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Evolution's Purpose: An Integral Interpretation of the Scientific Story of Our Origins [Hardcover]

Steve McIntosh
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 1, 2012 1590792203 978-1590792209 1
Does the science of evolution really prove that life, humanity, and the universe as a whole are meaningless accidents? On the contrary, as science has shown how everything in the universe is subject to evolution, including matter, life, and human culture, these very facts reveal that the process of evolution is unmistakably progressive.  And, as Steve McIntosh demonstrates, when we come to see how evolution progresses, this reveals evolution's purpose-to grow toward ever-widening realizations of beauty, truth, and goodness. McIntosh argues that the purpose of evolution is not intelligently designed or otherwise externally controlled; rather, its purpose is being creatively and originally discerned through the choices of the evolutionary creatures themselves. Without relying on spiritual authorities, the author shows how the scientific story of our origins is actually a profound and sacred teaching compatible with many forms of contemporary spirituality. Evolution's Purpose: An Integral Interpretation of the Scientific Story of Our Origins presents a fresh and compelling view of evolutionary science and philosophy, and shows how a deeper understanding of evolution itself can lead directly to a more evolved world.

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

About the Author

STEVE MCINTOSH J.D. is a leader in the integral philosophy movement and author of the recent book, Evolution's Purpose, as well as the acclaimed 2007 book, Integral Consciousness. He is also a co-founder of the new think tank: The Institute for Cultural Evolution. In addition to the think tank and his work in philosophy, McIntosh has had a variety of other successful careers, including founding the consumer products company Now & Zen, practicing law with one of America's largest firms, working as an executive with Celestial Seasonings Tea Company, and Olympic-class bicycle racing. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia Law School and the University of Southern California Business School, and now lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and two sons. For more on his work, visit: www.stevemcintosh.com

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: SelectBooks; 1 edition (October 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590792203
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590792209
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steve McIntosh J.D. is a leader in the integral philosophy movement and author of Evolution's Purpose--An Integral Interpretation of the Scientific Story of Our Origins (SelectBooks 2012), and Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution--How the Integral Worldview Is Transforming Politics, Culture, and Spirituality (Paragon House 2007).

He currently works as a Founding Partner of the new social policy foundation: The Institute for Cultural Evolution. In addition to this think tank, and his work in philosophy, McIntosh has had a variety of other successful careers, including founding the consumer products company Now & Zen, practicing law with one of America's biggest firms, working as an executive with Celestial Seasonings Tea Company, and Olympic-class bicycle racing. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia Law School and the University of Southern California Business School, and now lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and two sons.

He can be reached at: steve@stevemcintosh.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Reading this book is like eating a well-prepared and nutritious meal, one that packs a psychoactive punch. This is also the best book to read if you want to start penetrating the opacity of an atheistic scientistic friend or relative.

Evolution's Purpose is many things, including a carefully reasoned dismantling of atheistic materialism. It's really less a repudiation of old myths than a meticulous inferential exploration of what we can learn from a close examination of the very structure of cosmic, biological and cultural evolution. McIntosh notices the patterns hidden in our evolutionary history, working in a modest, parsimonious manner (avoiding immodest assumptions, always disciplining himself as per Occam's razor) and his reasoning reveals instead of a dead materialistic universe, a cosmos that has spontaneously always gently aspired, one that has been attracted to manifest not only ever-increasing complexity and consciousness as Teilhard said, but which has burst forth a series of unaccountable emergences--the big bang's something-from-nothing that gave us space-time and matter-energy, and then the birth of DNA and life, and then the emergence of mind and culture and cultural evolution.

It's no wonder that McIntosh was trained at a top law school (University of Virginia) because he excels in using rigorous logic to build, step-by-step, an argument that makes a minimum of assumptions but which proceeds to directly challenge the underlying materialistic bias of our current scientific-philosophical establishment.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I felt changed by reading this book October 23, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Steve McIntosh makes a powerful and exciting argument for the progressive nature of evolution in matter, life, culture and personal development. He demonstrates how these fundamental dimensions of life are called forward into more complex and intelligent forms by the gravitational pull of Goodness, Truth and Beauty. Ultimately Evolution's Purpose reveals a radical spiritual teaching, and it succeeds not by relying on established religious lineages but by pointing out the profound creative forces that are demonstrably at work in our world and in our lives.

I especially appreciate Steve for his ability to transmit his insight in words. It's heartening to hear the story of creation and evolution told in such a fresh and gifted voice. I love Evolution's Purpose because I feel changed by reading it. I finished it feeling more alive, happy and awake to the presence of the loving intelligence that is animating the cosmos and my own being.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars feast of realization October 22, 2012
Format:Hardcover
One "ah ha" moment usually makes a book worth the price of admission. Evolution's Purpose is one "ah ha" moment after another - a string of truths that will have you nodding your head in recognition, if not agreement, from start to finish.

Evolution's Purpose is a courageous return to meaning and a call to humble but vigorous intentionality. From evolution as the seminal dynamic in all of life ("the monumental truth transcending the boundaries of science") to the "minimal metaphysics" of beauty, truth, and goodness, and finally, to the crucial responsibility humans have in co-creating a sustainable and gracious future, McIntosh has created a feast of realization, prepared with effortless clarity and grace.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A firm footing for Evolutionary progression October 23, 2012
Format:Hardcover
This book does what quite a few others have tried and failed to do. That is to give a clear view of the direction of evolution without sounding fanatical or mystical. There is quite a bit of evidence and referencing in the book to bring to light the clear direction of evolution and to bring the topic out of just a biological framework and into a cultural context. I would highly reccomend the book because of its insightful views.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring work of philosophy November 2, 2012
Format:Hardcover
There are perhaps one or two opportunities in every lifetime to participate in something new coming into being. A reading of Evolution's Purpose by Steve McIntosh is just such an opportunity. This book is a precise and well-built foundation for much of what is to come-- a careful argument from an emerging public intellectual that evolution cannot be fully understood as merely a bio-mechanical accident, but rather must be seen as a process driven by `matter that chooses'--namely by our own consciousness and the use of our free will. The opportunity presented is to claim our role as creators of evolution itself-- as custodians of the most powerful creative force in the universe.
This is an inspiring book of philosophy. You will get smarter just by reading it, and will never again see the world in the same old way.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding Meaning in Science October 22, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Yet another phenomenal book by Mr. McIntosh. I have been waiting for a sequel to his "Integral Consciousness" for some time now. And my waiting has been well rewarded.

Steve takes us on a journey that pierces one of the most profound issues troubling modern society: If a rational person struggles to believe in the literal truth of the Bible as a story of genesis, then where can he or she look? Fittingly enough, Steve McIntosh says, the pendulum has swung to science. Steve unearths the depth and innate purpose of evolution from a philosophical perspective while keeping in mind the wisdom that spirituality offers. What Steve discovers is that the Scientific Story of Origin is full of powerful insights that perhaps even the scientist themselves do not fully grasp (an observation that also neatly fits within Integral Theory). As if an act of incredible glory, an empty universe brought forth life. Once the evolution of the biological world had taken a mature form in human beings, a new type of evolution began to acceleration: cultural evolution. Steve forwards the view that, through a dialectical give and take between conflicting worldviews, humanity is evolving forward in leaps of greater and more robust expressions of Truth, Beauty and Goodness. With this ambitious new book, Steve McIntosh will take you to places that you'd never think evolution belonged. And you'll discover, as I did, that Integral Philosophy can explain so much about human behavior. You'll also discover a rather persuasive argument that dissects the purpose of evolution. I recommend this book to anyone who wonders why we're here.

Steve, if you're listening, I'm looking forward to whatever is next.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Important Book
If you're certain the universe is meaningless and evolution is a random walk, Evolution's Purpose may not be for you - or, maybe you really should read it. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Roger P. Briggs
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Study
Meeting every two weeks, 7 of us choose this book to further our understanding of what drives evolution. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Diana S. Spiegel
5.0 out of 5 stars 21st Century Conscious Evolution
If you are an intuitive person with a keen interest in the kind of future we are creating for ourselves, this book should be great for you; if you are the kind of person who has... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Leo Nation
4.0 out of 5 stars Life - Spirit and Purpose
If you are on the evolutionary path, I suggest that you read this book and get into McIntosh's arguments for the existence of purpose in the Universe. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Beal Lowe
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book
McIntosh has written a very thought provoking book which helps establish some of the most important intellectual foundations that we will need to help evolve our world upwards to a... Read more
Published 10 months ago by John Mackey
5.0 out of 5 stars At last, an exposition on evolution, including spiritual evolution,...
Not an easy read, but well worth the effort. We are using this for our book study group. If your group members know who Ken Wilber is, this may be a book you can handle.
Published 13 months ago by James W. Nippert
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but two problems
I plan to lead a discussion group of retirees (at OLLI American University). Most of the members are strong believers in the dominant scientific position: "evolution is the result... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Rene H. Springuel
5.0 out of 5 stars Evolution's Purpose: A way forward for thinking progressives
Have you been "emerging" for awhile? Do you wonder if there's anything, philosophically, beyond "postmodern progressive spirituality"? Read more
Published 14 months ago by Michael Morrell
3.0 out of 5 stars not exactly in my field of endeavor...
...but I'll make a few observations.

As I began trying to read this book, I wondered why I opted for it from The Speakeasy; I generally can make my way around fairly... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Leah Chang
2.0 out of 5 stars Purpose of Evolution
Evolution's Purpose: An Integral Interpretation of the Scientific Story of Our Origins by Steve McIntosh

In Steve McIntosh's new book, Evolution's Purpose, he seeks to... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Sheep23
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