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Mr. Peter S. Williams (England)

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A Dictionary of Atheism (Oxford Quick Reference Online)
A Dictionary of Atheism (Oxford Quick Reference Online)
Price: £4.41

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Thin Collection of Random Information, 24 Dec. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A short book containing a random collection of not particularly insightful entries. Strangely, it does not contain any entries on noted atheists (e.g. atheist philosophers). Why buy this when you could get a much more comprehensive philosophical dictionary instead?

Celestial Fire
Celestial Fire
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £27.60

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Iona guitarist/keyboard player on fire for a colaborative solo album of top-notch prog-rock., 25 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Celestial Fire (Audio CD)
Great solo album from the founding member and lead guitarist/keyboard player of Christian celtic/prog-rock band 'Iona'; this is far from being a one-man multitrack band as Bainbridge pulls in plenty of talant to round out the sound (including several past and present Iona band-mates) to lend a hand (inc. Troy Donockley, Frank van Essen, David Fitzgerald, Randy George, Joanne Hogg, Collin Leijenaar, Julia Mayasova, Sally Minnear and Damian Wilson). The overall effect is tonally similar to Iona, albeit with a more metal-prog rhythm section a la Dream Theatre. That said, the sound pallet here is quite varied. While Bainbridge does get to turn the prog up to 11 (most especially on the tracks 'Celestrial Fire' and 'Love Remains') he also mixes in a good dose of reflective celtic folk and some jazzy elements. Bainbridge himself switches with alakrity between piano and keyboards as well as classical and electric guitars. The lyrics, by mainly by Bainbridge & David Lyon, are both meaningful (not always a given with prog!) and affecting. This is passionate, majestic, tuneful, joyous, touching stuff.

Star Trek (Xbox 360)
Star Trek (Xbox 360)
Offered by Topbaer
Price: £14.02

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dodgy co-op mode mar's fun Trek game, 12 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Star Trek (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
If you intend to play in off-line co-op mode with a friend then there is a fun game here, if you can get past the facts that: a) you'll have to enter the game via the 'chapters' feature each time, b) the game only saves at the end of each sub-section of a chapter - don't believe it when it says it is saving unless you have reached a new story section, c) Player 2 won't level up their equipment across story chapters, d) the cover system is not in the Gears of War league and will often throw you into the line of fire, or off a ledge to your death, e) the game suffers from a lack of tutorials/explanations about how to do things that is rather annoying. For example, it's useful to know that when climbing you can actually jump to objects behind you by reaching out using the right stick and then jumping...

REflections: Religion, People & Issues Student Book
REflections: Religion, People & Issues Student Book
by Ina Taylor
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Contains Serious Misrepresentations, 16 Mar. 2012
This attractively produced book unfortunately contains several inaccuracies, some of which are trivial, but some of which constitute a serious misrepresentation of the religious views under discussion.

In page order:

1) On page 6 the man in the illustrative photo is clearly not `standing in the middle of a white horse' as the text proclaims. He is standing on the hill above the white horse! This is a trivial but annoying mistake.

2) On Page 7 we are told: `Those people who belong to a religion... say there is a clear purpose to life. Nothing is random or chaotic. Everything has been created for a reason... Followers of all the different world religions believe we have been created by a higher being.'

There are several falsehoods here:

a) Many religious believers do not believe that `nothing is random or chaotic'. Indeed, they can and do believe that many things are random and/or chaotic. For example, quantum physicist turned Priest Dr Sir John Polkinghorne FRS is a Christian who believes that there are random and chaotic elements to the creation. From the theistic viewpoint it would certainly be true to say that life is not random or chaotic overall; but page 7 doesn't say this. Rather, it implies that any religious person must reject indeterministic interpretations of quantum mechanics, chaos theory and the existence of unplanned coincidences - none of which is true. Of course I understand that for a young audience one doesn't want to get into such complexities; but it is false to simply assert that `people who belong to a religion... say... Nothing is random or chaotic'. Why not say something like: `Religious people who believe in a creator think that there is an overall purpose to the universe's existence'?

b) The statement that `people who belong to a religion... say... Everything has been created for a reason...' is false. First, there are religious believers who do not believe in creation, since they do not believe in a creator. Some Buddhists are atheists. An atheist cannot believe in creation. Hence, unless we say that Buddhists are not religious, it is false to state that `all the different world religions believe we have been created by a higher being.' Second, even if one does believe in a creator, this does not necessarily mean believing that `everything has been created for a reason', a highly ambiguous statement which might be taken to imply either the false belief that nothing has been created by anyone except the creator, or the false belief that being religious means believing that the creator has directly created each and every individual created thing (i.e. that the creator employed no secondary causes in creation, such as evolutionary mechanisms). Again, going into detail is no doubt inappropriate for the audience of this book - but these ambiguities could have been avoided by stating that 'some religious believers think that the universe as a whole was created for a purpose by a higher being.'

3) Page 28 attempts to outline the bare essentials of Christian theology for the beginner. Unfortunately it seriously misrepresents central Christian beliefs in an entirely unnecessary manner. The concept of `Judgement' is represented as follows: `After a person's death, God will judge them. God will look at everything that person did, said and thought in their lifetime. Those judged good will be rewarded; those who have been evil will be punished.' Martin Luther is metaphorically turning in his grave at this point. What about the doctrine of the innate sinfulness (original sin) of humanity; that humans are all judged `not good enough' for God by nature, irrespective of the things we do in life? What about the doctrines of divine forgiveness for sin and salvation by faith or grace? There is nothing here about the fundamental role of one's attitude towards God/Jesus in judgement and salvation. In sum, Page 28 seems to confuse the Christian understanding of judgement and salvation with the ancient Egyptian view of the matter (cf. Page 41), weighing scales (pictured) and all! Page 28 also informs readers that according to Christians `Although the body stops, the soul carries on forever.' This is at best a half-truth, there being no mention here of the resurrection of the body! Christianity is confused with Platonism!

4) There is an apparent discrepancy in this book between the treatment of certain historical claims fundamental to Christian and Muslim beliefs. When it comes to the discussion of Jesus' resurrection on Page 31 we are simply told about `accounts of Jesus appearing at various times' and presented with a discussion point about whether these reports might be explained away in terms of grief hallucinations; whereas when it comes to discussing on Page 114 how Muslim's received the Qur'an readers are simply told that `In the year 610CE Muhammad saw an angel. The angel said...' It's if Page 31 had simply informed readers that after Jesus death on the cross `Jesus appeared to them alive again, having been resurrected from the dead' - and this statement was not put up for any form of sceptical discussion. I would expect a textbook like this to be even-handed in its description of different religious beliefs.

5) In the Glossary, `Big Bang Theory' is inacurrately defined as `A scientific theory which states that the earth was formed as a result of a cosmic explosion. This is widely accepted.' This is not what Big Bang Theory says, except in the most indirect sense. The Big Bang Theory is a scientific theory about the origins of the cosmos, not the origins of the Earth.

6) In the Glossary the `New Testament' is inacurrately described as `A section of the Bible which contains the Christian scriputres.' Of course, `the Bible' is itself a specifically Christian notion, a book composed of the Jewish scriptures that are considered by Christians to be the so-called `Old' testament, as well as the `New' testament; both testaments are considered to be scripture by Christians.

7) I doubt many Jewish readers would be delighted to read the Glossary's definition of the `Old Testament' as containing prophecies about the coming of Jesus. It certainly contains prophecies that Christians interpret as being about Jesus, but non-Messianic Jews would beg to differ.

8) It is surely inadequte to define a `Supernatural experience', as the Glossary does, as: `Something that can not be explained by any known scientific theories.' Why should human failure to know about the scientifc theory that explains something render the experience of that something a supernatural experience? This definition would mean, for example, that seeing lightening was once a supernatural experience but that it no longer is. It would mean that any subjective conscious experience is currently a supernatural experience, although it may stop being such one day if science can produce a theory that explains consciousness! Why not simply define a supernatural experience as an experience of something that is supernatural?

On the one hand, I would admit that some of these points are open to the charge of nit-picking (e.g. point 1). On the other hand, Point 3 draws attention to what is clearly a serious misrepresentation of perhaps the most basic element of Christian theology: salvation from sin by divine grace received by faith.

There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind
There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind
by Anthony Flew
Edition: Hardcover

261 of 298 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Following the evidence, 28 Nov. 2007
After fifty years as a leading non-theistic philosopher, whose challenges to theistic thinkers did much to shape the debate about God, Flew declared himself convinced of the existence of a God (although not of any particular religious tradition) in 2004, thereby sending shock-waves through the atheist community.

Unfortunately, several prominent atheists responded to Flew's apostasy with ad hominem assertions about his losing his marbles in his dotage (yes he is getting slower and forgetful, especially of names; but his solo interviews and writings seem lucid, and his arguments should be taken on their own merit), or about his hedging his bets with respect to the afterlife (despite the fact that Flew doesn't believe in an afterlife!).

Part autobiography, part theistic apologetic, Flew's 'last will and testament' There Is a God (written with Roy Abraham Varghese) is a fascinating read that deserves wide circulation and careful consideration.

Flew summarised the reasons for his change of mind in an exclusive 2007 interview with Benjamin Wiker:

'With every passing year, the more that was discovered about the richness and inherent intelligence of life, the less it seemed likely that a chemical soup could magically generate the genetic code. The difference between life and non-life, it became apparent to me, was ontological and not chemical. The best confirmation of this radical gulf is Richard Dawkins' comical effort to argue in The God Delusion that the origin of life can be attributed to a `lucky chance.' If that's the best argument you have, then the game is over... I would add that Dawkins is selective to the point of dishonesty when he cites the views of scientists on the philosophical implications of the scientific data. Two noted philosophers, one an agnostic (Anthony Kenny) and the other an atheist (Nagel), recently pointed out that Dawkins has failed to address three major issues that ground the rational case for God. As it happens, these are the very same issues that had driven me to accept the existence of a God: the laws of nature, life with its teleological organization and the existence of the Universe.'
Comment Comments (18) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 15, 2013 2:01 AM GMT

The Naked Emperor: Darwinism Exposed
The Naked Emperor: Darwinism Exposed
by Antony Latham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.45

55 of 91 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful non-creationist critique of Darwinism, 16 Sept. 2005
This is a well-informed, short critique of Darwinian macro-evolution written by a doctor who is not a young-earth creationist.
The book summarises arguments from 'irreducible complexity' (a la Behe's 'Darwin's Black Box') and the origin of self-replicating life (a la Stephen C. Meyer). It contains an interesting discussion of the fossil record and of several Darwinian 'icons'.
In my view, however, Latham's book is particularly note-worthy for its last but one chapter, a sucinct but devistating point by point critique of Richard Dawkins' famous book 'The Blind Watchmaker'.

Atheism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Atheism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Julian Baggini
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

27 of 165 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A straw-man of atheistic apologetics, 16 Feb. 2004
Baggini's introduction to atheism (which turns out to be an introduction to metaphysical naturalism) is unfortunately stuffed with many attacks upon 'straw-men'. Baggini summarizes (unreferenced) theistic arguments in the weakest form imaginable and then dismisses them as if by doing so he had defeated even the most sophisticated philosophical argument as actually employed by theists! Baggini also employs several false analogies to make his case, and occasionally decends to 'ad homenim' remarks.
Baggini sets out to show that, contry to received opinion, atheism is not a 'negative' worldview. He then proceeds to argue that because there is no God (and because naturalism is true) there is no objective morality, no objective purpose to life, no imaterial human soul, and no life after death! These conclusions are consistent with his naturalism, but seem inconsitent with his desire to vindicate naturalism as a positive worldview.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 4, 2009 7:25 PM GMT

Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe (Proceedings of the Wethersfield Institute)
Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe (Proceedings of the Wethersfield Institute)
by Michael J. Behe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.50

91 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cutting edge survey of arguments for Intelligent Design, 2 May 2001
This is a collection of densely argued papers by three leading figures in the (non-'creationist') Intelligent Design Movement (Dembski, Behe & Meyer) which constitutes a high level and cutting edge overview of this exciting new scientific research project. The esteemed authors explain and defend several modern arguments for the conclusion that life is the product of intelligent design, with reference to 'specified complexity', 'irreducible complexity' and the fine tuning of the universe as an example of specified complexity. They also respond to their critics. No one interested in design, whether pro or anti, can afford to ignore the arguments of the Intelligent Design Movement, and this volume represents, in short compas, perhaps the best overview of Intelligent Design currently available.

Reason for the Hope Within
Reason for the Hope Within
by Michael J. Murray
Edition: Paperback
Price: £27.19

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Collection of papers by new wave of Christian Philosophers., 7 Oct. 2000
Reason for the Hope Within showcases contemporary papers in the philosophy of religion and philosophical theology by a clutch of up-and-coming Christian philosophers. The book's aim, in which it generally succeeds, is to introduce non-philosophers to the latest developments in Christian philosophy. The authors attended a conference to road test their material in apologetics workshops for Christian leaders and laity. The care taken to make their collected material accessible means that this volume would make an ideal 'reader' for the intelligent non-specialist, or for philosophy undergraduates. The general tone of the papers might be described as the philosophical equivalent of 'smart-casual', and one or two of the authors try just a little too hard to 'let their hair down'. This is not to accuse these papers of flippancy or a failure to treat their subjects with due seriousness when they are being serious. This is a well produced book, edited with an introduction and a couple of papers by Professor Michael J. Murray, who co-edited Philosophy of Religion: The Big Questions. It also comes with a foreword by top American Christian Philosopher Alvin Plantinga. The range of subjects covered in sixteen chapters is admirable: pro and anti- theistic arguments, the relationship between faith and reason, religious pluralism, providence, religion and science, the incarnation and the trinity, resurrection, heaven and hell, miracles, ethics and the authority of scripture. I would highlight the scrupulous but nevertheless refreshing contributions from Robin Collins (on 'The Fine Tuning Design Argument' and 'Eastern Religions') for particular praise. The papers on 'Religion and Science' (W. Christopher Stewart) and 'The Authority of Scripture' (Douglas Blount on a topic infrequently covered in similar books) are also particularly edifying. My main criticism for this compendium is that it has a distinct lack of suggested further reading, an oversight that will leave more advanced readers straining at the leash for greater detail and less advanced readers with no-where to advance towards. However, this is a fine body of accessible work that deserves attention from believers and non-believers alike.

The Evidential Power of Beauty: Science and Theology Meet
The Evidential Power of Beauty: Science and Theology Meet
by Thomas Dubay
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.50

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Catholic meditation on objective beauty, science and God., 3 Oct. 2000
In a work that often draws upon that of theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, Thomas Dubay begins with a traditional Thomistic account of objective beauty, and in the context of the testimony of mordern science to the 'evidential power of beauty' (the beauty of a theory is an indication of its truth - especially in the realm of mathematical theory and its application to physics), he offers us a guided meditation on the grand, 'symphonic' beauty of creation, treating us to a tour of the universe from the very large to the very small. I appreciated this book for its emphasis on the objectivity of beauty, for bringing science and theology into a united vision of the beauty of creation, and for highlighting the ultimate nihilistic consequences of metaphysical naturalism. On the other hand: I don't think Aquinas provides the best account of the objectivity of beauty and Dubay gave little argument in support of an objective view of beauty (the interested should see chapter one of 'The Abolition of Man' by C.S.Lewis). Dubay also pushes for the 'otherness' of God to the point where one wonders how anything can be truly said of 'Him', even by analogy. Although Dubay presents the powerful new sentific/ philosophical evidence for 'Intelligent Design' provided by the 'Intelligent Design Movement' (Michael J. Denton, Michael A. Behe, et al.) it was sometimes hard to tell whether he interpreted this evidence in the context of some variety of 'creationism' or of 'theistic evolution', and this led to an unhelpful sense of theological and scientific vagueness at times. Dubay concludes with a meditation on the beauty of the gospel and the saints, using the 'evidential power of beauty' for apologetic effect, something I think other Christian apologists could usefully take on board and develop. All in all this book is less about beauty than it is about design, but it constitutes a welcome approach to cross-discipline apologetics - encompassing beauty, intelligent design and a profound consideration of the evidential power of beauty demonstrated in the lives of the saints - combined with a worshipful reflectiveness that is only to be expected from "one of the foremost spiritual directors and retreat masters of our time".

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