Whenever I read a book that makes a significant difference in my life or in my thinking about life, I will review it here in my blog. My hope is that doing this will help you in your personal and spiritual growth.
“Why Darwin Matters” by Michael Shermer
Review from Amazon
In Why Darwin Matters bestselling author Michael Shermer explains how the newest brand of creationism appeals to our predisposition to look for a designer behind life’s complexity. Shermer decodes the scientific evidence to show that evolution is not “just a theory” and illustrates how it achieves the design of life through the bottom-up process of natural selection.
Shermer, once an evangelical Christian and a creationist, argues that Intelligent Design proponents are invoking a combination of bad science, political antipathy, and flawed theology. He refutes their pseudoscientific arguments and then demonstrates why conservatives and people of faith can and should embrace evolution. He then appraises the evolutionary questions that truly need to be settled, building a powerful argument for science itself.
Cutting the politics away from the facts, Why Darwin Matters is an incisive examination of what is at stake in the debate over evolution.
From Publishers Weekly
Shermer (The Science of Good and Evil), founding editor of the Skeptic and Scientific American columnist, thoughtfully explains why intelligent design is both bad science and poor religion, how a wealth of scientific data from varied fields support evolution, and why religion and science need not be in conflict.
Before reading this book, Why Darwin Matters I was concerned that, because of their evangelical zeal and their tendency to present their position in black-and-white terms as “THE truth”, the Intelligent Design movement was appealing to the generally scientifically illiterate and muddying up the solid scientific foundation that evolution has been developed on over the last 150 years.
After reading Shermer’s book I came away knowing that this was not the case. In every court that has arbitrated the Intelligent Design argument that evolution is simply a theory and that ID should be taught as an alternative science, that notion has been shown to be false. In each case it was determined that ID is a religious movement, and is not based on “science”.
Science and religion both address our understanding of life and ethics, but they are distinctly separate disciplines that do not in any way negate the validity of the other.
I found this book to be an excellent discussion of Why Darwin Matters. As Shermer so aptly points out in his book, if spirituality is grounded in the embrace of awe and wonder, what greater example of awe and wonder could we possibly point to than the amazing creation story of our physical universe? Were it not so threatening to their “pre-modern theological beliefs” religion would be dancing in the streets celebrating the evolutionary “creation story” uncovered by modern science and physics. I can’t think of a better spiritual or theological proof that a “Creator” actually exists.
This book deserves to be on the required reading list of any one who desires to be informed and scientifically literate. It also points out the danger of intentionally distorting scientific truths to advance a religious cause.
This same distortion of truth to advance the cause of religion is also dangerously present in our current political system. Science, religion, and politics should each be the domain of a separate discipline. Each has a role to play in our human cultures, but allowing religion to introduce intentional falsehoods with the purpose of advancing a religious theological agenda into the domains of science and politics is a slippery and dangerous path to walk. Our country was founded on the concept of separation of Church and State for a reason.
Shermer does an excellent job of showing why science and religion are separate fields of human knowledge that should not be threatened or replaced by the other. I highly recommend Why Darwin Matters, by Michael Shermer .