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Strobel presents lots of good scientific information on how various biological and physical systems of the universe work. I could relate to Strobel as he expressed excitement about the wonders of the physical universe and the magnificent operation of biological systems. His goal is to show how the amassed information about living systems and the structures of the universe point to a Creator, a variety of Intelligent Design.
Strobel interweaves interviews with various experts with personal stories of experiences and realizations. The format is engaging and provides substance and interest for the reader. The way Strobel handles some of the topics, though, is disappointing, even for a sympathetic reader.
The investigative aspects of the book are engaging. But the logical conclusions are incomplete and overdrawn. The section on Mind and Consciousness was disappointing, being very weak. The logic of arguments presented by the expert he interviewed was shoddy and sloppy, sounded silly in places.
The chapter does provide some fascinating details about the mind, knowledge and especially concepts of self. But the overall level of this topic was limted and shallow. I couldn't believe some of the arguments and declarations made here.
I wrote many talk-back comments in that chapter! These arguments were embarrassingly simplistic and superficial, and would not convince anyone who did not already believe what the author is advocating.
He should have pushed his source on the concepts of Mind and Consciousness. Some excellent work were done in neuro-physiology and psychology as well as other disciplines, discipline in the last 20 years or the 20th century. There are commonly available resources on this topic that make the ideas presented here sound like grade school ideas.
I felt embarrassed for Dr Moreland and the author when I read some of the puerile arguments, which overlooked basic factors and involved logical fallacies that someone of Strobel's experience should have caught and eliminated.
No Science of Mind
This section should have focused on recent developments in the Science of Mind, which has probed the concepts of self and non-physical realities in the mind, and the relationship between mind and brain in understanding Self. Or Memetics, which has investigated extensively the minute chemical protein events related to learning, memory and belief.
Areas of psychology provide helpful insights in the concept of Consciousness and Self, also. This chapter weakened the aura and appeal of this book, and was not representative of the care taken by experts, and the author, on other areas of knowledge.
Strobel has plenty of energy and drive, and I have heard him talk on televisions presentations and discussions. I did find it was worthwhile to read this book. In general Strobel is a competent investigative journalist. His logic and analysis are sound most of the time. This is why I was surprised by the oddly unreflective character of the discussion about science and history.
It was not clear that Strobel understood the difference between Natural Selection and Common Descent. These are two separate factors or doctrines within the broader range of neo-Darwinian thought. Much of Strobel's discussion of features common to humans and apes, for instance, are factors in the argument in favour of Common Descent, commonly affirmed by Christian commentators who oppose Natural Selection. (A good reference for this discussion in the book by Michael Behe, The Edge of Evolution.)
Some of the conclusions Strobel draws seem to have hidden logical fallacies or to overlook layers of facts. Amazingly simplistic for someone with an investigative background. These, along with the poor section discussed above, weakened that overall impact of the book.
Related on this Site:
The Awe of Scientific Discovery
Biological Evidence for the Human Spirit
Darwin and God – Different Domains of Reality
Genetics Out of Africa
Mapping Human Origins
Our Genetic Journey
Science and the Supernatural
Related on the Internet:
Lee Strobel Online: Investigating Faith
Lee Strobel at Zondervan Publishers
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Many other books have review notes with the reading list entry
First reading notes written August 2005
Reviewed on Amazon 16 August 2005
Expanded review posted on Thoughts and Resources 5 November 2007
Rewritten 1 February 2011
Copyright © 2007, 2011 Orville Boyd Jenkins
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use. Other rights reserved.