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.