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ISBN/ASIN : 0879758236
Manufacturer : Prometheus Books UK|
Release data : 19 April, 1993
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Essential reading for the God debate - Dawkins take note!
This is quite simply essential reading for anyone interested in the debate about God's existence. Indeed if certain recent contributors to the God debate had bothered to read it their books would have been immeasurably enhanced.
This book is worth buying simply for Peter Kreeft's masterful introduction to the debate. He comprehensively and fairly outlines the issues at hand, the approaches of the contributors, and the importance of the question. He also conclusively demonstrates that belief in God and non-belief in God are BOTH rational hypotheses which require defending - neither side has a monopoly on "rationality" (or irrationality for that matter).
Secondly this is worth reading for Neilson's bold and original argument that the whole notion of God is simply incoherent (like the notion of a married bachelor) - if successful this would at a stroke render God's existence impossible and be the killer blow to theistic belief. Unfortunately for Neilson his argument never gets off the ground and he receives somewhat of a mauling not only from Moreland (who mounts a robust and well defended - if fairly classical - argument for God's existence) and his theist counterparts, but also from the other the atheist contributors.
Thirdly, this should be read for the essays of Dallas Willard and Antony Flew who give by far the best contributions for the theist and atheist side respectively (Neilson actually interacts more Willard than Moreland in the closing remarks). Flew's contribution is of particular note in the light of his recent conversion to theism (he would now describe himself as a Deist) and makes for interesting historical reading.
Finally, this book is so wonderfully refreshing because of the manner in which the debate is conducted. Moreland and Neilson treat each other with an immense amount of respect and respond to each other with grace, each respecting the other's intellectual integrity and rational abilities. This is surely how the debate should proceed - we can disagree without being disagreeable. If all future contributions to the God debate could be conducted in a similar spirit we would all be better off, and better informed.
Atheism was poorly represented
This book is divided into three sections: (i) the transcriptof the oral debate on the existence of God between Christian philosopher J.P. Moreland and atheist philosopher Kai Nielsen; (ii) commentaries on the debate by two Christian philosophers (William Lane Craig and Dallas Willard) and two atheist philosophers (Antony Flew and Keith Parsons); and (iii) concluding thoughts by Moreland and Nielsen. I agree completely with the conclusion of Craig's flow of the debate, that Moreland won the debate. In fact, Moreland's victory in the debate was so decisive I am left wishing that Keith Parsons had been Moreland's opponent; I wonder if Nielsen even took the debate seriously. In light of this, I am baffled why a secular humanist publisher like Prometheus Books would choose to pubish this particular debate, given that the atheist side was so poorly represented. For that matter, I am surprised that even Thomas Nelson originally published the book, for even theists should want the atheist position to be given its best representation. However, Nielsen's critique of theism is not representative of most atheist philosophers. Nielsen relies upon a critique of religious language in which he argues that "God" is literally meaningless. Not only do most atheist philosophers not use such an argument, they disagree with it! Unfortunately, as a result of Nielsen's "strategy" of putting all his eggs in an ineffective basket, readers are deprived of the opportunity to see an exchange between Moreland and atheist philosophers who make substantive objections to Moreland's arguments. To be sure, Antony Flew and Keith Parsons both make excellent, *representative* objections to Moreland's case, and Moreland responds to those objections in his final remarks, but we are reprived the opportunity to see how Parsons and Flew would respond to that, and so on. I therefore discourage *buying* the book.
However, I encourage interested parties from both sides to borrow the book from someone who already owns it (e.g., a professor or a local library). I just wouldn't recommend spending money on the book when the atheist debater did such a poor job representing atheism. Even theistic philosophers would agree that Nielsen could have defended atheism in the debate better than he did -- much better in fact -- and that's why I discourage buying the book. And because theistic philosophers care about the truth, even they would admit that atheism wasn't represented as well as it could have been. (For example, most theistic philosophers I have read endorse J.L. Mackie's _Miracle of Theism_ as one of the best philosophical cases for atheism. They don't agree with the book, but they agree that Mackie's book is one of the best cases for atheism in the philosophical literature. And if you asked any of those theistic philosophers, they would tell you that Nielsen did not use any of Mackie's arguments. Therefore, Nielsen's arguments are not representative of the best arguments for atheism.)
Moreland gave two arguments for theism: the comsological argument and the argument that God resurrected Jesus from the dead. We have responded to both of these arguments (thought not necessarily to Moreland specifically) on the Secular Web, and would welcome an exchange with Moreland should he want to answer our rebuttals. ENDISBN:0553455982 TITLE:Under the Tuscan Sun AUTHOR: Frances Mayes SOURCE:Marguerite Sowaal (firstname.lastname@example.org) DISPLAY-EMAIL:yes USER-LOCATION:California, USA TIME:890368798 RATING:5 ORIGINAL-RATING:10/10 PRIORITY:2500 SUMMARY:Mayes is amazing REVIEW: UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN is a book of discovery - a melange of land and language, food and custom, longing and fulfillment. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read about the people and customs of a small Italian village - Cortona - and a charming old villa, Bramasole, that two American teachers attempt to restore. Frances Mayes invites the reader to enjoy with her the warmth of an Italian sun, the smell of a meal rich in garlic and herbs, and the simple joy of a walk through the countryside of Tuscany. To those readers who will never experience, in person, the sights and sounds of an Italian village; who will never dig in the earth to find a remnant of ancient history; or try to understand the carefree work ethic of rural foreign labor, UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN is as close as it gets. And even better, the recipes the author has included can be made in an American kitchen and eaten with the eyes closed and the imagination running,Mayes recounts her trials and frustrations, her discoveries and delights, and in so doing gives a lesson in optimism and perseverance. With her we experience a freedom she describes as "that pure surge of pleasure, flash flood of joy, to find that electric jolt of the ouside place that corresponds to the inside."
Let the Evidence Carry the Day
The other reviews of this debate are fairly accurate. I wouldadd that this book is an essential contribution to this most important topic of debate and research. Prometheus Press is to be commended in publishing it.
Moreland, et al, win the debate due to the substance of their arguments not their skills at polemics.