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208 of 225 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clarifying the issues about science and religion, 8 Nov. 2007
This review is from: God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? (Paperback)
In this very readable and well-researched book John Lennox does a brilliant job of exposing the real issues involved in any discussion of the relationship between science and religion. The fundamental point, which he makes so well, is that the debate is NOT about science VERSUS religion, but has to do with different world views (namely naturalism - the view that there is nothing but nature and the material world - contrasted with theism - the view that there is a God ) and the relationship of each with science. Dr Lennox then asks the all-important question: Which world view sits most comfortably with science?

What is so important about this book is that it does not counter the popular rhetoric and sloganeering (characteristic of many of those who believe that naturalism is the world view that is the logical consequence of science) with more of the same. In his careful and systematic examination of the scientific evidence Dr Lennox shows that science is not only highly consistent with a theistic world view, but even points towards it. To this end he takes us on a journey that considers the history and limits of science, as well as many of its most up-to-date findings including modern evolutionary theory, design theory, irreducible complexity and information theory. Bringing to bear his analytical and logical skills as a research mathematician, he also exposes many fallacious arguments that are often used to "prove" that science has buried God.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who seriously wishes both to understand the real nature of the debate that is currently receiving much exposure in the media, and to come to a conclusion based on evidence and reason rather than prejudice and emotion.

Nigel Cutland
Professor of Pure Mathematics
University of York, UK
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 27 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Mar 2008 16:08:00 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 13 Mar 2008 16:36:44 GMT]

Posted on 13 Mar 2008 16:23:57 GMT
Mr Cutland:

'Careful and systematic'? Well, not really, unless we understand that to mean the careful and systematic avoidance of any mention of theories like Special and General Relativity, which put belief in a creator or designer God who stands in an absolute relation to, and separate from, our universe, completely out of court.

Even the book's title gives evidence either of woolly thinking or of a willingness on the author's part to use his academic honours and superior knowledge of mathematics and science to pull the wool over the eyes of the gullible. Lennox's stated aim is to achieve the impossible, namely to provide arguments in support of a negative: that 'science' has not buried 'god'. A more honest title would have been the question, 'Has the theory of evolution done harm to the Christian faith?' - to which we would have to answer in the affirmative: if that were not the case, Lennox would have had no reason to write his book in the first place.

Scientific method cannot and does not set out to 'bury' any idea: what it can and does do however is to use observation, experiment, hypothetical deduction, and more experiment and more observation to climb, step by step, up the ladder of knowledge. As time passes, theories that were once held to be sacrosanct have to be abandoned. This is what has happened in the case of the theological (not scientific) theory that an absolute God exists.

By avoiding discussion of Einstein's relativity, and by selecting only the theories he likes to think support belief in God, Lennox places himself in the unfortunate position of being labelled neither fish, fowl, nor good red herring. He reveals himself to be neither a rigorous scientist, a rigorous theologian, nor a rigorous Christian.

We know from his CV that Lennox is a Christian pastor at Green College, Oxford, and because of that we also know, before we even open his book, that he will never let go his belief in an absolute God. That belief is like a ball and chain that he drags along behind him: he can never abandon it. Its existence rules out the possibility for him of addressing his own question objectively and without bias.

A hundred years ago belief in the existence of 'aether' as the carrier of light had to be abandoned in order to formulate the special and general theories of relativity. It came as a shock to the scientific community, but it had to be abandoned if human knowledge was to advance. So it was abandoned, and human knowledge did advance. Today, a hundred years after publication of Darwin's Origin of the Species, the evidence that our planet, our solar system, our galaxy and everything in it, animate and inanimate, has developed - evolved - over billions that years, into what it is today, is so overwhelming as to render the ideas of creationism and intelligent design (which are, in fact, mutually contradictory) absurd.

'God' is an idea in the human mind. Ideas cannot be buried, but they can be rendered absurd in the light of scientific discovery. To that extent, the answer to the question in Lennox's title is a resounding, 'Yes: science has indeed buried God.'

Posted on 15 Mar 2008 13:26:50 GMT
Reg says:
Mr Lennox manages to come up with some interesting ideas about how science could allow theism into its world - but what he doesn't produce is one single, solid, credible piece of evidence. Nobody ever produces evidence for God(s) (God, Allah, Buddha, Zeus, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, take your pick - they all have equally "valid" bodies of evidence).

Science has an embarrassing habit of making discoveries that prove more and more chunks of religious dogma to be utter nonsense.

Imagine Lennox writing this book 200 years ago, and the "evidence" he would have wheeled out. It would look a bit feeble now, wouldn't it? Now project forward 200 years ...

He's fighting a nice rearguard action, but no evidence, no facts, nothing but woolly "maybes".

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Mar 2008 16:55:59 GMT
D. M. Ohara says:
Charles Gidley Wheeler clearly think he is a better judge of Dr. John Lennox's excellent book, and more competent than a Professor of Mathematics, Nigel Cutland of York University, in assessing whether science has made theism untenable. Perhaps he will state his own qualifications, and also address the substantive issue, rather than engage in ad hominem irrelevancies. Darwin's Theory of Evolution is a theory of biological development, and is silent about why there is something and not nothing. Science has certainly not buried God; nor has it the means to do so.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Apr 2008 14:37:55 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Apr 2008 18:10:21 BDT
D.M. Ohara:
I do apologise: I hadn't realised that academic honours were so important when it comes to belief in God, nor had I realised that all we have to do to assess the intellectual competence of a human being is to add up his or her academic honours. Now I know, this makes everything much easier. All we have to do is to hold a ballot among leading academics in leading universities. We can give them points for their academic honours (I would suggest 10 points for a PhD, five points for an MA and two points for a BA) and simply add up the points for and against belief in an absolute god. We could ask Professor Cutland to add up the figures so that we can be sure of getting the sums not only right but absolutely right -- though I have a horrible suspicion that, provided the ballot was not rigged, the evolutionist-atheists might come out on top. Would you be happy with that arrangement? I mean, it would be fair, wouldn't it?

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2008 09:36:58 BDT
D. M. Ohara says:
How can one refute a sneer?

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jul 2009 13:00:34 BDT
I am a professor of Mathematics. So hooray, I am at liberty to call the reviewer a useless and pointless idiot.

Posted on 18 Nov 2010 13:55:33 GMT
Enthusiast says:
To Nigel Cutland

Thanks for an excellent review of a very intelligent book.

By the way, I wonder why so many contributors don't appear to distinguish between "evidence" and "proof". I hope none of them are court judges!
Science is evidence based, but proof is not always available, yet we proceed anyway. Take quantum science, the basis of so much technology today, such as lasers, cd players, smart materials etc. Yet teachers of quantum science must ignore the Quantum Enigma, which challenges the foundations of our scientific view of the world.
Mystics and scientists alike have presented much evidence for a supernatural, for an intelligence behind the universe. I used to be an atheist and now find atheism pointless and at variance with what I know and experience of the world.
But feel free to disagree. Good honest debate will shake up lazy phoney religious groups as well as various atheist groups and move us forward.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 May 2011 11:23:17 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 May 2011 15:36:03 BDT
Andrew says:
This whole science v religion thing has got a bit out of hand, due in no small part to Dawkins' heavily academic approach. And Hawking hasn't really helped matters by conveying his message in a similarly obscure body of science.

Their approach should have been simply to invoke the basic principle of scientific enquiry (SH alluded to it in his famous book). That inviolable principle says that any theory, proposition or belief, whether it's the assertion that the earth is flat or the assertion of the existence of a loving, all powerful creator God, must fail, and fail absolutely, if there is even a single piece of irrefutable contradictory evidence. The photographs from space of a spherical earth annihilate the theory of a flat earth. Who could dispute that? In precisely the same way, the tragedy of countless millions of totally innocent men, women and children perishing in the most unimaginably horrific fashion in earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and other natural disasters throughout the ages similarly renders the assertion of a loving all-powerful God irrefutably untenable. Theists will wriggle and squirm over this because they know it sinks theism. Understandably they are so dependent on their belief structure that they could no more accept the fact that the concept of God is untenable than a flat-earther could accept a spherical earth.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 May 2011 15:26:20 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 27 May 2011 15:28:30 BDT]
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