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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About the Author
Joan Roughgarden is professor of biological sciences and of geophysics at Stanford University. Her many books include Evolution's Rainbow (University of California Press, 2004), Primer of Ecological Theory (Prentice Hall, 1995), and Theory of Population Genetics and Evolutionary Ecology (Macmillan, 1979). She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.