answer is, no they are not. They are deductive principles put together by rational beings. However, these laws have of themselves no separate or objective existence. Therefore the conclusion is that Hawking's argument is simply illogical.

Chapter 3 : Considers Hawking's replacement for God, i.e. M theory. Lennox draws attention to the fact that the theory itself is not universally accepted, and in reality has NO scientific evidence. The theory is merely a rational exercise which seems plausible on paper - beyond that it has nothing. Lennox next turns to Hawking's arguments about the rational perception of nature. Hawking's argument is really a hark back to the age old idea which Socrates discussed, i.e. does the world have an objective existence, or is it merely a rational construct. Hawking's ideas here seem muddled in that he seems to say that it's a rational construct, but then goes onto promote a high form of scientism. All Hawking's succeed in showing is that whilst he might be a brilliant physicist, he is a terrible philosopher.

Chapter 4 : Considers Hawking's use of the phrase "spontaneous creation". Lennox argues that Hawking fails to consider how the phrase has been used by philosophers throughout the ages and so has fraught his argument with philosophical difficulties. However, as Hawking's believes that he has already killed philosophy I doubt he would be too concerned by this.

Chapter 5 : Considers whether science without rationality could function. If anyone wants to promote a high degree of scientism, they need to be aware that the notion self refutes. Most noticeably this rebuttal comes from the argument, `prove to me scientifically that science is all there is'. As you cannot you are merely stuck with the ideas of abduction (the best possible explanation) and inference (what is observed). It is these two notions that science is based on. Both ideas show that nothing is really concrete and so attempting to eliminate God from the picture is ludicrous. This therefore leads onto Hawking's rebuttal of miracles and in turn freewill. Lennox arguments that it is the laws of nature that show us that a miracle occurred and that it is historically difficult to simply discount miracles on the basis that those who believe in them are `scientifically primitive'. Lennox finally argues that if freewill does not exist, due to man being a deterministic biological machine, then why should anyone actually believe Hawking's book? If man is also part of a deterministic machine (i.e. the universe), which is itself part of an undeterminable multi-verse in which anything is possible, then it is logically possible that God could exist in one of those universes, and due to his omnipotence and omnipresence, it is logically possible that he is present in ours. All of these arguments once again serve to show that Hawking's really is a poor philosopher.

The book itself uses the bog standard response to Hawking's book. Perhaps it is because Hawking's book is so poor in quality that this book is such an easy rebuttal. Whether this is a con or a pro, I'm still unsure of. As the book contains much of the arguments promoted in "God's undertaker", albeit with a slight focus on Hawking's new book - this for me made me feel a little cheated at having to spend the market price of £5 on this small book. I completed the book in about 2 hours which really gives you an understanding on how long it really is.

Occasionally Lennox also mentions Intelligent Design in his arguments but never really expands on whether he believes in ID or not. This is a fault that his former book also suffers from. On one page he'll talk about fine tuning, and then on the next Intelligent Design. This causes the informed reader some difficulties. However, the lay reader is unlikely to notice. Overall it's a good rebuttal, in that it does what it says on the tin, rebut Hawking's book. However, the cons are unfinished explanations and the size of the book. Overall, thoroughly recommended to the lay reader who is unlikely to know the usual rebuttals but unlikely to satisfy the more informed reader in that the arguments raised are the usual rudimentary ones. And finally, the language used in the book is simple enough to clearly convey the argument to any reader.
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on 16 June 2013
The book is "OK" at best. The author quite obviously puts a monotheistic (Christian) spin into the (apparently only alternative) argument that there is an (Abrahamic) God. He spends way too much time re-iterating that scientific theories and laws do not actually constitute the programming of nature; then grandly asserts the alternative without impartiality.

The problem is this is not a binary debate - it's not "science" vs a Christian God, it's about discussing the facts; we cannot simply substitute Science with a personal deity of our choice as if those were the only choices.

Better to read "Why Does the World Exist?: One Man's Quest for the Big Answer" for a much more thorough, rigorous and impartial analysis. Also the fine work by Stephen Meyer discussing the problem we have around biological information and how entropy cannot account for this. Meyer's work coins the term "Intelligent Design" rather than God, which is intended to be impartial.

To summarise this book:

Equations are not reality (he could have just quoted Korzybski - "The map is not the place" and be done in one line)
How does Nothing perturb itself to become spacetime/matter? - read the above book as this is dealt with in great detail.

The fact is at this level all we have is faith. The scientists have faith that nothing can perturb itself to become something, religious folk call that impulse God or some creative force. We then have the issue of life and information within the genome - science has faith that time and entropy can do this. Meyer seems to have disproved this rather glib assertion. The two books I have mentioned offer much more flesh to the bones of this book.
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