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Scaling the Secular City: Review

07/19/2011

Resources: http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/books/secularcity.html

It might be fair to call this one of the best cases for Christianity that exists, and although it does not cover all relevant points in full depth, it at least provides a reasonable introduction to topics like proofs of God (cosmological, design arguments, and the argument from mind), and more specific proofs for Christianity (historicity of the New Testament and the resurrection). Unfortunately, the arguments ultimately suffer from cleverly hidden leaps of logic or from highly selective evidence usage.

Moreland’s first “leap of logic” occurs in the very first chapter. Moreland spends 24 pages developing the kalaam cosmological argument, all to bring us to agree that the universe must have a cause. This does not bring us to God, so Moreland attempts to bridge this gap in a single paragraph on the last page of the chapter, where he argues that the first cause must be outside of time, and only a free will act can act outside of time, therefore God. Any skeptical reader will notice that every example of free will actions we know of occur within time, so the idea of a free will action outside of time is at best in need of elaboration, and at worst totally incoherent. Moreland bases his entire argument on a single, undeveloped, undefended, easily challenged assumption.

Moreland’s selective usage of evidence is clear in his treatment of evolution, where he fails to acknowledge the nearly unanimous consensus of scientists who support the robust theory. Instead, Moreland portrays evolution as a failing theory. Nearly 15 years after the book was published, there is still no scientific “crisis” in evolutionary theory, and Moreland’s arguments have all been addressed repeatedly by scientists.

The above two examples highlight a general deficiency in Moreland’s argumentation, which can be found by any critical reader in every single chapter. Despite his highly refined defense of Christianity, Moreland fails to rationally defend his arguments, and often appeals to selective, biased portrayals of the available field of evidence. Perhaps Moreland succeeds in “Scaling the Secular City,” but his fatal flaw is the leap of faith he takes from the top.

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