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Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science's Greatest Idea Paperback

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Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science's Greatest Idea + Evolutionary Enlightenment: A New Path to Spiritual Awakening + Evolution's Purpose: An Integral Interpretation of the Scientific Story of Our Origins
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061916137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061916137
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“This beautifully written book is not only a splendid survey of evolutionary thought and its spiritual implications. It is also a significant contribution to the increasingly important conversation between the natural sciences and our spiritual traditions. Enthusiastically recommended.” (JOHN F. HAUGHT, Senior Fellow at Georgetown University's Woodstock Theological Center and Former Chair and Professor of the Department of Theology at Georgetown University)

“No one has their head and heart around the full range of evolutionary worldviews like Carter Phipps.” (Reverend MICHAEL DOWD, author of Thank God for Evolution)

“A profound and profoundly important new work. With clarity and deep understanding, Carter Phipps walks us through the great evolutionary pioneers and their ideas in this extraordinary philosophy, making the book absolutely indispensable for lay and professional alike. The very highest recommendation!” (KEN WILBER, author of A Brief History of Everything and The Integral Vision)

“We live in one of those rare historical moments when the deepest metaphysical questions are being turned over and examined as we search for a new orientation for the next millennium. It would be hard to find a better guide into this fascinating conversation than Carter Phipps’s Evolutionaries.” (BRIAN SWIMME, Ph.D, Director of the Center for the Story of the Universe and Professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies)

“Brilliantly expands our understanding of evolution. Evolutionaries is going to help create a worldview that will influence our understanding of the future direction of evolution and also our role in consciously participating in it.” (DEEPAK CHOPRA)

“Phipps offers a challenging reexamination of the connection between the ‘evolutionary dynamics of the universe and the very being of the divine.’ ... Thoughtful and provocative.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A masterful survey. ... Incorporates science and faith by broadening the definition and scope of what evolution is understood to be. ... Phipps’s writing projects a palpable sense of positivity and excitement for what is to come.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Essential reading for anyone who cares about humanity’s future and our role in creating a better one. Evolutionaries, is a brilliant, accessibly written, and eye-opening book” (BARBARA MARX HUBBARD)

Evolutionaries is a tour-de-force where science, poetic prose, philosophical thinking, and authentic spiritual depth come together to deliver a powerful message of hope, optimism, and inspiration.” (ANDREW COHEN, Author of Evolutionary Enlightenment: A New Path to Spiritual Awakening)

“A rare book, equally delightful and deep, Phipps explores how our growing knowledge about the evolutionary process catalyzes nothing less than a revolutionary understanding of our selves.” (ELIZABETH DEBOLD, Author of Mother Daughter Revolution: From Good Girls to Great Women)

From the Back Cover

When it comes to evolution, we’ve all heard about fossils and fruit flies, Darwin and Dawkins. But the idea of evolution is far more profound—and far-reaching. Today, a movement of visionary scientists, philosophers, and spiritual thinkers is forging a new understanding of evolution that honors science, reframes culture, and radically updates spirituality. Carter Phipps calls them Evolutionaries. His groundbreaking book provides the first popular guide to these exciting minds who are illuminating the secrets of our past and expanding the vistas of our future.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 44 customer reviews
Carter Phipp's writing is lucid, concise and inspired.
Catherine G. Russell
This book puts together a picture of how the idea of evolution has changed our thinking of the outer and the inner world, of culture and self, of mind and body.
Jeffrey Carreira
Phipps wrestles with this, at times, but is in the end too much a believer in the evolution religion to be convincing.
F. Visser

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Wesley Rosacker on June 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The brilliance of this book is found in the way Mr. Phipps frees the concept of evolution from the common notion that evolution pertains only to the field of science and articulates how evolution is more accurately an emerging perspective or worldview that has roots in many of the major domains of life. As Carter writes, "The evolutionary worldview I envision is not built by science alone. And so I intend to pursue a broader inquiry into the influence of evolutionary thinking of all aspects of culture... As the book unfolds, I will explore things like the evolution of technology, the evolution of cooperation, the evolution of consciousness, the evolution of worldviews, the evolution of information, the evolution of values, and the evolution of spirituality and religion" (p.20).

Mr. Phipps succeeds in his above intention and provides the reader with both a wider lens and a more synthesized vision of what exactly constitutes an evolutionary worldview. What is truly thrilling about this book is that it doesn't just articulate a more accurate and integral view of evolution (which it does very well), but this book has the power to change the way we see the world, ourselves, and our role in the unfolding cosmos.

As I read Evolutionaries and followed Carter's line of inquiry, I began to dive deeper and deeper into the evolutionary worldview and I started to see myself and the world from this new perspective. At one point, I put the book down and looked into the mirror. Instead of seeing my face and body from a personal perspective (which is my normal way of relating), I began to see myself as the product of a 13.7 billion year process.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Tom Huston on July 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Since the day that Darwin first published "On the Origin of Species" in 1859, our culture has been locked in a war of worldviews, a pitched battle between the scientifically minded and the religiously devout. Is human life the result of a long series of random mutations that, over billions of years, natural ecological selection pressures eventually shaped into you and me? Or is our sophisticated species the handiwork of an Intelligent Designer, a transcendent tinkerer fastidiously manipulating DNA molecules behind the cosmic scenes?

It's a battle that seems to have no end in sight, a conflict that puts everything at stake and continually inflames the biggest questions imaginable: Is there a greater intelligence behind our existence or are we a random accident? Does life have an inherent direction and purpose or are we all just making it up as we go along?

In this groundbreaking book, written with a lively, entertaining blend of dramatic narrative and philosophical explication, author Carter Phipps argues that the highly charged debate over "Darwin's dangerous idea" has been framed far too simplistically from the start. Our understanding of evolution, he says, desperately needs to evolve. And there are numerous biologists and cosmologists, historians and futurists, priests and philosophers who are passionately endeavoring to make that happen--a distinct class of cultural activists that Phipps calls "Evolutionaries."

It's a term that we coined at EnlightenNext magazine, where I worked with Phipps, my mentor and senior editor, for over eight years. (Yes, I'm a bit biased.
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52 of 61 people found the following review helpful By F. Visser on August 15, 2012
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Carter Phipps has been executive editor of the now defunct EnlightenNext magazine, formerly known as What is Enlightenment? In this role, Phipps did many interviews with leading authorities in the fields of science and spirituality. He also authored many essays, among which in 2007 an intriguing overview essay about the many meanings assigned to the term "evolution", called "The REAL Evolution Debate", in a special issue devoted to "The Mystery of Evolution". Over the years, this essay grew into the book.

In this highly readable and informative essay, Phipps distinguished no less than twelve approaches to evolution. Usually only two or three reach the media spotlights (i.e. 1. neo-Darwinism and 7. Creationism, otherwise known as Intelligent Design), which severely limits the number of intellectual options available. (Though truth be told, perspectives 1-6 can be qualified as scientific; perspectives 7-12 are better seen as speculative, so Darwinism and Creationism are iconic for their respective fields).

Some of their current or historic representatives are listed here, Phipps mentions many more, including their main works and historical influences:

1. The Neo-Darwinists (Dawkins, Gould, Dennet, E.O. Wilson)
2. The Progressive Darwinists (Carrol, Jablonka, Lamb)
3. The Collectivists (Bloom, Lynn Margulis, David Sloan Wilson)
4. The Complexity Theorists (Goodwin, Kaufman, Laszlo)
5. The Directionalists (Conway Morris, Gardner, Wright)
6. The Transhumanists (Ettinger, Gibson, Kurzweil)

7. The Intelligent Designers (Behe, Dembski, Johnson)
8. The Theistic Evolutionists (Miller, Peacocke, Polkinghorne)
9. The Esoteric Evolutionists (Blavatsky, Steiner, C. Wilson, Tarnas)
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