Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"Living With Darwin"

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.

His latest book is Living with Darwin: Evolution, Design, and the Future of Faith, to which he applied the "page 69 test" and then reported the following:
Page 69 of Living with Darwin is representative of the whole book in just one way: it finds me in argumentative mode. On this particular page, I’m taking Phillip Johnson, one of the luminaries of the Intelligent Design movement, to task for his misunderstandings of the fossil evidence for Darwinian evolution. Neither Johnson, nor even Intelligent Design, is really the principal focus of my book, although I do hope to show clearly what is wrong (and disingenuous) about this latest phase in the War against “Evil-ution.” Rather, my aim is to construct “one long argument” – Darwin’s accurate description of The Origin of Species – for the conclusion that Darwin is here to stay. The final phase of that “long argument” shows that living with Darwin has its costs, that, as the sincere and worried people who buy the wares of the Intelligent Design-ers understand, accepting Darwinism would raise severe problems for the most widespread versions of religion. Unlike other defenders of Darwin, however, I don’t think it’s just a matter of telling the previously faithful to brace up, read a few pages of the Origin, and they’ll feel better in the morning. Secular humanism needs to respond to the needs that have been served historically by the world’s religions. To learn to live with Darwin, we’ll have to put the humanity back into secular humanism.
Read an excerpt from Living with Darwin.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Series.