Review of Bradley Monton's book 'Seeking God in Science: an atheist defends Intelligent Design'
Murray Hogg, December 2010.
Bradley John Monton
Seeking God in science: An atheist defends Intelligent Design
Broadview Press, 2009, 180 pp.
ISBN 10: 1551118637, ISBN 13: 9781551118635
Reviewed by Murray Hogg
After a preliminary read, I regard this as one of the most interesting treatments of Intelligent Design theory on offer. I found it surprising for a number of reasons:
the author (Bradley Monton, Prof. of Phil., Univ. of Colorado, Boulder) is an atheist who doesn’t reject ID outright;
it treats ID as a serious philosophical/scientific hypothesis worthy of serious analysis rather than knee-jerk acceptance or rejection; and
it takes a rather broad view of ID – one which doesn’t restrict itself to an evaluation of ID as concerned with biological phenomena only.
The book really is a work of philosophy rather than science, and I think those who approach ID purely as a scientific hypothesis will wonder, at points, just what precisely Monton is on about. The first chapter, in which Monton seeks to formulate a clear definition of ID, scientifically focused readers may find frustrating. Those with a more philosophical bent will have far less problem. The two central chapters on the legitimacy of treating ID as science and an analysis of some plausible ID arguments cover familiar topics in a quite unfamiliar, and thoroughly thought provoking, way. The last chapter on the teaching of ID in schools is concerned mainly with ethical and pedagogical concerns rather than with legal concerns arising from the US Constitution. It may, accordingly, help those in a non-US context process the issue in locally relevant ways.
Monton has provided a fair-minded critique of Intelligent Design from a philosophical perspective which very nicely augments other works on offer. A highly recommended read for those with the stomach for dispassionate philosophical analysis and a willingness to have challenged their preconceptions about the Intelligent Design debate.
Murray Hogg has qualifications in Mechanical Engineering (Monash University) and Divinity (Bible College of Victoria) and is currently completing a Master of Theology in Religious Epistemology.
Bradley Monton’s Blog: Containing, amongst other things, several reviews and Monton’s response to same.
Bradley Monton’s Staff Page at University of Colorado, Boulder.