Book Review: Evolution’s Purpose

Evolutions-PurposeThis is the latest in the series of books I have received for review through the SpeakEasy Blogger network. Of all the books I have received for review, this has been my most challenging read yet .

First off, it has been a while since I read such straightforward academic philosophy.  This called for slower, more careful reading.  Thankfully, I found I was drawn back toward my years of school and the volumes of reading I had done then.

In response to questions about evolution and faith I began, about 10 years ago, responding that “I don’t believe in science.”  What I mean by this is that I do not expect the same things or kinds of knowledge from science as from faith. What I do not mean is that evolution is a godless attempt to kill Christianity.

So, I was intrigued to get hold of this title, as I am curious to read how people treat religion and evolution with each other’s context(s). McIntosh treats both with respect. He describes himself as one who does not “subscribe to any organized religion (xxiv). (I often want to ask such individuals if they subscribe to any disorganized religion.)

I wish I had more profound things to write about this book.  I enjoyed what I read, and was intrigued at McIntosh’s efforts to argue that we are, indeed, progressing while at the same time wanting to, no, insisting upon, avoiding the cultural arrogance of Social Darwinism.

Could we ever again name a war “The War to End all Wars”?  Are we better, or even better off, than our grandparents’ generation, or their grandparents’ generation.

Progress is a dangerous thing to argue because one tends to assume the position that one’s vantage point is better than all the others.  Each of us set up some set(s) of categories  by which we understand the world. Likewise, we tend to insert ourselves into the place of privilege in those categories.

The hardest part of recognizing change, progress, evolution may be admitting that we are not at the apex of it. All of history has not moved with purposeful intent towards today; rather, today is a part of life, history, and evolution’s movement in the direction of the beautiful, the true, and the good.

It is, I suspect, the habit of each generation or civilization to understand itself as that which all the past was laid out to give us.  This book, on the other hand, read as a provocative challenge to interpret that we are still on our way somewhere.

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