The Selfless Gene:  Living with God and Darwin, by Charles Foster (Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 2009)

Charles Foster got one thing right:  "The biologists will think that I have oversimplified the biology....Theologians will justifiably moan that I have summarized too brutally some very big and complex ideas."  That's inevitable in a book that purports to bring sense to the evolution/creation debate, and might be forgivable for the extensive footnotes and bibliography, were the book not condescending as well.

Foster cries, "A plague on both your houses!" to young-earth creationists (a category which he unfortunately stretches to include nearly everyone with doubts about some parts of the evolutionary paradigm) and Richard Dawkins-style hyper-Darwinists, then sets forth his own solution to the problem. Unfortunately, his conclusions aren't as obvious or as logical as he would like to believe.  After several chapters that needlessly insult creationists he shifts his aim to the hyper-Darwinists, following that with chapters that must have theologians scratching their heads.  I can't decide if he's brilliant or merely heretical.

Nonetheless, The Selfless Gene is still a book worth reading.  Foster is unafraid to tackle the important and perplexing questions that most people, especially those on the extremes of this debate, would rather ignore.  And he's right that the extremes actually support and reinforce each other, increasing book sales while decreasing understanding.  Whether or not Foster's ideas are right, they are at least thought-provoking, and might break a few mental log jams.

Legal Blather Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 8:00 am | Edit
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