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'A Meaningful World' Book Review

Brett Nichols

Posted on March 22, 2020 15:26

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A review for the 2006 book that cites the numerous discoveries in the sciences in addition to the beauty of the arts reveal that the world in which we live is truly and authentically meaningful.

A Meaningful World is a book that unites the work of the arts and sciences to reveal that unlike the materialistic reductionist viewpoint, "the universe is meaningful." This is explicitly apparent in the writing description of the wonder in the universe, its contents, the reflection of this in the arts, and the human ability to experience all of these wonders.

The book's authors, Benjamin Wiker (Ph.D in Theological Ethics) and Jonathan Witt (Ph.D in Literary Studies) more specifically utilize the meaning within the universe to introduce the concept of "intelligent design." Intelligent design simply meaning there is some form of "intelligent agency" within the universe which is characterized by the irreducible complexity within observed reality. They highlight intelligent design by providing two different aspects of focus; first through a pragmatic, scientific approach, and second, with an artistic, creative approach. Both methods come together to form a philosophical and empirical defense for the idea of intentional and aesthetic intelligent agency within the universe.

Where such topics can be daunting without preface, Wiker and Witt's components of scientific, philosophical, and aesthetic work well together, offering a coherent narrative overall. Though, particularly in chapter six, this focus can be challenging to follow. While the authors argue for fine-tuning within the universe, this goal is not explicitly conveyed as substantially as other chapters within the book. As there are many cases for fine-tuning mentioned and its lesser alternative competitor chance, the arts and the meaning are far less emphasized. The only reason this issue is explicit is due to the book being so frequently clear and consistent in its goals.

Overall, A Meaningful World is for readers that desire to see how the complexities and wonders of the universe do not point to a meaningless existence, but one full of meaning and want to witness this fact acknowledged within the sciences and the arts. Where diverse topics within philosophy and science are discussed, they are conveyed in such a way that most readers can comprehend. However, some prior Shakespearean and scientific familiarity may enrich the readers’ general experience.

A Meaningful World is ideal for those both familiar and new to the concept of intelligent design; for the latter, it will introduce the topic with a balance of the sciences that are further illustrated by art. And for the former, it presents a creative spin on the discussion of ID that incorporates the aesthetics of why such a view is the most desirable choice in substitution of a fortuitous alternative.

Where in many academic circles (scientific or otherwise), the idea of intelligent design is nothing short of taboo. The aforementioned authors and others cite the idea not equating to a form of religious creationism, but even to deism or agnosticism. It is recorded that even Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace believed that life originated from an intelligent agency (comparable to Aristotle's "first cause"). However, for a book that addresses the controversies in intelligent design within modern science, Dembski's Design Revolution holds a preferrable reading experience.

Brett Nichols

Posted on March 22, 2020 15:26

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Lessons in design Education Science Evolution Intelligent Design Organizations offer non-Darwinian education for young science...

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