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A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature Paperback – July 12, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 257 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (July 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830827994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830827992
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Wiker and Witt submit: 'A poison has entered human culture. It's the assumption that science has proven that the universe is without purpose, without meaning.' This is the primary popular assumption the authors tackle in A Meaningful World." (Terry Scambray)

"A Meaningful World is astounding, breathtaking! This is a book about both the beauty of science and the beauty of creation, a book I wish I had as an undergraduate taking science courses. Wiker and Witt draw us beyond design to the sheer grandeur, elegance and deep intelligibility of nature, all of which bespeak a creative Genius. It will help overcome the residual fear of science that plagues all too many devout believers, and instill a sense of childlike wonder at the splendor of our world. A Meaningful World admirably answers the call of Pope Benedict XVI to see the glory of God's wisdom, the Divine Logos, permeating creation. I can't wait to get this into the hands of my own teenagers, and even my college grads." (Scott Hahn, Ph.D., professor of theology and Scripture, Franciscan University, and president, St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology)

"Drawing on the works of Shakespeare, Euclid, Lavoisier and others, A Meaningful World draws parallels between the genius of these men and the genius evident in nature. I am not exaggerating much to say that A Meaningful World is in the same class as the works of human genius its authors describe. It displays rare depth and breadth. Scientists should read this book to regain their justification for doing science, and poets should read it to regain a ground for the meaning of their texts." (Guillermo Gonzalez, assistant professor of astronomy, Iowa State University, and coauthor of The Privileged Planet)

"In a world where materialism fails and where intelligent design is evident, how should we think about ourselves in the grand scheme of things? A Meaningful World masterfully answers this question, ramping up the cultural revolution begun by Phillip Johnson in the 1990s." (William A. Dembski, author of The Design Revolution)

"A Meaningful World is a wise and witty romp through the fallacies of reductionism. It is illustrated by charming examples that show how literature and science both teach us that we live in a world full of meaning, not the spiritually dead world in which the materialists would confine us." (Phillip Johnson, author of Reason in the Balance)

"A Meaningful World is simply the best book I've seen on the purposeful design of nature. In sparkling prose Benjamin Wiker and Jonathan Witt teach us how to recognize genius, first in Shakespeare's plays and then in nature. From principles of geometry to details of the periodic table, the authors portray the depth, elegance, clarity and pure cleverness of a universe designed to nurture the intelligent life that one day would discover that design. A Meaningful World recovers lost purpose not only for science, but for all scholarly disciplines." (Michael J. Behe, author of Darwin's Black Box)

"I have been reticent to affirm the value of the cosmological argument from design, but no longer. Benjamin Wiker and Jonathan Witt have convinced me that from literature to mathematics, physics to biology, the very phenomena of the world breathe intelligence. A Meaningful World is a masterful argument, a tour de force, framed with brilliance and wit. Here is a convincing case for a universe charged not only with meaning, but with the glory of God." (James W. Sire, author of The Universe Next Door and Why Good Arguments Often Fail)

"A Meaningful World cleverly integrates the intricacy found in literary classics with the aesthetic beauty of scientific discovery and the unreasonable ability of the human mind to comprehend meaning in both. In this interesting book, we discover that meaning is inherent in nature at every level." (Gerald Schroeder, author of Genesis and the Big Bang, The Science of God and The Hidden Face of God)

From the Publisher

Features & Benefits

* Reveals a universe of variety, artistry and meaning

* Argues against the claims of naturalism and materialism

* Shows the far-reaching implications of Intelligent Design

* Considers biology, chemistry, literature, mathematics and more

* Clear

* Persuasive

* Offers a mini liberal arts education in one volume


More About the Author

Benjamin Wiker is a writer, teacher, husband of one wife, and father of seven children. He has a Ph.D. in Theological Ethics from Vanderbilt University, an M.A. in Religion from Vanderbilt University, and a B.A. in Political Philosophy from Furman University. He has taught at Marquette University, St. Mary's University (MN), Thomas Aquinas College, and Franciscan University. He is a Visiting Associate Professor of Theology at Franciscan University for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Benjamin Wiker's website is www.benjaminwiker.com.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I was given an advance copy of this book, and it's great--I've read it twice so far.
Ana
The authors search the world for evidences of not simply design, but genius, and examine human genius to see what it might look like.
Gord Wilson
Not only is the content of this book fascinating, but it is extremely well written and entertaining to read.
Scott Holmes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Gord Wilson VINE VOICE on October 20, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book somewhat builds on the anthropic principle, the idea that our planet is finely tuned for life. It follows the long-out of print and highly readable contribution by Augros and Stanciu, The New Story of Science. The authors search the world for evidences of not simply design, but genius, and examine human genius to see what it might look like. Along the way they not only ruminate over a myriad dazzling ideas and observations, but also bring a much-needed cooling down to the pitched debate over intelligent design.

The surprise is how well-written the book is. Any reader dipping into lay-level science tomes notices at once that it's going to be rough going. This book, however, is a joy to read, and the authors take their place with other lively and intriguing science authors like Michael Berlinski, Heinz Pagels, Rudy Rucker and Nigel Calder.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Seth Cooper on October 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
A Meaningful World is a profoundly thoughtful, clever and witty exploration of the beauty and genius of nature. Where reductionists see unguided, mechanistic processes and meaninglessness, Doctors Benjamin Wiker and Jonathan Witt see purpose and layer upon layer of meaning. The new book is a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate surrounding neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory and the theory of intelligent design (ID), and a must-read for those who follow this debate.

By drawing upon insights from the arts and aesthetics, Wiker and Witt move beyond design simpliciter and look to the genius of nature. The intricacy, artistry, and depth of Shakespeare's works serve as a backdrop or lens by which the authors move on to the natural sciences, giving compelling accounts of the genius of mathematics and chemistry. Wiker and Witt succeed in giving readers a profound appreciation of the elegance of geometry and the simplicity of the periodic table. Along the way, the authors show the faulty logic (if not utter absurdity) of materialists and deconstructionists who have proclaimed the meaningless of life itself. Instead, the universe and life is shown to be overflowing with meaning and purpose.

A Meaningful World compliments the recent breakthrough publication about intelligent design in cosmology and physics, The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery (by Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards). Here, Wiker and Witt build off and expand on important insights about the natural world's intelligibility and discoverability, and some of the conditions necessary to sustain complex life.

The genius of nature is on full display in this ingenious book. A Meaningful World is highly recommended.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By D. Friedman on September 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
Benjamin Wiker and Jonathan Witt have coauthored a very compelling account of why science and the arts reveal design and genius in nature. This accomplishment serves as a summation of the various written accounts of the revival of the theory of design as the overarching philosopical explanation of the physcial world. Stating that the sum is greater than the individual parts, Wiker and Witt have written a thorough attack upon the materialist reductionist belief system and exposed the central false assumption of our times.

It can be surely argued that Wiker and Witt overused the analogy of Shakespeare and use the phrase " materialist reductionism" more than one too many times. Since most of us understand the concept, it would have been helpful for them to strengthen the argument by contrasting meaning with other secular maladies and thinkers. This is still easily a five star performance.

Critics will argue that this book merely rehashes familiar arguments in the ID literature. Wiker and Witt admit that this is the case. To some extent, this is the path of all philosophy and this blend of philosophy and science will challenge honest and thoughtful people to follow the evidence where it leads and that is inexorably towards meaning and design.

I strongly recommend that everyone own this book.

Wiker and Witt ask in the first chapter if a scientist can be a scientist if the universe is meaningless or even less than purposeful? The fact that we know so much about nature and the universe suggests very strongly that nature is not a work of chance but of great genius and precision. We do our students a grave disservice by telling them point-blank that it is all a fortutious bit of luck that the world is the way that it is.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Michael W. Lux on January 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
Wiker and Witt have convinced me. At each point I started out with "Aw, c-mon!" and ended with "How come nobody told me about this before?" Years ago I felt a little embarassed for God, that He knew so little about science. Now I'm embarassed for our scientific establishment. This book definitely bolstered my faith. It's clear enough for a dumb sheet metal worker (me) to understand. Why four stars? I don't give anything five.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By J. Anderson on August 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
Just from the prologue and first chapter, one can tell that this book is tremendous. I especially appreciate Wiker and Witt pointing out that meaninglessness is parasitic to meaning and that the design we're finding at the most basic levels runs contrary to materialism and can be logically extrapolated to design on a grand scale. Also, their highlighting of genius as yet another, obviously highest-level of design is a great ratcheting up of the evidence for meaning, which is even more testable than mere theorizing about design and purpose.

Honestly, I found myself wanting to break out in praise as I read this book and pondered the incredible complexity of His work, which we're barely beginning to discover. Indeed, what is man, that He is mindful of him?
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