a tippling philosopher


Book and Film Reviews

This section of the website is dedicated  to giving reviews of books that I have read. The reviews may be long or short. There will be a an Amazon box linked to the reviews that I give (hopefully one for .com and one for .co.uk).


Preliminary review of Reasonable Faith as submitted to Amazon

Ok, so I was feeling lazy. But here is what I thought in a (very small) nutshell:

I read this book and had to get my pen to angrily note things in the margin at far too regular intervals. Craig should know better, he is a clever man, but his work is littered with straw men, question begging and other such fallacies. I think he treats the book, though aimed at the Christian market, as one of his debates, such as using sneaky tactics and fast moves to pull the wool over peoples eyes to detract from the erroneous or disingenuous claims. 

Craig often does not do enough justice to the counter arguments: he either explains them poorly, in not enough detail, or builds up straw men of them so as not to have to tackle them in their most serious of forms. He also looks at things like the Kalam Cosmological argument from a simplistic viewpoint. For example, even though he is a nominalist when it comes to numbers, he becomes a realist when approaching other abstracts. This allows him to build up the premises for the KCA without properly addressing the issues. 

He also continually appeals to authority and popularity when talking about New Testament studies and the historicity of Jesus. What he fails to explain is that the overwhelming majority of scholars are Christian, so of course they will have conclusions that verify Christianity! That is like saying 99% of Islamic scholars believe that the Qu'ran is the word of God, so therefore it is the word of God. You need to establish the selection biases and so on before looking at consensus conclusions amongst biased scholars. 

And so on and so on. I am looking to write a much longer and more critical review. It is a well-written book, and Craig has some good arguments, and he knows his onions. He is also crafty and professional when it comes to creating an argument. You must treat this book like you do his debates: it is tactical, and it requires you not to believe his points at face value. His 'facts' that he builds his cases upon are very often not facts. 

Beware! Craig is clever. And his arguments are not as sound as they sound...


Global Warming: A Scientific and Biblical Expose' of Climate Change

This documentary made for some interesting viewing. Well, for interesting, I mean really dire. If time permits, a greater dissection of its copious flaws will follow. This review sums up my incredulity, though, as posted on Amazon.

Oh dear me. Is this seriously what people think is science? This is a wolf in pantomine sheep's clothing. Possibly the worst documentary i have ever seen. 

There is so much i could say about it. Firstly, the contributors. Roughly half of them work for organisations funded by Exxon-Mobil. Hmm, suspect. Christy and Spencer are notoriously bad scientists. The others are effectively young earth creationists (YECs). To be a YEC you have to deny most of the scientific world [
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Branches_of_science_you_have_to_ignore_to_believe_in_young_Earth_creationism]. Therefore, they have absolutely no right to deny climate science from a scientific basis. They are methodologically flawed. They are also presuppositionally opposed to climate AGW based on received biblical beliefs. Therefore, anything they say should be treated as highly dubious. 

Take the comments on polar bears actually increasing in number. They fail to see that in 1973 hunting laws meant that their numbers shot up massively, whilst still losing their habitat. Their numbers are now heavily reduced, and they are endangered. [

Almost every one of these guys is not in a good enough position, scientifically, to be able to make informed conclusions. 

And the content. That's the funniest part. There is no science. They actually provide nothing. Not a drop. Only opinions and denial of other scientific positions. The sad thing is, people buy this, intellectually. They believe it, because it backs up their prejudged ideals. I could go on refuting every one of their points individually, but i have better things to do. 

It's complete tripe. Tripe. Tripe. Never, ever, ever buy this.

 The Book of Eli

As posted on imdb.com:

Christian propaganda12 March 2010
Author: johnnyp_76 from Hants, UK

Nothing but a not even thinly veiled attempt at Christian propaganda. The bible is portrayed as the saving grace for humanity. They obviously haven't read the Old Testament with it's wondrous violence and babies getting dashed on rocks.

Complete propaganda. 

There is not even any attempt at looking at theology in any depth, with any kind of critical eye. There is simply a bunch of inane biblical quotes and the bible being seen as generally a jolly good book.

The most accurate notion was Gary Oldman trying to get hold of it for reasons of power and domination. That, at least, is close to the truth.

I can't imagine Jesus rocking around the wilderness with a machete dismembering people.

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