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Rescuing Darwin

Rescuing Darwin

This report explores the concept of God and evolution in Britain today.

2009 marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species. The evidence for evolution by natural selection is overwhelming, only enhanced by recent advances in genetics. However, new research commissioned by Theos reveals that anti–evolutionary views enjoy significant support in the UK.

Rescuing Darwin argues that Darwin and his theory have become caught in the crossfire of a philosophical and theological battle in which he himself had little personal interest.
 
On the one side stands a handful of modern Darwinians who insist that evolution has killed God and ideas of design, purpose, morality and humanity. On the other side are their mainly, but not exclusively, religious opponents who, unwilling to adopt such a bleak vision, cite Genesis and Intelligent Design as evidence of evolution’s deficiency.
 
Rescuing Darwin contends that both positions are untenable and that, in any case, the whole battle is unnecessary. Evolution does not demand atheism or amorality. It is wholly compatible with a religious understanding of the universe.

The authors argue that we need to rescue Darwin from the crossfire of this battle, respect him as an exceptional natural scientist (rather than some kind of anti–theologian) and restore him to the position that he himself articulated in the final years of his life: “It seems to me absurd to doubt that a man may be an ardent Theist & an evolutionist.”


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Image from wikimedia available in the public domain.

Nick Spencer

Nick Spencer

Nick is Senior Fellow at Theos. He is the author of a number of books and reports, most recently The Political Samaritan: how power hijacked a parable (Bloomsbury, 2017), The Evolution of the West (SPCK, 2016) and Atheists: The Origin of the Species (Bloomsbury, 2014). Outside of Theos, Nick is Visiting Research Fellow at the Faiths and Civil Society Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London and a Fellow of the International Society for Science and Religion

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