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In his acclaimed book God After Darwin , John Haught argued that religious belief is wholly compatible with evolutionary biology. Now, in Deeper Than Darwin , he advances his argument further by saying that religious belief is even more revealing about life than Darwinism. Haught looks hard at the question of how, after Darwin, religions may plausibly claim to be bearers of truth and not just of meaning and adaptive consolation. While he assumes the fundamental correctness of evolutionary biology, he firmly rejects the non-scientific belief that evolutionary biology amounts to an adequate explanation of living phenomena. Even though Darwinism is illuminating, Haught argues, it by no means tells us everything we need to know about life, even in principle. To find the deepest, though certainly not the clearest, understandings of life and the universe, we may still profitably consult the religions of the world. Deeper Than Darwin takes up where God After Darwin left off, arguing that Darwin's vision is important and essentially correct but that we can still dig deeper in our understanding of what is going on in the life-story.
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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.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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