Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion

Darwin s Gift to Science and Religion With the publication in of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection Charles Darwin established evolution by common descent as the dominant scientific explanation for nature s diver

  • Title: Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion
  • Author: Francisco J. Ayala Joseph Henry Press National Academy of Sciences
  • ISBN: 9780309102315
  • Page: 464
  • Format: Hardcover
  • With the publication in 1859 of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Charles Darwin established evolution by common descent as the dominant scientific explanation for nature s diversity This was to be his gift to science and society at last, we had an explanation for how life came to be on Earth Scientists agree that the evolutionary origin of animalWith the publication in 1859 of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Charles Darwin established evolution by common descent as the dominant scientific explanation for nature s diversity This was to be his gift to science and society at last, we had an explanation for how life came to be on Earth Scientists agree that the evolutionary origin of animals and plants is a scientific conclusion beyond reasonable doubt They place it beside such established concepts as the roundness of the earth, its revolution around the sun, and the molecular composition of matter That evolution has occurred, in other words, is a fact.Yet as we approach the bicentennial celebration of Darwin s birth, the world finds itself divided over the truth of evolutionary theory Consistently endorsed as good science by experts and overwhelmingly accepted as fact by the scientific community, it is not always accepted by the public, and our schools continue to be battlegrounds for this conflict From the Tennessee trial of a biology teacher who dared to teach Darwin s theory to his students in 1925 to Tammy Kitzmiller s 2005 battle to keep intelligent design out of the Dover district schools in Pennsylvania, it s clear that we need to cut through the propaganda to quell the cacophony of raging debate.With the publication of Darwin s Gift, a voice at once fresh and familiar brings a rational, measured perspective to the science of evolution An acclaimed evolutionary biologist with a background in theology, Francisco Ayala offers clear explanations of the science, reviews the history that led us to ratify Darwin s theories, and ultimately provides a clear path for a confused and conflicted public.

    One thought on “Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion”

    1. Ayala's intention, as one might guess from the book's title, is to demonstrate that a rejection of evolution is not just bad science but bad theology. As with, it seems, so many books these days, he spends most of his time talking about matters other than his stated topic, in this instance with lengthy explanations of natural selection and the many ways in which it has been shown beyond doubt that "Darwinism" is the way thinks work, and with extremely competent dissections of the pretensions of [...]

    2. An argument for the peaceful coexistence of evolution and religion. As well-reasoned as possible, I think, but, sadly, fundamentalist religious believers can't seem to get past the idea that the Bible is not a scientific text, so I don't think they'll cotton to coexisting no matter how lucid the argument.There is introductory information about how DNA works and information on how molecular biology has definitive evidence on the evolution of all creatures great and small now. Also the fossil reco [...]

    3. During a public lecture held in the Spring of 2008 at the City College of New York, eminent evolutionary geneticist Francisco J. Ayala castigated biochemist Michael J. Behe for his inane espousal of Intelligent Design creationism, asserting that, as a biochemist, Behe ought to know better. Ayala's criticism was not one replete with venom, but instead, tinged with sorrow and pity, while still accusing Behe of being derelict in his professional scientific duty by not recognizing the overwhelming s [...]

    4. Ayala does a decent job explaining the facts of evolution -- but not more than decent. (Better, more thorough, more scientifically bracing: "Why Evolution is True," by Jerry Coyne. I'm beginning to think longer really is better in evolution books. There are no shortcuts to the evidence and a reader unwilling to gird for a long argument will probably refuse to be persuaded anyway, or is incapable of being persuaded.) It's comforting to see a genre evolving as authors vie to be the best explainer [...]

    5. This book is a very readable discussion of the topic of science and religion, written by a well-known geneticist who is also a Dominican Priest. He argues that the theory of evolution, far from being an "enemy" of Christian religion, instead should be seen a savior. This is because evolution provides us with a coherent solution to the age-old question of why there we suffer, and why so many features of our frail bodies appear to be less-than-optimal.Ayala goes out of his way to take potshots at [...]

    6. This book is very good to explain the science behind natural selection and emphasizes that there is no longer a missing link. It claims that natural selection is a gift to religion because natural selection is the reason for the cruelty in nature rather than God. I did not feel this really made the case from taking the onus from God, if God is omnipotent.The book gets a little too scientific in places for layperson, but if you enjoy science and are interested in natural selection, it's a good re [...]

    7. The title of this book is misleading. One might expect that it would deal with the intersection of science and religion, but more than anything, it's just an introduction to evolutionary biology. In that respect, it's actually pretty good, but it feels like they put the wrong dust jacket on the book.When Ayala does get around to discussing the title, he points out that evolution by natural selection makes sense of why there are so many imperfections, birth defects, and other sub-optimal features [...]

    8. The parts of this book discussing Darwinian evolution were very readable. However, I found myself frequently wishing the author was present to respond to basic objections to his arguments -- not a great quality in a book aimed at convincing the skeptical. For example, his arguments involving genetics were fine if you accept his premise of gradual evolution and natural selection, but thoroughly unconvincing if you believe that some genes are present in different species because God used them mult [...]

    9. first for a while in what i've been reading that actually even bothers to "prove" darwinian evolution . . and it does a good job of that as well . . a good chapter on the different roles of religion and science and some stinging critique of the "ID movement" as well . . the main idea though--that evolution is a "gift" to religion in that it solves the problem of evil--isn't dealt with nearly enough . . i agree that it removes the issue a step, but there are other issues that emerge at that point [...]

    10. MUM Book Club for Nov. 2009This is not an easy read for me so that's why I gave it 2 stars. However I think it is an important book and stretched me, so I'm glad that I read it. Evolution or natural selection is given a strong voice here. It is not is conflict with God. Actually ID (Intellectual Design) is questioned in how could an omipotent God make imperfect beings like in some of our hereditary features and also why so many spontaneous abortions if fetuses were all perfectly formed. Good thi [...]

    11. Using a really good logical argument Francisco Jose Ayala shows the reader why Creation and Intelligent design should NOT be taught in schools. He also praises Evolution as the answer to the most asked question "Is God not powerful enough, or is he not good enough"At times it reads like a really really long science college term paper, but that is only because it is packed with so much information.Still it makes for a handy go to book

    12. I attended a panel discussion on science and religion which made me want to be back in science. This book is by one of the panelists.

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