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38 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Limited scope but enjoyable., 27 Sept. 2006
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This review is from: Dawkin's God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life (Paperback)
The trouble with dealing with issues of evolutionary theory versus theistic accounts of creation is that the arguments for and against either stance have been repeated ad nauseum and in voluminous proportions. A. McGrath's focus is much narrower and mostly successful. He argues that Dawkins' evolutionary inspired atheism is based on a very simplistic view of Christian theology, one that doesn't take into account a great deal of modern and historical work.

As such, the book is not written to debate the issue of whether life on Earth was specialy created or not but simply to demonstrate that Dawkins' apparent certainty in his atheism cannot reliably rest on evolutionary arguments. With this remit McGrath succeeds, mostly.

There is an unfortunate irony that emerges as the reader progresses, however. McGrath quite rightly notes that any scientific theory is subject to change and/or total rejection and that Dawkins' certainty in Darwinian evolution is an impressive act of faith. But Dawkins knows this and accepts it. McGrath's worldview however appears impervious to contradictory evidence and he spends a lot of time describing how scientific advances in knowledge have been "accomodated" by Christian theologans and that this is a sign that theology is in good health. McGrath takes great pains to tell us that when the Bible says "A" and scientific enquiry says "B" then a good theological approach is to re-interpret the Bible in light of this new evidence. Surely this highlights the total meaningless of the whole theological enterprise? It becomes a game with no rules (intellectual tennis without a net?)

McGrath finally makes an appeal to find common ground between science and religion and claims both fields can offer insights to the other. He neglects to mention even one religious "insight" that has furthered human knowledge and I am struggling to think of one too.

Despite these flirts with danger the book is enjoyable, interesting and sincere. Dawkins' atheistic arguments are simplistic and McGrath shows us how - but not really why. That would require a much bigger book.
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