Science vs. Religion: Intelligent Design and the Problem of Evolution / Edition 1by Steve Fuller
Pub. Date: 10/28/2007
For centuries, science and religion have been portrayed as diametrically opposed. In this provocative new book, Steve Fuller examines the apparent clash between science and religion by focusing on the heated debates about evolution and intelligent design theory. In so doing, he claims that science vs. religion is in fact a false dichotomy. For Fuller, supposedly
For centuries, science and religion have been portrayed as diametrically opposed. In this provocative new book, Steve Fuller examines the apparent clash between science and religion by focusing on the heated debates about evolution and intelligent design theory. In so doing, he claims that science vs. religion is in fact a false dichotomy. For Fuller, supposedly intellectual disputes, such as those between creationist and evolutionist accounts of life, often disguise other institutionally driven conflicts, such as the struggle between State and Church to be the source of legitimate authority in society.
Nowadays many conservative anti-science groups support intelligent design theory, but Fuller argues that the theory's theological roots are much more radical, based on the idea that humans were created to fathom the divine plan, perhaps even complete it. He goes on to examine the unique political circumstances in the United States that make the emergence of intelligent design theory so controversial, yet so persistent. Finally, he considers the long-term prognosis, arguing that the future remains very much undecided as society reopens the question of what it means to be human.
This book will appeal to all readers intrigued by the debates about creationism, intelligent design and evolution, especially those looking for an intellectually exciting confrontation with the politics and promise of intelligent design theory.
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Table of Contents
1 Historical Bases for the Problem 11
2 Ideological Dimensions of the Problem 44
3 Complexity as a Conceptual Battleground 69
4 America as a Legal Battleground 90
5 Life after Darwinism 126
Conclusion: The Larger Lessons 159
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I doubt that either creationists or evolutionists will be very comfortable with this book but I suppose it will bother evolutionists more. First of all, Fuller claims that intelligent design (ID) has been behind most of scientific progress, and that Darwin¿s anti-ID stance is more the exception than the rule to that history. In fact, according to Fuller, a good deal of the history of science has been about trying to get inside the mind of God and, more recently, trying to play God. What this suggests, and here is where Fuller makes life difficult for creationists, the kind of theology that underwrites ID as a science-promoting movement is fundamentally Unitarian, as the greatest scientist of them all, Isaac Newton, himself was. Now, Unitarianism is a sort of heretical offshoot of Christianity (also present in the other monotheistic religions) that veers dangerously close to Humanism and other such anthropocentric visions of reality. This does not bother Fuller in the least, but those more firmly rooted in a traditional Biblical approach to Christianity will have issues with him. What does seem to be true, though, is that it¿s hard for ID NOT to go down the Unitarian route if it is genuinely trying to promote science, as opposed to being a `science-stopper¿, as the movement¿s detractors claim. In other words, Fuller is arguing that science requires a rather specific theological orientation that mainstream religious believer may find hard to accept. But he does agree with the creationists that Darwin¿s theory of evolution is not necessary, and perhaps even detrimental, to the future of science. Does this make Fuller a `postmodernist¿? I don¿t know. All I know is that only his enemies make the charge. Neither he nor people normally call themselves postmodernists think of Fuller as one. Perhaps you should just read the book!