Darwin Loves You: Natural Selection and the Re-enchantment of the World

Darwin Loves You: Natural Selection and the Re-enchantment of the World

by George Levine
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691136394

ISBN-13: 9780691136394

Pub. Date: 03/10/2008

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Jesus and Darwin do battle on car bumpers across America. Medallions of fish symbolizing Jesus are answered by ones of amphibians stamped "Darwin," and stickers proclaiming "Jesus Loves You" are countered by "Darwin Loves You." The bumper sticker debate might be trivial and the pronouncement that "Darwin Loves You" may seem merely ironic, but George Levine insists

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Overview

Jesus and Darwin do battle on car bumpers across America. Medallions of fish symbolizing Jesus are answered by ones of amphibians stamped "Darwin," and stickers proclaiming "Jesus Loves You" are countered by "Darwin Loves You." The bumper sticker debate might be trivial and the pronouncement that "Darwin Loves You" may seem merely ironic, but George Levine insists that the message contains an unintended truth. In fact, he argues, we can read it straight. Darwin, Levine shows, saw a world from which his theory had banished transcendence as still lovable and enchanted, and we can see it like that too—if we look at his writings and life in a new way.

Although Darwin could find sublimity even in ants or worms, the word "Darwinian" has largely been taken to signify a disenchanted world driven by chance and heartless competition. Countering the pervasive view that the facts of Darwin's world must lead to a disenchanting vision of it, Levine shows that Darwin's ideas and the language of his books offer an alternative form of enchantment, a world rich with meaning and value, and more wonderful and beautiful than ever before. Without minimizing or sentimentalizing the harsh qualities of life governed by natural selection, and without deifying Darwin, Levine makes a moving case for an enchanted secularism—a commitment to the value of the natural world and the human striving to understand it.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691136394
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
03/10/2008
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xxv

CHAPTER 1: Secular Re-enchantment 1

CHAPTER 2: The Disenchanting Darwin 45

CHAPTER 3: Using Darwin 73

CHAPTER 4: A Modern Use Sociobiology 93

CHAPTER 5: Darwin and Pain 129

Why Science Made Shakespeare Nauseating

CHAPTER 6: "And if it be a pretty woman all the better" 169

Darwin and Sexual Selection

CHAPTER 7: A Kinder, Gentler, Darwin 202

EPILOGUE: What Does It Mean? 252

Notes 275

Index 297

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