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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Christian mathematician John Lennox vs. former Christian science writer Michael Shermer, on God, design, and all that

Here's the The Great Debate - Does God Exist?, between British mathematician John Lennox and American science writer Michael Shermer at the Center for Public Christianity, Sydney, Australia (August 27, 2008)

Lennox tells me in a recent post that he has always been a Christian - unlike his Oxford colleague Alister McGrath, who was at one time an atheist. (I'm told Lennox has since moved to University of London, but (update) apparently not.) Lennox is a very active debater, too Here are some of his venues:


"New debate on God, atheism, and science on very spot where Samuel Wilberforce debated Thomas Huxley"

"Debate with Christopher Hitchens at the Edinburgh Festival on "The New Europe should prefer the New Atheism."

"Scientist apologist John Lennox to debate atheist Richard Dawkins October 3, 2007" Also: "Lennox-Dawkins debate - updates" (This one was live blogged.)

My review of Lennox's book God's Undertaker

("God's Undertaker?: Well, you know, that undertaker is 001 in the unemployment line, ... and still waiting ") The book is being relaunched next year, bigger and better, he tells me.

Here's more on Shermer, and here's his "former Christian" story in his own words:
I had found the One True Religion, and it was my duty — indeed it was my pleasure — to tell others about it, including my parents, brothers and sisters, friends, and even total strangers. In other words, I “witnessed” to people — a polite term for trying to convert them (one wag called it Amway with Bibles). Of course, I read the Bible, as well as books about the Bible. I regularly attended youth church groups, one in particular at a place called “The Barn,” a large red house in La Crescenta, California at which Christians gathered a couple of times a week to sing, pray, and worship. I got so involved that I eventually began to put on Bible study courses myself. (Michael Shermer, How We Believe: The Search for God in an Age of Science (New York: W.H. Freeman, 2000), 2-3.)
But as he tells it later,

By the end of my first year in a graduate program in experimental psychology at California State University, Fullerton, I had abandoned Christianity and stripped off my silver ichthus, replacing what was for me the stultifying dogma of a 2,000-year-old religion with the worldview of an always changing, always fresh science. The passionate nature of this perspective was espoused most emphatically by my evolutionary biology professor …

"For sale, one silver ichthus, lightly used"?

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