93 of 105 people found the following review helpful
Get to the important bits...
, 8 Aug. 2008
This review is from: God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? (Paperback)
Curious how the most negative reviewers of this book don't seem to engage with it's central points and hence don't seem to have read it properly?
Anyway, there are many good general qualities about this book already addressed by other reviewers. For me the most notable and pressing points of value that Lennox makes are the following:
1) There isn't a necessary tension between science and religion - rather between competing worldviews - most notably (for the purposes of this book) - naturalism and theism. Either one of these basic outlooks can use science legitimately to expand material knowledge, but either one can also quite easily end up using it selectively to fit in with it's ultimate assumptions and aims. So, prescriptive worldviews are the problem. (It was the Aristotelian worldview that Galileo had to overcome - held by secular academics as well as church authorities - not Christianity as such.)
2) 'God of the gaps' can actually be a tag given to naturalists in some cases ('evolution' of the gaps), where gaps in our knowledge are assumed to be obviously fillable by evolutionary processes, ahead of the necessary evidence. However, it can also be applied to areas where science has reached its distant shores and has been left with a logical impasse which it is impotent to cross using experimentation and naturalistic concepts. In other words, it is possible for science and reason to identify and demarkate areas that are inexplicable by scientific investigation itself (- in other words it's not merely a matter of time before they are fixed). There is one area (possibly among others) below where Lennox clearly seems to think that this has happened.
3) DNA - still unexplained in terms of origins, and according to the mathematical prowess of Lennox (using information theory) inexplicable unless you accept that there must be a more fundamental source of information within the universe, from which DNA can have been 'programmed' (my quote marks). Essentially, Lennox draws upon various information theorists to tentatively posit a 'law of conservation of information' which would mean that information (and hence 'intelligence') cannot be built-up from unintelligent inputs, and is hence more fundamental to the design of the universe than previously thought (it is accepted in the case of energy, why not intelligence?). In making this point, Lennox appears to give a damning critique of the explanations used by Richard Dawkins in his book 'Climbing Mount Improbable' where he tries to make the evolution of DNA seem more credible according to Darwinist mechanisms. Possibly I have overly simplified this central proposition of Lennox, but the details are there to be read (should you feel compelled to argue with it), and I'll be damned if I can find, on the internet, any decent responses to the point Lennox is making. It is as if nobody wants to notice, or engage with, such a point. Perhaps some generous and enthusiastic Naturalist can put me straight in the comments section to this review, regarding where Lennox has gone wrong with this proposal, because it seems pretty convincing to me. (and please don't quibble about where 'God' must have got the intelligence from etc - the issue is WHETHER IT IS FUNDAMENTAL OR NOT - we follow the evidence first - then worry about the consequences - right?)
An important point to make, since it relates to the probable expectations of most readers out there, is that Lennox's arguments don't particularly make a case for Christianity - (and he doesn't actually mention it that much) - his arguments point merely towards a creative force and a fundamental property of intelligence within the universe - which of course is compatible with the majority of religious thought (including - although it doesn't necessarily lead to - Christianity)
The five stars are because the book was less dogmatic (religiously) than I expected, and more thought provoking in areas that I thought would have been considered out of bounds by Lennox (evolution), than I was expecting. The pleasure I took here wasn't because I was particularly delighted to give Darwinism a kicking, merely because I wasn't familiar with his arguments and they took me by surprise. Conceivably , admittedly, Lennox could have made almost all the same key points without introducing distinctly Christian allusions at all.
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