The Serpent's Promise: The Retelling of the Bible Through the Eyes of Modern Science

Overview

From acclaimed geneticist Steve Jones, the story of the Bible as told through the lens of modern science.
In The Serpent's Promise, Steve Jones retells many of the Biblical tales in the light of modern science. Are we all descended from a real-life Adam and Eve? Are some—or all—of us marked with the molecular equivalent of original sin, and if so what can we do about it? Was the Bible's great flood a memory of the end of the Ice Age? And what can science tell us of the mystical ...
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The Serpent's Promise: The Bible Interpreted Through Modern Science

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Overview

From acclaimed geneticist Steve Jones, the story of the Bible as told through the lens of modern science.
In The Serpent's Promise, Steve Jones retells many of the Biblical tales in the light of modern science. Are we all descended from a real-life Adam and Eve? Are some—or all—of us marked with the molecular equivalent of original sin, and if so what can we do about it? Was the Bible's great flood a memory of the end of the Ice Age? And what can science tell us of the mystical experiences reported by the faithful, or of the origin of faith itself?
Some people deny the power of religious belief, others the findings of science. In this groundbreaking work from one of our great science writers, Steve Jones explores how these mysteries often overlap. He steps aside from the noisy debate between believers and non-believers to show how the questions that preoccupy us today are those of biblical times—and that science offers many of the answers.
At once brilliantly erudite and highly readable, The Serpent's Promise is a witty and thoughtful account of the greatest scientific story ever told.
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Editorial Reviews

The Guardian
“It is always fun to compare past visions of cosmic truth with our own understanding of life and the universe. I cannot think of a wittier guide than Steve Jones.”
The Times
“The Serpent's Promise is not simply a continuation of an ancient confrontation on evolution between scientist and believer: the events chosen by Jones reflect well the breadth and quality of the questions asked in the Bible. Whatever your own starting point, you will need to read the evidence set out in this important book to judge for yourself its outcome.”
The Boston Globe
“Fascinating and witty. Written with great authority and a fluid style. Humane, approachable, funny.”
The New York Times Book Review

Past Praise for Steven Jones

There are few better or more entertaining accounts of the evolutionary process in print today than Darwin's Ghost.

J. G. Ballard
“Stimulating, vivid, poetic.”
The New York Times Book Review (Past Praise for Steven Jones)
“There are few better or more entertaining accounts of the evolutionary process in print today than Darwin's Ghost.”
The Washington Post
“Lively, informed, and remarkably wide-ranging on an important and timeless topic, SteveJones joins Saint Paul, Augustine, Pelagius, John Calvin, and countless social scientists in engaging the perennial question.Jones, an award-winning science writer—the British Carl Sagan—does not disappoint.”
Nature
“With sensitivity towards religion and sardonic wit, geneticist Steve Jones delivers a masterful scientific take on biblical events.”
The Los Angeles Review of Books
“Not just a ‘retelling’ of the Bible, but a critique of religion and a clarion call for science to replace it in human affairs. A charmingly miscellaneous scientific canvas. Jones writes with clarity and wit about tough technical issues, and has a natural pedagogue’s taste for the juicy fact.”
Booklist
“[A] remarkably original approach to scripture.”
Kirkus Reviews
2014-04-16
British biologist Jones (Darwin's Island, 2009, etc.) has fun examining miraculous biblical tales with the gimlet eye of science.The author doesn't go in for hard-boiled trashing of the Bible but rather stands back, takes a fresh look and discovers where adherents and scientists part company. Sometimes the divide is fairly clear-cut: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth—or there was a "closed spherical space-time of zero radius." But sometimes faith and science can coexist. Pituitary tumors could account for giants. Money may well be the root of all evil, although as Jones wisely points out, human beings (gender: male) come a close second or perhaps trump money, since it's their creation. Celibacy? Like everything, there are pros and cons, though the pros are devilishly beguiling. After all, as Jones writes with his characteristic bright sense of humor, "[t]he cost of sex involves much more than the effort and annoyance associated with the act itself and the genetic events behind it. Liaisons with males force females to squander their energies in copying the genes of another individual, and to dilute their own investment with progeny who carry his DNA." The author has some rough things to say about those who downplay or ignore the miraculous and the magical, which certainly can provide a spiritual lift. Still, in the end, Jones comes down on the side of rationalism: "From the cosmos to the continents and from primeval slime to philosophy, everything evolves. Science is an attempt to recover the process." A central problem of faith is that quarrels frequently lead to disaster, and the more extensive the membership, the more the conflicts. What does God want? With enough believers, anything.Fair but uncompromising, counseling us to slough what William Blake called the " ‘mind-forg'd manacles' of organized religion" and practice something universal: science.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781605985428
  • Publisher: Pegasus
  • Publication date: 6/15/2014
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 965,493
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Jones is professor of genetics at University College London. He is the author of The Darwin Archipalego; Y: The Descent of Man; Darwin's Ghost; and Almost Like a Whale: The Origin of Species. Jones is the winner of Royal Society Faraday Medal for the Public Understanding of Science.
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