By Michael Ruse

ISBN-10: 0190241020

ISBN-13: 9780190241025

The Darwinian Revolution--the switch in considering sparked via Charles Darwin's at the foundation of Species, which argued that every one organisms together with people are the tip made from a protracted, gradual, ordinary means of evolution instead of the excellent production of an omnipotent God--is one of many actually momentous cultural occasions in Western Civilization. Darwinism as Religion is an cutting edge and interesting method of this revolution via artistic writing, displaying how the speculation of evolution as expressed by means of Darwin has, from the 1st, functioned as an earthly faith.

Drawing on a deep realizing of either the technological know-how and the background, Michael Ruse surveys the naturalistic wondering the origins of organisms, together with the origins of humankind, as portrayed in novels and in poetry, taking the tale from its beginnings within the Age of Enlightenment within the 18th century correct as much as the current. He exhibits that, opposite to the opinion of many historians of the period, there has been certainly a revolution in proposal and that the English naturalist Charles Darwin was once on the middle of it. even if, opposite additionally to what many imagine, this revolution was once now not basically medical as such, yet extra non secular or metaphysical, as humans have been taken from the safe international of the Christian religion right into a darker, extra adversarial international of evolutionism.

In a way strange for the historical past of principles, Ruse turns to the novelists and poets of the interval for idea and knowledge. His publication covers quite a lot of inventive writers - from novelists like Voltaire and poets like Erasmus Darwin within the eighteenth century, in the course of the 19th century with novelists together with Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Henry James and H. G. Wells and poets together with Robert Browning, Alfred Tennyson, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Gerard Manley Hopkins, and directly to the 20 th century with novelists together with Edith Wharton, D. H. Lawrence, John Steinbeck, William Golding, Graham Greene, Ian McEwan and Marilynne Robinson, and poets together with Robert Frost, Edna St Vincent Millay and Philip Appleman. protecting such themes as God, origins, people, race and sophistication, morality, sexuality, and sin and redemption, and written in an attractive demeanour and spiced with wry humor, Darwinism as Religion provides us a completely clean, enticing and provocative view of 1 of the cultural highpoints of Western thought.

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Additional info for Darwinism as religion: what literature tells us about evolution

Sample text

2 Notice in the following passage the organic metaphor—​one speaking of natural growth rather than human mechanical design and suggesting that in some sense everything is alive. Spirit in some sense infuses the whole of existence. 3 We must break from the purely mechanical and strive for genuine freedom. “ ‘Satisfy yourselves,’ he says, ‘by universal, indubitable experiment, even as ye are now doing or will do, whether FREEDOM, heaven-​born and leading heavenward, and so vitally essential for us all, cannot peradventure be mechanically hatched and brought to light in that same Ballot-​Box of yours; or at worst, in some other discoverable or devisable Box, Edifice, or Steam-​ mechanism’ ” (Carlyle [1834] 1987, 189).

While agreeing that it led to cheap and plentiful goods, he worried that it was being applied too readily to human beings without thought of the consequences. It is no longer the moral, religious, spiritual condition of the people that is our concern, but their physical, practical, economical condition, as regulated by public laws. Thus is the Body-╉politic more than ever worshipped and tendered; but the Soul-╉politic less than ever. Love of country, in any high or generous sense, in any other than an almost animal sense, or mere habit, has little importance attached to it in such reforms, or in the opposition shown them.

It is a moral issue. Should we believe in a God who justifies such awful behavior? God is not just nonexistent. He and his followers are immoral. Transcendentalism Was there an escape, an alternative? As Carlyle showed us, from Germany were various transcendental ideas and themes, making God a less ethereal figure and bringing him more into the world, as a kind of living force. Back in 1798 the poet Wordsworth had been trying out these ideas. And I have felt A presence that disturbs me with the joy Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime Of something far more deeply interfused, Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, And the round ocean and the living air, And the blue sky, and in the mind of man; A motion and a spirit, that impels All thinking things, all objects of all thought, And rolls through all things.

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Darwinism as religion: what literature tells us about evolution by Michael Ruse


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