Book Review - Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion

Thanks to Pat Hayes for maintaining Lansdowne’s Church Library and to those people who have kindly donated interesting books to populate the shelves. Here is a review from one of the books available to borrow.

With the publication in 1859 of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Charles Darwin proposed the theory of evolution by common descent as a scientific explanation for nature's diversity.  This was to be his gift to science and society. Now the vast majority of biologists today agree that the evolutionary origin of animals and plants is a scientific conclusion beyond reasonable doubt and thus has moved from theory to fact. Yet, there are still divisions in society at large over accepting evolutionary theory as the truth.  Thus, it is not always accepted by the public, and schools in various countries, including the USA, continue to be  battlegrounds  for  this  conflict.  This book examines the debates that took place at the Tennessee trial of a biology teacher who dared to teach Darwin's theory to his students in 1925 and the battle by Tammy Kitzmiller's in 2005 to stop the teaching of intelligent design in the Dover district schools in Pennsylvania, Dick DeVos, husband of Betsy DeVos, Donald Trumps’s selection for Education Secretary in the new US administration, has promoted the teaching of Intelligent Design in schools, so it is possible that this will again be an issue in the coming years.  There is a need to sift through the evidence and provide clarity on this question, in terms that everyone can understand. Darwin's Gift, brings a rational, measured perspective to the science of evolution. Francisco Ayala, an acclaimed evolutionary biologist with a background in theology, offers calm and rational explanations of the science. He examines both evolutionary theory and intelligent design and reviews the history that led to the ratification Darwin's theories. Francisco provides compelling arguments that there should be no conflict between science and religion in terms of how nature is as we see it today. A recommended read for Lansdowne members interested in this topic.

David Tweats