Following where the evidence leads – always?

A short section, and only one point to make. Once again Lennox quotes Anthony Flew, and includes a little plug for his side with it in “Anthony Flew, in his recent turning from atheism to theism” (39). I remind the reader that there is much debate about Flew’s conversion, and even if it is taken at face Flew still disagreed with the core of Lennox’s scientific evidence for god, and what kind of god to believe in. As I said before theist is a term for a pretty loosely held together group that has little usefulness beyond generalizations. One may as well make a list of things that are blue.

13 thoughts on “Following where the evidence leads – always?

  1. Chris Fellows (@cfellows65536)

    Lennox and Flew seem to be on the same page as far as scientific evidence for God, in that the core in both cases seems to be a belief in the impossibility that life could have arisen naturally: “My one and only piece of relevant evidence [for an Aristotelian God] is the apparent impossibility of providing a naturalistic theory of the origin from DNA of the first reproducing species … [In fact] the only reason which I have for beginning to think of believing in a First Cause god is the impossibility of providing a naturalistic account of the origin of the first reproducing organisms.”

    Since Lennox doesn’t explicitly go into any evidence for a personal, interventionist God: the arguments presented in his book are only for the same sort of Aristotelian God that Flew apparently espoused. So the divergences in what kind of God they believe(d) in are not significant.

    Reply
    1. winstoninabox Post author

      Throughout the book Lennox repeatedly refers to the Christian god. He quotes only Christian scientists for support of theism. He is a proponent of ID and the finely tuned universe universe. “God’s Undertaker” is a Christian apologetic in all but name.

      Flew rejected or did not support Christianity, ID and the finely tuned universe. But at the time Flew’s conversion to theism was seen as a coup by the theists, so Lennox is capitalizing on that. My intention is to indicate to the casual reader that Lennox is not presenting an accurate picture of Flew; which is what he does with the whole theist movement. As I said, you may as well make a list of things that are blue for all the points of theism that they have in common – the belief that there is more out there.

      Reply
  2. Marco

    As I said before theist is a term for a pretty loosely held together group that has little usefulness beyond generalizations. One may as well make a list of things that are blue.

    I don’t really agree with this statement. People who are religious by Dawkins’, or even most people’s standards, are theists first. I think Lennox knows full well that his arguments are just as valid for Islam etc. It is clear that arguments and books for specific religions start with the assumption of God the creator and arbiter of good and evil. It is pointless to argue explicitly for a single religion over another to an atheist- it’s the theism that makes them equally deluded or not, thus the atheism that pulls theists together as a group. In fact, world peace would be better served if religions banded together against atheism.

    Reply
    1. winstoninabox Post author

      Yes, his arguments would be valid for other religions; he is arguing the theist point after all. But he does not and is not comfortable about making more specific arguments or bringing more specific evidence to bear on the topic. That’s why we’ll only encounter very broad evidence for ID and the fine tuned universe. If he presents evidence that heaven was found by the Hubble Telescope and it’s got Pearly Gates with St. Peter on the door then he’s going to find that the alliance of theists just got a lot shakier as non-Christians walk out. The theists can’t even agree on what god (or gods) are supported by the evidence he has. A weaker claim could could hardly be made – I have evidence of something over nothing.
      Good one John. I have a list of things that are blue.

      Reply
      1. Chris Fellows (@cfellows65536)

        But he does not and is not comfortable about making more specific arguments or bringing more specific evidence to bear on the topic.

        Speculation, your Honor!

        You seem to be both accusing Lennox of defending Christianity rather than Theism and of holding back his arguments for Christianity and presenting arguments for a nebulous Theism instead. “Have you stopped beating your wife?” you will ask him next.

        Sure, he is a Christian, but he’s written a book defending Theism. I don’t think there is anything in his book that would drive away Muslims or Jews – indidividuals will disagree with parts of it, but not on party lines. And I don’t think he has maliciously held back evidence of features of the universe that he believes specifically validate Christianity vis-a-vis Islam – I doubt there are any. I think Lennox holds the particular form of Theism he does for reasons that come out of culture, not nature.

        Reply
  3. winstoninabox Post author

    Speculation, your Honor!

    You say that like it’s a bad thing… as I’ve said to Nathanael I’m not presenting a reasoned alternative to Lennox’s theism. I’m saying why I (this theory which is mine and made by me) think this is not a good book. If he wants to write a better book defending theism he should have got a more denominationally diverse crop of theist scientists to quote mine from. He should be picking on others besides the New Atheists. He should be engaging with atheism that is less strident than Atkins’s.
    Why doesn’t he do so? Why doesn’t he make a better book defending theism, when it’s a really super dooper easy position to defend? Because… we’ll I don’t know why but on my blog that wot I paid for myself I’m pretty free to speculate about. When I write a tell all book about Lennox I’ll ask him myself why he wrote a book about theism that only includes Christians and only talks about Christianity providing evidence for theism.

    BTW, I didn’t know Lennox was even considering to stop beating his wife.

    Reply
  4. Chris Fellows (@cfellows65536)

    I don’t know if Lennox is really concerned about defending theism per se, but instead to sink the boot into the New Atheists. As I’ve said elsewhere, I don’t think his book is a particularly good book, but I haven’t based that on these first chapters which you’re getting stuck into. And as I’ve said elsewhere (on my blog what I got for free, being a cheap bastard) Prof Dawkins’ famous book is really lame and deserves to have the boot sunk into it. So go team Lennox, rah rah rah!

    Reply
    1. winstoninabox Post author

      I agree that Lennox’s main aim is not defending theism but attacking the New Atheists. I’ve no idea why he bothers… as I said before they are a minority view of a minority view. But whatever his motivations Lennox’s book was recommended to me as a good book. Go to Amazon and most of the reviews have this opinion, too. I think it’s certainly worthwhile pointing out why it is not a good book, and especially that it isn’t really talking about the topic it claims to be talking about. When he uses the gospel of John as proof that theism has always demanded evidence then his motivations are free to be called into question.

      And the enemy of your enemy is not your friend.

      Reply
      1. Marco

        I’ve no idea why he bothers… as I said before they are a minority view of a minority view.

        That makes it sound like even regular atheists should ignore Dawkins? I think he ought to bother. Loosely affiliated non-theists are being won over by the arguments of the renowned biologist, to a philosophy that I find dangerous as a basis for culture.

        Does it matter that we have an atheist prime minister? No. I think I might have voted for her.

        I am more worried about the heart and minds of influential thinkers.

        Reply
  5. Chris Fellows (@cfellows65536)

    I’m not presenting a reasoned alternative to Lennox’s theism.

    But you ought to!

    I suggest you present your argument by doing a voiceover to spliced semi-appropriate segments of ‘My Little Pony’. I would *definitely* recommend such a Youtube product ad nauseam to my extensive social network (which is admittedly, er, largely comprised of the four people who comment on this blog.)

    Reply
    1. winstoninabox Post author

      bah! My Little Pony is so passée. Though I suppose that if it were put to dub step it could almost be deemed ‘retro’ by the philosophy of science hipster crowd.

      Reply

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