Review of 'God and Stephen Hawking: whose design is it anyway? by John Lennox
This book is a response by John Lennox to the claims in 'The Grand Design,' by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow. John C Lennox is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford.
‘What all this goes to show is that nonsense remains nonsense, even when talked by world-famous scientists.’ (p. 32)
The first thing you notice is that it’s a very short book: at 96 pages, it is little more than a booklet. Its brevity conceals its depth.
It's an excellent book to read yourself or to pass on to a friend who has been influenced by ‘The Grand Design.’ It quickly and thoroughly exposes the shallow and inadequate thinking that has gone into Hawking and Mlodinow’s book.
An overview of the contents:
Chapter 1: ‘The big questions’
- Tackles Hawking’s philosophical superficiality, and flags up some of his self-contradictory statements about philosophy and his inadequate view of God.
Chapter 2: ‘God or the laws of nature?’
- Pulls apart Hawking’s assertion that the laws of nature are sufficient by themselves to bring the universe into being, without any need for God.
- Exposes the way Hawking smuggles something into the word ‘nothing,’ and then dodges the bullet about nothing coming from nothing – Hawking’s idea that something can ‘create itself.’
‘Thus the main conclusion of the book turns out not simply to be a self-contradiction, which would be disaster enough, but a triple self-contradiction. Philosophers just might be tempted to comment: so that is what comes of saying philosophy is dead!’ (p. 31)
Chapter 3: ‘God or the multiverse?’
- Lennox explores the credibility of a multiverse as an alternative to a creator God as an explanation of cosmic fine-tuning.
- He also exposes Hawking’s over-stating the case for M theory.
- He exposes the weaknesses of Hawking’s ‘model-dependent realism.'
Chapter 4: Whose design is it anyway?
- Here Lennox looks more closely at the belief that God created the universe, and at whether what Hawking offers is a workable alternative. He concludes that Hawking has an inadequate idea of God, and that the evidence he puts forward establishes the exact opposite of what he claims for it.
Chapter 5: Science and Rationality
- Here Lennox widens the field to look at the self-contradictory nature of reductionism, the place of ethics and history, the possibility or otherwise of miracles, especially the resurrection
‘What serves to obscure the illogicality of such statements is the fact that they are made by scientists; and the general public, not surprisingly, assumes that they are statements of science and takes them on authority. That is why it is important to point out that they are not statements of science, and any statement, whether made by a scientist or not, should be open to logical analysis. Immense prestige and authority does not compensate for faulty logic.’ (p. 32)
Lennox is also the author of ‘God’s Undertaker: has science buried God?’ You can read an extract on this web site.