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Series: Darwin's Gift?

A multipart book review on Francisco Ayala’s book, Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion

“Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion” Part 1

“Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion” Part 1

Book Review Francisco Ayala wants us to understand and appreciate what he considers to be Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion. The author of a recent book by that name, Ayala certainly has a claim to knowledge on the issues: he trained as a seminarian in Spain, and is now an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Irvine.* He chaired the committee that produced the booklet, Science, Evolution, and Creationism for the National Academy of Sciences/Institutes of Health. Why a…

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“Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion” Part 2

“Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion” Part 2

Book Review In his book Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion, Francisco Ayala suggests that evolution supplies the answer to a serious theological conundrum. I alluded to this in my first post on this book: Things that Seem Wrong About the World: When I was studying theology in Salamanca Darwin was a much-welcomed friend. The theory of evolution provided the solution to the remaining component of the problem of evil. As floods and drought were a necessary consequence of the…

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“Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion” Part 3

“Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion” Part 3

University of California, Irvine biologist Francisco Ayala writes in his book Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion (pages 174-175), Scientific knowledge cannot contradict religious beliefs, because science has nothing definitive to say for or against religious inspiration, religious inspiration, religious realities, or religious values. There are Christian believers, however, who see the theory of evolution as contrary to the creation narrative of the book of Genesis. These believers are entitled, of course, to hold such convictions based on their interpretation…

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“Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion” Part 4

“Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion” Part 4

Book Review In this, my fourth and final post on Francisco Ayala’s book Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion, I wish to examine very briefly his views on knowledge as related to science and religion. I am addressing the same primary audience that he does in his book: believers in God. For the sake of brevity, and because Ayala seems also to have accepted them himself, I am going to work on the basis of two starting assumptions: there is…

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Postscript to the Series, “Darwin’s Gift?”

Postscript to the Series, “Darwin’s Gift?”

Having written a four-part series on Francis Ayala’s Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion, I was already in strong disagreement over what Ayala called a “gift” to religion in Darwinism. Now I’m reading his monograph for the AAAS, “The Difference of Being Human,” and have found even more reason to disagree with him on this. The core of his argument is (1) that the capacity for ethics is a necessary attribute of human nature, and (2) that moral norms are products…

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