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Darwin's God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil Hardcover – April, 2001

3.9 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Biophysicist Hunter brings rare depth and originality to this analysis of an often-neglected stream of Darwin's thought, illuminating not only the original debates surrounding The Origin of Species, but also contemporary questions about evolution and religion. Hunter's main argument is that most interpreters of evolution have misjudged Darwin's metaphysical motives. Rather than an assault upon God's existence, evolution was for Darwin and many of his contemporaries a defense of God's goodness, a strategy for disassociating God from the often unsavory details of nature by introducing a blind process of natural selection. Hunter attributes the early enthusiasm for evolution to the pervasive but shallow "modern theology" of many educated Victorians, whose offense at the violence and inefficiency of nature was compounded by their expectation that God's dealings with the world must always be benevolent and clearly discernable as such. Still more fascinating is the way Hunter traces similar metaphysical arguments in evolutionary rhetoric from Darwin to the present day, suggesting that theological attitudes from the na‹ve summit of the "modern" era continue to color perceptions of evolution and creation, often to the detriment of both. This book falls outside the standard niches of the evolution-and-religion literature, and readers who strongly identify with either side of creation-evolution debates will find grounds for disagreeing with some of Hunter's assertions; but the cogency of his central argument should attract readers of both persuasions.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

"George Hunter brilliantly supports his thesis that Darwinism is a mixture of metaphysical dogma and biased scientific observation, that 'at its core, evolution is about God, not science.'" -Phillip Johnson, author, Darwin on Trial

Biophysicist Cornelius Hunter argues perceptively that the main supporting pole of the Darwinian tent has always been a theological assertion: 'God wouldn't have done it that way.' Rather than demonstrating that evolution is capable of the wonders they attribute to it, Darwinists rely on a man-made version of God to argue that He never would have made life with the particular suite of features we observe. In lucid and engaging prose, Hunter shines a light on Darwinian theology, making plain what is too often obscured by technical jargon. -Michael J. Behe, Lehigh University

This wonderfully insightful book will prove pivotal in the current reassessment of Darwinian evolution. Darwinists argue that evolution has to be true because no self-respecting deity would have created life the way we find it. Hunter unmasks this theological mode of argumentation and argues convincingly that it is not merely incidental but indeed essential to how Darwinists justify evolution. -William A. Dembski, Baylor University

A fascinating study of a much overlooked aspect of the origins controversy. -Stephen C. Meyer, Whitworth College

In this latest must-read installment of scholarship on human origins, Cornelius Hunter shows how Darwin's metaphysical questions-particularly his inability to reconcile a loving, all-powerful God with the cruelty, waste, and quandaries of nature-led him to develop the theodicy of evolution.

Cornelius G. Hunter was senior vice president of Seagull Technology, Inc., a high tech firm in Silicon Valley. He is currently completing a Ph.D. in biophysics at the University of Illinois.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Brazos Press (April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587430118
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587430114
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,108,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
At its Root.
A book review by Dan Schobert
It is fair to say that the question of evil has long vexed the human mind. What may not be so obvious is the relationship between this concern and the idea of organic evolution.
Cornelius Hunter delves into this realm with his recent book, Darwin's God. (Brazos Press, 2001) Subtitled `Evolution and the Problem of Evil,' this work of just under 200 pages takes a close look at the arguments usually put on the table in support of the evolutionary paradigm. At their heart, as Hunter points out, these thoughts are not so much evidence for evolution but are arguments against Creation. This being the case, as the thought goes, since creation cannot be supported, evolution wins by default. In essence these things are classic `straw man' arguments. Hunter, described on the book's cover as a student at the University of Illinois working on a Ph.D. in biophysics, points to argument after argument and shows that these are generally drawn up in response to an individual's particular view of God, and how God works or doesn't work. Having constructed this view, nature is studied and found to not harmonize with the preconceived notions. Therefore any creationary perspective must be wrong; at least incorrect.
There are nine chapters in this book. They are: (1)-Where Science Meets Religion, (2)-Comparative Anatomy, (3)-Small-Scale Evolution, (4)-The Fossil Record, (5)-One Long Argument, (6)- Modernism before Darwin, (7)-The Victorians, (8)-Evolution and Metaphysics and (9)- Blind Presuppositionalism.
What Hunter has done is to elucidate something most thinking scientists have long recognized. It is that at the heart of this discussion about ultimate origins rests a number of metaphysical concepts.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like the way Mr. Hunter writes. He might not be as witty as Berlinski, but his phraseology is certainly enjoyable. I've read a lot of books on the controversy over Charles Darwin and his "theory". This one exposed a tangent that I had never been exposed to, helping me to flesh out the big picture with even more clarity. This tome is full of quotable material.
Donald James Parker
Author of All the Voices of the Wind
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I can't believe that you can now get this book for less than two dollars. Buy it! Dr. Hunter points out an aspect of Darwin's reasoning that most secular thinkers completely neglect. It thoroughly investigates Darwin's reasoning and points out the religious nature of Darwin's conclusions. It is also a fun and engaging read.
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Format: Paperback
As a recent convert to Darwinism, I found myself comparing my reasons for accepting evolution against Hunter's thesis that evolutionists are influenced more by metaphysical than strictly scientific arguments. While demonstrating that evolutionists from the time of Darwin have argued their case by appealing to a Victorian notion of God (e.g., "God would not have directly created things the way we see them..."), he fails to consider that many of these arguments may be reformulated to avoid the mention of God while nonetheless retaining their evidentiary value. For example, Hunter discusses the fact that all mammals except guinea pigs and primates are able to synthesize their own vitamin C. Guinea pigs and primates, including humans, have an apparently non-functional gene that corresponds to the gene responsible for vitamin C production in other mammals. Hunter maintains that, without certain presuppositions concerning the nature of God, this argument fails as evidence for human-primate shared ancestry. Hunter includes the following quote by theistic evolutionist Terry Gray:
"Further analysis shows that this gene is a pseudogene, i.e., it looks like a real gene, but it is not expressed due to a mutation in the gene itself or in the region of DNA that controls the expression of that gene. Now we could argue that in God's inscrutable purpose he placed that vitamin C synthesis look-alike gene in the guinea pig or human DNA or we could admit the more obvious conclusion, that humans and primates and other mammals share a common ancestor" (p. 168).
By highlighting Gray's appeal to God's nature, Hunter justifies dismissing such evidence as metaphysical rather than scientific. Throughout the book, Hunter employs this novel approach to circumvent some of the strongest evidence for common descent.
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Format: Hardcover
This carefully argued, yet quite readable monograph presents an entirely new assessment of the origins and basis for the Darwinian theories of evolution. It points out that the scientific evidence is not very supportive of these theories of evolution. [Being heavily involved in structural biology, genomics, and related areas, I can confirm that most of the major discoveries in biology in recent decades were not anticipated by Darwinian theory and in many cases directly contradicted its basic principles.] The book provides an objective analysis of the science relating to evolutionary biology (the author's field is biophysics). The major point of the book however is that Darwinian metaphysics is what maintains the prominence of the theories, not science. He quotes extensively from the primary literature as well as from books written for the general public. I believe this is the best analysis offered to date of why Darwinism continues to be popular in certain circles despite its many contradictions and meager scientific accomplishments.
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