Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Book Review: The Works of His Hands: A Scientist’s Journey from Atheism to Faith

Dr. Sy Garte was kind enough to mail me a review copy of his book "The Works of His Hands: A Scientist's Journey from Atheism to Faith."  I have known him on Twitter for a few years now engaging alleged atheists. In this post, I will review his book.

Dr. Garte comes from an atheist background. He mentions this in the first chapter of his book by giving us details of his family and youth as a student in college. He adopted materialistic ideals stemming from his family's Communist political roots. During this time, he began to question his atheism. The account is very similar to my own and many others who come from an atheist and science background. After studying science beyond an elementary level, we realized something was off with atheism.  Dr. Garte noticed this and explains his experience.  Physics, as usual, is the atheism killers, so to speak. He explains how his lessons on physics made him realize that the world is not as determined as his atheism brought him up to believe. The world, in a sense, is "ordered chaos." It is a paradox if you will.  This along with other facts about physics opened the mind of Dr. Garte to think of a Creator and question the veracity of his atheistic beliefs.

Many atheists or alleged atheists online portray themselves as having all of the answers. They argue unceasingly with theists of all denominations about God claiming that science refuted God. Some even claim that God refutes Himself. Dr. Garte tells us in his book that, while on his journey, he found that he did not have all the answers. No one does. He found out that questions are more important than answers. This is something I can testify to. Midway in the book, Dr. Garte explores the many scientific concepts that brought him to question atheism and eventually to believe in God, a Creator. He goes into detail with each and does not miss any details.  His content is well referenced for those who wish to follow up on his claims which adds credibility and authority to them.

In the latter chapters, Dr. Garte explores the philosophical questions and ideas that he explored with aided him on his journey and made him realize that science is not the be-all-end-all of academic fields. Scientism is a concept that has taken control of the minds of the so-called new atheism movement and some scientists. It is an idea that posits that only science is necessary. With its methodology, science is seen as superior to other fields of study. This idea has led to some scientists, including the disgraced physicist Dr. Krauss to mock philosophy. Joining him in the mockery Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson has not been shy about bashing philosophy. This led to one of my philosophy professors from my years at CUNY and an atheist himself, Dr. Pigluicci to confront him on it. Dr. Pigluicci has also debated Dr. Krauss on scientism.  Dr. Garte explains to readers why scientism is not feasible. Science cannot answer everything.  Despite its nearly perfect methods of empirical study, it is still limited to a range of experience and inquiry. He writes on page 120, "The denial of any knowledge other than the scientific kind gives us a distorted view of reality." This is very true. 

Lastly, Dr. Garte takes us on his personal journey and how he ended up in the Methodist denomination where he currently practices his Christian faith. He explains evolution to readers and why it does not conflict with Christianity or the Judeo-Christian theology. Dr. Garte relies on his knowledge of biology and other references to make his arguments showing that evolution, the human body, and life, in general, are a miracle of God. They show an intelligent creation, or as he describes it, a "divine design." Despite the evil and suffering in the world, Dr. Garte saw that this world and the universe is truly a miracle. He writes on page 168, "I saw that the world, the world as it is, is not a terrible place but a place of beauty, of intricate design, a cleverly woven fabric of amazing order and perfect harmony." 

I really enjoyed reading Dr. Garte's book and know you reading this review will enjoy it as well. The book does not drown readers with heavy scientific knowledge but does not water it down either. Anyone who has had a basic grasp of science and philosophy will be able to follow the book without issue.  The book will certainly help those atheists out there who are on the same journey or who are seriously looking to find answers. While reading the book, I noticed God's hand in both the life of Dr. Garte, my own and others who have shared their stories with me. It is so clear that there is a God out there guiding everything, a divine providence. This book makes it so clear, especially for people like myself and others who were once atheists and can see nearly identical patterns in the journey of Dr. Garte. 

This book will make a great companion for anyone's personal library and can be used to hold discussions in a church group setting or even a college setting. I can see this book being used at college Christian clubs and even atheist/secularist/humanist clubs as a means to start discussions.  This book is well written and to the point. One will not want to put it down once started. As one reads it, one can get a feel for Dr. Garte's personal journey and his sincerity. The book is only 250 pages long. I finished it within 2 hours. Dr. Garte does not proselytize nor push any doctrines. He simply shares his journey to faith and how science led him to it. 

This book is a must-have for those into apologetics of all faiths and for those seriously inquiring who are still within the umbrella of atheism.  Dr. Garte truly showed us "The Works of His hands" in an eloquent, academic and personal way.  Well done! 

You can find Dr. Sy Garte online here:

https://twitter.com/sygarte 
https://biologos.org/people/sy-garte
https://theworksofhishands.com

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