Fools rush in - was Re: Reviews of Darwin's Cathedral

From: George Murphy (
Date: Thu Mar 13 2003 - 17:36:26 EST

  • Next message: John Burgeson: "Re: Quality of "ID science" (was Identity of the ID designer)"

    I haven't read D.S. Wilson's _Darwin's Cathedral_, though I have read the book
    he & Sober did, _Unto Others_, on "The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior."
    In the spirit of my subject line, let me suggest that a task more modest than trying to
    understand "religion" in scientific terms may also be of more theological interest than
    that. I refer to the idea suggested by Teilhard de Chardin that we ought to see the
    Christian church as The Body of Christ in evolutionary terms. I'll be happy to send my
    article "The Church in Evolution" (Seminary Ridge Review 5.1, 38, 2002) to anyone
                                                            George wrote:
    > There have been several recent postings extolling the virtues of David Sloan
    > Wilson's book "Darwin's Cathedral". I haven't had the opportunity to read
    > it, but I wanted to point out two recent reviews by people whose opinion I
    > respect. (My apologies if someone else has mentioned these already; I've
    > been too busy to read all the postings recently. Time constraints forced me
    > to delete some unread.)
    > In a recent American Scientist (2003, v. 91, no. 2, p. 174-6) historian Ron
    > Numbers and zoologist Karen Steudel Numbers offer comments under the title
    > "Religion Red in Tooth and Claw". Among other things, they said:
    > "As far as we can tell, Wilson's "scientific" theoy possesses no predictive
    > value beyond the tautology that all religious "organisms" will be culturally
    > adaptive. Historians of religion have beeen saying the same thing, in
    > different words, for generations."
    > and
    > "It should be obvious by now that we find Darwin's Cathedral unconvincing,
    > both biologically and historically. It is not so much that it's offensive or
    > wrong as that it is irrelevant to a useful understanding of religion."
    > And in the journal Evolution (2003, v. 57, no.1, p. 200-202), H. Allen Orr
    > notes three kinds of problems and a number of errors of fact in the book and
    > concludes with:
    > "In the end, you are, I suppose, free to believe that religion is a mere
    > byproduct of multilevel selection. But intellectual honesty demands that you
    > ask why science isn't too."
    > Karl
    > **************************
    > Karl V. Evans

    George L. Murphy

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Thu Mar 13 2003 - 17:37:25 EST