Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life: The Review

A couple of days ago, the Cambridge University Press sent me a fresh copy of their latest book by Steve Stewart-Williams:  Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life:  How Evolutionary Theory Undermines Everything You Thought You Knew.

Here’s the official PR blurp:

If you accept evolutionary theory, can you also believe in God? Are human beings superior to other animals, or is this just a human prejudice? Does Darwin have implications for heated issues like euthanasia and animal rights? Does evolution tell us the purpose of life, or does it imply that life has no ultimate purpose? Does evolution tell us what is morally right and wrong, or does it imply that ultimately ‘nothing’ is right or wrong?

In this fascinating and intriguing book, Steve Stewart-Williams addresses these and other fundamental philosophical questions raised by evolutionary theory and the exciting new field of evolutionary psychology. Drawing on biology, psychology and philosophy, he argues that Darwinian science supports a view of a godless universe devoid of ultimate purpose or moral structure, but that we can still live a good life and a happy life within the confines of this view.

Here’s a direct quote from the book:

Here’s what I think of the book:

If you are a broad thinker, you will really enjoy Stewart-Williams’ work; he doesn’t take the narrow — God-agnostic view of Evolution like Richard Dawkins — he instead takes a grander view of someone like Sam Harris and examines life and morality as an interconnected universe where truth and facts matter and where the scientific process influences our learning and understanding of the world beneath us.

Here’s what Stewart-Williams says about his book:

Once we get used to the idea that there are no ultimate moral truths, we may find an exhilarating new freedom:  the freedom to rebuild morality from the ground up.  And one of the foundational principles of our new morality should be this:  A universe with less suffering is preferable to one with more.

Be sure to get a copy of Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life:  How Evolutionary Theory Undermines Everything You Thought You Knew and enjoy some fine reading that can reconnect you to a universal sense of scientific righteousness we have too soon forsaken for immediate pleasures and momentary satisfactions.

4 comments

  • David,

    I will see if my library has this! It sounds interesting.

  • I’m intrigued by this book. The quote you posted especially interests me. I agree with those that argue that the theories of evolution and creationism coexist just fine. In my gospel studies I have come to know for myself that God is the creator, but that doesn’t mean that I know how it was done. The Bible says “God formed man of the dust of the ground” (KJV Genesis 2:7), which sounds like God took the elements He had organized in the previous periods of creation and used them to make man. I think there can be evolution, creationism, and moral absolutes all rolled into one great truth. And I think we can all know it for ourselves if we sincerely pray (James 1:5). –www.gospelofjoy.wordpress.com

    • Thank you for your interesting and important comment, and welcome to Memeingful!

      I like your open way of thinking. You are able to examine and evaluate different thoughts and perspectives and insights without feeling your core values are being threatened. That is terrific and important to leading a human life.

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