Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Book Review: God's Undertaker


Fundamentalist Atheists are on the rise. As militant as any army, they march on society, seeking to denounce and refute anything that stands in their way, or even attempts to criticise their views. Science and religion are in a battle, and with Richard Dawkins leading the challenge, it appears that science will win very shortly.

However, there are those who can stand against the rhetoric and science of Darwinism as purported by Dawkins et al. John Lennox is one such writer who has presented an exceptional discussion of the issues at the heart of Darwin's theory of natural selection as explaining everything, even the origin of species and life itself. As Lennox progresses through his chapters, he exposes the faulty reasoning, poor logic and shaky science of Darwin's theory, and presents major evidence for an Intelligent Designer of the universe.

With impeccable logic, such that I wish had been recommended the book and read it during the Cosmology classes at Trinity, Lennox makes his first major point - that the war between science and religion is actual a phony. There is no war here - rather, the war is between naturalism and theism - between those who claim that the whole material world came about by itself, and those who claim that there was an outside input. In this war, science is just a tool to weigh the proofs of each claim.

In a very helpful analogy, Lennox directs the reader to consider Aunt Matilda's cake. A beautiful cake, which scientists are analysing, and which they discover contains so many calories, and the chemicals which make up the ingredients etc. All well and good - science is telling us what science can tell us - the what, and maybe even the how. But science can never tell us why. The scientists won't be able to say why the cake was made in the first place, despite being very thorough in their own specialist fields. 'The grin on Aunt Matilda's face shows she knows the answer, for she made the cake, and she made it for a purpose.' (p. 41)

As he turns to the science of the universe, Lennox provides some amazing statistics, as he discusses the fine-tuning of the universe. This is made up of a series of constants, all of which must be within very small limits for there to be a chance of life existing on earth. These include the distance of the earth from the sun (too close and we'd boil, too far and we'd freeze); surface gravity to ensure an atmosphere; the speed of the earth's rotation. Other examples are provided for the entire universe, such as the nuclear ground state energy to produce carbon, the ratio of the nuclear strong force to the electromagnetic force to ensure stars are formed, and the level of entropy in the universe, which is 10 to the power 123 (10 multiplied by itself 123 times).

Further, Lennox very helpfully breaks down just what is meant by evolution, showing that micro-evolution (within species) occurs all the time, whereas macro-evolution (to form new species) has not been proven at all, much less can it be used to explain the origin of life at the start. As he points out, there is an edge to evolution - limits beyond which it cannot function, no matter how loud Dawkins shouts. this is demonstrated by the faulty fossil record - there are no 'missing links' proving species turn into other species; and through lengthy discussions of genetics and information theory. At parts, these were heavy going, with detailed science, mathematics and genetics. However, there was a light at the end, and through good humour and simple explanations for idiots like me, we got through it!

While risking a Dawkins Certificate of Lunacy for questioning evolution, Lennox emerges to point out that the Emperor of Atheism has no clothes in denying a Creator God who is more complex than the universe.

I really enjoyed this book, even though it was tough reading at times. If you're struggling to keep up with or counter the arguments of Richard Dawkins in the God Delusion, then this is a great book to read and remember. We may not be called to present the finer points of the details of the argument, but the book certainly increases confidence in Intelligent Design, and reveals the glory of God as seen in his creation.

4 comments :

  1. Even if (which I more than just seriously doubt) Intelligent Design is true and God created everything, how do you know it is the Christian God who did so? There are hundreds if not thousands of gods known to man.

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  2. I'm currently reading CS Lewis on Miracles, and something he says helps us in this point. He's writing about Naturalism and Supernaturalism, and says:

    'I propose for the rest of this book to treat only that form of Supernaturalism which believes in one God; partly because polytheism is not likely to be a live issue for most of my readers, and partly because those who believed in many gods very seldom, in fact, regarded their gods as creators of the universe and as self-existent. The gods of Greece were not really supernatural in the strict sense which I am giving to the word. They were products of the total system of things and included within it.' (Miracles, p. 11)

    Further, God has revealed in His word that He created all things, so why would we doubt what He says?

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  3. Well I have to say that even as a mere lay scientist, I can say this is an abysmal argument. I have a much better grasp of logic than Mr. Lennox, who lays his ignorance out for us all to see.

    For anyone with even a basic understanding of science, this is an hilarious read that only confirms even further than the religious are on their way out.

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  4. Thank you for sharing your review on Lennox's book, it is an excellent book that re-evaluates the evidence of modern science in relation to the debate between the atheistic and theistic interpretations of the universe. In this book, Lennox contends that science is simply an unbiased subject and the real problem has to do with naturalism and theism and the relationship of each with science. We have included this book in our collection at http://booksforevangelism.org, heaps of resources and tools can be found here that can be useful for you.

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