From Publishers Weekly
Roughgarden, a Stanford biology professor and author of Evolution's Rainbow
, is impatient with the current tone of creation/evolution debates, but takes them seriously as an expression of a "pent-up urge for talking about God" in American public life. Attentive to "the spiritual yearning of people that compels them to overlook the evidence" if evolution is portrayed as an enemy of faith, Roughgarden urges science educators to show "more sympathy and willingness to accommodate people of faith, to offer space for seeing a Christian vision of the world within evolutionary biology." The book's main argument is that a suitably flexible reading of the Bible and Darwin bears out common, or at least compatible, themes, and that evolution can be read within a broader perspective of divine design. Roughgarden sees room in the biblical account for the common ancestry of all life on Earth, as well as the possibility that evolution is "guided by the hand of God, even if the mutation process is random" as described by Darwinian theory. While the book occasionally overreaches in attempts to have things both ways—or so it will seem to controversialists on either side—readers who see a role for both evolution and divine creation will appreciate Roughgarden's attempt to stake out a common ground that does not feel like a compromise. (Aug.)
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"Clear and brilliantly concise, Dr. Roughgarden's thoughtful analysis sheds much-needed light on the contemporary debate over the compatibility of Christian belief and evolutionary biology. Eschewing polarizing rhetoric and antithetical claims, she demonstrates that there is no contradiction between Christian faith and the facts of evolution and that it is false to suggest such dichotomous thinking is required by either faithfulness to the Bible or scientific evidence. Roughgarden's fresh approach suggests that much in the Bible invites Christians to recognize God's good creation precisely as a universe in evolution."
(Patricia Beattie Jung Professor of theology, Loyola University Chicago)
"Joan Roughgarden is more than an accomplished evolutionary biologist; she is also brave. Combining lucid evolutionary reasoning with personal Christian faith, she builds a remarkable bridge across the cultural chasm between science and faith in America today. Roughgarden rejects both junk science based on spurious metaphors and junk religion based on spurious theology. In their place, she offers an inspiring accommodation between thoughtful science and compassionate religion."
(Michael Rose Professor of evolutionary biology, University of California, Irvine)