Evolution and Belief

Evolution and Belief : Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist

  • Electronic book text
By (author) 

Currently unavailable

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks


Can a scientist believe in God? Does the ongoing debate between some evolutionists and evangelicals show that the two sides are irreconcilable? As a paleontologist and a religious believer, Robert Asher constantly confronts the perceived conflict between his occupation and his faith. In the course of his scientific work, he has found that no other theory comes close to Darwin's as an explanation for our world's incredible biodiversity. Recounting discoveries in molecular biology, paleontology and development, Asher reveals the remarkable evidence in favor of Darwinian evolution. In outlining the scope of Darwin's idea, Asher shows how evolution describes the cause of biodiversity, rather than the agency behind it. He draws a line between superstition and religion, recognizing that atheism is not the inevitable conclusion of evolutionary theory. By liberating evolution from its misappropriated religious implications, Asher promotes a balanced awareness that contributes to our understanding of biology and Earth history.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 31 b/w illus. 3 tables
  • 1139229613
  • 9781139229616

Table of contents

Acknowledgments; Prologue; 1. Science and religion; 2. Evolution as a science; 3. Characters and common descent; 4. The fossil record; 5. The roots of mammals; 6. A brief history of elephants; 7. Whales are no fluke; 8. Creationism: the fossils still say no!; 9. DNA and the Tree of Life; 10. DNA and information 'creation'; 11. Biology and probability; 12. Evolution, education, and conclusions; Bibliography; Index.show more

Review quote

'Evolution and Belief is a great read. There is a lot of serious science, there is sensible thinking about religion, and above all there is a humility before the big questions that comes from strength of intellect and purpose. I recommend it strongly.' Michael Ruse, Florida State University and author of The Philosophy of Human Evolution and Science and Spirituality: Making Room for Faith in the Age of Science 'Rob Asher writes as a scientist who is also religious, as a great many are. His brief in this book is to show other believers how science is done and how real religious faith should not see it as a threat. The main thing, though, is that this is a really good book on evolution, particularly the evolution of mammals, with many wonderful insights that will be new to readers.' Kevin Padian, Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley 'Page after page of the most brilliant science is eloquently and knowledgably explained, with myriad demonstration of why there is vanishingly little cause to doubt that evolution is true.' New Humanist 'Written from a theistic perspective, Asher's account is a richly detailed and authoritative source book on the evolution of mammals. He carefully distinguishes between cause and agent, explaining that evolutionary theory treats the 'how' but appropriately leaves the question of 'why' to the philosophers and theologians.' Owen Gingerich, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and author of God's Universe 'Robert Asher's Evolution and Belief offers a sure-footed, faith-friendly, and articulate presentation of the evidence for evolution as good as any in print. Asher, a respected paleontologist and religious believer, writes as an insider from both perspectives. He charts a most helpful course between his atheistic colleagues who wrongly suppose that evolution rules out a Creator, and his fellow believers attracted to the uninformed pseudo-science of the Intelligent Design movement. Along the way he provides an up-to-date primer of the current state of evolutionary theorizing sprinkled with tactful demolitions of the standard arguments against Darwin's Theory. I highly recommend Evolution and Belief as a balanced and most helpful contribution to this important conversation.' Karl Giberson, author of The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age 'NS recommends: This book is a very useful contribution to the often sterile debate about the relationship between science and religion.' New Statesman 'Readers without prior knowledge of the subject would be hard pressed to find a clearer and more persuasive introduction than this.' BBC Wildlife Magazine 'The strengths of Evolution and Belief lie in its rigorous attention to the scientific data and in its polite but insistent message that creationism and ID are hopelessly inadequate to give a rational account of the rich tapestry of life's diversity.' The Tablet '... Asher does a truly excellent job with many aspects of this book. It is commendable for a religious scientist to articulate so adequately how to embrace both scientific and religious world views ... [He] does a spectacular job documenting a wealth of cross-disciplinary data that support evolution.' Reports of the National Center for Science Education '... the author's thorough command of fossil and genetic evidence is the most impressive strength of the book.' John R. Schneider, The Quarterly Review of Biology 'One of life's joys is that of finding things out and discovering their marvelous order. Darwin experienced a full measure of this joy. Asher effectively communicates the joy of seeing how much of biology makes sense in the light of evolution.' Evolution: Education and Outreachshow more