From Publishers Weekly
Haught, director of the Georgetown Center for the Study of Science and Religion, makes a solid and sometimes elegant case that an evolutionary universe can still manifest divine purpose and promise, whatever some interpreters have said. The basic idea of "evolutionary theism" is nothing new, and Haught's theological touchstones-Whitehead, Tillich and Teilhard de Chardin-are not exactly cutting edge. But this book invigorates the debate by interacting with more recent literature while introducing some fresh lines of argument. Haught takes issue with mutual antagonists from Daniel Dennett to Philip Johnson (whose only point of consensus seems to be that Darwin and God don't mix), by showing how they themselves tend to amalgamate scientific and religious beliefs. At the same time, Haught distrusts the most obvious strategy for making Darwinism and religion "compatible" by partitioning religious from scientific truth, reading in Michael Ruse and the late Stephen Jay Gould a patronizing-if superficially polite-attitude toward religion. Haught prefers to relate Darwinism and religion in another way, by showing that the evolutionary story itself, or even the existence of a universe in which evolution is possible, raises "deeper" religious questions. This is a volume full of methodical argument, fine distinctions and some measure of rhetorical stretching; a few chapters, adapted from academic journal articles, become abstruse at points. But on the whole, Haught succeeds in making the metaphor of "depth" deeper, and more illuminating, than it has been in some previous discussions of evolutionary theism.
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About the Author
John F. Haught is professor at Georgetown University and Director of the Georgetown Center for the Study of Science and Religion. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.