I’m not smart enough to review this book…
That being said, let’s dive into it.
I’ve never been one who particularly exceeded at science in school. Science was more of a burden for me in my right-brained, imaginative youth. I appreciated its methodological power but mostly felt shackled by it. Now, in adulthood, I’ve come to appreciate science more as a useful lens for viewing the physical world. Now, I marvel at documentaries on the cosmos, the subatomic, and even the theories behind the set laws that govern our universe.
I also often enjoy a podcast from time to time called, “Unbelievable?” where the host, Justin Brierly, facilitates friendly debates between qualified academics and professionals that find themselves on either side of a particular theological or deistic issue. I’ve written a review on his book, UNBELIEVABLE?, and have formerly applauded him for his more objective facilitation of these arguments on his radio program.
The more of those science documentaries that I watched the more it became evident to me that the world of science seems to have a reverence for our world and the universe. While it would be rare that they’d ever invoke a creator or even intelligent design, they could not help but marvel at the order and beauty of it all. Math, physics, biology, subatomic particles, pulsars, gravity, time & space, they all seem to reflect a kind of secular deity to the awestruck scientists who describe these phenomena with zeal.
Now, part of me always felt that this “reverence” for the observable sciences in our universe was partly so that the scientist could point to a remarkable universe that has no need for a remarkable designer. But in truth, and maybe predictably so, it always seemed to have the opposite effect on me. “The earth is possibly how old? Wow! I wonder why God did it that way!” “The universe is how big? There are how many galaxies with how many stars? Wow! I wonder why God made it so big!” “They found what kind of fossils? Wow! What incredible creatures God created!” Each one of these discoveries often gets twisted by people with the agenda to render the Divine extinct but each they try to stamp out the fire of belief in God, sparks seem to fly out and start other fires.
Strobel addresses many of these findings and much more in his book. His interviews with respected experts range from evolution to astronomy, from biochemistry to physics, and from cosmology to consciousness. The novelty that he uses in being a journalist looking for the truth wears thin pretty quickly (A similar literary formula that he uses in A Case For Christ and presumably his numerous other “A Case For…” books). Even so, I found the information he teases out to be fascinating. He discusses topics with these scientists that I have to agree to seem to make more since pointing to an intelligent designer behind the intelligent design. Some of his most persuasive arguments were in the section covering DNA.
However, I discussed this book at length with a childhood friend of mine who ended up getting a Master’s in the field of raptor biology (transitional fossils relating birds to dinosaurs was a major section of the book) helped temper some of my enthusiasm. Strobel doesn’t even come close to trying to objectively approach these arguments. He pits his preconceived notions about Darwinism based on what he learned in public school growing up against a pretty specific thinktank that is heavily biased. The book might’ve benefited with some interviews done with some folks from the scientific community on the other side of the intelligent design argument. While they mention specific arguments, some by specific people, against intelligent design, Strobel ends up coming off hell-bent on making sure there are no scientific reasons to ever doubt God.
Now it’s fair to concede that Strobel is writing to a very specific audience. However, I found myself more than a little disappointed that he didn’t let some of the arguments stand on their own squarely against the opposing arguments. Instead, he pulls on the reader’s reasoning bridle and leads forcefully to the waters of intelligent design and forces them to drink. While I certainly benefited from reading this book and I feel a little more informed about some of the arguments for creative design, it left me thirsty to hear a more objective take.
I listened to Strobel’s book on Audible, which Strobel narrates himself (with a somewhat annoying voice, unfortunately) but I also bought a used copy of his book because I like having something physical to hold as well. I enjoyed the read and will keep it on my shelf but I doubt I’ll return to it any time soon. I’d refer to this book to my students or any adult looking for an introduction into the intelligent design arguments but would warn them to be wary of its one-sided bias in the midst of a much larger conversation.
I’ll end with this quote, “It is not my aim to introduce doubts and fears into your mind; no, but I do hope self-examination may help to drive them away. It is not security, but false security, which we would kill; not confidence, but false confidence, which we would overthrow; not peace, but false peace, which we would destroy.”
Have you read The Case For a Creator? Have you read other works on the arguments for or against intelligent design? Let me know!