Monday, May 17, 2010

Does God Exist? TrueU DVD Set

 "Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?

In the DVD set, Does God Exist?, Dr. Stephen Meyer* attempts to answer the question, "What is the prime reality?".  This boils down to "What's the thing from which everything else comes?".  He takes a classroom (of what appear to be college students) through multiple competing hypotheses.  Looking at evidence from the natural world, he makes his case for which of the four worldviews (deism, theism, pantheism, and materialism) provides the best explanation. 


The set contains two DVDs, with ten thirty minute lessons.  These include Faith and Reason, The Big Bang Cosmology Parts 1-3, DNA by Design Parts 1-3, The Return of the God Hypothesis, and The Moral Necessity of Theism Parts 1-2.  There is also a nicely done booklet included, which contains an overview for each session, highlights from the lesson, and discussion questions that would actually lead to discussion.  For example, "Why is it important to think of the Big Bang as an 'effect' of the universe rather than the 'cause' of the universe?", "What is meant by "self-organization", and why does this theory fail to account for the arrangement of information in DNA?", and "Why is it so difficult to live as a moral relativist- to deny the existence of any objective moral standard?".


Dr. Meyers respects his student's intelligence, encouraging them to look at the objectives to his arguments and come to their own conclusions.  He makes his case for Intelligent Design and asks them to decide if his evidence is persuasive.  He doesn't belittle other theories and scientists, but rather explains their viewpoints and then shares why he does not believe the evidence backs them up.  This made a huge impression on me, as other Christian scientists I otherwise admire unfortunately seem to have a glaring absence of this kind of respect for those who do not agree with them.

These lessons are not designed to argue a literal interpretation of Genesis versus Theistic Evolution. I would deduce that Dr. Meyers is in the latter group** (see note), but this is not the point of his teaching.  His goal is to show that the best explanation for the question of what's-the-thing-everything-else-came-from is God.  The lessons are full of scientific discoveries and history and theories, but even as a "non-science person" I found him easy to listen to and follow.  This will be staying in my homeschool library and will be required viewing for my high schoolers.  I think it would be a great addition to a biology course, or even a study on Origin Theories.  I have considered putting something together like this myself- combining materials from the Young Earth Creationists, the Theistic Evolutionists, the Intelligent Design crowd, and the Evolutionists.  After studying each "from the horse's mouth", the student could craft a persuasive paper sharing their own conclusions.  This would be a wonderful part of this kind of course and could generate much discussion.

Does God Exist? is available for $39.99 from Tyndale or your favorite online or local bookstore. 


*Author Bio: Stephen Meyer is director of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture (CSC) and a founder both of the intelligent design movement and of the CSC, intelligent design's primary intellectual and scientific headquarters. Dr. Meyer is a Cambridge University–trained philosopher of science and the author of peer-reviewed publications in technical, scientific, and philosophical books and journals. He has been widely featured in media appearances on CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox News, PBS, and the BBC. In 2008, he appeared with Ben Stein in Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. He's also featured prominently in two other science documentaries, Icons of Evolution and Unlocking the Mystery of Life.

**UPDATE: It's August now and I have received an email from Dr, Mike Keas, Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science at The College of the Southwester, letting me know that Dr. Meyers is not a theistic evolutionist.  "Dr. Meyer is not a theistic evolutionist.  As a leading member of the intelligent design community, he thinks that Darwinism only explains very trivial change (not the origin of major new kinds of life). Thus the effort to reconcile Christianity with Darwinian evolution is pointless, he would maintain." and "Note also this, by one of Meyer's closest colleagues: Dr. Dembski.  Meyer agrees with this forthcoming book. Christian Darwinism: Why Theistic Evolution Fails As Science and Theology (Broadman and Holman, November 2011), mathematician Dembski and journalist O’Leary address a powerful new trend to accommodate Christianity with atheist materialism, via acceptance of Darwinian (“survival of the fittest”) evolution. 
*This set was provided to me by Tyndale, at no cost, for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are my own.*


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