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Evolution and Belief
Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist

$30.99 (G)

  • Date Published: March 2012
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521193832

$ 30.99 (G)
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About the Authors
  • Can a scientist believe in God? Does the ongoing debate between some evolutionists and evangelicals show that the two sides are irreconcilable? As a paleontologist and a religious believer, Robert Asher constantly confronts the perceived conflict between his occupation and his faith. In the course of his scientific work, he has found that no other theory comes close to Darwin's as an explanation for our world's incredible biodiversity. Recounting discoveries in molecular biology, paleontology and development, Asher reveals the remarkable evidence in favor of Darwinian evolution. In outlining the scope of Darwin's idea, Asher shows how evolution describes the cause of biodiversity, rather than the agency behind it. He draws a line between superstition and religion, recognizing that atheism is not the inevitable conclusion of evolutionary theory. By liberating evolution from its misappropriated religious implications, Asher promotes a balanced awareness that contributes to our understanding of biology and Earth history.

    • Makes an important contribution to the 'evolution vs. science' debate, addressing the popular misunderstanding that a scientist cannot be religious
    • Explains how biologists reach their understanding of evolution using different bodies of evidence, making the topic accessible to anyone with an interest in the field
    • Argues that scientific inquiry is a subset of rationality, fostering a better appreciation of how it is possible to be rational without necessarily being scientific
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Evolution and Belief is a great read. There is a lot of serious science, there is sensible thinking about religion, and above all there is a humility before the big questions that comes from strength of intellect and purpose. I recommend it strongly."
    Michael Ruse, Florida State University, author of The Philosophy of Human Evolution and Science and Spirituality: Making Room for Faith in the Age of Science

    "Rob Asher writes as a scientist who is also religious, as a great many are. His brief in this book is to show other believers how science is done and how real religious faith should not see it as a threat. The main thing, though, is that this is a really good book on evolution, particularly the evolution of mammals, with many wonderful insights that will be new to readers."
    Kevin Padian, Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley

    "Written from a theistic perspective, Asher's account is a richly detailed and authoritative source book on the evolution of mammals. He carefully distinguishes between cause and agent, explaining that evolutionary theory treats the "how" but appropriately leaves the question of "why" to the philosophers and theologians."
    Owen Gingerich, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, author of God's Universe

    "Robert Asher’s Evolution and Belief offers a sure-footed, faith-friendly, and articulate presentation of the evidence for evolution as good as any in print. Asher, a respected paleontologist and religious believer, writes as an insider from both perspectives. He charts a most helpful course between his atheistic colleagues who wrongly suppose that evolution rules out a Creator, and his fellow believers attracted to the uninformed pseudo-science of the Intelligent Design movement. Along the way he provides an up-to-date primer of the current state of evolutionary theorizing sprinkled with tactful demolitions of the standard arguments against Darwin’s Theory. I highly recommend Evolution and Belief as a balanced and most helpful contribution to this important conversation."
    Karl Giberson, author of The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age

    "This excellent book may not convince the creationists, nor in a different respect will it convince Dawkins. But the message is, surely, that an evolutionary biologist does not have to be a militant atheist. Asher is a good scientist and writer, and a religious man. I only wish I had space to discuss further dimensions of his book here. So, I recommend that you read it instead."
    Euan N.K. Clarkson, Times Higher Education

    "Asher does a fine job supporting evolution, particularly the Darwinian idea of natural selection … Recommended."
    L. T. Spencer Choice

    "… the author’s thorough command of fossil and genetic evidence is the most impressive strength of the book."
    John R. Schneider, The Quarterly Review of Biology

    "One of life’s joys is that of finding things out and discovering their marvelous order. Darwin experienced a full measure of this joy. Asher effectively communicates the joy of seeing how much of biology makes sense in the light of evolution."
    Evolution: Education and Outreach

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2012
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521193832
    • length: 324 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 157 x 27 mm
    • weight: 0.66kg
    • contains: 31 b/w illus. 3 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Acknowledgments
    Prologue
    1. Science and religion
    2. Evolution as a science
    3. Characters and common descent
    4. The fossil record
    5. The roots of mammals
    6. A brief history of elephants
    7. Whales are no fluke
    8. Creationism: the fossils still say no!
    9. DNA and the Tree of Life
    10. DNA and information 'creation'
    11. Biology and probability
    12. Evolution, education, and conclusions
    Bibliography
    Index.

  • Author

    Robert J. Asher, University of Cambridge
    Robert J. Asher is a vertebrate paleontologist, specializing in mammals, and since 2006 has been the Curator of Vertebrates in the Museum of Zoology, Cambridge. Over the past two decades, his work in paleobiology has taken him to Argentina, Britain, Canada, Kenya, Madagascar, Mongolia, South Africa, Spain, western USA and Venezuela.

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