Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Philip Kitcher's "Living With Darwin"

Philip Kitcher's latest book is Living with Darwin: Evolution, Design, and the Future of Faith.

Read the Page 69 Test results for Living with Darwin.

Among the praise for the book:
"How glad I am that a philosopher of Philip Kitcher's distinction should write such a comprehensive destruction of the argument for Intelligent Design. The attempts to demote Darwin by plausible and clever writers are exposed as shallow and, in the end, scientifically vacuous. Despite attempts to disguise the fact, the motivation for Intelligent Design has been religious, rather than scientific. Unlike some other critics of those who see Darwin as a threat to their beliefs, however, Kitcher writes sensitively about the comfort and inspiration that religion can bring to many people. I greatly admire the good sense and compassion exhibited in this book."
--Sir Patrick Bateson, Emeritus Professor of Ethology, University of Cambridge

"A powerful and provocative analysis of the historical conflict between Darwin and Western Christianity. Kitcher's book raises the questions with which Christians must wrestle: Can there be a Christianity without supernaturalism? God without Theism? A Christ who is not the incarnation of the supernatural, theistic deity? I think there can be and so I welcome this book with enthusiasm."
--John Shelby Spong, author of A New Christianity for a New World

"Kitcher has just the combination of philosophical talent, biological insight, and wonderfully lucid writing needed to address the thorny problem of creationism. In Living With Darwin, he clearly shows that the persistent battle between evolution and creationism in America is part of a wider war--one between superstition and rationality. His analysis of this conflict, and suggestions for its resolution, should be read by everyone concerned with the relationship between faith and science."
--Jerry Coyne, University of Chicago

Read an excerpt from Living with Darwin.

Kitcher has a related essay at the OUP blog. A brief excerpt:

Like many academics and research scientists, I have an optimistic view about the possibilities for human progress. I tend to think that, as more is discovered about the world in which we live and about our place in it, exciting new pieces of knowledge should be spread widely and used to make everyone’s lives better. So, when some people resist the established claims of science, a natural first response is irritation: why are they being so stubborn, clinging to bits of exploded superstition?

The answer [read on]

Harry Brighouse shared his views on Living with Darwin over at Crooked Timber and sparked 105 comments (so far).

Philip Kitcher is the John Dewey Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. An eminent philosopher, he is the author of many books on science, literature, and music, including Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism; The Lives to Come: The Genetic Revolution and Human Possibilities; Vaulting Ambition: Sociobiology and the Quest for Human Knowledge; Science, Truth, and Democracy; and In Mendel's Mirror.

--Marshal Zeringue