Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Part I of a series on John Lennox's God's Undertaker

I received John Lennox’s God’s Undertaker as a Christmas present, and I thought it would be a nice idea to share my study of that book here. The book’s goal is to evaluate the claim that science has buried belief in God, that, at least if we extend scientific thinking as far as it will go, we get to the end of religion.
            The discussion begins with a quote from atheist Peter Atkins.
            Science, the system of belief founded securely on publicly shared reproducible knowledge, emerged from religion. As science discarded its chrysalis to become its present butterfly, it took over the heath. There is no reason to suppose that science cannot deal with every aspect of existence. Only the religious---among whom I include not only the prejudiced but the underinformed, hope there is a dark corner of the physical universe, or of the universe of experience, that science can never hope to illuminate. But science has never encountered such a barrier, and the only grounds for supposing that such reductionism will fail are pessimism on the part of  scientists of fear the minds of the religious.
Peter Atkins, “The Limitless Power of Science,” In "Nature's Imagination - The Frontiers of Scientific Vision, Ed. John Cornwell, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1995.

Lennox replies:
And yet, and yet… Is this really true? Are all religious people to be written off as prejudiced and underinformed? After all, some of them are scientists who have won the Nobel Prize. Are they really pinning their hopes on finding a dark corner of the universe that science can never hope to illuminate? Certainly that is scarcely a fair or true description of most of the early pioneers in science who, like Kepler, claimed that it was precisely their conviction that there was a Creator that inspired their science to ever greater heights. For them it was the dark corners of the universe that science did illuminate that provided ample evidence of the ingenuity of God.

God’s Undertaker, (Lion-Hudson), 2007.

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