Thursday, May 10, 2007

Debate: Anti-God book author vs. Christian Citizen author

Christianity Today has sponsored a debate between Christopher Hitchens God Is Not Great and Letter from a Christian Citizen* author Douglas Wilson. Wilson, for example:

P. G. Wodehouse once said that some minds are like soup in a poor restaurant—better left unstirred. I am afraid that I find myself sympathizing with him as I consider atheism. I had been minding my own business on this subject for a number of years when I saw Sam Harris's book on the desk of a colleague, and that led to my book in response, not to mention a review of Richard Dawkins's most recent book, and now a series of responses to your God is Not Great, all culminating in this exchange. I am afraid that my problem is this: The more I stir the bowl, the more certain fumes, mystery meats, and questions keep floating to the surface. Here are a few of them.

For Hitchens' opening and for Wilson's reply, go here. I quoted just enough to apprise you that this is NOT a zzzzz-off between a dull divine and an earnest atheist. It's actually fun.

* Letter is apparently a response not to Hitchens but to another of the current spate of anti-God books, Letter to a Christian Nation. I have not got to either debater's book as yet but this introduction to the debate is amusing.

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New Book: The Physics of Christianity by Frank Tipler

According to Publisher's Weekly

From Publishers Weekly
The relationship between science and religion has long been a tenuous one. Some have worked to put these disciplines in "dialogue" with each other, while others have dismissed any possibility of a collegial relationship. To his credit, Tipler, professor of mathematical physics at Tulane University, attempts the former. He proposes that Christianity can be studied as a science, and its claims, if true, can be empirically proven. "I believe that we have to accept the implications of physical law, whatever these implications are. If they imply the existence of God, well then, God exists." After a cogent description of modern physics, Tipler embarks on a crusade to prove that God exists, that miracles are physically possible and the virgin birth and the bodily resurrection of Jesus do not defy scientific laws. The author's arguments are somewhat intriguing—his knowledge of science seems exhaustive and this may attract other scientists to consider the importance of religion. Many of his theological insights, however, are problematic. Dubbing Christianity a "science" does not automatically make it so, and Tipler seems to dismiss the centuries-old importance of the apophatic tradition in Christianity, that is, approaching the mystical nature of the Divine by positing what cannot be said about God. Tipler's interest in integrating science and religion is noble, but his method is uneven. (May)
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So should that be e = mChristianity squared?

Rule of thumb: If the book is non-materialist AND is viciously trashed in legacy mainstream media, it is definitely worth reading. But I haven't encountered deadtree reviews yet. Anyway, here's an excerpt. Go here, here, and here for comments. I hae ordered it and will comment later.

My other blog is the Post-Darwinist, detailing events of interest in the intelligent design controversy.

Toronto-based Canadian journalist Denyse O'Leary ( is the author of the multiple award-winning By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg Fortress 2004), an overview of the intelligent design controversy, and of Faith@Science. She was named CBA Canada's Recommended Author of the Year in 2005 and is co-author, with Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of the forthcoming The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul (Harper 2007).

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