October 2014
volume 26 (2)

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The Boyle Lecture 2014: New Atheism – New Apologetics: The Use of Science in Recent Christian Apologetic Writings

Pages: 99-113


New Atheism – New Apologetics: A Response to Alister McGrath

Pages: 114-117


A Response to Richard Harries

Pages: 118-119


Is evolution truly random? Chance as an ideological weapon in the ‘evolution-creation’ debate

Pages: 120-142


The theory of evolution by natural selection has been debated by scientists and theologians of all faiths since it was first published by Charles Darwin in 1859. One of the core issues is the extent of chance’s role in the evolutionary process and the consequences of random evolution on the classical understanding of the cosmos as a reality created by divine design and guided by a divine providence: if evolution is completely random, what place is left for God’s hand? This crucial question has been given a wide array of diverging answers, ranging from the non-existence of evolution to the non-existence of God via several attempts to combine chance and design in a universal theory. This essay discusses the underlying concepts of chance and design displayed by three key movements in today’s debate: scientific creationism – that evolution as a completely random process is antithetic to a providential faith; Intelligent Design – that the current theory of evolution is found lacking and must be completed by a divine design and designer; and scientific materialism – that evolution as a partially random but completely mindless process renders providence and design obsolete.


Christian Responses to Challenging Developments in Biomedical Science: The Case of In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)

Pages: 143-164


The emergence of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) in the late 1970s and early 1980s was met by mixed responses within Christian circles, from outright hostility amid fears to guarded acceptance. As we look back on those responses, what have we learned and what might an appropriate theological response be today? I shall argue that the responses fall into five categories: A, embryo centred – categorical; B, embryo centred – precautionary; C, embryo centred – human control; D, child and family centred – addressing infertility; E, desire centred – overcoming human limitations. While embryo centred categories (A-C) predominate among conservative Christians, there are distinct differences within these categories pointing to a variety of presuppositions. Overall, however, they place far more ethical and theological weight on the embryo than on those seeking assistance to ameliorate clinical fertility problems (D). The desire centred category (E) is common within secular thinking although there is morphing of D into some elements of E. Together they point to the multiplicity of ways in which traditional ethical boundaries have been challenged by some applications of the artificial reproductive technologies (ARTs). I suggest that Christian approval of the ARTs will be a circumspect approval, and will seek to grapple with questions of motivation, limits on ways in which the ARTs will be employed, the centrality of human relationships for decision-making, and the role of legitimate scientific investigation in understanding early human development. These considerations bear upon how Christians function in the public arena.


Obituary: Emeritus Professor Allan John Day (1927-2013)

Professor Gordon Lynch Professor Stephen Harrap Dr Timothy Day Emeritus Professor John Pilbrow
Pages: 165-167


Book reviews

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In the Eye of the Storm: The Autobiography of Sir John Houghton

Sir John Houghton with Gill Tavner (David Gregory)
Pages: 168-169

In Search of Self: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Personhood

J. Wentzel van Huyssteen Erik P. Wiebe (eds.) (Malcolm Jeeves)
Pages: 169-170

Big Bang, Big God: A Universe Designed for Life?

Rodney Holder (John Ling)
Pages: 171-172

Hope in an Age of Despair: The Gospel and the Future of Life on Earth

Jonathan Moo Robert White (Dave Bookless)
Pages: 172-173

Augustine and Science

John Doody Adam Goldstein Kim Paffenroth (eds.) (Ernest C. Lucas)
Pages: 173-174

Why Religion is Natural and Science is Not

Robert N. McCauley (James W. Jones)
Pages: 174-177

God’s Biologist: A Life of Alister Hardy

David Hay (Jonathan Jong)
Pages: 177-177

Evolution and Belief: Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist

Robert J. Asher (Simon Conway Morris)
Pages: 178-179

What the Heavens Declare: Science in the Light of Creation

Lydia Jaeger (William Simpson)
Pages: 179-181

Islam’s Quantum Question: Reconciling Muslim Tradition and Modern Science

Nidhal Guessoum (James Hannam)
Pages: 181-182

Chimera’s Children: Ethical, Philosophical and Religious Perspectives on Human-Nonhuman Experimentation

Calum MacKellar David Albert Jones (eds.) (John Hodges)
Pages: 183-185

Unlocking Divine Action. Contemporary Science & Thomas Aquinas

Michael J. Dodds (Fintan Lyons)
Pages: 185-186

Beyond Human? Science and the Changing Face of Humanity

John Bryant (Robin Gill)
Pages: 186-187

Kneeling at the Altar of Science: The Mistaken Path of Contemporary Religious Scientism

Robert Bolger (Taede A. Smedes)
Pages: 187-188

Good News for Science: Why scientific minds need God

Davis A. Young (Peter Lynch)
Pages: 189-189

Dimensions of the Spirit: Science and the Work of the Holy Spirit

Eric William Middleton (Peter G.H. Clarke)
Pages: 190-190

Mapping the Origins Debate: Six Models of the Beginning of Everything

Gerald Rau (David Vosburg)
Pages: 190-191

The Doors of the Sea – Where Was God in the Tsunami?

David Bentley Hart (Tim Middleton)
Pages: 191-192

Evidence of God: A Scientific Case for God

Nick Hawkes (John Pilbrow)
Pages: 192-194

Science, Religion and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

David Wilkinson (Ron Elsdon)
Pages: 194-195