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Can a Darwinian be a Christian?: The Relationship between Science and Religion Paperback – Sep 6 2004
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You will have to look hard to find a better explanation of the relationship between basic Christian tenets and the Darwinian theory of evolution than Can A Darwinian Be A Christian? by Michael Ruse. The author, a professor of philosophy and zoology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, writes with bracing candour ("Let me be open", he begins, "I think that evolution is a fact and that Darwinism rules triumphant") and sophisticated sympathy to Christian doctrine ("if one's understanding of Darwinism does include a natural evolution of life from nonlife, there is no reason to think that this now makes Christian belief impossible"). Writing this book, he also clearly had a hell of a lot of fun (disarming sceptical Christian readers at the beginning, he asks, "Why should the devil have all the good tunes?").
Can A Darwinian Be A Christian? answers its title question with heady confidence--"Absolutely!"--but the book journeys towards that answer with circumspect integrity. Covering territory from the Scopes Monkey Trials to contemporary theories of Social Darwinism to the question of extraterrestrial life, Ruse applies an impressive wealth of knowledge that encompasses many disciplines. Readers may or may not be swayed, but they can't help but be challenged and edified by this excellent book. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
For those dissatisfied with the tenor of the evolution vs. creationism debate, or who simply long for a more moderate intellectual engagement, Ruse (philosophy and zoology, Univ. of Guelph, Canada; Mystery of Mysteries) offers another perspective here: one designed to help rationalists come to terms with religion. Written from the viewpoint of a scientist willing to engage Christian literalism on its own terms, he systematically compares historical Darwinism and Christian beliefs and sensibilities, finding surprising parallels in both methodologies as they search for the meaning of life. While the author can be faulted in spots for minor misinformation (Augustine was not raised a Christian but underwent a conversion in midlife), he succeeds in offering as basic and thoroughgoing an engagement of biology and belief as one might hope for. And his honesty is noteworthyDa Darwinian can be a Christian, but, as Ruse notes, nobody claims that that's an easy path. Recommended for public and academic libraries.DSandra Collins, Duquesne Univ. Lib., PA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
If you are a serious Darwinian, skip this one and read Ruse's other works. If you are a committed Christian, skip this one and read Ruse's other works to see why you should be a Darwinian.
"are you persuaded by the arguments that persuaded me?"
And it may be very irritating to discover that others are not as persuaded as we are.
For example, I'm not persuaded that a consensus among experts necessarily reflects the truth - as far as I'm concerned it merely indicates agreement. Neither am I persuaded that, because there are many different speculations attempting to show spontaneous generation of life, this proves that life did generate spontaneously. It just shows me that people are imaginative.
Nor do I consider faith a proposition which must not court any risk of rebuttal, a kind of pull-your-head-in and count prudence as the better part of testimony: when we have prudently waited for all the proofs, and seen for ourselves the fulfilment of some proposition, there is no room left for faith - only acquiescence if we are not to appear stupid.
I certainly do not accept Ruse's statement on page 66 that "nothing terribly important rests on this scientific matter, either way." If that were so, Michael Ruse would not have gone to the trouble of writing this book.
To those who genuinely seek reconciliation between science and religion, this book will be a disappointment. The oft tried ruse of redefining the terms to be reconciled may satisfy a shallow desire to hold onto a philosophical investment in the face of conflict, but it only fools those who already have made their committment and who have no intention of changing their mind.
This is just one possibility that I don't think was properly explored, and ultimately no viable option is presented. I'd recommend Kenneth Miller's "Finding Darwin's God" as a much more informative source, a book that actually provides answers and has the courage to challenge longstanding theories and theorists.
Ruse establishes his credentials promptly, offering a succinct account of "Darwinism" [a term i loathe]. He explains the history and mechanisms of evolution by natural selection with aplomb. The book is valuable for this summation, if nothing else. He explains various forms of evidence such as the similarity of animal body structures [homology]. He continues with various dialogues between Christians who view evolution as a threat to morals, society, ethics and the other tired arguments and why they have no basis.
Finally, Ruse states the obvious: many scientists are and have been, successfully practicing Christians. Whether or not they've made the effort to rationalise this disparity, he saves them the effort in examining how the reconciliation can be achieved. For centuries, he reminds us, the study of Nature was in order to glorify a deity. He uses Augustine frequently in support of the view that Nature deserves serious study.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
It is a surprising book. It is mild in tone, polite and nice to revealed religion. He obviously did his homework, understanding Christianity, probably better than the man in the... Read morePublished on March 18 2003 by R. M. Williams
I was looking for ways to explain my pro-evolution stance to fellow evangelicals and was a little disappointed. Read morePublished on Dec 19 2002 by useapencil
Asked in reverse order, "Can a Christian be a Darwinian?", Ruse's answer is really two-fold. Read morePublished on Sept. 13 2002 by Will Jerom
Christians shouldn't compromise their faith with the "wisdom" of this world. Christians who compromised their faith with platonism, neo-platonism, aristotelism,... Read morePublished on May 16 2002 by Jonatas Machado
A correction for the reviewer of this past March, who wrote, apparently in haste:
"However, science has never demonstrated that organic molecules could come from... Read more
Michael Ruse deserves alot of credit for seriously tackling the subject of the compatibility of Darwinism and Christianity. Read morePublished on April 18 2002 by David Read
Michael Ruse is a Darwinist and a Christian. This book is his attempt to remove the barrier between Darwinism and Christianity. Read morePublished on March 14 2002 by Ben Holcomb
I appreciate Ruse's attempts to find common ground between religion and science, and I agree with him that evolution (of a type) more than likely is God's creating mechanism. Read morePublished on Oct. 18 2001
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