عصير كتاب: استهداف الإله لـ جون لينوكس Gunning for God

Posted: ديسمبر 16, 2015 in لاهوت طبيعي, لاهوت عقيدي, الكتابات العامة, اللاهوت الدفاعي, الإلحاد, عصير الكتب

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Gunning for God

Why The New Atheists Are Missing the Target

By: John C. Lennox

gunning

Introduction

· Dawkins hopes that he can orchestrate an atheist revival — although the task, he feels, is as tricky as the proverbial herding of cats: “Even if they can’t be herded, cats in sufficient numbers can make a lot of noise and they cannot be ignored.” [GD, p.27.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 66-69). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· The atheists realize, of course, that they could not amass enough evidence to convince a court that the probability of God’s existence was zero; and if it is not zero, then God’s existence is possible. [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 81-83). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Christopher Hitchens says: “I’m not even an atheist so much as I am an antitheist; I not only maintain that all religions are versions of the same untruth, but I hold that the influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief is positively harmful.” [Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian, New York, Basic Books, 2001.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 195-197). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Christopher Hitchens sums up the position in his all-encompassing, and characteristically wild, statement: “Religion poisons everything.” [Christopher Hitchens, God is not Great (hereafter GNG), London, Atlantic Books, 2008, p.13.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 199-201). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Dawkins states the goal this way: “If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down,” [Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (hereafter GD), London, Bantam Press, 2006, p.28.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 236-238). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· We can therefore express the major elements in the New Atheists’ agenda as follows: (1) Religion is a dangerous delusion: it leads to violence and war. (2) We must therefore get rid of religion: science will achieve that. (3) We do not need God to be good: atheism can provide a perfectly adequate base for ethics. [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 287-291). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

Chapter 1: Are God and Faith Enemies of Reason and Science?

· Michel Onfray thinks that God is not dead. But theists should not cheer prematurely, for his explanation is: A fiction does not die, an illusion never passes away, a fairy tale does not refute itself… You cannot kill a breeze, a wind, a fragrance; you cannot kill a dream or an ambition. God, manufactured by mortals in their own quintessential image, exists only to make daily life bearable despite the path that every one of us treads towards extinction… We cannot assassinate or kill an illusion. In fact illusion is more likely to kill us — for God puts to death everything that stands up to him, beginning with reason, intelligence and the critical mind. All the rest follows in a chain reaction. [Michel Onfray, In Defence of Atheism (hereafter IDA), London, Profile Books, 2007, pp.12, 13.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 369-374). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· He argues that the Big Bang was the inevitable consequence of these laws: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.” [Hawking and Mlodinow, The Grand Design, p.180.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 441-443). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Physical laws on their own cannot create anything; they are merely a (mathematical) description of what normally happens under certain given conditions. Newton’s law of gravitation does not create gravity; it does not even explain gravity, as Newton himself realized. In fact, the laws of physics are not only incapable of creating anything; they cannot even cause anything to happen. [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 482-485). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Yet well-known physicist Paul Davies appears to agree with Hawking: “There’s no need to invoke anything supernatural in the origins of the universe or of life. I have never liked the idea of divine tinkering: for me it is much more inspiring to believe that a set of mathematical laws can be so clever as to bring all these things into being.” [See Clive Cookson, “Scientists Who Glimpsed God”, Financial Times, 29 April 1995, p.20.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 488-491). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· If I put £1,000 into the bank and then later another £1,000, the laws of arithmetic will rationally explain how it is that I now have £2,000 in the bank. But if I never myself put any money into the bank, and simply leave it to the laws of arithmetic to bring money into being in my bank account, I shall remain permanently bankrupt. [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 493-495). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Richard Feynman, a Nobel Laureate in physics, takes the matter further: “The fact that there are rules at all to be checked is a kind of miracle; that it is possible to find a rule, like the inverse square law of gravitation, is some sort of miracle. It is not understood at all, but it leads to the possibility of prediction — that means it tells you what you would expect to happen in an experiment you have not yet done.” [Richard Feynman, The Meaning of it all, London, Penguin, 2007, p.23.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 508-511). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Allan Sandage, widely regarded as the father of modern astronomy (discoverer of quasars and winner of the Crafoord Prize, astronomy’s equivalent of the Nobel), is in no doubt about his answer: “I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence — why there is something rather than nothing.” [Allan Sandage, New York Times, 12 March 1991, p.B9. Or see http://www.nytimes.com/1991/03/12/science/sizing-up-the-cosmos-an-astronomer-s-quest.html.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 518-521). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· “As soon as you ask why is there something instead of nothing, you have gone beyond science. I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery, but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing.” http://www.nytimes.com/1991/03/12/science/sizing-up-the-cosmos-an-astronomer-s-quest.html?pagewanted=3

· In trying to avoid the clear evidence for the existence of a divine intelligence behind nature, atheist-scientists are forced to ascribe creative powers to less and less credible candidates, such as mass/energy and the laws of nature. [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 521-523). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Like every other physicist Hawking is confronted with powerful evidence of design, as he explains in his book: Our universe and its laws appear to have a design that both is tailor-made to support us and, if we are to exist, leaves little room for alteration. That is not easily explained and raises the natural question of why it is that way… The discovery relatively recently of the extreme fine-tuning of so many of the laws of nature could lead at least some of us back to the old idea that this grand design is the work of some grand designer… That is not the answer of modern science… our universe seems to be one of many, each with different laws. [Hawking and Mlodinow, The Grand Design, p.164.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 525-530). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· From a theoretical point of view, as philosophers (that despised race) have pointed out, God could create as many universes as he pleases. Of itself, the multiverse concept does not rule God out. [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 534-536). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· For instance, Professor John Polkinghorne, an eminent theoretical physicist himself, rejects the multiverse concept: Let us recognise these speculations for what they are. They are not physics, but in the strictest sense, metaphysics. There is no purely scientific reason to believe in an ensemble of universes. By construction these other worlds are unknowable by us. A possible explanation of equal intellectual respectability — and to my mind greater economy and elegance — would be that this one world is the way it is, because it is the creation of the will of a Creator who purposes that it should be so. [Sir John Polkinghorne, One World, London, SPCK, 1986, p.80.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 539-543). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Paul Davies (cited above), who is not a theist, says of M-theory: “It is not testable, not even in any foreseeable future.” [Hannah Devlin, “Hawking: God Did Not Create the Universe” The Times Eureka, 12 September 2010.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 549-550). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Oxford physicist Frank Close goes further: “M-theory is not even defined… we are even told ‘No one seems to know what the M stands for.’ Perhaps it is ‘myth’.” Close concludes: “I don’t see that M-theory adds one iota to the God debate, either pro or con.” [Eureka, 12 September 2010, p.23.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 550-552). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· “Faith is an evil precisely because it requires no justification and brooks no argument.” [GD, p.347.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 715-716). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Dawkins quotes Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: “When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion, it is called Religion.” [GD, p.28.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 716-718). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Michel Onfray tells us that “religion is imagined because people do not wish to face reality”. [IDA, p.23.] They would “rather have the faith to soothe than reason at the price of a perpetually infantile mentality”. [IDA, p.27.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 740-743). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Polish Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz, who had reason to know, writes: “A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death — the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders, we are not going to be judged.” [See the New York Review of Books http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1998/nov/19/discreet-charm-of-nihilism/.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 750-752). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Physicist Paul Davies, though not a theist, says that the right scientific attitude is essentially theological: “Science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.” He points out that “even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith [italics mine] the existence of a law-like order in nature that is at least in part comprehensible to us”. [Templeton Prize Address, 1995, http://www.origins.org/articles/davies_templetonaddress.html.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 772-775). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Albert Einstein famously said: Science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration towards truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot imagine a scientist without that profound faith [italics mine]. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. [See Max Jammer, Einstein and Religion, Princeton, University Press, 1999, p.94.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 776-780). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Einstein himself explicitly stated: “I’m not an atheist and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist.” [Jammer, Einstein and Religion, p.48.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 786-787). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Furthermore, we certainly don’t find Dawkins urging us, as Einstein did, to recognize that: Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe — a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naïve. [Letter from Einstein to Phyllis Wright, 24 January 1936, Albert Einstein Archive 52-337. Cited by Walter Isaacson, Einstein, London, Simon and Schuster, 2007, p.388.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 788-793). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Stephen Hawking seems not to have taken this into account when he wrote in The Grand Design: “The fact that we human beings — who are ourselves mere collections of fundamental particles of nature — have come close to an understanding of the laws governing us and our Universe is a great triumph.” [Hawking and Mlodinow, The Grand Design, p.181.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 890-892). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Atheist John Gray spells out the implications of this view: “Modern humanism is the faith that through science humankind can know the truth and so be free. But if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true this is impossible. The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” [John Gray, Straw Dogs, London, Granta Books, 2002, p.26.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 893-895). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Atheism is ultimately nothing but one great self-contradictory delusion. [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 904-905). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

Chapter 2: Is Religion Poisonous?

· Speaking of Islam, he says: “If you don’t take it seriously and accord it a proper respect you are physically threatened on a scale that no other religion has aspired to since the Middle Ages.” [GD, p.49.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 980-982). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Biologist David Sloan Wilson is forthright in his assessment: When Dawkins’ The God Delusion was published I naturally assumed that he was basing his critique of religion on the scientific study of religion from an evolutionary perspective. I regret to report otherwise. He has not done any original work on the subject and he has not fairly represented the work of his colleagues. Hence this critique of The God Delusion and the larger issues at stake. [David Sloan Wilson “Beyond Demonic Memes: Why Richard Dawkins is Wrong about Religion”, Internet magazine eSceptic, 4 July 2007.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1249-1253). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Sims cites as evidence the American Journal of Public Health’s major meta-analysis of epidemiological studies on the psychological effects of religious belief: In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout religious belief and practice probably outweigh the risks. [Professor Andrew Sims, Is Faith Delusion?: Why Religion is Good For Your Health, London, Continuum, 2009, p.100.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1298-1305). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Sims concludes with the observation: “Although the content of delusion may be religious, the whole of belief, of itself, is not and cannot be a delusion.” [Ibid., from the Preface.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1311-1313). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Keith Ward writes: If there is a root of evil that became a terrifying force that almost brought the world to destruction in the first half of the twentieth century, it is the anti-religious ideologies of Germany and Russia, North Vietnam and North Korea. It takes almost wilful blindness to invert this historical fact, and to suppose that the religions that were persecuted and crushed by these brutal forces are the real sources of evil in the world. [Ward, Is Religion Dangerous?, p.40.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1337-1341). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· he points out that not one member of Weinberg’s audience asked “the question one might have thought pertinent: Just who imposed on the suffering human race poison gas, barbed wire, high explosives, experiments in eugenics, the formula for Zyklon B, heavy artillery, pseudo-scientific justifications for mass murder, cluster bombs, attack submarines, napalm, intercontinental ballistic missiles, military space platforms, and nuclear weapons? If memory serves, it was not the Vatican.” [David Berlinski, The Devil’s Delusion – Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions, New York, Crown Forum, 2008, p.21.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1351-1354). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

Chapter 3: Is Atheism Poisonous?

· Robinson continues: It is a peculiarity of our language that by war we generally mean a conflict between nations, or at least one in which both sides are armed. There has been persistent violence against religion — in the French Revolution, in the Spanish Civil War, in the Soviet Union, in China. In three of these instances the extirpation of religion was part of a program to reshape society by excluding certain forms of thought, by creating an absence of belief. Neither sanity nor happiness appears to have been served by these efforts. The kindest conclusion one can draw is that Dawkins has not acquainted himself with the history of modern authoritarianism. [Marilynne Robinson, “Review of The God Delusion”, Harper’s Magazine, 2006. See http://solutions.synearth.net/2006/10/20/.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1375-1380). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Christopher Hitchens is also aware of this issue: “It is interesting to find that people of faith now seek defensively to say that they are no worse than fascists or Nazis or Stalinists.” [GNG, p.230.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1381-1382). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· “Those who in the name of science claim that we can overcome our imperfect human nature create a belief system that functions like religion.” [Chris Hedges, I Don’t Believe in Atheists, New York, Free Press, 2008, p.54.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1393-1394). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Dawkins says (no longer quoting Baggini or anyone else): “An atheist in this sense of philosophical naturalist is somebody who believes [italics mine] there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world, no supernatural creative intelligence lurking behind the observable universe…” [GD, p.34.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1419-1421). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Yet Dawkins asserts blithely: “Individual atheists may do evil things but they don’t do evil things in the name of atheism. Stalin and Hitler did extremely evil things, in the name of, respectively, dogmatic and doctrinaire Marxism, and an insane and unscientific eugenics theory tinged with sub-Wagnerian ravings.” [GD, pp.315–16.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1439-1442). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· “Even if we accept that Hitler and Stalin shared atheism, they both also had moustaches, as does Saddam Hussein. So what?” [GD, p.309.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1480-1482). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· We might add, in a sudden flash of deep insight, that all three had noses in common with the rest of us. What kind of “reasoning” is this? [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1482-1483). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Somewhere in Eastern Europe, an SS officer watched languidly, his machine gun cradled, as an elderly and bearded Hasidic Jew laboriously dug what he knew to be his grave. Standing up straight, he addressed his executioner. “God is watching what you are doing,” he said. And then he was shot dead. What Hitler did not believe, and what Stalin did not believe, and what Mao did not believe, and what the SS did not believe, and what the Gestapo did not believe, and what the NKVD did not believe, and what the commissars, functionaries, swaggering executioners, Nazi doctors, Communist Party theoreticians, intellectuals, Brown Shirts, Blackshirts, Gauleiters, and a thousand party hacks did not believe, was that God was watching what they were doing. And as far as we can tell, very few of those carrying out the horrors of the twentieth century worried overmuch that God was watching what they were doing either. That is, after all, the meaning of a secular society. [Berlinski, The Devil’s Delusion, pp.26–27.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1485-1494). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Dawkins warns (against the evidence, in the case of Christianity at least) that “the teachings of moderate religion are an open invitation to extremism”. [GD, p.342.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1552-1553). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· The teachings of ‘moderate’ religion, though not extremist in themselves, are an open invitation to extremism. [Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion, Published 2006 by Bantam Press, page 306.]

· For example, the following reprehensible statement by Sam Harris sounds like a harbinger of death: “Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them.” [Harris, The End of Faith, pp.52–53.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1578-1579). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

Chapter 4: Can We Be Good Without God?

· Michael Ruse writes: “Finally, and most importantly, there is the fact that Dawkins is engaged on a moral crusade, not as a philosopher trying to establish premises and conclusions but as a preacher, telling the ways to salvation and to damnation. The God Delusion is above all a work of morality.” [Michael Ruse, Defining Darwin: Essays on the History and Philosophy of Evolution, Amherst New York, Prometheus Books, 2009, Chapter 10, p.237.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1620-1623). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Leading ethicist Peter Singer articulates the implications of leaving God out of the picture as follows: Whatever the future holds, it is likely to prove impossible to restore in full the sanctity-of-life view. The philosophical foundations of this view have been knocked asunder. We can no longer base our ethics on the idea that human beings are a special form of creation made in the image of God, singled out from all other animals, and alone possessing an immortal soul. Our better understanding of our own nature has bridged the gulf that was once thought to lie between ourselves and other species; so why should we believe that the mere fact that a being is a member of the species Homo Sapiens endows its life with some unique, almost infinite value? [Peter Singer, “Sanctity of Life or Quality of Life?”, Pediatrics, Vol. 72, No.1, July 1983, pp.128–129.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1626-1632). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Julian Savulescu, writes: “I believe that God’s existence is irrelevant. What matters is ethical behaviour.” [In 50 Voices of Disbelief, Blackford and Schuklenk, p.171.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1633-1634). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Albert Einstein, in a discussion on science and religion in Berlin in 1930, said that our sense of beauty and our religious instinct are: “tributary forms in helping the reasoning faculty towards its highest achievements. You are right in speaking of the moral foundations of science, but you cannot turn round and speak of the scientific foundations of morality.” According to Einstein, therefore, science cannot form a base for morality: “Every attempt to reduce ethics to scientific formulae must fail.” [For this and Einstein’s stance on religion and science see the definitive work of Max Jammer, Einstein and Religion, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1999. The citation here is from p.69.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1654-1658). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Richard Feynman, also a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, shared Einstein’s view: “Even the greatest forces and abilities don’t seem to carry any clear instructions on how to use them. As an example, the great accumulation of understanding as to how the physical world behaves only convinces one that this behaviour has a kind of meaninglessness about it. The sciences do not directly teach good or bad.” [Richard P. Feynman, The Meaning of it All, London, Penguin, 2007, p.32.] Elsewhere he states: “Ethical values lie outside the scientific realm.” [Ibid. p.43.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1658-1662). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Dawkins, also, has thought the same until recently: “It is pretty hard to defend absolute morals on anything other than religious grounds.” He has also admitted that you cannot get ethics from science: “Science has no methods for deciding what is ethical.” [Dawkins, A Devil’s Chaplain, p.39.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1663-1665). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Holmes Rolston points out: Science has made us increasingly competent in knowledge and power, but it has also left us decreasingly confident about right and wrong. The evolutionary past has not been easy to connect with the ethical future. There is no obvious route from biology to ethics — despite the fact that here we are… The genesis of ethics is problematic. [Holmes Rolston III, Genes, Genesis and God, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1999, pp.214–15.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1668-1671). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Perhaps Harris is vaguely aware of this himself since, towards the end of his book, he attenuates the claim of his cover sub-title to the lesser and very different “claim that science could have something important to say about values” (The Moral Landscape, p.189). [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 4240-4242). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· In his New York Times review of Harris, Kwame Anthony Appiah asks: “How do we know that the morally right act is, as Harris posits, the one that does the most to increase well-being, defined in terms of our conscious states of mind? Has science really revealed that? If it hasn’t, then the premise of Harris’ all-we-need-is-science argument must have non-scientific origins.” [Kwame Anthony Appiah, “Science knows best”, The New York Times, 1 October 2010.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1714-1717). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Biologist P. Z. Myers elaborates: I don’t think Harris’s criterion — that we can use science to justify maximizing the well-being of individuals — is valid. We can’t. We can certainly use science to say how we can maximize well-being, once we define well-being… although even that might be a bit more slippery than he portrays it. Harris is smuggling in an unscientific prior in his category of well-being. [http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/05/sam_harris_v_sean_carroll.php] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1717-1721). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Harris’s response to this is illuminating: To use Myer’s formulation, we must smuggle in an “unscientific prior” to justify any branch of science. If this isn’t a problem for physics, why should it be a problem for a science of morality? Can we prove, without recourse to any prior assumptions, that our definition of “physics” is the right one? No, because our standards of proof will be built into any definition we provide. [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-harris/a-science-of-morality_b_567185.html.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1721-1725). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Singer expresses it: “Life as a whole had no meaning. Life began, as the best available theories tell us, in a chance combination of molecules; it then evolved through random mutations and natural selection. All this just happened; it did not happen for any purpose.” [Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 2nd ed, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1993, reprint of 1999, p.331.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1807-1809). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· William B. Provine also agrees with Monod that man’s duty is not written down: “No inherent moral or ethical laws exist, nor are there absolute guiding principles for human society. The universe cares nothing for us and we have no ultimate meaning in life.” [William B. Province, “Scientists, Face It! Science and Religion are Incompatible”, The Scientist, 5 September 1988.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1810-1812). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· For, example, Alasdair Palmer, Scientific Correspondent of The Sunday Telegraph, likewise assures his readers: It is not just the religious explanation of the world that is contradicted by the scientific explanations of our origins. So, too, are most of our ethical values, since most of them have been shaped by our religious heritage. A scientific account of mankind has no more place for free-will or the equal capacity of each individual to be good and act justly than it has for the soul. [Alasdair Palmer, “Must Knowledge Gained Mean Paradise Lost?” The Sunday Telegraph, 6 April 1977.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1813-1817). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· “Morality, or more strictly our belief in morality, is merely an adaptation put in place to further our reproductive ends. Hence the basis of ethics does not lie in God’s will… In any important sense, ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to co-operate.” [Michael Ruse and Edward O. Wilson, “Evolution and Ethics”, New Scientist, Vol. 108, 17 October 1985, pp.50–52.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1829-1832). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Darwin’s theory shows the truth of naturalism: we are animals like any other; our fate and that of the rest of life on Earth are the same. Yet, in an irony all the more exquisite because no one has noticed it, Darwinism is now the central prop of the humanist faith that we can transcend our animal natures and rule the Earth. [Gray, Straw Dogs, p.31.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1838-1841). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· “Modern humanism is the faith that through science humankind can know the truth — and so be free. But if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true [sic!] this is impossible. The human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” [Gray, Black Mass, p.26.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1843-1845). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· There is an interesting discussion of the difficulties of explaining altruism within the framework of evolutionary theory in Rolston, Genes, Genesis and God, Chapter 5. [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 4277-4279). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· In light of this, it is very difficult to see how a mindless evolutionary process could explain the deep-seated ubiquitous moral conviction that we have a duty to support those very people who, in the nature of things, are most liable to inhibit, or even to threaten, evolutionary “progress” — the weak, the handicapped, the ill, the aged. And not only those of our own family, tribe, or race, but of people generally; even though supporting them will involve a serious drain on our resources and make the survival of the race more difficult. [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1860-1863). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· Dawkins says: “We are survival machines — robot vehicles blindly-programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.” [Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, p.ix.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1897-1898). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

· In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind, pitiless, indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. [Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden, New York, Basic Books, 1992, p.133.] [John C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Kindle Locations 1913-1916). Lion Books. Kindle Edition.]

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