Phillip E. Johnson has long been considered one of the leading figures in the intelligent design movement, due in large part to his book Darwin On Trial. His familiarity with both intelligent design and the various manifestations of evolution makes him a prime candidate to take on the new atheists and their age-old arguments. In Against All Gods: What's Right and Wrong About the New Atheism he is joined by John Mark Reynolds and the result, while lean in size at 116 pages, is anything but lean in content.
Though this book is a response to the charges leveled by Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris and the like, you will not find a point by point rebuttal. Rather, this book is what Johnson and Reynolds consider their contribution to the conversation. After all, they point out, "although [the New Atheists] tend to give the wrong answers, they also tend to raise the right questions". This book is written in a very accessible manner and will make a good introduction to the conversation for all but those most unfamiliar with the topics at hand.
If there is one thing that complicates the Johnson/Reynolds side of the conversation, it's in the co-writing of the book. Phillip E. Johnson writes the introduction and chapters one through five then hands it off to John Mark Reynolds for three chapters before returning for the epilogue. There is certainly a shift in style and expertise—not for the worse, but it certainly breaks the flow.
In not simply answering a laundry list of challenges from the new atheists, Johnson and Reynolds (does anyone else think shampoo when I say that?) refuse to let the terms of the debate be set for them. All in all, Johnson and Reynolds have made a well-reasoned defense for the continued conversation between the two camps.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
Recommended for: Fans of Phillip E. Johnson, those interested in intelligent design and the new atheist debate
This was a free review book provided by InterVarsity Press.