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Can a Darwinian be a Christian?: The Relationship between Science and Religion [Paperback]

By Michael Ruse (Author)
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Item description for Can a Darwinian be a Christian?: The Relationship between Science and Religion by Michael Ruse...

Can someone who accepts Darwin's theory of natural selection subscribe at the same time to the basic tenets of Christianity? Adopting a balanced perspective on the subject, Michael Ruse argues that, although it is at times difficult for a Darwinian to embrace Christian belief, it is not inconceivable. Ruse has produced an important contribution to a sometimes overheated debate for anyone interested in seeking an informed and judicious guide to these issues. Michael Ruse is professor of philosophy and zoology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. He is the author of many books on evolutionary biology. In addition, he has published several hundred articles and many book reviews. He is the editor of the Cambridge Series in the Philosophy of Biology and founding editor of the journal IBiology & Philosophy. Hb ISBN (2000): 0-521-63144-0

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Cambridge University Press
Pages   242
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.78" Width: 6.32" Height: 0.61"
Weight:   0.76 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 2004
Publisher   Cambridge University Press
ISBN  0521637163  
ISBN13  9780521637169  

Availability  79 units.
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More About Michael Ruse

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Michael Ruse was born in 1940 in England. Raised in a Quaker family, he went to Bootham School in York and then to the University of Bristol, where he majored in mathematics and philosophy. In 1962 he emigrated to Canada and did graduate work at McMaster University in Ontario. He returned to Bristol to do his doctoral degree in philosophy. He taught at the University of Guelph from 1965 to 2000, and then to avoid compulsory retirement moved south to Florida State University. He is the author or editor of over fifty books, the founding editor of Biology and Philosophy, the recipient of four honorary degrees, a Guggenheim Fellow, a Gifford Lecturer, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. His academic interests are in the history and philosophy of the biological sciences and he is an expert on the work and influence of Charles Darwin. In recent years, his attention has been turned increasingly towards the relationships between science and religion. He is not a believer, but thinks that the two can exist together harmoniously.

Michael Ruse has an academic affiliation as follows - Florida State University University of Guelph, Canada Florida State Un.

Michael Ruse has published or released items in the following series...
  1. New Dialogues in Philosophy

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
2Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Professional Science > Evolution > General
3Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Professional Science > Evolution
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Creationism
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Science & Religion
7Books > Subjects > Science > History & Philosophy > Science
8Books > Subjects > Science > History & Philosophy

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Reviews - What do customers think about Can a Darwinian be a Christian?: The Relationship between Science and Religion?

Good book overall, good background  May 31, 2007
This was overall an okay book, I suppose. It was not anything deeply profound, but it was worth the read, for sure. What I most liked about this book was the fact that there is really no prior knowledge needed about the subject. For example, he basically explains everything that you have to know about the biological aspects of evolution, some central church dogma, etc, before delving into the actual heart of the issue. In addtion, I thought that the presentation style was extremely clear, which made it much more informative for the casual reader. The organization of the book was pretty amazing, I'd have to say. Ruse breaks down each individual topic into little sub-topics that all make a lot of sense and follow a logical progression.

On this other hand, the fact that it for the most part does not assume prior knowledge also meant that one may get really bored at certain portions. Especially (for me, at least) the parts which introduced scientific concepts related to evolution, I just wanted to get those topics over which. For the most part, the religion side of the arguments were well presented, I think, although he does jump right in and start using words like ontology and teleology, which definitely confused me because I'm not particularly well read in this particular area. But I mean, overall the presentation was really good.

As far as the content, you definitely get the sense at certain points in the book that it's not really an evolution vs. Christianity debate but rather science vs. religion, and I guess some parts in the book I just didn't feel were really that applicable to the subject at hand. But the arguments overall made a lot of sense to me and I think this was really informative on the whole.

I was also really impressed by how much outside information Ruse brought into his book. He definitely did a lot of historical and contemporary research, Huxley, Darwin, Gould, Wilson, were mentioned many many times throughout the book and it definitely provides us with a good context with which to evaluate the arguments Ruse presents. What I thought was kind of interesting is that throughout the book he makes it pretty clear that he distains Richard Dawkins' position on the whole issue(like...A LOT of distain), which makes sense, I guess, since Ruse is a big fan of intelligent design, basically the opposite of Dawkins' advocacy. Lastly, I just really appreciate Ruse's attempt to write this book in such a clear and distinct manner, it's really good to see that a believer in intelligent design can just come out and admit that he is indeed himself a Darwinian and believes in evolution right from page 1. That was pretty good.
Fair, Clear, and Funny  May 26, 2006
This is a very informative and helpful book, and a real delight to read. It is written in a charitable spirit and irenic tone with liberal doses of good humor. I happen to be both an ardent Darwinian and a devout Christian (Reformed with Roman Catholic leanings, and also very admiring of the Greek Orthodox tradition), and as such I wish to commend Ruse not only for writing so passionately yet soberly about Darwinism but also for engaging the Christian faith in such a thoughtful and respectful manner. In reading this book, I have come to realize how complicated some of the issues are. Yet his central argument-that one can affirm both Christian theism and Darwinian evolutionism-is not at all complicated. Among contemporary philosophers writing in this area, Ruse is much better informed about science and--surprisingly for one who is not himself a Christian--about the breadth and flexibility of the Christian tradition than, say, Alvin Plantinga is. Plantinga, the foremost Christian philosopher of religion in our time (and a friend and former coparishioner whom I greatly love and admire), has not taken the time to learn the science as Ruse has, nor the effort to seriously question the assumptions of literalist readings of Genesis. In this book Ruse gives Plantinga, if not exactly a butt-kicking, at least a spanking, and a well-deserved one at that. At the other end of the spectrum, blowhard atheists like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett come off looking rather shortsighted and, in some ways, rather stupid in Ruse's book, even though Ruse has the utmost respect for them. I particular like the way that Ruse unpacks and clarifies the issues of pain (the problem of evil), freedom, and determinism. For me it is especially the Augustinian doctrine of original sin that needs serious rethinking in light of evolution, but on this point Ruse's treatment is so brief as to be only suggestive. Overall, I doubt that Ruse's book will gain a hearing from atheistic Darwinians, and certainly not from young-earth creationists. Agnostics might be willing to broaden their horizons with Ruse as their guide, but the real audience--and those with the most to gain--will be Christians who consider the evidence for evolution overwhelming and its implications glorifying to God. If Darwin made it possible for many people to be intellectually fulfilled atheists, Ruse has brightened the prospects for a lot of us becoming (even more) intellectually fulfilled theists.
Ruse leaves room for a God of the gaps  Dec 12, 2005
A more appropriate title for this book might have been _Is It Logically Possible for a Darwinian to Be a Christian?_ (but from an aesthetic perspective this would have been awful). Ruse deals with his subject soberly and respectfully, not something that can be said for all who have undertaken this project. Still, I have an objection, and I'm not sure Ruse himself would disagree with it. It is Ruse's position that the fact of evolution is not something over which reasonable people can disagree -- no problem so far. He also says that there are certain metaphysical conclusions (like supernatural creation of the universe) about which we cannot be absolutely sure. Again, I agree. However, acceptance of Darwinism (or science generally) has certain epistemological requirements, one of which is the basic assumption that the world is a predictable place -- the whole endeavor of science would be a waste of time without such a starting point. An easy corollary of this premise is that the laws of nature are never broken -- there is no such thing as magic. Yet Ruse counsels that when others claim that we can't be sure God didn't create the universe we should leave open the possibility, even though this violates the premise from which we began. He is aware of this (he deals with it in the form of a response from Daniel Dennett), and says the Darwinian should show some humility and accept the possibility of such a proposition. I guess I can go this far if he means we should accept the logical possibility of divine creation, but this is pretty weak. After all, there are many propositions -- some patently ridiculous -- that are not ruled out logically. One must sacrifice epistemological consistency to get on board with this Rusean compromise, something not all of us are willing to do.
This guy writes with Love  Nov 22, 2005
I don't say this lightly. He comes from a real Friendly Quaker perspective on things, in the process strongly affirming Christ's presence and reality in all places, and looking to see the Light of Truth wherever he looks. As a biologist Ruse affirms evolution, but he also shows how one can understand how this impacts the walk with God, and who God is in light of this. He honestly grapples with the difficulties that evolution poses- and equally honestly points out that the difficulties are largely nothing new in theology or philosophy. The problem of suffering, for instance, remains a problem, no larger nor smaller with the presence of evolution. Ruse also approaches the myriad possible understandings of this controversy, both scientifically and religiously, with care and compassion, affirming the search for truth by others, even if it does not agree with his understanding of the truth.

I found this book most helpful as a parallel to my own spiritual journey. I felt like Ruse was walking alongside me, helping me to clarify my own thoughts as he clarified his. Evolution doesn't bring up new problems for theology, true. But it magnifies those problems. So if we can solve those problems through the theory of evolution, or begin to, we come a lot closer to understanding God.
false conclusion  Jun 8, 2005
The author arrives at the incorrect answer to the question he approaches. Darwinian evolution is impossible without death. Thus, to allow that some single-celled organism evolved into people (an absurd conclusion, but beside the point of this review) depends on the acceptance of millions of millions of deaths before humans showed up.
However, we know from the Bible that death was a direct result of humankind's rebellion against God. This is a basic tenet of Christian belief. As such, it would be impossible for death to lead to the existence of humans. Therefore, there is no way darwinian evolution and Christian belief can coexist.

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