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Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World Paperback – April 28, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Since 2002, ordained United Church of Christ minister Dowd and his wife, science writer Connie Barlow, have traveled the country celebrating evolution as a grand epic story with a host of psychological and moral implications for shaping contemporary life. As narrator, Dowd projects an earnest next-door neighbor teaching style that earns a measure of patience and forgiveness when he undertakes divergent metaphors and analogies that may leave listeners scratching their heads at times. Dowds talking points offer a potpourri of scientific and theological insights that remain generally engaging, though not necessarily stirring. He reaches the peak of his effectiveness when he provides specific calls to actions for his audience to meld flat-Earth Christianity and evolutionary Christianity in both their personal problem-solving and in larger global challenges. These nuggets make the lengthy journey worthwhile, at least for those in the fields of science and religion wanting to foster new areas for dialogue beyond the current culture wars. A Viking hardcover. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Dowd presents evolution as a sacred epic of emerging complexity."
-The New York Times

"Dowd masterfully unites rationality and spirituality in a world view that celebrates the mysteries of existence... A powerful book!"
-Craig Mello, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine

Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452295343
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452295346
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #286,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Dowd (b. 1958) has been called "America's Evolutionary Evangelist." His mission is to convey an inspiring "deep-time" understanding of our place in the Universe, based entirely on the evidential resources of mainstream science. Since 2001 he has been living on the road with his science writer wife, Connie Barlow, bringing this message to religious and secular audiences across the spectrum. Visit his websites and blog: thankgodforevolution dot com and MichaelDowd dot org.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 117 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Whether Michael Dowd will succeed in reconciling the ways of the ancient religions to the facts of postmodern science, and in doing so, transform our lives by ending the dangerous contention existing between and among the various claims to "the way, the truth, and the life," remains to be seen. He is aiming for nothing less than the complete consilience of science and religion, a merging that, if successful, will be of inestimable value to humankind. I greatly admire the wisdom and intelligence and learning that Dowd brings to this very difficult task. I am amazed at his creativity and his temerity. His idea reminds me of something relatively simple, yet earth-shaking, something that might come from an Einstein or a Gandhi. I am not exaggerating.

The idea is this: we can accept as public truth and as "daytime" knowledge the facts about our world and ourselves as revealed through physics, cosmology, evolutionary psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, geology, etc., while maintaining our faith in our religious heritage. We can still believe in Jesus Christ as our savior and be guided by the wisdom in the Bible while knowing that the earth really is four and a half billion years old and that, yes, we did indeed evolve from a long extinct ape-like creature.

It might be that Dowd is inventing a discipline. Call it Evolutionary Theology. Because we are educated we know that evolution is a fact; and because we believe in a God who cares and is intimately involved in this world, we therefore must see evolution as God's way of working in this world. But can the denotative words of the Bible be reconciled with such an understanding?
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56 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Paul C. West on October 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a recovering Biblical literalist who was raised to "believe" radical religious views that are completely out of sync with reality, I was overjoyed to discover a book that finally shares what I have known in my heart and head since I was a child, namely that everything is sacred. Everything is divine. All land is holy land. All water is holy water. My existential angst is finally over. This beautiful book turns religion right-side up, reality inside out and gives a new way to EXPERIENCE rather than just EXPLAIN God. The insights it shares breath new life into old scriptures by helping to reveal religious meaning that just makes sense in light of modern revelations about reality. We literally are the first life form we know of that has a choice in its own evolution. If that isn't a second coming idea that lifts humanity to the right hand of God, then I don't know what is. I strongly recommend this book to anyone feeling "left behind" by the end-of-times doom-and-gloomers. All of a sudden you'll see how challenges like global warming are just the evolutionary nudge we need right now to evolve into a species that truly and deeply cares for ourselves, each other and our precious planet, the only known one of its kind. Welcome to Heaven!
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55 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Happy on November 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Michael Dowd draws on the wisdom of religion and the revelations of science to make sense of the world in a way that is a gift to me. I have heard Michael Dowd speak several times, and am thrilled that he has put these ideas into writing. I have found the integration of evolution and religion to be the most mind-expanding, heart-opening, grace-giving idea I have ever experienced. At the risk of sounding corny, I am just plain effusive about improvements in my life that have happened as a result of understanding the ideas presented in "Thank God For Evolution!" Since reconciling evolution with religion, all the important relationships in my life have improved. I experience more joy in my life and have more moments of grace than ever. I also have a realistic and grounded hope that gives me courage to meet the social and ecological challenges facing our society and the Earth. Through this new understanding of evolution that Dowd presents, religion finally makes sense. For years, as a molecular biologist who studied evolution, I "believed" that evolution meant there was no God and worse, that the universe was unfriendly. A closer examination of growing amounts of evidence helped me discover that the universe is a friendly place. What scientists of all disciplines (and all faith traditions) are revealing about evolution is convincing me more and more that the universe is on a trajectory toward greater complexity, cooperation and consciousness. Michael Dowd beautifully articulates this in "Thank God for Evolution!"
Another of my favorite things about Dowd's teachings is how he finds universal spiritual/evolutionary impulses in specific Christian metaphors.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Tom Atlee on October 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is not only a fascinating read, but is also extremely important.

I should, as a matter of full disclosure, say that I have been working with (not for) the author for three years, which I don't see as a conflict of interest to recommend this book. I'm working with Michael Dowd because I believe in the profound importance of what he and his book are saying. I think his book is a gift to the world -- particularly to future generations -- and so it is a gift to recommend it. Here's why:

I see at least 3 layers of importance for Thank God for Evolution!...

1. At its surface layer it is a Christian book brilliantly weaving Christianity and modern evolutionary understandings into a single fabric of celebration, integrity, and universal co-creativity. Although I don't think of myself as Christian, the vast majority of Americans are Christians, and I expect the vast majority of them will find Dowd's perspective inspiring and useful. It will deepen and ground their ability to live the benign spirit of their faith while shaking loose from some of its worst downside. Given what's been going on lately, this will greatly benefit America, other "Christian nations", and the rest of the world.

2. There is a war raging between religion and science. It has been going on since Copernicus. It settled down to a quiet roar during the industrial era when both agreed to a sort of "separate but equal" dynamic tension. But with the recent growth of deep collective uneasiness, with recent abuses in both religious and secular realms, and after recent cynical efforts to merge religion and politics for partisan gain, the suppressed tensions are once again boiling over.
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