Talk:Alister McGrath

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I think it is worth making it clear that McGrath only has a "Title of Distinction", i.e. he does not actually hold a chair (such as the Regius and Lady Margaret Professors of Divinity do). Oxonian2006 00:11, 8 May 2006 (UTC)


The article reads "After years of research and study ..." when describing McGrath's PhD. work, but it was only 3 years (the UK norm). It sounds like it was decades of hard graft or something (or, at least, that's how I first read it). Tweaking the text to "fix" this. Cheers, --Plumbago 08:54, 4 May 2006 (UTC)


There is a category of Christians in Science to which McGrath could be added. ACEO 20:00, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Is he "in science"? I don't think so. He once was a published scientist, but seems to be wholly theology these days. A "former scientists who are now theologists" category might be more appropriate. He cites a lot of "Christians in Science", but technically I don't think he's one himself. Once he was, but now not really. Cheers, --Plumbago 08:59, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
It's titled Category:Christians in science because "Category:Christian Scientists" is too easily confused with categories about members of the Church of Christ, Scientist as they are often called "Christian Scientists." If McGrath is a scientist who is notable for writing about Christianity's relationship to science than he fits the category whether he's currently active in science or not.--T. Anthony 21:59, 16 December 2006 (UTC)
There are those who seemingly desire to recategorize all people with education/training in science, who may have an extensive publishing or research history within their field, who now write about religion as being theologists, rather than scientists. Alister McGrath is just one of several on Wikipedia that I've seen. Rkevins82 04:16, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
If we're going to be technical, we'll have to remove large swaths of people from the '[x] in science' type categories, because many of the people on those lists are.. well. Dead. Hard to be in science when you're in a box, unless you're a very aggressive quantum physicist. Certainly few of them died in the middle of research; they retired from the field. McGrath meets the qualifications of having been a scientist, and his PhD and research didn't evaporate when he became a christian. Excluding him from the list just seems... weird. 08:25, 21 December 2006 (UTC) Anonymous
I suppose the point I was trying to make above is that there are many successful working scientists who are also Christians for whom the category makes a lot of sense. McGrath is not really one of them anymore, so to label him as such might be confusing. That said, as he has a formal training in science, ostensibly he's in a notable position in his commentary on it. I say "ostensibly" because, having recently seen him deliver a seminar, his presentation style/tactics are emphatically not those of a scientist; a lawyer perhaps, but certainly no scientist. --Plumbago 09:07, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, naturally - his presentation is about relaying an intellectual argument regarding science and scientific topics - he's not posing new theories. When Steven Weinberg talks about his views on religion and morality, he doesn't sound like much of a scientist either; appropriate, because it's a different (if related) sphere. You make it sound as if McGrath traded in his knowledge of science in exchange for his knowledge of theology, which is not the case. I'm a mere anonymous contributor, so I'll leave the actions to someone else - but place me firmly in the 'Adding McGrath to the Christians in Science' category, as it makes more sense to do so than to not do so. 05:35, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Discussion is now moot as the Category was deleted. There were some valid concerns tossed out about misuse and another it allowing for confusing things like say people who claim the classification of angels is science. Neither of those things were happenin, or ever really did in its 13 month history, but I suppose it had a logic. That wasn't the reason for deletion though unfortunately. Deletion was based more on "overcategorization", which has become a nice excuse to delete any intersection that a person finds irritating or uncomfortable.--T. Anthony 12:05, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Dawkins & Fleas[edit]

Perhaps my "Possible reason for Dawkins's catty and silly comment?" viz "McGrath became a full professor at Oxford at the age of 46 and has written 18 books which have nothing to do with Dawkins (whereas Dawkins had to wait until he was 54, and to have a chair endowed specially for him by an admirer)" was a bit harsh. I might have added that McGrath got a First in both his undergraduate degrees, Dawkins got a second (and only took one), that McGrath is very popular with his colleagues whereas I'm told that Dawkins is pretty much a pariah at Oxford, and that when McGrath comments on science he is qualified and knows what he is talking about whereas when Dawkins comments on philsophy or theology is is unqualified and makes laughable howlers. However I think at least the first part, without the parentheses, is fair comment. NBeale 12:12, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

This addition to the article is easily one of the most churlish I've ever read. Its tone is completely unencyclopedic and sounds like a childish rejoiner to the Dawkins quote. Said quote isn't, perhaps, the most carefully considered riposte, but it does capture something about the nature of McGrath's endeavours. As for the continuation of the article's rejoiner on this page, well, the best that can be said about this piffle is "who cares?". As well as being even more out of place in an encyclopedia (I note that it's here, rather than in the article), it's shameless toadying towards McGrath. And, on a technical note, why is McGrath OK on philosophical matters, but not Dawkins? I understand that Dawkins might be ill-equipped on theological cruft, but why on Earth should he be precluded from musing on philosophy? Finally, I just have to say that, in my long experience of attending seminars and lectures, McGrath's was unique in its disingenuousness, its muddying of waters and its blatant misrepresentation of scientific ideas. He might be alright in print, but he's shameless in person. --Plumbago 13:26, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
No one cares what editors claim to have been are told, especially those of such low character. -- 10:21, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but I'm removing the sentence after the Dawkins quote. The article is not the place for personal bias. Whatever you or I think of the two is irrelevant. It is right to include Dawkins' response as it is to include Mcgrath's on his page, as they have history with each other, but not right to add our own feelings.

For the record, you can bad mouth Dawkins and prop up McGrath all you want, but I read his first Dawkins book - it's empty of anything remotely robust as an argument. 13:44, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

  • Come on, NB, you can do better than this. Stop adding such ill-considered and spiteful POV comments to the article. Snalwibma 14:50, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

This isn't a plug or anything, I just don't know how to cite references in articles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:11, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

scientific theology[edit]

What is scientific theology? If I'm going to understand AM's theology, I'd like to know where he stands on various key issues, such as the Trinity (I assume he's for it), evolution, and the nature of the Bible. Anyone know? Jonathan Tweet 04:13, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

What you should probably do is read the books, eh? --Dannyno 10:03, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Read this guy's books? I don't think so. But I would like to know where he stands on key issues. Jonathan Tweet 13:34, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Right. So how are you going to find out unless you read what he's written? --Dannyno 21:40, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
Maybe someone out there has read his books and would summarize his theology in the article. Or maybe someone's attending his lectures and can offer an answer. Jonathan Tweet 14:25, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
Taking a position like this can be argued as poor way to develope an opinion on the issues brought up and discussed by these two men because it leads to a contradiction in purpose. Intellectual atheism (and theism) are founded surely in challenging oneself to be familiar with both the knowledge base that surrounds a particular position and that of the dissenting position. As for truth seeking in general; exclusion of the devil's advocate position (in general) is wanting of a naivete. There is however a compelling arguement to maintain your position; namely that one can never understand (in any logically formalized or evidentialist reductionist sense) completely the phenomena that we know as the world, but one can yet be locally fulfilled with ones life w/out this complete understanding (ie, those that are happy with their lives), hence one does not necessarily need to seek more knowledge of irreducible truths to find local truths (those that are pertinent in ones local mental environment). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:36, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

lead: ordination[edit]

The lead should explain that AM is an ordained clergyman, but I'm not sure what the term is for a cleric of his station in the CoE. Is it that he's still a deacon but no longer a curate? Jonathan Tweet 20:20, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Beyond Belief[edit]

I have just removed this:
In 2004 McGrath controversially suggested in The Twilight of Atheism that Atheism was in decline. Although he was criticised for this in many quarters, atheistic groups like the 2006 Beyond Belief conference now also consider that "Just 40 years after a famous TIME magazine cover asked "Is God Dead?" the answer appears to be a resounding "No!" According to a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in a recent issue of Foreign Policy magazine, "God is Winning". Religions are increasingly a geopolitical force to be reckoned with." - with a reference to the Beyond Belief website.
Sorry. Inserting this personal opinion about the death of atheism has been tried before, here and at The Twilight of Atheism. That is your personal opinion. It is not about McGrath or his book. It is also a serious distortion of the Beyond Belief conference - but that is beside the point, which is that it is simply nothing to do with McGrath. Snalwibma 21:51, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

"opposes atheism"[edit]

Just a tidbit I don't think it right to say he opposes atheism. Most of the time he simply rebuttals Richard Dawkins and others. He writes extensively on Christianity in general. Atheism only comes into the fray when he has to defend it; but I don't feel its a defining feature as this article seems to be leaning towards

I disagree. It's a significant interest for him, and he's published three books on the subject, one general and two directed at Dawkins. His own website has a section on atheism, where he says: "Alister McGrath is a former atheist, who converted to Christianity at Oxford University. He retains a high degree of interest in atheism, particularly forms of atheism which claim to be grounded in the natural sciences. He has published two substantial works in this field, each of which has generated considerable discussion." [1] --Dannyno 11:10, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
He actually doesn't oppose atheism, as he has spoken highly of Michael Ruse and Stephen Jay Gould, both of which are/were atheists (it can be argued that Gould was agnostic). He in fact stated in "The Dawkins Delusion?" that theism is just as compatable with science as atheism, though he argues for theism as that is his personal belief.
I agree with the above posters. He has never stated that he opposes atheism. He has stated that his argument is not really about God Vs No God, but rather about Religion Vs Science. He just despises the "militant atheism" of Dawkins, Hitchens, and Dennett. A high interest in atheism doesn't mean you hate it. It says "particular forms which claim to be grounded in the natural sciences." To McGrath, it's okay to be an atheist, but you shouldn't declare that your atheism is proved by the natural sciences (nor should you really attempt to prove God the same way because they both use the same facts with different perceptions). Even his newest book only mentions atheism very rarely, see: (talk) 08:32, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:3367914082.jpg[edit]

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BetacommandBot 05:35, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Science and Religion: A New Introduction[edit]

There are new book published in 2010. Should we add it in the list?--Vojvodae please be free to write :) 16:22, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

How's about waiting until it's published? Just in case there are delays, etc. If it's already been published, it should be added. --PLUMBAGO 17:30, 29 January 2010 (UTC)
I think that it has been already published. On publishr site wtite January as date of publishing. Also I think that it would be usefull to add list of selected articles by McGrath. (there are partial bibliography on his site). --Vojvodae please be free to write :) 19:11, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

Lack of third party sourcing[edit]

This article appears to be sourced entirely to primary sources (e.g. interviews and debates) and sources affiliated with McGrath. WP:V states: "If no reliable third-party sources can be found on a topic, Wikipedia should not have an article on it." HrafnTalkStalk(P) 04:33, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

we can find sources about his CV at St Edmund's College, Cambridge [2], Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford [3], at Royal Society of Arts[4] and at King's College London [5][6]. I suppose that those are reliable sources according WP rules.--Domics (talk) 10:54, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
I said third party sources, the existence of which WP:OR & WP:V requires, in addition to the requirement for reliable sources. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 11:03, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
I can't see your point; are you arguing that King's College is not a reliable source about McGrath curriculum?--Domics (talk) 11:24, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

This section is about the "lack of third party sourcing" NOT the lack of reliable sourcing. No, I AM NOT "arguing that King's College is not a reliable source about McGrath" -- and I DID NOT SAY THAT -- I am arguing that King's College is not a third party source about McGrath -- as McGrath is affiliated with that institution. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 11:35, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

so I can't use the official website of a University to demostrate that someone is or was professor there? --Domics (talk) 12:01, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
You can -- but an article cannot be solely (and should not predominately) be sourced to such sources -- as this one is. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 12:22, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

Views in the lead[edit]

I would point out that it is against WP:LEDE to include in the lead matters not discussed in greater depth in the article. McGrath's former atheism (an oddly-common feature of apologists) and acceptance of theistic evolution belong in the 'Views' section, unless and until that material becomes sufficiently prominent to warrant a summary in the lead. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 06:52, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

"Edgar" or "Edger"[edit]

There is a conflict between the infobox and body text. Mark.hamid (talk) 18:11, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Alister McGrath/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Article definitely needs more reference citations, and content on the subject's life would presumably be capable of being significantly expanded as well. John Carter 14:51, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Last edited at 14:51, 31 July 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 07:19, 29 April 2016 (UTC)