£17.36
  • RRP: £18.99
  • You Save: £1.63 (9%)
FREE Delivery in the UK.
In stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Trade in your item
Get a £0.29
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Can a Darwinian be a Christian?: The Relationship between Science and Religion Paperback – 6 Sep 2004


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
£17.36
£6.86 £0.38


Trade In this Item for up to £0.29
Trade in Can a Darwinian be a Christian?: The Relationship between Science and Religion for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £0.29, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; New Ed edition (6 Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521637163
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521637169
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.5 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 983,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Amazon Review

You will have to look hard to find a better explanation of the relationship between basic Christian tenets and the Darwinian theory of evolution than Can A Darwinian Be A Christian? by Michael Ruse. The author, a professor of philosophy and zoology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, writes with bracing candour ("Let me be open", he begins, "I think that evolution is a fact and that Darwinism rules triumphant") and sophisticated sympathy to Christian doctrine ("if one's understanding of Darwinism does include a natural evolution of life from nonlife, there is no reason to think that this now makes Christian belief impossible"). Writing this book, he also clearly had a hell of a lot of fun (disarming sceptical Christian readers at the beginning, he asks, "Why should the devil have all the good tunes?").

Can A Darwinian Be A Christian? answers its title question with heady confidence--"Absolutely!"--but the book journeys towards that answer with circumspect integrity. Covering territory from the Scopes Monkey Trials to contemporary theories of Social Darwinism to the question of extraterrestrial life, Ruse applies an impressive wealth of knowledge that encompasses many disciplines. Readers may or may not be swayed, but they can't help but be challenged and edified by this excellent book. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'By concentrated argument around a number of themes, the origin of life, the soul, design, miracles, pain, ethics, social Darwinism, he manages to throw real light on the complexity of the issues, while suggesting how different standpoints might be reconciled. Ruse's grasp of the subject, clarity of exposition, fair-mindedness and light touch make it a thoroughly stimulating exercise.' Times Literary Supplement

'… Ruse's book serves an important role - building bridges for people who otherwise might not be interested in exploring 'win-win' as opposed to 'win-lose' relationships between science and religion. The argument is spry and engaging.' Nature

'Ruse's fine book contributes significantly to the contemporary dialogue of science and religion. Filled with useful information and sparkling wit, it will provide scientists, theologians and lay readers with the opportunity to think in fresh ways about God, Christianity and evolution.' Commonweal

'Michael Ruse's book is an astonishing contribution … It astonishes because of the bravado of its thesis.' London Review of Books

'Professor Ruse writes with grace and style … he can be credited with a book and theme of contemporary as well as historical significance.' Contemporary Review

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
2
4 star
2
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 4 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on 12 April 2005
Format: Hardcover
Someone should buy Michael Ruse a new dictionary. The term "polemic" doesn't appear in his. He doesn't engage in polemics, and pours balm on those that occur. The "war between science and religion" is something he deplores. His subtitle sets the tone of this book in describing "The Relationship Between Science and Religion", deftly eschewing conflict at the outset. In reconciling the discipline of science with the dedication of faith, Ruse follows the labyrinthine path of Christian teachings. His Quaker upbringing and background in the history of science has prepared him well for this torturous task. His sense of wit allows him to achieve this without becoming ensnared in arcane theological questions or sectarian strife. Few, if any scholars have accomplished this level of detachment with such charming style.
Ruse establishes his credentials promptly, offering a succinct account of "Darwinism" [a term i loathe]. He explains the history and mechanisms of evolution by natural selection with aplomb. The book is valuable for this summation, if nothing else. He explains various forms of evidence such as the similarity of animal body structures [homology]. He continues with various dialogues between Christians who view evolution as a threat to morals, society, ethics and the other tired arguments and why they have no basis.
Finally, Ruse states the obvious: many scientists are and have been, successfully practicing Christians. Whether or not they've made the effort to rationalise this disparity, he saves them the effort in examining how the reconciliation can be achieved. For centuries, he reminds us, the study of Nature was in order to glorify a deity. He uses Augustine frequently in support of the view that Nature deserves serious study.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G. C. Brown on 11 Sep 2009
Format: Paperback
The answer to the question, in the author's opinion, is yes. In fact Ruse does a good job of the the science and the theology - showing many areas where evolutionary theory offers a better fit with the theology than the alternatives.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Waugh on 29 May 2009
Format: Paperback
The author of the book, Michael Ruse, discusses whether someone believing in Darwin's theory of evolution can be a Christian. He is not a Christian himself, so his conclusion that one can be a Christian and a Darwinian at the same time is worthy of note. We have used this book as a basis for group discussions, using one chapter per discussion, and it has served this purpose very adequately.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. Ward on 1 Feb 2010
Format: Paperback
This booko was easy to understand and structured very well. There were many passages that helped answer an essay regarding the relationship between Christianity and Science. Definately worth purchasing.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 27 reviews
41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
A lively inquiry addressed squarely to the Darwinian 23 Mar 2001
By Gregory Tucker-Kellogg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a serious, solid work by a Darwinian and philosopher. From the preface onward, it is clear that Ruse believes that something important -- the question of the title -- has been overlooked in the noisy debates on evolution and Christianity. In this book, Ruse develops a steady, evenhanded exposition of the central issues. He starts with overview of Darwinism and Christianity, and then moves on to address major points of contention, including origins, naturalism, design, pain, Social Darwinism, and even extraterrestrials (!), each in a separate chapter. In each case he presents the problems posed to Christianity by Darwinism, and possible resolutions that can be found within historical Christianity. Some of the issues, such as monogenism in the section on human origins, are particularly difficult, and may be irreconcilable for many readers. Other sections, such as the chapter on pain, make fascinating reading with or without a desire to span the gulf between Darwinism and Christianity.
This is a welcome contribution by a Darwinian who takes Christianity seriously.
71 of 82 people found the following review helpful
Kudos for seriously addressing the subject 18 April 2002
By David C. Read - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Michael Ruse deserves alot of credit for seriously tackling the subject of the compatibility of Darwinism and Christianity. He also deserves credit for understanding and acknowledging basic Christian beliefs, something that unfortunately cannot be said for some others, like Stephen Jay Gould, who have written on the intersection of science and religion.
Before reaching the substance of Ruse's work, we need to clear up some matters raised by other reviewers. Several young earth creationists have pointed out that the Bible teaches that death--not only human death but animal death, predation and bloodshed, as well--is a result of Adam's sin and the resulting fall of the human race. Rom. 5:12; 8:18-22, I Cor. 15:21-22. But if the fossiliferous strata are interpreted according to conventional uniformitarian geology, it proves that death has been around for millions of years before humans existed, and thus before the first human sin. This is a valid point, but we Bible-believing Christians need to realize that our problem on this point is with uniformitarian geology, (something I call Lyellism), not with evolution or Darwinism. Charles Lyell had already won the day for uniformitarian geology almost 30 years before the publication of Darwin's "Origin of the the Species." The men who agreed with Lyell that vast ages were needed to form the fossiliferous strata were creationists, many of them Anglican clergymen like Coneybeare and William Buckland. Thus, we cannot blame Darwin for theological problems created by uniformitarian geology (and I agree that there are many). Ruse only spends a couple of pages breifly discussing these developments in geology.
This book is addressed to the possible conflicts between Darwinism, with its teaching that humans evolved from lower primates, and Christianity, with its teaching that humans were created by God in God's own image. The central doctrine of Christianity is that Christ is the Son of God, and that Christ died to save fallen humanity. This is not a doctrine peculiar to any particular brand or branch of Christianity. All Christians believe that Christ died to save us; He is our Redeemer. How might this central doctrine conflict with Darwinism? Because it presupposes the need for a Redeemer. It presupposes that there was a fall, that man sinned and fell from grace, something that is taught in Genesis but denied by Darwinism. It seems to me that this is the central conflict between Darwinism and Christianity, and I think, after reading the relevant parts of this book, that Ruse would agree.
To my mind, Ruse gets alot of credit for recognizing that there is a real and substantial conflict here. "an essential component of Christian theology, . . . is that humans are descended from a unique pair (monogenism). That part of the Adam and Eve story cannot be interpreted symbolically. . . . the trouble is that this goes completely against our thinking about the nature of the evolutionary process. Successful species like humans do not pass through single-pair bottlenecks: there is certainly no evidence that this was true of Homo sapiens, a species which seems to have been well spread around the earth" (pp. 75-76). Ruse admits that "we seem to have reached an impasse." (p. 77).
Thus, by page 77, Ruse has spotted the problem. Although the book goes on to page 218, I don't think he ever came close to solving it. The general thrust of the book is that something like what has come to be known as "theistic evolution" is compatible with Christianity. "It is not by chance that the universe exists and it is not by chance that we exist within the universe." (p. 83) But is the idea that God guided the evolutionary process compatible with what Ruse calls "full-blooded Darwinism"? Doesn't evolution teach exactly that it is just by chance that we exist? Those readers familiar with the writings of Stephen Jay Gould, especially "Wonderful Life", know that he teaches that evolution need not have resulted in the human race. Indeed, it was just the luck of the draw that humans ever evolved. Ruse thrashes around on the horns of this dilemma for several pages, never mustering up the courage to say that Gould is just flat wrong. So what remains of "theistic evolution"? "The Christian would be foolish to think that Darwinism insists that humans are uniquely significant and bound to appear." (p. 91). Wow! Not much remains even of theistic evolution.
Ultimately, Ruse admits that there had to be a fall in order for Christianity to work. "In the course of evolution, there must have been a first moment of conscious moral choice. That is the point at which the 'fall of humanity' began and humans were estranged from that natural fellowship with God which should have been theirs, and from their natural ability to relate unselfishly to one another." (p. 205, quoting Ward) But, again, it is not compatible with Darwinism: "And the whole business of an original, unique Adam and Eve goes flatly against modern evolutionary biology. . . . Is one supposed to believe that the parents of Adam and Eve--for they will have had such in the evolutionary story, if not in Genesis-- were soulless or sinless or what? And what about their brothers and sisters, and the next generation of homo sapiens, most of whom were not descended from Adam and Eve?" (p. 209)
Ruse just never solves this basic contradiction. He never comes close. But I salute him for trying. If nothing else, the fact that a man as clever and well educated as Ruse could not solve the basic contradiction between Darwinism and Christianity confirmed for me what I already suspected: the contradiction is insoluble.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Alone in the demilitarized zone 24 Jun 2003
By Stephen A. Haines - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Someone should buy Michael Ruse a new dictionary. The term "polemic" doesn't appear in his. He doesn't engage in polemics, and pours balm on those that occur. The "war between science and religion" is something he deplores. His subtitle sets the tone of this book in describing "The Relationship Between Science and Religion", deftly eschewing conflict at the outset. In reconciling the discipline of science with the dedication of faith, Ruse follows the labyrinthine path of Christian teachings. His Quaker upbringing and background in the history of science has prepared him well for this torturous task. His sense of wit allows him to achieve this without becoming ensnared in arcane theological questions or sectarian strife. Few, if any scholars have accomplished this level of detachment with such charming style.
Ruse establishes his credentials promptly, offering a succinct account of "Darwinism" [a term i loathe]. He explains the history and mechanisms of evolution by natural selection with aplomb. The book is valuable for this summation, if nothing else. He explains various forms of evidence such as the similarity of animal body structures [homology]. He continues with various dialogues between Christians who view evolution as a threat to morals, society, ethics and the other tired arguments and why they have no basis.
Finally, Ruse states the obvious: many scientists are and have been, successfully practicing Christians. Whether or not they've made the effort to rationalise this disparity, he saves them the effort in examining how the reconciliation can be achieved. For centuries, he reminds us, the study of Nature was in order to glorify a deity. He uses Augustine frequently in support of the view that Nature deserves serious study. Ruse calls this "the Augustinian option", that Christianity has no room for the ignorant. Nature's wonders and laws follow a divine plan, which must be recognized and respected. Science then, is not an enemy, but rather an ally.
Ruse concludes with a firm "Absolutely!" to the book's title. He warns of the difficulties: one must choose from among the various Christian ethics and values, recognize that not all questions have been answered nor all issues resolved, be prepared for some in-depth study. The path is difficult, but having been traversed by some, others may follow. Given the nature of the topic, Ruse has performed an outstanding service in addressing this complex question with such finesse and clarity. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Highly recommended. 15 Jun 2001
By William Vanderburgh - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Despite what our Creation Scientist friends might say, Ruse's book is an excellent discussion of an _open_ question, i.e., whether or not Christianity and Darwinism are compatible. Of course, Darwinism _is_ incompatible with _Creationism_. (So much the worse for Creationism, since the evidence definitively proves the Creationist creation story false.) But, as Ruse clearly and even-handedly describes, there are lots of other versions of Christianity that admit a metaphorical reading of Genesis. The trick then is to try to reconcile the scientific facts about evolution with the key doctrines of Christianty, e.g., Original Sin and its transmission, doctrines which are required in order for a Saviour to be needed in the first place. Ruse takes his task seriously, clearly distinguishing true conflicts from merely apparent ones and sincerely attempting to come up with a consistent Darwinian Christianity. I'm not sure he completely succeeds. Even some moderate Christians will not recognize the resulting positions as Christian, and some non-Christians will no doubt see the sometimes-extreme contortions required as further evidence of the unreasonableness of Christian belief. Nevertheless, this is an important book that ought to be read by anyone interested in its particular focus or the general question of the relationship between science and religion. It is, moreover, clearly and engagingly written, and its honesty and forthrightness should serve as a model for this sort of debate.
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Can a Darwinian be a Christian? Absolutely! 9 July 2001
By David Leaf - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Michael Ruse seriously considers whether the major tenets of Christianity are compatible with Darwinism. He convincingly shows that a Christian view of human nature which includes free will, original sin and the soul are not excluded by science in general nor by Darwinism in particular. Questions such as why there is pain and suffering are also shown to have mutually supportive answers in Christianity and Darwinism. Michael Ruse clearly shows how opponents of methodological naturalism, such as Phillip Johnson, engage in bad theology as well as bad science. As a biologist, I found that although he deals with serious theological issues, Michael Ruse writes in a highly engaging and accessible style. I would highly recommend this book (along with the "Tower of Babel" by Robert Pennock and "Finding Darwin's God" by Kenneth Miller) for anyone who wonders whether methodological naturalism is anti-religious. The copy of "Can a Darwinian be a Christian?" which I read was checked out from our local library. Will I now be purchasing my own copy? Absolutely!
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know


Feedback