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on 28 August 2012
I have seen Professor Lennox debating with the likes of Hitchens and Dawkins in the past... and get a sound beating it must be said. However several reviews and a couple of friends seemed to suggest that this tome contained the best anti-atheist rebuttals to be found. Well I have read it now and whilst this may be true it only serves to emphasise the paucity of the case for God (theist or deist). In truth this really is more a case for ID than theism per se but Lennox is a Christian and he can't help but let this distract from the case he tries to make. This is a flaw but there are strengths in the book; notably the mathematical references as one might expect and his engaging tone. These facts notwithstanding, he never really makes a very strong case for God.

Although the Maths is his strength I think others have picked the very large and obvious holes in the probability conjecture already so I will go no further.

As pointed out by 'worldlasiestbusker': "He is weaker when it comes to the discussion of the scientific method. He revels in pointing out the limitations of the scientific method but these would be nothing new to anyone with a passing interest in science. No alternate approach to investigating the world around us is noted, let alone analysed for comparison

Evolution, both the idea that organisms change over time and the theory developed to explain the changes, receives a lot of attention. The topics cited as problems with evolutionary theory are the standard fare of creation science: transitional fossils, irreducible complexity and the statistical probabilities of particular proteins arising by chance. These topics have been addressed by evolutionary biologists in books, peer reviewed papers and courts of law, so I will simply state that there is nothing new in Lennox's new wording of old arguments.

Some of the quotes used to emphasize points in the book are very old. In many cases, evidence arising after the death, or in some cases during the lifetime of those quoted, make their observations irrelevant to the points Lennox attempts to reinforce with their words. For example, Lennox cites Joseph Hooker's problems with Darwin's manuscript for "Origin of Species," ignoring Hooker's eventual wholehearted endorsement of the text and the mechanisms it described.
Evidence put forward in favour of a supernatural entity with influence over the universe are the argument from incredulity and the anthropic principle, both of which received better, but still unconvincing, attention from Roy Abraham Varghese, writing as Antony Flew, in "There is a God."

The example of Aunt Matilda's cake was insufferably trite. So as to not suffer it, I will give it some attention here. Lennox posits that Aunt Matilda bakes a cake. Try as they might, the scientists who can measure its chemical composition and physical characteristics cannot explain why Aunt Matilda baked it. She won't give up the information, choosing to smile knowingly and keep quiet. The scientists' inability to determine the meaning behind the cake is used as a metaphor for science's inability to explain why we exist. The metaphor didn't work for me on two levels: First, the conceit that our existence requires explanation was not given justification. If scientists who posit a universe obeying strict physical laws gave rise to life as we know it are correct, there is no overarching reason for our existence. In that model, it is our ability to think in the abstract, a powerful advantage over other animals, which led us to imagine a reason for our existence might exist. Second, the fictional account of Aunt Matilda's antics didn't account for all possible avenues of investigation. Any scientist worth their salt would approach Matilda's friends and family, asking if there were any significant events corresponding with the day in question. If all her associates were involved in her obstructionist shenanigans, the scientists could review the relevant literature: registers of births, deaths and marriages, and the local and national newspapers. If sufficiently desperate, the scientists could follow her around and see what she does with the cake (though at this point I'd as likely eat the cake myself, applying my morality with regard to dealing with annoying people who waste my time, in turn imposing my own reason for the cake's existence). Imagine the methods that might be employed had our government decided that understanding the importance of the cake was a matter of national security. My heavily laboured point is Lennox's example involved the effable. The information in question exists and is knowable. Positing an ineffable example would have been less annoying but, being ineffable, would have been self defeating as ineffable things (invisible pink unicorns, Bertrand Russell's celestial teapot, Jesus' alleged resurrection) are, by definition, ineffable and cannot be investigated.

Whereas contemporary atheist books read as attempts to convince the faithful they are wrong, "God's Undertaker" reads as an attempt to reassure the faithful they are right. It is unlikely anyone not exposed to Christian dogma from an early age would be convinced to believe in God by this book. Anyone who had questioned the information provided by their religion sufficiently to have lost faith would find nothing here to convince them that their decision to leave their church was wrong. A Christian who reads Lennox's book might be reassured that the issues addressed therein have been sufficiently dealt with, put "God's Undertaker" on their book shelf and fail to read any further on any of the topics Lennox touched. In offering this level of hollow reassurance, Lennox has done both his readers and the scientific principles he claims to uphold a disservice"

For my part I was left wishing this had been the wonderful defence of God erroneously claimed by many reviews on here. Afterall, as Lennox alludes, it would be so nice if there was a loving theistic 'Logos' out there. Sadly wishing it were so doesn't make it so.
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on 24 November 2008
I found this to be an extremely well written, highly respectful and totally convincing argument in favour of God's existence. Moreover, it demonstrates that science and religious belief are entirely compatible. Evolution and God? Yes!
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on 7 February 2015
I was put onto this book while actually shopping for another (an Amazon review of the other book pointed me to this).

Reading the previous reviews of this book, I see the usual stuff- those with some form of spiritual belief taking confirmation/ justification of their beliefs and Atheists dismissing the book because it was written by a Christian who is twisting scientific findings to push his point (I won't comment on this much as I think the belief of the author / scientist will always influence the text...even Atheist scientists who go too far the other way). These comments are to be expected when such an emotive subject is discussed and peoples beliefs are questioned - both sides should remember that they operate on faith based arguments / interpretations and 'know' their argument to be correct. That's right Atheists, remember the old burden of proof argument (I.e. it is up to the claimant to proove their point)...well offering a belief now means that there is also a burden of proof on you to prove yours. We are all operating at faith here...

I bought this book, less to inform me as to whether the universe was intelligently designed, rather to show that the possibility has npt been ruled out. This, in my opinion, is what the book does, very succinctly, taking a look at scienfic findings and drawing logical theories that they could be due to intelligent design (the structure / role of DNA, for example). Essentially, it brings another viewpoint to the table and argues, with reason, for another explanation for the way things are. Those with a spiritual belief should welcome this as should Atheists, who will be able to debate with thosemwho don't share your beliefs in a scientific way.

Removing all emotion / belief from the equation, this book shows that there need be no divide between science and religion (i although I prefer the term spirituality). Science shows us how things exist (e.g. how DNA works), in doing so, it does nothing to debunk intelligent design theories.

What I urge everyone to do is buy the book, read the book and ask yourself the question - has any discovery so far ruled out the notion of intelligent design (note, I am being careful to avoid linking it to any specific religion/ deity). If you read the book as an Agnostic and put your beliefs aside, you will very much enjoy it.
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on 28 December 2014
Very nice item and very quick delivery thanks
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on 16 October 2014
Excellent book for the inquisitive mind
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on 17 December 2014
As a short review it is one of the best around. Lennox covers many of the general ideas that have emerged from scientists open to intelligent design causation. If you want a thorough understanding then this will be introductory in some respects, for example, on the issue of where the signal of natural selection is supposed to be in terms of molecular biology/genomics. But many of the problems facing the evolutionary faithful are reflected on to some degree, and there is some historical information on key events and meetings that helped characterise the tensions between conventional (Darwinian) thinking and that of Dembski, Behe, Flew (in later life) and others. If you've already read much of the material coming out of the inteligent design movement then you will have come across many of these ideas already. But as a short introduction, it does a very good job. Hence, the book gives you an opportunity to understand many of the important issues and leave it there, or to use the book as a platform from which to do further exploration of the work of Behe, Dembski and others if they seem to grab your attention.
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on 6 April 2015
A major demolition of now defunct neo-Darwinian thinking and drawing from major writers in all scientific disciplines. Accessible to specialist and layman alike and cogently reasoned in contrast to Dawkins, whose proclamations are frequently exposed as fickle. Ought to be in every school and college library but unlikely to do so in the current PC environment.
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on 25 July 2013
John Lennox has written a great book here on the so called debate of science vs religion. He shows that the debate is not and never really was about this, but is about conflicting world views. He then does what a genuine scientist should do, which is to examine the evidence and follow where it leads. The problem, as he rightly points out, is that most of the scientific community rule out the existence of God as a possibility before they begin to examine the evidence - therefore their world view restricts the conclusions they can come to.
Lennox goes through different sciences, as well as a bit of history to show that if we really follow where the evidence leads, it points to a creator God.
A really good, well written and well argued book. Great to have as a reference in understanding what science actually says.
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on 6 September 2014
John Lennox provides us with this side of the argument. Here he takes us step by step along a path of logic and knowledge to not only an apologetic reply but a considered and forthright stand on sense and evidence.
It is a reply to the audacious argument that the science of things dismisses God because it provides an alternative description of how things came to be.
But a description is not an explanation and Lennox exposes this longstanding intellectual breach of understanding.
Thank you John Lennox for spending the time and putting it into words.
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on 20 November 2014
A most interesting subject dealt with in a professional and learned way by an author who has obviously done his homework and has the gift of being able to talk cogently in terms that I would not describe as simple but rather as thought provoking. This is a topic that requires concentration and much thought, and the author takes nothing for granted presenting his arguments in an even handed way. He does not dodge difficult issues and speaks authoritatively without being over-bearing or arrogant.
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