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ImageBad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics by Ross Douthat. A review by R. Greg Grooms
In Prague there stands a monument to an odd couple: Tycho Brahe  and Johannes Kepler.   Tycho, the Catholic Dane—by far the more colorful of the two-- dabbled in alchemy, wore a prosthetic nose as a result of a wound he received in a duel, and died as a result of an infamous drinking binge. In contrast Kepler--the German, Protestant mathematician--was rather dull.
This unlikely pair was brought together by a clash of paradigms. Tycho championed a variation of the old geocentric Ptolemaic view of the universe, while Kepler not only championed the heliocentric Copernican view, he corrected some of its worst errors. Tycho’s strength was in his observations, which he, thankfully, documented quite carefully.  But it was Kepler’s mathematical skill and genius at theorizing that enabled him to make sense not only of Tycho’s notes but of the heavens.
Ross Douthat is quite a colorful character, too. A Harvard-educated Pentecostal-turned-Catholic, he’s made quite a name for himself as a writer of editorials and movie reviews at The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, The National Review, and  the New York Times, where he is the youngest regular op-ed writer in its history. He’s also authored three books, including most recently Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics (Free Press, 2012). In 293 pages (plus 18 more of welcome notes) Douthat weaves an extraordinary tapestry of quotes, observations, and trivia that while not always convincing are never boring. For one of such tender years he has an amazingly good eye for distinguishing the significant from the merely interesting. That alone makes him worth reading.

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Darwin's Black Box (Michael Behe, 1996)

BY: R. Greg Grooms

The argument from design is one the oldest for the existence of God. It deduces the existence of a Designer-God from the evidence for design—the order, complexity, and beauty in the universe. In the 18th century William Paley argued that finding a watch on a beach was evidence of a watchmaker. Later, under the influence of Darwin and others, Richard Dawkins dubbed natural selection the “blind watchmaker.” His argument is simple: in nature’s economy watches may not happen by accident, but people do.

In his recent book, Darwin’s Black Box, Lehigh University professor Michael Behe puts an engaging new spin on an old argument. In his words, “Black box is a whimsical term for a device that does something, but whose inner workings are mysterious.” According to Behe, Darwin’s theory is a black box in that it makes grand claims about its ability to explain the origins and development of life, while offering little explanation as to exactly how evolution actually happened. But now biochemistry has lifted the lid on Darwin’s box and found inside a picture of life far more complex and beautiful than Darwin could have imagined. Behe argues persuasively that Paley was right: life is not a cosmic accident; it is the purposeful product of a divine watchmaker.

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Book Reviewed by Greg Grooms
How to Stay Christian in College by J. Budziszewski (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress; 1999) pp. 140 plus notes.

The irony of the title of J. Budziszewski’s book, How to Stay Christian in College is not lost on the author. After all, why write a book like this when you yourself failed to stay Christian in college? Budziszewski’s (pronounced “BOOjee SHEFski”) own story is, perhaps, the best answer to this question.

“At the age of ten I had committed my life to Jesus Christ and was baptized. As a teenager I had not been a mature believer, but I had certainly been an enthusiastic one...Why [did] I fall away from faith? For many reasons. One was that I had been caught up in the radical politics popular among many students...I had my own ideas about redeeming the world, and my politics became a kind of substitute religion. During my student years I had also committed certain sins that I didn’t want to repent. Because the presence of God made me more and more uncomfortable, I began looking for reasons to believe that He didn’t exist.”


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Image Dawkins' Delusion 

Book Review by: Fiona Grooms, graduate student in philosophy at St. Louis University

    In the space of thirty two pages, Richard Dawkins summarily refutes, to his own satisfaction, two thousand years worth of arguments for the existence of God. His treatment of each of the arguments is so cursory that it would take a good deal more than thirty pages to begin to explain how Christian philosophers have understood these arguments. For Christians who have read and been dismayed by Dawkins’ The God Delusion, I can offer three sorts of consolation.

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ImageRedesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future

Book Review by: Greg Grooms

  “I not only think that we will tamper with Mother Nature, I think Mother wants us to.”      -- Willard Gaylin, Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons 

Most parents want what is best for their children. But sometimes choosing what is best for them isn't easy.

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