12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
short, well written but the logic is flawed,
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This review is from: God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design is it Anyway? (Paperback)
The book is well written and easy to follow. But when you read about the so-called flaws in Hawking's logic, you have to ask yourself either "how can Hawking have been so stupid as to not have spotted these obvious flaws", or else "how can Lennox have misunderstood Hawking so badly?"
Having read Grand Design and a number of other similar works by scientists such as Hawking, Brian Greene and Michio Kaku, my conclusion is that Lennox is using the time-honoured technique of "reductio ad absurdum", i.e. he intentionally mis-represents what is in Grand Design, in order to easily demolish it. The points which Grand Design makes are either mis-described, taken out of context or else different semantic meanings are ascribed to the actual words that Hawking used.
Lennox constantly refers to the eminent scientists Kepler, Newton and Maxwell, all of whom believed in God. Of course they did but they did not have access to the knowledge that we have. They did not know that the Universe is expanding (i.e. they did not know about the Big Bang), nor were Relativity, atomic theory or Quantum theory around in their day. They did not know about Darwinian Evolution (ok - Darwin published his seminal work about 2 years before Maxwell published his).
In summary - worth a read but keep your wits about you. It smacks of desperation, IMO
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Feb 2012 14:50:27 GMT
I appreciated your opinions on the book right up until you scored a howling own-goal by revealing your true thinking: 'Of course they did but they did not have access to the knowledge that we have.'
This is the sort of arrogant thinking that makes much of modern atheistic discussion self-depracating. So many atheists declare that they are scientific, free-thinking and logical, not allowing their personal feelings to cloud their judgement. Yet the number of them that harbour the unwavering belief that theists are ignorant, uneducated sheep, or in the cases of Kepler, Newton and Maxwell simply ignorant of the real facts, is astonishing. A substantial proportion of Christians in the Western world (and no doubt elsewhere - I only speak from personal experience) are educated, free-thinking and rational. You essentially propose that had these three scientists lived today they would have abandoned all outdated notions of a Creator and sided with the enlightened scientists of 2012. But as convenient as this would be for you to believe the world is full of intelligent Christians who are perfectly familiar with modern-day scientific findings yet strangely have not disowned their faith. The sooner this is realised and the topic approached with mutual respect rather than patronising sneers (a la Dawkins) the sooner mutual understanding and tolerance can be achieved.
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Mar 2012 13:14:55 GMT
Of course we don't know what those scientists would have thought about religion in general and about the origins if the Universe in particular if they were around today. My point us that it is not valid for Lennox to use their views to add weight to his argument, since the views of those men were formulated at at a time before many relevant discoveries had been made, e.g. the expanding universe, quantum theory, evolution of species and DNA. Also, one should bear in mind that Lennox put his counter arguments together before he had actually read The Grand Design. He had read only a synopsis of it in a popular science magazine. That should ring some alarm bells, IMO.
In reply to an earlier post on 8 Jun 2012 19:41:12 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 Jun 2012 10:57:38 BDT
It is quite obvious that it is Borsey scoring the 'howling own-goal,' as he has done precisely what Mr Meyerstein accuses Lennox of. i.e. he mis-described and took out of context Mr Meyerstein's words.
At no point did Meyerstein 'propose that had these three scientists lived today they would have abandoned all outdated notions of a Creator and sided with the enlightened scientists of 2012.'
I think Borsey should try some mutual respect and understanding and properly read alternative views to his own. Listen to what people are actually saying before accusing them of 'the sort of arrogant thinking that makes much of modern atheistic discussion self-depracating.'
In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jun 2012 15:26:14 BDT
I wonder why Borsey wanted to denigrate my review to that extent. It's just a book review.
In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jun 2012 20:19:09 BDT
Borsey's comment has no relevance to what you wrote in your review. I suspect he sees imagined slights against his worldview everywhere he looks.
In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jun 2012 22:35:46 BDT
Mr Meyerstein - Thank you for pointing out my misinterpretation of your comments. Having read your response I can see that your intended meaning was not what I initially read it to be - unfortunately I have read comments by a significant number of individuals who do push the idea that every prominent scientist from history who declared a belief in God was either ignorant due to the fact that they did not have the scientific evidence we have currently, or that they were bullied into declaring their beliefs by an overbearing church. Hence when I read your comment it seemed as though you were treading the same line.
And thankfully, Cropes, my worldview is not so insecure that I see imagined slights against it everywhere I look. I'll leave that to the kind of person who gives a book a one-star review without even reading it.
In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2012 07:33:17 BDT
Ok no worries. Btw I get the impression that many of those who reviewed Lennox's book have not read The Grand Design.
In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2012 09:12:54 BDT
Borsey - Fair(ish) comment with regard to my review of Blanchard's book.
I didn't really want to give it a star rating as I openly admit that I haven't read the book.
My 'review' though, does raise an important point which I feel potential purchasers of the book should consider.
I have however read my other one star book review and Ken Ham's book really is the most appalling twaddle.
I've not read 'Who's Design is it Anyway' however but like Mr Meyerstein, I have read 'The Grand Design' and other books by Hawking and my personal favourite Michio Kaku.
Finally Borsey, I must apologise to you.
In discussions regarding faith and creation, it is a rare breed of individual, (from either side) who can so readily retract his comments.
I think perhaps I was tarring you with the same brush as so many creationists I have encountered. - Sorry.
Long live mutual understanding and tolerance.
In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2012 13:56:23 BDT
Mr Meyerstein - I wouldn't be surprised if you were correct. If I am going to read a response to a book I try to read the book itself - otherwise how am I going to know what is taken out of context? I think the potential reasons people use for not doing so are 1. that they don't want to support the author by buying their book, when they pretty much have made their minds up that they are opposed to the views within and 2. they are only reading the response to arm themselves should they be confronted on the topic. But either way it is a poor form of evaluation.
Cropes - It is a rarer breed of individual still who thinks carefully before producing potentially offensive comments, and I seem to have fallen short of that mark this time around. Since I made exactly the same error of lumping Mr Meyerstein in with a certain brand of atheistic thinking I can't exactly criticise yours. The fact that I came across as being a creationist is embarrassing enough (as far as I can tell from what I've read of Lennox's books he is not advocating Creationism, just presenting a counter-argument to the attempts by some writers to use science to exclude the possibility of God existing). However, I appreciate your apology and it is always reassuring to find that there are plenty of fair-minded people in the world still.
Posted on 2 Oct 2013 00:27:32 BDT
Just to point out, the 'time honoured technique' of "reductio ad absurdum" is not what you state. What you accuse Lennox of doing is constructing a "straw man" and then refuting it.