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The Magician's Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society Paperback – Sep 30 2012

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Book Description

Beloved for his Narnian tales and books of Christian apologetics, bestselling British writer C. S. Lewis also was a perceptive critic of the growing power of scientism, the misguided effort to apply science to areas outside its proper bounds. In this wide-ranging book of essays, contemporary writers probe Lewis’s prophetic warnings about the dehumanizing impact of scientism on ethics, politics, faith, reason, and science itself. Issues explored include Lewis’s views on bioethics, eugenics, evolution, intelligent design, and what he called “scientocracy.” Contributors include Michael Aeschliman, Victor Reppert, Jay Richards, and C. John Collins.

About the Author

John G. West is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute. He is co-editor of The C. S. Lewis Readers’ Encyclopedia and author of The Politics of Revelation and Reason and Darwin Day in America. He has been interviewed by major media outlets including Newsweek, USA Today, and the New York Times, and CNN, FoxNews, and C-SPAN. He holds a Ph.D. in government from Claremont Graduate University and he formerly was the chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 31 reviews
39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Finally a study of Lewis' Ideas on Darwinism. Sept. 30 2012
By The Professor - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Magician's Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, adds to the literature on the still very popular Oxford professor, bestselling British writer C. S. Lewis. This excellent work documents by quoting extensively from his own works that Lewis was a perceptive critic of the problem of scientism. It demolishes the common claim, such as that by Michael Peterson in his article "C. S. Lewis on Evolution and Intelligent Design" published in a recent Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith journal, that Lewis would have opposed Intelligent Design. The editor of The Magician's Twin also examined Lewis' personal library, which contained around 40 books on science, many that dealt with evolution. We can glean lewis' thoughts about evolution from these books because he made insightful annotations in some of his books. The Magician's Twin concluded that, even before he became a Christian, Lewis had a healthy skepticism of the claims of science, and especially Darwinism. The 345 page The Magician's Twin volume makes a convincing case that Lewis was clearly supportive of Intelligent Design, and increasingly so as he grew older. Furthermore, Lewis effectively rebutted several key objections raised against the modern theory of Intelligent Design. The book will appeal not only to Lewis fans, but both supporters and distracters of Intelligent Design claims.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Eye Opener Dec 19 2012
By Ben Ramirez - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
This certainly opens the mind, and your eyes, to the true nature of the world. Helps you to see our rebellion against God firsthand. Highly recommend.
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Exposing the science faith story Oct. 23 2012
By Richard - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
C.S. Lewis wrote a lot about how our culture is influenced by science. Beginning with exposing myths about rational thinking during the 'Dark Ages'. Lewis goes on to detail his rising concern over the influence of naturalistic, humanist philosophy prompted by scientists with implications for religious thinking. Thanks to J. West's thorough research amongst the many Lewis manuscripts, we have at hand a greater, more truthful understanding of Lewis' mind regarding evolution in particular and scientism in general. It's all up to date! Fascinating read!
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Good read; couple chapters very heavy Nov. 3 2012
By Marmot Ridge - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Deciphering the writings of a dead man is difficult at best, especially when that man was prolific throughout a lifetime. C. S. Lewis was a prolific writer. Nevertheless, he was a thinker, which means that he became very consistent and logical over his years. The Magician's Twin shows his love for science and his understanding that science would have a power over man that, unleashed, could devour man and make him less than man.

These essays help us understand both Lewis' thinking and the dangers inherent in a morally unleashed technology.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Scientism in the Dock Nov. 26 2012
By John L. Romjue - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is much rewarding in this well assembled collection to draw attention to Lewis, the great and prescient critic of culture and Oxbridge scholar whose deeply inquiring expository books, his novel trilogy and beloved, ever popular Narnia tales place him in the first rank of Christian apologists in an age of smug, unself-questioning scientism and relativism.

Dr. West, co-editor of the C.S. Lewis Readers' Encyclopedia and author of The Politics of Revelation and Reason and other books, has edited a valuable set of perspectives on Lewis and scientism--the easy if totalist creed so deeply ingrained in the Western mind since Darwin that--to paraphrase a famous Italian totalitarian--all is within science and nothing is outside it.

West illuminates Lewis's perception that a kind of hubris had developed in the early 20th century, especially after Darwin's evolutionary theory had successfully spawned the substitute creation story that nature arose from lifeless matter, evolving by its own laws of selection and chance over measureless eons from an initial unicellular bacterium all the way to the teeming brain of man. In the powerful, later discredited, eugenics movement of his time and in popular books like those of H.G. Wells, Lewis found that a sort of "serious magical endeavor" had emerged as a twin of serious science. He saw in such science, "the magician's twin", in which science had become a religion to itself, credulously accepting of every kind of materialist explanation, no matter how lacking in factual support, and ominously susceptible to the siren song of power--the power to control, even redefine, man for his own good. Worshipful "Darwin Days," the notorious Piltdown Man fossil forgery and, more currently, British biologist/crusader for atheism Richard Dawkins's push to punish parents who raise their children in religious belief--are examples of what Lewis was talking about.

The amazing range of Lewis's expository and fiction writings is well brought out by contributors' essays examining the deep-seated challenge and influence of a deified science claiming ownership of all fields of knowledge and ways of knowing in which moral reasoning, human dignity, and religious faith were reduced to materialistic or naturalistic explanation.

Darwin is also in the dock in this volume's exegesis of Lewis's many skeptical and disavowing judgments on the subject of evolution, soon to fall under the powerful challenge of the DNA revolution and subsequent rise of intelligent design as a molecular-biology based refutation of the plausibility of the natural selection-random mutation nexus. Lewis, for example, noted the utterly self-defeating logic of a multitude of accidental variations occurring simultaneously or in miraculous order to produce evolutionary change. By the end of his life, he had come to view evolution as "the central and radical lie in the whole web of [materialist] falsehood that now governs our lives."

West and his co-essayists--professors in law, history, theology, communication and education--clarify the science-scientism distinction, pointing to the science-engendering supposition of Christian philosophy that the world was rational and could be comprehended by the inquiring human mind, and that science was but a subset of reason, as it is indeed a subset of history too. M.D. Aeschliman, a professor of education at Boston University, lays bare in this volume the intellectual origins of what he calls the truly "satanic" developments of our dehumanized epoch, all of which, he notes, emanated out from the very center of our civilization--France, Germany, Italy, England. The morally eroded world that Lewis saw so deeply into--the world that Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud made--is our own monstrous, faithless creation. Scientistic ideas--science without conscience--had lethal consequences in Auschwitz, the Gulag Archipelago, and Pol Pot's Paris-imbibed Communism. The insights of this book will be rewarding to both new and old students of this prescient truth seer and teller who stood athwart the secularizing materialist and relativist tide of the riven and violent 20th century.