Are We an Accident...or Not?
The question of cosmic origins and our place in the grand scheme of things has been debated for millennia. Why do we exist? Why does anything exist at all?
Today's popular narrative, based on advancements in science, is that it all happened by natural, random processes. Melissa Cain Travis points to powerful evidence that the opposite is true—that cosmology, astronomy, biochemistry, and other disciplines strongly support what she calls "The Maker Thesis," which explains the origin, rationality, and intricacy of nature and the human mind's capacity to comprehend it.
Our universe is made up of numerous complex systems of order that both interact and coexist with each other as if in a carefully choreographed dance. Follow along on a fascinating journey about how the structure of nature and the mind of man resonate in ways that point to a Maker who fully intended the astounding discoveries being made in the natural sciences today.
|Publisher:||Harvest House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Melissa Cain Travis is a professor of apologetics at Houston Baptist University, a contributing writer for Christian Research Journal, and a homeschooling mom. The author of three books in the Young Defenders apologetics storybook series, she is dedicated to exploring the science, theology, and philosophy behind the origins debate.
Table of Contents
Prologue Science as the Experience of a Masterpiece 11
Chapter 1 The Science and Faith Conversation: Understanding the Lay of the Land 15
Chapter 2 The Divine in Nature: A Big (and Ancient) Idea 31
Chapter 3 The Origin and Structure of the Cosmos: Finite and Finely Tuned 45
Chapter 4 Priests in God's Cosmic Temple: Natural Revelation and the Scientific Revolution 65
Chapter 5 Habitable and Discoverable: A World Just Right for Scientists 81
Chapter 6 A Death Knell for Design Arguments? Natural Theology and Darwin's Response 99
Chapter 7 The Language of Life: The Marvels of DNA 121
Chapter 8 Revival of the God Hypothesis: Twentieth-Century Physics and Cosmology 141
Chapter 9 A Meeting of the Minds: Our Comprehensible Mathematical Universe 155
Chapter 10 Mind or Marionette? Rationality and the Existence of the Soul 177
Chapter 11 The Maker Thesis: Putting the Pieces Together 199
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Science and the Mind of the Maker is a very good summary of the scientific evidence in favor of a divine Maker, what the author calls the Maker Thesis. The thesis is based on, “The fact that we inhabit an orderly universe structured in such a way that the human mind can grasp it to a remarkable degree is exactly what we should expect if there is a Maker of all things in whose image we are made and whose mind is made manifest in the rest of creation.” The book addresses a range of science disciplines including cosmology, physics, biochemistry, genetics, and neuroscience. In many areas the book does an excellent job of summarizing the evidence of design. It also makes the argument that numerous aspects of the design of the universe facilitate the practice of science and discovery. One of the areas in the book that is unique and very interesting is the discussion about mathematics. The author states that, “Several eminent thinkers have convincingly argued that we discover, rather than invent, the realities of mathematics.” She cites numerous references from several scientists supporting this thesis, including Max Planck, Sir Arthur Eddington, Eugene Wigner and Roger Penrose. For example, physicist Wigner (an agnostic) wrote, “The enormous usefulness of mathematics in the natural sciences is something bordering on the mysterious. There is no rational explanation for it.” Many of the scientists that recognized this mystery were agnostics or atheists. The book also asserts that, “Objective mathematical truth poses a problem for a strict materialist philosophy, which denies that there is any reality independent of matter and energy.” The problem for materialism is not just that there are mathematical truths, but also the fact that we have the capacity to understand them. The conclusion is that, “Materialism is woefully inadequate for explaining the connections that exist between mathematics, the material world, and the human mind.” One chapter addresses the question of the existence of the soul. It makes a very good argument in favor of dualism, and against the materialist view that the mind is simply the result of physical phenomena in the brain. Two specific aspects of the human mind described that support the existence of the soul are free agency and rationality. An example is a reference to an essay by Eddington which asserts that, “Rationality requires a Mind that can consciously direct its own activity to arrive upon truth (such as mathematical solutions) through correct reasoning.” Conversely, if the materialist view is correct, free will is an illusion. This book is highly recommended not only for Christians, but I recommend it to non-believers as well, if they are interested in understanding the scientific arguments for a divine Maker.
I selected this book because I have children who are starting to encounter evolution theory in school and I wanted to give them another resource that could help them better understand the arguments that support Biblical Creation and the Maker Thesis. This book is a great resource, though I should note it is written at a very high level, perhaps best suited to upper high school or college levels. Honestly, for my own level of education (four year degree, English major), I found this book difficult to understand in many places. It frustrated me a bit, but for those with the background that I lack, this could be an invaluable tool for how to interpret both historical and current beginning of life theories from a Christian worldview. The book is well-cited and has many quotes from scientists and mathematicians of all backgrounds and belief systems (including “none”), contemporary as well as historical. While the author comes at the topic from a believing viewpoint, she is careful to include ideas from many areas of scientific expertise, pointing out how a materialistic view leaves many holes and how the maker thesis works with each one. For me, the most useful part of each chapter was the “key points” wrap-up; it reiterated the main themes of the chapter and condensed some of the arguments into more understandable chunks. The conclusion also operated in the same way but would likely not make much sense without the further explanations given throughout the rest of the work. Overall this is an excellent resource, though it might frustrate those without a strong math and science background. I recommend it for those who are interested in the topic and who either have said background or are willing to put in the extra time and effort that it may take to engage with the material. I received a review copy of this book through NetGalley but was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed are both honest and my own.