14 of 25 people found the following review helpful
ID in disguise,
This review is from: God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? (Paperback)
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.