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Click here to visit evolutionandchristianfaith.org "I'm an evolutionary biologist and a Christian," states Stanford professor Joan Roughgarden at the outset of her groundbreaking new book, Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist. From that perspective, she offers an elegant, deeply satisfying reconciliation of the theory of evolution and the Click here to visit evolutionandchristianfaith.org "I'm an evolutionary biologist and a Christian," states Stanford professor Joan Roughgarden at the outset of her groundbreaking new book, Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist. From that perspective, she offers an elegant, deeply satisfying reconciliation of the theory of evolution and the wisdom of the Bible. Perhaps only someone with Roughgarden's unique academic standing could examine so well controversial issues such as the teaching of intelligent design in public schools, or the potential flaws in Darwin's theory of evolution. Certainly Roughgarden is uniquely suited to reference both the minutiae of scientific processes and the implication of Biblical verses. Whether the topic is mutation rates and lizards or the hidden meanings behind St. Paul's letters, Evolution and Christian Faith distils complex arguments into everyday understanding. Roughgarden has scoured the Bible and scanned the natural world, finding examples time and again, not of conflict, but of harmony. The result is an accessible and intelligent context for a Christian vision of the world that embraces science. In the ongoing debates over creationism and evolution, Evolution and Christian Faith will be seen as a work of major significance, written for contemporary readers who wonder how-or if-they can embrace scientific advances while maintaining their traditional values.


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Click here to visit evolutionandchristianfaith.org "I'm an evolutionary biologist and a Christian," states Stanford professor Joan Roughgarden at the outset of her groundbreaking new book, Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist. From that perspective, she offers an elegant, deeply satisfying reconciliation of the theory of evolution and the Click here to visit evolutionandchristianfaith.org "I'm an evolutionary biologist and a Christian," states Stanford professor Joan Roughgarden at the outset of her groundbreaking new book, Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist. From that perspective, she offers an elegant, deeply satisfying reconciliation of the theory of evolution and the wisdom of the Bible. Perhaps only someone with Roughgarden's unique academic standing could examine so well controversial issues such as the teaching of intelligent design in public schools, or the potential flaws in Darwin's theory of evolution. Certainly Roughgarden is uniquely suited to reference both the minutiae of scientific processes and the implication of Biblical verses. Whether the topic is mutation rates and lizards or the hidden meanings behind St. Paul's letters, Evolution and Christian Faith distils complex arguments into everyday understanding. Roughgarden has scoured the Bible and scanned the natural world, finding examples time and again, not of conflict, but of harmony. The result is an accessible and intelligent context for a Christian vision of the world that embraces science. In the ongoing debates over creationism and evolution, Evolution and Christian Faith will be seen as a work of major significance, written for contemporary readers who wonder how-or if-they can embrace scientific advances while maintaining their traditional values.

30 review for Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paul P

    This concise book (only 145 pages) rejects Intelligent Design as bad science and argues that evolutionary science does not rule out the possibility of a creator, even if some scientists do—by belief, but not by science. I found Dr Roughgarden’s emphasis on cooperation rather than competition as critical to the survival of a species persuasive. Moreover, she asserts that homosexual activity, which is widespread and common within the animal kingdom, is a form of social bonding, like grooming and f This concise book (only 145 pages) rejects Intelligent Design as bad science and argues that evolutionary science does not rule out the possibility of a creator, even if some scientists do—by belief, but not by science. I found Dr Roughgarden’s emphasis on cooperation rather than competition as critical to the survival of a species persuasive. Moreover, she asserts that homosexual activity, which is widespread and common within the animal kingdom, is a form of social bonding, like grooming and food sharing, that promotes cohesion and survival. I also marveled at her assertion that the word eunuch, in the Bible, covers the full range of sexual and gender variant people, and that eunuchs were held in respect and welcomed as members of the religious community. In criticism, I think she understates the tension between science and (some) religious faith and is overly optimistic that it can be overcome. Indeed, I think that fundamentalism has come to demand a rejection of reasoning and logic amongst its adherents, and its influence has had a tremendously debilitating effect on the role and esteem of science in learning and public policy within the US. I enjoyed learning from her and am sympathetic to her goal of bridging the chasm between science and faith. However, I do not think she’s been successful; the US is more polarized than when she wrote the book in 2006 and the Republican Party, under President Trump, now explicitly and routinely attacks scientific findings that are contrary to party goals: witness the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords, and the weakening of numerous environmental protections. And most disgustingly, Trump has advised people to poison themselves with disinfectants and hydrochloroquine.

  2. 4 out of 5

    John Vanderslice

    This is a terrific little primer on evolutionary biology and the current, tiresome--and almost entirely unnecessary--state of war between religious authorities and the scientific community. Having been raised by two parents who were both scientists and Christians, and in a church that took neither a pro nor con stand on the question of evolution, I have always been nonplussed by the insistence from certain religious people and communities that evolution MUST be discredited or one must give up a This is a terrific little primer on evolutionary biology and the current, tiresome--and almost entirely unnecessary--state of war between religious authorities and the scientific community. Having been raised by two parents who were both scientists and Christians, and in a church that took neither a pro nor con stand on the question of evolution, I have always been nonplussed by the insistence from certain religious people and communities that evolution MUST be discredited or one must give up a belief in God altogether. Excuse me, what? Roughgarden shows just how stupid an argument that is, one that misreads not only what evolutionary theory actually says but what the Bible itself says. Indeed, while not asserting that the Bible is intended to be any kind of strict textbook on biology, Roougharden points to passages in the Bible that would seem to support what she sees as the two fundamental tenets of evolutionary biology: 1. that all life on earth is connected, and 2. that species change over time. A distinguished evolutionary biologist herself (as well as a practicing Christian) , Roughgarden does not shy away from discussing the 10% (as she estimates) of the evolutionary process that remains, to this day, a bit of a mystery to scientists. She also takes on what she sees as the one clearly incorrect notion espoused by Darwin: that is, his theory of sexual selection, in which the more energetic males are always in competition for the always more retiring, acquiescent females. As Roughgarden puts it, nature herself proves that this cannot be considered an axiom. As is also true of the notion that homosexuality is a distinctly human aberration. According to Roughgarden, it is a common behavior in various species. She also covers that once-raging debate over "intelligent design" showing that it is wrong-headed both theologically and biologically. Eminently readable, and not long at all, this book is a fantastic first glimpse at the debates surrounding evolution. My one regret is that the book, published in 2006, has not been put through an updated edition. I'm sure a lot has happened in the world of evolutionary biology since 2006.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    A quiet and thoughtfully reasoned book. I don't know enough science to critique her critics (of which there are many), but I think she throws up a good critique of intelligent design and Dawkin's style atheism, showing how they are interlinked -- ID evolved to counter Dawkins', or so it seems. There is a very interesting chapter near the end defending homosexuality, which I'm sure will be controversial among some Christians. I liked it mainly for the sense that here was a rational, humane, scien A quiet and thoughtfully reasoned book. I don't know enough science to critique her critics (of which there are many), but I think she throws up a good critique of intelligent design and Dawkin's style atheism, showing how they are interlinked -- ID evolved to counter Dawkins', or so it seems. There is a very interesting chapter near the end defending homosexuality, which I'm sure will be controversial among some Christians. I liked it mainly for the sense that here was a rational, humane, scientist, willing to make public her arguments for why she is a Christian, and doing so not in a convoluted polemic way, but in a down-to-earth, simple way. You might disagree with her, but you respect her faith. I think it shows there is no such a thing as a monolithic church where everyone believes the same thing. We all have very personal reasons for believing what we do, some reasons are more rational than others, and it is not wrong to pick out the irrational reasons and try to refine or to reject them.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    The author did a wonderful job of dealing with faith and evolution in the same breath. There wasn't anything astoundingly new in this book for me but I think it would be a good read for anyone who is christian and unsure about what evolution is and what it means in light of their faith. She did a great job explaining what evolution says and doesn't say to the lay person and it is a good reminder to any scientist to talk about this and other hot political issues in a fashion that a non-scientist The author did a wonderful job of dealing with faith and evolution in the same breath. There wasn't anything astoundingly new in this book for me but I think it would be a good read for anyone who is christian and unsure about what evolution is and what it means in light of their faith. She did a great job explaining what evolution says and doesn't say to the lay person and it is a good reminder to any scientist to talk about this and other hot political issues in a fashion that a non-scientist can understand. Too often we scientists get bogged down in the jargon and don't express what is happening in science in a way that others can understand. I think this makes the non-scientist feel like we are being elitist and more apt to not accept what science has shown. Joan does a good job at avoiding this trap and if more scientists followed her example we might find that congressmen and the people who vote for them are willing to listen to what scientists have to say.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Hudson

    Any book by a transgender Christian evolutionary biologist has to be somewhat worth reading. However, this is written in a rather breezy manner with insubstantial arguments, and her attempts to retain a literal reading of the Bible that supports evolutionary biology are rather far-fetched. One wonders why they are even necessary. However, this book is helpful for a glimpse at what has led Roughgarden to her challenge of sexual selection, a challenge that, so far as I can tell, is quite telling. Any book by a transgender Christian evolutionary biologist has to be somewhat worth reading. However, this is written in a rather breezy manner with insubstantial arguments, and her attempts to retain a literal reading of the Bible that supports evolutionary biology are rather far-fetched. One wonders why they are even necessary. However, this book is helpful for a glimpse at what has led Roughgarden to her challenge of sexual selection, a challenge that, so far as I can tell, is quite telling. And despite not agreeing with or liking how the book was written, I do feel that given more time and maybe a better sense of her audience, Roughgarden might have an interesting form of Christianity, one that is based on a feeling of connectedness to other beings. Such a book--or a polished autobiography--would be worth reading.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Not my favorite book on this topic. Dr. Roughgarden tries to foster harmony between evolutionary biology and the Christian faith, an admirable goal. She admits she is strong on the science side and weak on the theology side given her training. As a person who has spent time in both camps - and I want to be charitable in the midst of this critique - I think she was weak on both sides. Perhaps it was because the book was short, thus there was not as much room in which to consider the topic. Or per Not my favorite book on this topic. Dr. Roughgarden tries to foster harmony between evolutionary biology and the Christian faith, an admirable goal. She admits she is strong on the science side and weak on the theology side given her training. As a person who has spent time in both camps - and I want to be charitable in the midst of this critique - I think she was weak on both sides. Perhaps it was because the book was short, thus there was not as much room in which to consider the topic. Or perhaps the issues are more complex than she admits, and her efforts were not equal to the task. I found little that would provide a detailed roadmap forward, although I appreciate the attempt.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mark Geisthardt

    Joan Roughgarden is an Evolutionary Biologist and a Christian, something which some in the conservative fundamentalist branch of Christianity would consider to be mutually exclusive. In this book she responds to those who would consider her scientific beliefs and her Christian beliefs to be in conflict. She lays out a good basic explanation of evolutionary theory and specifically lifts up those areas where the theory is proven as well as those areas where there are problems. It is a good read, i Joan Roughgarden is an Evolutionary Biologist and a Christian, something which some in the conservative fundamentalist branch of Christianity would consider to be mutually exclusive. In this book she responds to those who would consider her scientific beliefs and her Christian beliefs to be in conflict. She lays out a good basic explanation of evolutionary theory and specifically lifts up those areas where the theory is proven as well as those areas where there are problems. It is a good read, informative, insightful, and well written for a book on a topic like this. Plus it's a fast read. Thank you Joan!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Pros: the author is very good at explaining modern evolutionary theory to the lay person and is honest about its flaws (though she sees different flaws than most advocates of ID or Creationism do). Cons: her theology is often weak and involves a lot of reaching for ideas not present in the Biblical text she is citing. Overall, it was an interesting and often informative read, but definitely flawed in many of its arguments.

  9. 5 out of 5

    John

    This is a very thoughtful, gentle book and succeeds in many areas where I doubted that it could. I met Joan Roughgarden years ago when she was John Roughgarden and fairly new at Stanford, so I was intrigued to see how she had changed over the years. Roughgarden has led a most interesting life, both internally and as a scientist, and brings a deep, thoughtful passion to her Episcopalian faith and to this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Matt Hill

    an extremely simple, direct, short little book, but so fair and incisive and helpful . . there needs to be more in-depth stuff done and read, especially when it comes to theological issues raised by evolution, but for anyone who wants just a quick overview of the current state of the whole faith-and-evolution thing, this is a nice start . .

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

    260821 A good, quick read. Enjoyable taken as one individual's account of reconciling evolution and Christianity. Not overly religious or scientific, and the author's writing style puts you at ease and makes you trust her right away. 260821 A good, quick read. Enjoyable taken as one individual's account of reconciling evolution and Christianity. Not overly religious or scientific, and the author's writing style puts you at ease and makes you trust her right away.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Charles

    I liked this book so much I wrote a note to the author saying so. What a refreshing approach to the topic. Roughgarden shows that a believe in evolution and an expression of Christian religious faith are not incompatible.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    Good introductory book from a Christian and Evolutionary Biologist. Not much new has been said, just rehashed arguments

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alisse Metge

    Note: I skipped one chapter entirely (you can guess which one), but I thought the rest offered some really good ideas. I particularly enjoyed the analysis of Intelligent Design.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Thompson

    There are much better books on the topic. While Roughgarden is a brilliant biologist, the Biblical interpretation in the book often shows a lack of awareness.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

  17. 4 out of 5

    William

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shawna

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brad Davis

  20. 5 out of 5

    Craig Thompson

  21. 4 out of 5

    J.D. Edwards

  22. 5 out of 5

    Freya

  23. 4 out of 5

    CHaystack

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bob Browder

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Cranney

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  28. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  29. 4 out of 5

    Marty

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

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