Evolution as a Religion: Strange Hopes and Stranger Fears

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Psychology Press, 2002 - 212 pages

According to a profile in The Guardian, Mary Midgley is 'the foremost scourge of scientific pretensions in this country; someone whose wit is admired even by those who feel she sometimes oversteps the mark'. Considered one of Britain's finest philosophers, Midgley exposes the illogical logic of poor doctrines that shelter themselves behind the prestige of science. Always at home when taking on the high priests of evolutionary theory - Dawkins, Wilson and their acolytes - she has famously described evolution as 'the creation-myth of our age'. In Evolution as a Religion, she examines how science comes to be used as a substitute for religion and points out how badly that role distorts it. As ever, her argument is flawlessly insightful: a punchy, compelling, lively indictment of these misuses of science. Both the book and its author are true classics of our time.

 

Selected pages

Contents

Evolutionary Dramas
1
Do Science and Religion Compete?
11
Demarcation Disputes
22
The Irresistible Escalator
33
Choosing a World
40
The Problem of Direction
54
Scientist and Superscientist
64
Dazzling Prospects
76
Mixed Antitheses
112
Science Scepticism and Awe
122
The Service of Self and the Service of Kali
134
Who or What is Selfish?
143
Dreaming and Walking
155
The Limits of Individualism
163
The Vulnerable World and Its Claims on Us
174
NOTES
192

Black Holes Jacques Monod and the Isolation of Science
86
Freedom and the Monte Carlo Drama
95
Scientific Education and Human Transience
104

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About the author (2002)

Mary Midgley was born Mary Scrutton in Dulwich, England on September 13, 1919. She was educated at Oxford University. While raising her sons, she reviewed novels and children's books for The New Statesman. She returned to teaching philosophy in 1965 at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne. She was a moral philosopher who wrote numerous books including Beast and Man: The Roots of Human Nature, Evolution as a Religion, Science as Salvation: A Modern Myth and Its Meaning, Science and Poetry, The Owl of Minerva, and What Is Philosophy For? She died on October 10, 2018 at the age of 99.

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