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Monkey Trials and Gorilla Sermons
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Table of Contents

Preface 1. The Myths of History 2. Setting the Scene 3. Darwin and His Bulldog 4. The Eclipse of Darwinism 5. Modern Debates Bibliography Index

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This rich appraisal of the field, written by a scholar at the height of his powers, is full of insights and interesting material, all delivered in prose that is balanced, crisp, and effective. A real gem. -- Janet Browne, Harvard University author of Darwin

About the Author

Peter J. Bowler is Emeritus Professor in the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics at Queen's University Belfast.

Reviews

Bowler, a professor of the history of science at Queen's University in Belfast, aims to show that "the renewed state of war between fundamentalists and atheistic Darwinists is not the only game in town," because "there have always been religious thinkers looking for a middle way" to integrate Christian and evolutionary ideas. While not himself an advocate of any "middle way"-Bowler is a religious skeptic-he believes this stream of thought deserves more attention. Alongside outbreaks of controversy such as the Huxley-Wilberforce debates, the Scopes trial or contemporary battles over science education, Bowler portrays a broad movement, spearheaded by liberal Christians and religiously inclined evolutionists, to interpret evolution as God's plan. Integrating cultural and political factors into the historical description, Bowler sees a great deal at stake. Political and social beliefs about competition, cooperation, and human improvability also come into play, as well as classic theological questions of suffering, freedom, and moral responsibility-or more recently, the value of animals and the environment. Although breadth sometimes comes at the expense of depth-Bowler treats some topics superficially and admits to finding some academic theology "totally incomprehensible"-overall this is a well-balanced survey that does justice to the complexity of the encounter and the variety of possible responses. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Bowler, a professor of the history of science at Queen's University in Belfast, aims to show that "the renewed state of war between fundamentalists and atheistic Darwinists is not the only game in town," because "there have always been religious thinkers looking for a middle way" to integrate Christian and evolutionary ideas. While not himself an advocate of any "middle way," Bowler is a religious skeptic. He believes this stream of thought deserves more attention. Alongside outbreaks of controversy such as the Huxley-Wilberforce debates, the Scopes trial or contemporary battles over science education, Bowler portrays a broad movement, spearheaded by liberal Christians and religiously inclined evolutionists, to interpret evolution as God's plan. Integrating cultural and political factors into the historical description, Bowler sees a great deal at stake. Political and social beliefs about competition, cooperation, and human improvability also come into play, as well as classic theological questions of suffering, freedom, and moral responsibility or more recently, the value of animals and the environment...This is a well-balanced survey that does justice to the complexity of the encounter and the variety of possible responses. Publishers Weekly 20070709 In his fascinating, thorough, and authoritative book Monkey Trials and Gorilla Sermons: Evolution and Christianity from Darwin to Intelligent Design, Peter J. Bowler pays particular attention to theologians and scientists who have found a degree of harmony between evolution and Christianity. -- Thomas Dixon Times Literary Supplement 20071116 Peter Bowler, past president of the British Society for the History of Science, has spent most of his career demystifying Darwin's significance without also debunking the idea of biological evolution. This gives him just the right critical distance to do a history of the various evolution-creation controversies in the English-speaking world. This book, which includes a brief discussion of the recent U.S. dispute over intelligent design theory, achieves its stated goal well. -- Steve Fuller Times Higher Education Supplement 20071214 Monkey Trials and Gorilla Sermons is a notable achievement. The book's structure is admirably clear and efficient...exceptionally well-crafted for its intended general audience. Indeed, reading Bowler's book is a bit like watching a major league baseball player take batting practice. Even when routine, it is satisfying to watch a professional make something difficult look easy. -- Matthew Day Church History 20080601 Peter J. Bowler points out that extreme biblical literalism--of the sort that insists that creation took place as Genesis depicts it--may be more widespread now even than in 1859, when The Origin of Species was published. -- Charles McGrath New York Times 20081224

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