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Purpose in the Living World?: Creation and Emergent Evolution [Paperback]

Jacob Klapwijk
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

4 Dec 2008
Are evolution and creation irreconcilably opposed? Is 'intelligent design' theory an unhappy compromise? Is there another way of approaching the present-day divide between religious and so-called secular views of the origins of life? Jacob Klapwijk offers a philosophical analysis of the relation of evolutionary biology to religion, and addresses the question of whether the evolution of life is exclusively a matter of chance or is better understood as including the notion of purpose. Writing from a Christian (Augustinian) point of view, he criticizes creationism and intelligent design theory as well as opposing reductive naturalism. He offers an alternative to both and an attempt to bridge the gap between them, via the idea of 'emergent evolution'. In this theory the process of evolution has an emergent or innovative character resulting in a living world of ingenious, multifaceted complexity.

Product details

  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (4 Dec 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521729432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521729437
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,997,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'Undoubtedly the book presents an invaluable contribution to the scholarly discussion about the meaning of the natural world and its philosophical significance.' Antonianum

Book Description

Jacob Klapwijk considers the stark choice many believers and non-believers face between religious notions concerning the origins of life and the contemporary findings of evolutionary science. He offers an alternative to both and an attempt to bridge the gap between them, via the idea of 'emergent evolution'.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Towards a more creative and open dialogue 21 Nov 2010
The discussion around creation and evolution is often polarized and intemperate. Characterised simplistically as a conflict between science and religion opponent positions are dismissed as creationism or evolutionism. Despite this many of the former reject a literal 6 day creation and the latter insist they do not stray from the conclusions of science. Is there a way out of such an impasse? Well lets be realistic, too much is invested in both sides to expect a sudden shift to a more moderate and creative dialogue. Still no one should feel bound by the current terms of the debate and thankfully Klapwijk gives us a fine example of what it can look like. Klapwijk does not take up a mythical posture of neutrality on the topic. He is up front about developing his ideas within the context of a "final hermeneutical horizon of our knowledge and understanding of reality" (197). Klapwijk takes his stance from the Genesis account as "a believing witness regarding God as the source of all being and the origin of all that lives" (9). He distinguishes this creation belief from creationism which goes further in taking the Genesis account as "also a scientifically reliable representation of the manner in which He brought the world and diverse forms of life into being at the beginning of time" (9).

Given his philosophical inclination for hermeneutics and siding with creation belief it seems surprising that very early on he states that evolutionary theory is based on "facts as hard as nails". Given later comments - on evolutionary science "not as rectilinear and objective a scientific approach as it would seem at first" (76), and "isolated facts do not exist" (163) - it is probably best to read this opening gambit as more a rhetorical positioning than a philosophical assertion.
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