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God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It…
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God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It Anyway? (edition 2011)

by John C. Lennox

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220596,677 (4.12)5
'The Grand Design', by eminent scientist Stephen Hawking, is the latest blockbusting contribution to the so-called New Atheist debate, and claims that the laws of physics themselves brought the Universe into being, rather than God. In this swift and forthright reply, John Lennox, Oxford mathematician and author of 'God's Undertaker', exposes the flaws in Hawking's logic. In lively, layman's terms, Lennox guides us through the key points in Hawking's arguments - with clear explanations of the latest scientific and philosophical methods and theories - and demonstrates that far from disproving a Creator God, they make his existence seem all the more probable.… (more)
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Title:God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It Anyway?
Authors:John C. Lennox
Info:Lion UK (2011), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 96 pages
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God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It Anyway? by John C. Lennox

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I've watched a few debates with John Lennox and seen some interviews. I liked his manner so decided to read his book; definitely worth reading. In truth though, dealing with new atheism is largely an exercise in futility. Atheism, especially new atheism, is an affliction of the will, not the reason. But however you sum it up, in large part, it's simply buffoonery. New atheists have mastered the art of foolishness. ( )
1 vote Erick_M | Jun 4, 2016 |
Normally, I wouldn’t read this kind of book, but given the substantial number of positive comments, and its abbreviated length, I figured what the hell. Admittedly, I skimmed much of it. I doubt very much that parsing each sentence would have made any difference.

The preponderance of reviewers around the web appear to believe Lennox destroyed Hawking’s arguments. He did no such thing and to do so would have been impossible since each is starting with a different set of assumptions: Lennox with his belief that God exists and that something cannot arise from nothing (totally failing to explain God’s origin); Hawking with the opposite, that something can easily arise from nothing. It doesn't help that each has a different definition of what constitutes “nothing.” One could have reconciled both positions by simply accepting the proposition that God is the laws of physics, but that wouldn’t be any fun.

I suspect that reviewers will line up for or against this book depending on their prior assumptions as well, so I am not ranking this book because I’m sure that my certainty that there is no God (as defined by Christians, Moslems, and Jews, i.e. an entity that actually gives a shit and responds to requests to intervene often violating the laws of physics when necessary) just couldn’t possibly exist would predispose a negative rank.

Lennox’s book is a response to Hawking’s book, The Grand Design, which I have not read. A review in Science News (7.27.12) notes that Hawking’s poses and proposes to answer the following questions. “ Why is there a universe? Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why are the laws of nature what they are? While acknowledging the fine-tuning of Earth that allows for favorable life conditions, Hawking promotes the multiverse theory, which holds that our universe is only one of countless others, each with their own forces of nature.” So both he and Lennox are engaged in a conjectural debate. I don’t like that since you can’t conjecture your way out of a paper bag. By doing so, Hawking’s speculation opened the door wide to counter-speculation. (Anyone who argues that using the Bible as a source to refute conjecture just doesn’t know his history or Bible. There’s way too much evidence on how those beliefs evolved and were developed. There is as much evidence for the existence of Leprachauns and Santa Claus as there is for God and they all rely on faith.) I’m always amused by those who claim that the Big Bang, evolution, etc. are mere theories, and then go on to unquestionably accept the greatest hypothesis of them all, that “God” exists, for which there is no evidence at all.

So the debate, if one dare call it that, is like two guys sitting in a bar, one claiming Babe Ruth was the greatest baseball player; the other asserting it had to be Hank Aaron, each absolutely certain. Fun, I guess, if you are well-lubricated. For the rest of us, it’s just a boring conversation that only makes the righteous on both sides happy. For my part, Hawking should have stuck to astrophysics and Lennox to math neither of which is useful to the debate and left the speculation to pundits.
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
An interesting response to Stephen Hawking's The Grand Design. Lennox begins by pointing out the obvious contradiction of Hawking's statement "philosophy is dead" immediately followed by a book that goes beyond the realms of physics and into metaphysics, a.k.a. philosophy. Hawking argues that "natures laws" are inviolable and account for the creation of all things. Lennox challenges this on various grounds, finally concluding that the theory of the multiverse, far from disproving God, leads logically to His existence. This is a short and easily understood book, nevertheless it succeeds in picking significant holes in Hawking's work. ( )
  eclecticdodo | Apr 13, 2012 |
God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design is it Anyway? is a philosophical approach to counter the "there is no god" scientific thought.

Author, John Lennox takes a few key issues in Stephen Hawking's thesis and explains them with a philosophical approach. He counters all that the scientific athiest's claim that the world could only have been created through science, physics and mathematical principles. The scientists involved with this theory claim that God is a myth brought about by pagan and heathen cultures in order to tame the masses.

Such questions as why is there something rather than nothing, why do we exist, how does the universe behave are among a few of the Hawking's hypothesis that are explained in this book. The author shares his vision and concepts with the reader, answering with his own mathematical basis as comparison. The arguments shared and explored are many each of us has thought about over the course of history.

Many insights and examples via historical figures such as Hesoid, Isaac Newton, Galileo, Kepler to name a few are shared with the reader. Their scientific hypothesis and philosophies are shared with the reader to further strengthen the thought that God does exist, something cannot be created from nothing, for even with nothing, it is something.

This is a very intellectual read. It is small and concise but heavily loaded with scientific explanations and accounts. If you've read Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" or "The Grand Design", then you will understand the principles involved with this thesis.

The explanations given are sound and justified, backed with important examples via history and science. John Lennox is a mathematician himself and you can feel this as you read his logic concerning God and the Universe. He shows us that Gods existence is more than probable and sets his writing with many fine examples.

Lennox believes that science and history are not the only sources to prove God's existence, all one needs to do is look around themselves and come to their own conclusions. All aspects and thoughts of God are based on personal experience and only the individual can truly decide what it is they believe to be true.

I would suggest this book for anyone with questions about God's theology and existence. I would also recommend this for anyone who wishes to read an intelligent book about science, God, history and philosophy. ( )
  MadMooseMama | Aug 3, 2011 |
The new atheists, like Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking, are ever in the public spotlight these days, or so it seems. The idea that brilliant physicists and scientists can make sense of this world without a God appeals to many. Certainly the conclusions reached in books such as Hawking’s latest book, The Grand Design — that there is no God and no ultimate point to the universe — are conclusions many atheists and secularists are all too eager to affirm. Since everything does fit so nicely together, however, should we wonder if the case made is really as air tight as claimed? If the conclusions are made to order, we might have warrant to carefully scrutinize the claims of these New Atheist authors.

John Lennox, author of God’s Undertaker, and a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford in his own right, takes on Stephen Hawking’s arguments in a forthcoming book published by Lion Books and distributed in the US by Kregel Publications (available July 15). In God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It Anyway?, Lennox exposes the circular reasoing and non sequitors that abound in Hawking’s The Grand Design. Lennox begins by framing the scope of what science can really address as it attempts to examine metaphysical questions. He then points out both Hawking’s dismissal of philosophy and his misunderstanding of Christian theism. God is not merely a “god of the gaps”, an explanation for the world as we know it. The Christian understanding of God has Him outside the boundaries of creation as Lord over all of it, not some explanation for unknown phenomena. As for philosophy, after rejecting it as “dead”, Hawking jumps in and tries his own hand at several metaphysical questions that philosophy has long addressed. Hawking’s attempt at doing philosophy is all the poorer for his outright rejection of it.

Lennox then takes Hawking to task for claiming that the theory of gravity, or scientific laws in general, can operate as a “creator” in a sense, and be the ultimate cause for our universe. He clarifies what a law or rule of nature really “is”, and illustrates how Hawking makes more of such laws than can really be claimed. He then goes on to show how Hawking’s “M” theory of the “Multiverse” conveniently sidesteps objections by positing the existence of infinite universes. Still the question remains, why are there any universes instead of no universe? Lennox reveals that other major physicists have their own doubts as to the ability that M theory really has for being an explanation of everything.

Lennox also addresses head on the claim that miracles cannot happen because the laws of science would be invalidated. He pries open the layers from this question and shows the irrationality of claiming that science strictly forbids the existence of exceptions or miracles.

By the end of this short book (it’s only 100 pages long), Lennox has made a convincing case for theism and demonstrated that reasonable scientists continue to affirm the divine. Lennox’s book is accessible and clear, even as it interacts with quite complicated elements from Hawking’s writing. The book doesn’t own the six-day, young earth Creationist view, but it doesn’t rule it out either. Lennox argues that often the new atheists assume that to believe in God is to believe in a young earth view, and he shows this is not true. Lennox marshals arguments from science (the very idea of the big bang supports the Bible’s claim that the world has a beginning – something science has only admitted in the last hundred years), philosophy, history and the realm of human experience. The resulting case is convincing and should serve to bolster the faith of any troubled by the new atheism. At the least, it offers avenues of further exploration available in grappling with these issues.

Before closing my review, I should excerpt a small section from this book which captures some of Lennox’s craft in action. This excerpt will illustrate his style and the way he can cut to the heart of an issue with incisive logic.

"Suppose, to make matters clearer, we replace the universe by a jet engine and then are asked to explain it. Shall we account for it by mentioning the personal agency of its inventor, Sir Frank Whittle? Or shall we follow Hawking: dismiss personal agency, and explain the jet engine by saying that it arose naturally from physical law…. It is not a question of either/or. It is self-evident that we need both levels of explanation in order to give a complete description. It is also obvious that the scientific explanation neither conflicts nor competes with the agent explanation: they complement one another. It is the same with explanations of the universe: god does not conflict or compete with the laws of physics as an explanation. God is actually the ground of all explanation, in the sense that he is the cause in the first place of there being a world for the laws of physics to describe."

To this I add my “amen”. I encourage you to pick up this little book as it offers an excellent primer on how to deal with the claims of the new atheism. Even if you differ with Lennox on a point or two, his clear style and succinct arguments will equip you in thinking through these issues on your own.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by Kregel Publications via Litfuse Publicity Group. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review. ( )
  bobhayton | Jul 26, 2011 |
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'The Grand Design', by eminent scientist Stephen Hawking, is the latest blockbusting contribution to the so-called New Atheist debate, and claims that the laws of physics themselves brought the Universe into being, rather than God. In this swift and forthright reply, John Lennox, Oxford mathematician and author of 'God's Undertaker', exposes the flaws in Hawking's logic. In lively, layman's terms, Lennox guides us through the key points in Hawking's arguments - with clear explanations of the latest scientific and philosophical methods and theories - and demonstrates that far from disproving a Creator God, they make his existence seem all the more probable.

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