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

4.4 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John G. West is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute. He is co-editor of the award-winning C.S. Lewis Readers' Encyclopedia and author of The Politics of Revelation and Reason and Darwin Day in America. He has been interviewed by Time, Newsweek, USA Today, and The New York Times. He holds a Ph.D. in Government from Claremont Graduate University and formerly was the Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Discovery Institute Press; 1 edition (September 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936599058
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936599059
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #503,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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.
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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.
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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.
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People need to see that there is a difference between science and scientism; science is the pursuit of knowledge by observation, hypothesis experiments and measurements; scientism is basically a belief that science will answer all questions, and any questions that cannot be answered by science are not worth asking anyhow. CS Lewis began his life as an atheist, but was converted to Christianity. Here he shows how scientism is a useless philosophy for anything, INCLUDING science itself. Good for students of science as well as general readers.
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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!
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C.S. Lewis is astoundingly popular among evangelical readers and even has a cottage industry of academics who trace his life and thought in almost every conceivable way. Until now, however, Lewis' treatment of science and scientism - and specifically his views on evolution - has remained largely unanalyzed. In large part because of this neglect a few of his better known passages concerning science and evolution have lead many to assume that Lewis was friendly to some form of what we would call Darwinian change over time. The Magician's Twin begs to differ, and it does so with well argued and thoroughly documented chapters.

A collection of several essays from many different authors crossing several fields of interest, it lays out a convincing case that Lewis cannot be tied too closely to Darwinism and that he had significant misgivings about the philosophy and application of scientism. So it behooves the reader to be sensitive to several distinctions made abundantly clear by Lewis and in the book - `evolution' and `evoltionism', `science' and `scientism', just to name two of the more prominent distinctions made by the authors and editor.

A careful reading will help the reader debunk a multitude of historical myths and pop-philosophical hand-waving gestures. Were the Middle Ages really dominated by an anti-science church? Did humanity really awaken to scientific truths only after the Enlightenment? Will science serve the advancement of the human species well? Can we disconnect technology from ethical and religions reflection and walk away unscathed? The answers Lewis provided and argued for will surprise most people.

This volume is valuable on several levels.
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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.
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