Ken Ungerecht’s God Theories: Revised Edition is a thoughtful exploration of the deepest spiritual questions: What is the origin, nature, and purpose of humankind and the universe, and is there a Supreme Intelligence behind it all? Ungerecht contrasts evolution and intelligent design in an attempt to use deductive reasoning to support the position that humans are eternal, spiritual beings inhabiting a universe created by an intelligent force.
Ungerecht’s greatest strength is his clarity: He bases his conclusions on clearly stated premises. That elegance, however, can also cause difficulties for him. In a main argument that humans didn’t evolve but were created, for example, the author posits that the chances of a sperm and egg combining to create one person are infinitesimal, especially if you also do the math for every preceding generation. Unfortunately, Ungerecht undercuts this logic even while explaining it: “…it is clear the odds of somebody being born are extremely high… what I am talking about in the proof is the odds of a particular person being born into this world by chance or fate are…absurdly low.” But with the birth of any of those first “somebodies,” wouldn’t they then become the “particular” people Ungerecht subsequently refers to? Why the distinction? God Theories presents similar issues throughout the text, detracting from its persuasiveness.
At other moments, however, God Theories is compelling, such as a criticism of Daniel Dennett’s view that free will for humans is consistent with the same universe of causes and effects that drives evolution (the author presents good reasons to think Dennett is wrong).
Overall, God Theories is refreshingly reminiscent of the 19th century movement in natural theology while drawing from modern thought in string theory, genetics, and quantum physics. It is an ambitious project for such a thin book, but it is unlikely to persuade readers who don’t already share many of the author’s own views.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.