A study of Darwin that argues that he was driven by theological concerns and the prevailing ideas about God at the time in his formation of his theory of evolution.A study of Darwin that argues that he was driven by theological concerns and the prevailing ideas about God at the time in his formation of his theory of evolution.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2001-04-09 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 nave 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. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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