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Posted July 1, 2010
Pacific Book Review, June 27, 2010
Reviewed by: Gary Sorkin
Dr. Cunningham "peels the onion" by exposing, revealing layer by layer, the intricacies of human belief in the existence of God, from the perspective of a scientist subscribing to scientific reasoning. Dr. Cunningham's platform stems as a rebuttal, a clarification of inaccuracies of the renowned work of Dr. Francis S. Collins, The Language of God. Dr. Cunningham goes further by "Decoding" his colleague's truisms using critical logic, analytical reasoning, citing historical and contemporary sociological influences and conforming to explanations based on scientific reasoning. This forms the basis of a systematic, logical, and expertly written series of, what are essentially "White Papers" of expert analysis; each taking incremental steps towards his conclusions. Dr. Cunningham writes, "The universal application of scientific theories to explain nature has been one of the most productive uses of the human mind." He uses this powerful methodology to answer, to the best of his ability, the questions of theology.
As an example, Dr. Cunningham, in his retort to the question; Can science explain the need for religion, explains the following medical research conducted by Dr. Andrew Newberg using a PET Scan of Buddhist monks while praying. "He found decreased brain activity in the posterior superior parietal lobe, an area that helps us locate ourselves in three dimensions and separate ourselves from the world outside. Newberg believes that without the parietal lobe, the concept of god or God would not exist. No scientist or rational person would deny that while god or God might exist elsewhere, god or God also has to exist as a mental state in the brain."
"Decoding the Language of God: Can a Scientist Really Be a Believer?" discusses very personal and sensitive issues of belief in God, with the utmost politeness and highest regard for the personal opinions of the reader. The innate quality in the writing of Dr. George C. Cunningham makes this book as enjoyable as if one was to spend an evening in conversation, or perhaps attend one of his lectures. His written "voice" rings true to his belief and his personal opinions, while carefully respecting the intelligence of the reader. He makes it clear his research on the topics is based on logical plateaus others have already proven or disproved. This is very delicately done, revealing the "gentleman" within the scientist. He professes the humble teachings of a man that has performed immeasurable research, has devoted much of his life's work toward achieving his skillful articulation of his reasoning. He carefully and successfully postures his work not to offend any of his intellectual readers. As a literary piece, his use of footnotes and indexing are impeccable. With the respect he gives, I certainly reciprocate, as I believe all that read his work would agree in his soundness in his determinations, even if contradicting their own belief.
To Dr. Cunningham, I say, "Q.E.D. Quod erat demonstrandum." You certainly have decoded Collins' work. This book is for the open-minded person that isn't afraid to challenge the standard belief system of religion, science, and the question regarding the existence of God.
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