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My Top Five Science and Faith Christmas Gifts for 2015

John G. West


Bill Nye “the Science Guy” has just published a new book claiming that “perhaps there is intelligence in charge of the universe, but Darwin’s theory shows no sign of it, and has no need of it.” Earlier this fall, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking told an interviewer that he is “an atheist” because “before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation.”

The endless repetition of such claims has led to a situation where 55 percent of American adults now believe “science and religion [are] often in conflict” (2009 Pew Research Center Survey, p. 18). As you consider your gift-giving this Christmas, why not give a gift that tells the real story of how science and faith are not in conflict? There are lots of wonderful resources in this area, but here are my top five picks of new resources for sharing at Christmas this year:

1. Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design, by Stephen Meyer (expanded paperback edition). Meyer’s book focuses on science, not faith. But because belief in unguided Darwinian evolution remains a linchpin for much of modern atheism, Meyer’s cutting-edge critique of Darwinian theory has robust implications for the debate between science and faith. If you have friends or family members who have been convinced that faith in God is irrational due to Darwinian theory, you need to get them this book (preferably the new paperback edition in which Meyer persuasively responds to critics of his book).

2. Privileged Species, a new DVD featuring geneticist Michael Denton. Are humans the accidental products of a blind and uncaring universe? Or are they the beneficiaries of a cosmic order that was planned beforehand to help them flourish? Privileged Species explores how physics, chemistry, biology, and related fields show that our universe was designed for large multi-cellular beings like ourselves. An Amazon reviewer calls Privileged Species “beautiful… both informative and inspirational.” Full Disclosure: I directed this new documentary, so perhaps putting it on the list is simply shameless self-promotion. But I made the documentary because I was so intrigued by biologist Mike Denton’s insights into the beauty and wonders of our cosmos. Like Darwin’s Doubt, this documentary focuses on the evidence from science, but that evidence has larger metaphysical implications.

3. Counting to God, by Doug Ell. Prominent attorney Doug Ell offers a compelling story of how he found his way back to belief in God largely because of science, not in spite of it. Counting to God provides an accessible guide to the many different scientific discoveries that are making theism much more plausible than materialism. A good book for friends who think that science makes belief in God irrational.

4. Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life, by Eric Metaxas. Although focused on the topic of miracles, this new book includes several perceptive chapters about the relationship between science and faith. If you’ve never read a book by Metaxas, you are in for a treat. He is funny, winsome, compassionate, and understanding. This would make a wonderful gift not only for someone else, but for yourself.

5. Salvo Magazine. Giving a gift subscription to Salvo Magazine is a great way to help someone keep up with the latest ideas involving science and culture. Sassy, bold, and provocative, Salvo explores our culture’s hot-button issues from a deeper perspective. The magazine is especially appropriate as a gift for your favorite twenty-something.

Image credit: Wysz/Flickr.