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Darwin, God, and the Meaning of Life : How Evolutionary Theory Undermines Everything You Thought You Knew - Steve Stewart-Williams

Darwin, God, and the Meaning of Life

How Evolutionary Theory Undermines Everything You Thought You Knew


Published: 30th September 2010
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Published: 30th September 2010
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If you accept evolutionary theory, can you also believe in God? Are human beings superior to other animals, or is this just a human prejudice?

Does Darwin have implications for heated issues like euthanasia and animal rights? Does evolution tell us the purpose of life, or does it imply that life has no ultimate purpose? Does evolution tell us what is morally right and wrong, or does it imply that ultimately 'nothing' is right or wrong?

In this fascinating and intriguing book, Steve Stewart-Williams addresses these and other fundamental philosophical questions raised by evolutionary theory and the exciting new field of evolutionary psychology.

Drawing on biology, psychology and philosophy, he argues that Darwinian science supports a view of a godless universe devoid of ultimate purpose or moral structure, but that we can still live a good life and a happy life within the confines of this view.

About the Author

Steve Stewart-Williams is a lecturer in evolutionary psychology at Swansea University. Before taking this position, he did his PhD at Massey University in New Zealand, and then did a post-doctoral fellowship at McMaster University in Canada. His research and writing covers a diverse range of topics, including the placebo effect, the philosophy of biology, and the evolution of altruism and mating behaviour.

'Steve Stewart-Williams explains how evolutionary thought challenges many deep-seated assumptions about God, morality, and human superiority and raises significant questions about such things as euthanasia, suicide, and the way we treat non-human animals. While it has become commonplace for many to equate Darwin's legacy with the stripping away of the moral and the good and to replace it with unpalatable 'Darwinist' alternatives that advocate amorality, nihilism, and a world where 'might makes right', Stewart-Williams carefully and entertainingly shows that, on the contrary, the world after Darwin remains meaningful, wondrous, and intrinsically moral.' Stephen Hill, Massey University 'This is an important, accessible, and timely book for anyone wishing to understand the implications of evolutionary theory for standard views of human nature, morality and religion.' Stephen Boulter, Oxford Brookes University

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Darwin and the big questionsp. 1
Darwin gets religion
Clash of the Titansp. 21
Design after Darwinp. 45
Darwin's Godp. 54
God as gap fillerp. 73
Darwin and the problem of evilp. 103
Wrapping up religionp. 128
Life after Darwin
Human beings and their place in the universep. 141
The status of human beings among the animalsp. 162
Meaning of life, RIP?p. 188
Morality stripped of superstition
Evolving goodp. 201
Remaking moralityp. 223
Uprooting the doctrine of human dignityp. 258
Evolution and the death of right and wrongp. 280
Suggestions for further readingp. 309
Referencesp. 311
Indexp. 333

ISBN: 9780521762786
ISBN-10: 0521762782
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 30th September 2010
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.7