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Professor John Lennox at Eden Court


(Please pray that those who attended this event holding a different point of view will have hearts open to what they heard.)

  

UPDATE

Click here for update including link to recording of the lecture.



John Lennox

Monday, 27 October, 2008 at 4.30pm


The third and final lecture of the UHI Public Lecture series on science and religion will be given by Dr. John Lennox. Dr. Lennox, author of “God’s Undertaker: has science buried God?” will present a response to Professor Richard Dawkins who spoke at the same venue in April 2008.

Following the Prof. Dawkins event there was considerable debate on the Christians Together web site which included contributions from and engagement with atheists. It remains to be seen whether those who avidly follow Dawkins will be keen to hear an alternative viewpoint.
As the book of Proverbs tells us:
"The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.
"
Prov 18:17

You might want to take a friend to this meeting (for which there is no charge). And if you wish to refresh your memory on the arguments for creationism have a look at Answers in Genesis.



Meanwhile Dave Hunt of The Berean Call writes:

Textbook examples of evolution often evaporate when researchers actually study them (instead of just assuming they are true).

For example, the peacock's tail did not evolve to please hen birds; hens don't notice them much. The allegedly yummy Viceroy butterfly did not evolve to look like the bad-tasting Monarch (both insects taste bad). The eyespots on butterflies' wings did not evolve to scare birds by resembling the eyes of their predators. Birds avoid brightly patterned insects, period. They don't care whether the patterns resemble eyes. Similarly, the famous "peppered moth" of textbook fame has devolved into a peppered myth, featuring book-length charges and countercharges.

And remember that row of vertebrate embryos in your textbook years ago? It was dubbed in the journal Science one of the "most famous fakes" in biology-because the embryos don't really look very similar. And Darwin's majestic Tree of Life? It's now a tangleweed, or maybe several of them.

We seldom see evolution happening. Michael Behe's Edge of Evolution (2007) notes that for decades scientists have observed many thousands of generations of bacteria in the lab. And how did they evolve?

Well, they didn't. Worse, when evolution is occasionally observed (and widely trumpeted), it often heads the wrong way. For example, bacteria evolve antibiotic resistance by junking intricate machinery, not by creating it. Cave fish lose their eyes. But we don't need a theory for how intricate machinery gets wrecked. We need a theory for how it originates and how it develops quite suddenly. Evolution, as we understand it today, apparently isn't that theory.

We aren't going to improve science education by teaching Darwinian fairy tales.


 


 

This is a ticket-only event. Tickets are free and are available from:
The Eden Court Box Office Tel 01463 234 234).

 


 


John LennoxDr John Lennox is a graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge where took his doctorate in 1970. Then for 29 years he was Reader in Pure Mathematics at the University of Wales from where he has a DSc. Now he is a Research Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science and Pastoral Advisor at Green College, Oxford. He also holds a degree in bioethics. John has lectured extensively in Europe, both Western and Eastern, including many visits to Russia as a guest of the Academy of Science.

John has a keen interest in the interface of Theology, Philosophy and Science, and lectures on these issues at Wycliffe Hall and at the University of Oxford. Among other works, he is author of Hat die Wissenschaft Gott begraben? (Has Science Buried God? 2002, Brockhaus), and Informetika (2003, Harmat). He is co-author, with David Gooding, of a number of books including Christianity: Opium or Truth?, The Bible and Moral Education and The Definition of Christianity, each of which has been published in a number of languages. As a Senior Fellow of the Trinity Forum he also acts regularly as Course Moderator for their conferences in Europe. He and his wife Sally live near Oxford and have three grown up children, Rachel, Jonathan and Benjamin, and two grandchildren.

 

 


 

 

Recording of the Lennox lecture

On the evening of the lecture, there was a problem at the outset with the microphone system in the auditorium. This was resolved after a few minutes delay; and Dr. Lennox's talk proceeded. Unfortunately the opening sentence is missing but what has been recorded has now (mid November) appeared on the UHI web site.

Audio iconYou can hear what has been made available by <clicking on this link>.

 

Comment:

It is a pity that the talk by Dr. Lennox does not appear to have benefitted from the same level of recording (audio only) and prominence as the earlier Richard Dawkins lecture (which can be found in full as a 4-part video on the UHI web site).


<Top>


Christians Together, 16/10/2008

Feedback:
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Penny Lee 21/10/2008 11:48
Okay, thanks.

Maybe you will let us know when it appears on the site and provide a link.
Duncan Tamsett (Guest) 26/10/2008 17:34
I would like to point out that many believers in God and in Jesus are convinced by the evidence for Evolution and I am one of them.

The Origin of Species is a brilliant book (have you read it?) especially considering it was written ~150 years ago. Ken Miller has written a book called Searching For Darwin's God (something like that). He is a Christian and an Evolutionist and his book includes an abundance of evidence that was not available to Darwin.

The evidence for Evolution is overwhelming and I would say Evolution is proved in the sense of beyond reasonable doubt. The evidence for 6 Day Creationism is too thin for viability.

I have viewed 3 Answers In Genesis DVDs (and read or attempted to read several creationist books) and the arguments and 'evidences' are carefully presented to create impressions rather than establish truth i.e. they are propagandist in nature.

Many Christians in over-literally interpreting one page of scripture have succeeded in making God, the Word of God, and the Body of Believers look ridiculous and have handed Dawkins the ammunition for a very effective anti-God propaganda campaign.

The 6 days of creation in my opinion are 6 nights of vision. The opening Chapter of Genesis is then rather like the book of Revelation; it is an account of living visions in which the author was caught up (how else would the author know about the things he wrote about? Was it just cold dictation?)

The operative word in the sentences 'Let ... Plants ... Marine animals ... Land animals ... 'appear' could in moden parlance be translated 'evolve' without loss of meaning or intent I suspect.

In my opinion a universe in which Evolution can happen requires God every bit as much as a literal 6 day creation would. Remember it is not what a person thinks about creation or evolution that determines whether they are saved but what they think of Jesus. And it is also in Him that the convincing evidence for the existence of God resides!

I think we believers in Jesus should not lose our point of focus.
Editor 28/10/2008 20:26
Those who attended the lecture given by Dr. Lennox heard him effectively demolish many of the main arguments that Dawkins makes. But his over-arching comment about the differences being related to "world-views" and not science per se, spoke volumes. The "science" arguments which atheists erect are but smoke screens for the rejection of the Maker of the Universe. (For whatever reason(s) there was no obvious representation at the question time following the lecture from the "other side".)

To put the true nature of the debate in clear context, Lennox finished with a very clear explanation of why he held a personal faith in the historical figure of Jesus Christ; and of the personal relationship with God which this faith allows.

Footnote:
Dr. Lennox also spoke of the "new atheists" and more information can be found at -
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20081013/challenging-the-new-atheists.htm
fly on the wall (Guest) 29/10/2008 13:50
"For whatever reason(s) there was no obvious representation at the question time following the lecture from the "other side".")

Should we be surprised? Isn't it, and hasn't it always been the case when such debates arise that the anti-God squad want debate only on their terms!
scottishgeologist (Guest) 29/10/2008 18:04
FOTW said: "hasn't it always been the case when such debates"

This was a LECTURE not a debate. There was the debate however in Oxford between Lennox and Dawkins last week. AFAIK, it was very well attended by both "sides".

Asking questions of a speaker is not the smae as a debate.

Anyway, this lecture series wasnt really balanced: - On the atheist side - one speaker on the first occasion (Dawkins) on the believer side 2 speakers on two occasions (MacGowan and Lennox)
Editor 29/10/2008 23:09
Perhaps I could add that Dr. Lennox stated at the outset that he would have preferred to have had a debate with Richard Dawkins.

Melanie Philips reported in the Spectator on the debate between the two men in Oxford.
See - http://tinyurl.com/5fya95 which also contains a link to a video of a similar joust in the US.
Editor 31/10/2008 12:20
Melanie Phillips is a journalist with the Daily Mail.
She writes in an on-line column for the Jewish Chronicle -

Melanie Phillips
October 17, 2008

In demanding a monopoly on truth, secular fundamentalists are in unholy alliance with secular zealots.

In demanding a monopoly on truth, secular fundamentalists are in unholy alliance with secular zealots.

It is an article of faith (except, of course, among those who actually have a faith) that the dethronement of God by the apostles of secularism has ushered in an age of reason. Belief in the Almighty is now widely held to be a priori evidence of primitive stupidity.

In fact, we are living in a deeply irrational age, where millions are putting their faith in such mumbo-jumbo as astrology, parapsychology, paganism, witchcraft or conspiracies between sinister groups and extra-terrestrial forces. All of which goes to prove the truth of the old adage that when people stop believing in God, they will believe in anything.

Nevertheless, the belief has taken hold that religious faith is inimical to reason, as defined and exemplified by the scientific mind. Such belief expresses itself in the near God-like status afforded to Professor Richard Dawkins - the Savonarola of atheism - on the basis of his aggressive contention that evolution accounts for the origin of life, and that anyone who believes the world had a creator and a purpose should be exiled altogether from intelligent discourse

Interestingly, over the past few months Dawkins has been meeting his match in a remarkable Oxford mathematics professor called John Lennox, who argues for the existence of a creator on the basis of science - and demonstrates that, on his own scientific terms, Dawkins's arguments fail the test of reason.

Next week, the two of them will slug it out in a debate freighted with historic resonance at Oxford's Natural History Museum - the very place where, in 1860, Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, tried to pour scorn on Darwin's Origin of Species, only to be savaged by "Darwin's bulldog" TH Huxley. I wouldn't put money on the same outcome this time.

The fact that secularism has taken on the characteristics of religious fanaticism, in espousing dogma inimical to human flourishing and punishing dissenters in order to slam the lid on debate, is explored in a timely monograph by Herbert London, president of the Hudson Institute, the influential American think-tank.

This institute is a front-line combatant in America's culture wars, in which it seeks to defend the values of western civilisation against the onslaught from those trying to destroy it. In his book, America's Secular Challenge: The Rise of a New National Religion, London argues that the rise of secularism has so hollowed out Western society that it has left it acutely vulnerable to the predations of radical Islam.

The decay of religion, he says, has given rise to moral relativism, which regards all beliefs and principles as being of equal value and truth as a relative concept. This has given rise to multiculturalism, which masquerades as the promotion of equal rights but is actually a disguised form of cultural and national self-loathing.

This in turn lies behind the idea that nations are illegitimate or passé, and that the world's problems can all be solved by everyone on the planet coming together to harness the power of reason to arrive at a solution. But, in robbing people of their national identity and capacity to believe in anything except the fiction that reason trumps all, this is an essentially irrational negation of self-interest.

No less irrational is the overreach of science which, as London writes, has been hijacked by secular fundamentalists who want to supplant religion by asserting that only in science can truths be found.

Such "scientism" - as this overreach is termed - goes beyond the ability of science to explain the nature of the world around us and claims to tell us how life began. Yet the assumption that science provides a complete theory of knowledge is itself fundamentally unscientific.

Science generates more questions than it can answer. The more science unravels the mysteries of the world for us, the more mysterious it becomes. And, as the many scientists who are also religious believers demonstrate, there is no inherent conflict between religion and science.

The dogma that science provides the answer to every question and so supplants religion has led to a junking of the moral codes deriving from Judaism and Christianity that underpin western society.

This loss of cultural nerve has created an unwitting collusion between secular zealots and the Islamists who have declared war upon western civilisation, and who believe - correctly - that a secular west will be unable to resist them.

Science, rationality and the pursuit of truth are intimately related to the religious traditions of the west. If those traditions are not defended from within against the threat from without, this will be how the west was lost.
JP Kowaliski (Guest) 31/10/2008 21:31
I have made a full recording of the event, the quality is not perfect but the sound is distinct.
It is on CD as 3 MP3 files, The philosophy, Christianity, Q & A
If you are interested contact me at jplkowa@dsl.pipex.com
Editor 02/11/2008 16:18
Thanks for that information JPK, however the UHI will be (very shortly) posting the recording onto the UHI web site. Notification will be posted on this thread once the link is available
Ian Tweedie (Guest) 25/11/2008 10:43
The following letter was sent to and has been published in the Inverness Courier -
=========
Sir,

I was disappointed not to see any coverage of the recent lecture at Eden Court being the third in the series of lectures hosted by UHI. (If I have missed it, my apologies.) The speaker was John Lennox, Professor and Fellow of Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science at Oxford University, who was responding to the previous lecture (which was covered by you) given by Professor Richard Dawkins-author of The God Delusion. Unfortunately, I missed the Dawkins lecture, but have read his book. One of his statements (rather surprising in the first place, as he professes not to believe in absolutes) is as follows:-"It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not say that)"-he just did! Well, in Prof Lennox, I did in fact meet someone who does not accept Dawkins views, and I saw no trace whatsoever of any of these traits-quite the reverse!

The genial Prof Lennox demonstrated easily that trusting Jesus Christ is not in fact "a blind leap of faith" nor a committing of intellectual suicide and to the neo-Atheists -some of whom are today more aggressive in their zeal and less tolerant than the evangelical Christians they often criticise!- his arguments present significant challenges.

How did we come to be here in the first place? Explaining how DNA (information rather than matter) originated is perhaps the greatest of these. Did DNA come along first or did the first matter produce DNA ? In either case, how could such an incredibly complex design blueprint evolve by chance against astronomical odds at the earliest stages of evolution. (For the odds involved see Dr Carl Werner -"Evolution:the Grand Experiment") Dr Francis Collins, Director of the Project mapping out DNA asked himself even more pertinent questions such as "Why do mathematics work anyway? Why do humans have a moral sense? What happens after we die?" Science couldn't answer these questions, but Jesus did and Dr Collins became a Christian at the age of 27.

Yours etc,

Ian Tweedie
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