2005 New York Magazine Best Academic Book
Synopses & Reviews
Creation versus evolution: What seems like a cultural crisis of our day, played out in courtrooms and classrooms across the county, is in fact part of a larger story reaching back through the centuries. The views of both evolutionists and creationists originated as inventions of the Enlightenment--two opposed but closely related responses to a loss of religious faith in the Western world.
In his latest book, Michael Ruse, a preeminent authority on Darwinian evolutionary thought and a leading participant in the ongoing debate, uncovers surprising similarities between evolutionist and creationist thinking. Exploring the underlying philosophical commitments of evolutionists, he reveals that those most hostile to religion are just as evangelical as their fundamentalist opponents. But more crucially, and reaching beyond the biblical issues at stake, he demonstrates that these two diametrically opposed ideologies have, since the Enlightenment, engaged in a struggle for the privilege of defining human origins, moral values, and the nature of reality.
Highlighting modern-day partisans as divergent as Richard Dawkins and Left Behind authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Ruse's bracing book takes on the assumptions of controversialists of every stripe and belief and offers to all a new and productive way of understanding this unifying, if often bitter, quest.
"Readers eager to understand this story in its nuances should turn to The Creation-Evolution Struggle....Simplistically, it may be, but not simply." Philadelphia Inquirer
"[Ruse] makes the case that while creationists misunderstand science, some scientists have made evolution into a 'secular religion' and that both these factors are sources of cultural tension....[T]his book takes a nonpolemical approach, which is rare." Library Journal
"This book gives a new perspective on an important contemporary debate, and clarifies many of the issues involved." Globe and Mail
"[An] accessible, skilfully written book." New Scientist
"A rich, thoughtful overview." Dallas Morning News
"By concurrently investigating evolutionary and creationist histories, and their interrelationship, Ruse seeks to bring light to our confusion and perspective to what is actually taking place." Catholic News Service
"[A] carefully researched and cogently argued examination...by noted philosopher of science Michael Ruse. An observer of and participant in the debate on the topic for the past three decades, Ruse offers his readers historical and philosophical insight into the issues and ideas involved." American Scientist
"A prerequisite of progress in this cultural struggle is that we should recognize the metaphysical assumptions underlying dogmatic forms of scientific naturalism, and be willing to investigate the concerns that motivate criticism. Ruse has done his best to reveal both." Nature
"This excellent and accessibly written book is based on his deep and sympathetic appreciation of both sides. I learnt a lot from it....Anyone who wants to understand the debate should read this book." Times Higher Education Supplement
"Michael Ruse...is one of the most stimulating writers on the never-ending cultural debate over evolution. Here, this self-professed 'ardent Darwinian' arrives at a surprisingly sympathetic view of the anti-Darwin crowd. They may be wrong, but they're not quite as crazy as we smugly imagine." New York Magazine
In his latest book, Ruse uncovers surprising similarities between evolutionist and creationist thinking. Exploring the underlying philosophical commitments of evolutionists, he reveals that those most hostile to religion are just as evangelical as their fundamentalist opponents. But more crucially, and reaching beyond the biblical issues at stake, he demonstrates that these two diametrically opposed ideologies have, since the Enlightenment, engaged in a struggle for the privilege of defining human origins, moral values, and the nature of reality.
About the Author
Michael Ruse is Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy, Florida State University. The author of many books, including The Philosophy of Biology and Taking Darwin Seriously, he is also the founder and editor of the journal Biology and Philosophy. He has appeared on "Quirks and Quarks" and the Discovery Channel.
Table of Contents
1. Christianity and Its Discontents
2. From Progress to Evolution
3. Growth of a Pseudoscience
4. Charles Darwin
5. Failure of a Professional Science
6. Social Darwinism
7. Christian Responses
9. Population Genetics
10. Evolution Today
11. Nature as Promise
12. Earth's Last Days?
References and Reading