Evolution makes good scientific sense. The question is whether it makes good theological sense as well. Christians who find evolution contrary to faith often do so because they focus solely on the issues of the world's design and the notion of the gradual descent of all life from a common ancestry. But that point of view overlooks the significance of the dramatic narrative going on beneath the surface. What evolution is has become more important than what it means. Haught suggests that, rather than necessarily contradicting one another, theologians and Darwinian scientists actually share an appreciation of the underlying meaning and awe-inspiring mystery of evolution. He argues for a focus on evolution as an ongoing drama and suggests that we simply cannot-indeed need not-make complete sense of it until it has fully played out. Ultimately, when situated carefully within a biblical vision of the world as open to a God who makes all things new, evolution makes sense scientifically and theologically.
The Conceptual Foundations of Evolutionary Biology
Author: Massimo Pigliucci
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Making Sense of Evolution explores contemporary evolutionary biology, focusing on the elements of theories—selection, adaptation, and species—that are complex and open to multiple possible interpretations, many of which are incompatible with one another and with other accepted practices in the discipline. Particular experimental methods, for example, may demand one understanding of “selection,” while the application of the same concept to another area of evolutionary biology could necessitate a very different definition. Spotlighting these conceptual difficulties and presenting alternate theoretical interpretations that alleviate this incompatibility, Massimo Pigliucci and Jonathan Kaplan intertwine scientific and philosophical analysis to produce a coherent picture of evolutionary biology. Innovative and controversial, Making Sense of Evolution encourages further development of the Modern Synthesis and outlines what might be necessary for the continued refinement of this evolving field.
Explaining Biological Development with Models, Metaphors, and Machines
Author: Evelyn Fox KELLER
Publisher: Harvard University Press
What do biologists want? If, unlike their counterparts in physics, biologists are generally wary of a grand, overarching theory, at what kinds of explanation do biologists aim? How will we know when we have "made sense" of life? Such questions, Evelyn Fox Keller suggests, offer no simple answers. Explanations in the biological sciences are typically provisional and partial, judged by criteria as heterogeneous as their subject matter. It is Keller's aim in this bold and challenging book to account for this epistemological diversity--particularly in the discipline of developmental biology. In particular, Keller asks, what counts as an "explanation" of biological development in individual organisms? Her inquiry ranges from physical and mathematical models to more familiar explanatory metaphors to the dramatic contributions of recent technological developments, especially in imaging, recombinant DNA, and computer modeling and simulations. A history of the diverse and changing nature of biological explanation in a particularly charged field, "Making Sense of Life" draws our attention to the temporal, disciplinary, and cultural components of what biologists mean, and what they understand, when they propose to explain life.
Principles of Evolution considers evolution in the context of systems biology, a contemporary approach for handling biological complexity. Evolution needs this systems perspective for three reasons. First, most activity in living organisms is driven by complex networks of proteins and this has direct implications, particularly for understanding evo-devo and for seeing how variation is initiated. Second, it provides the natural language for discussing phylogenetic trees. Third, evolutionary change involves events at levels ranging from the genome to the ecosystem and systems biology provides a context for integrating material of this complexity. Understanding evolution means, on the one hand, describing the history of life and, on the other, making sense of the principles that drove that history. The solution adopted here is to make the science of evolution the primary focus of the book and place the various parts of the history of life in the context of the research that unpicks it. This means that the history is widely distributed across the text. This concise textbook assumes that the reader has a fair amount of biological knowledge and gives equal weight to all the major themes of evolution: the fossil record, phylogenetics, evodevo, and speciation. Principles of Evolution will therefore be an interesting and thought-provoking read for honors-level undergraduates, and graduates working in the biological sciences.
The biological sciences cover a broad array of literature types, from younger fields like molecular biology with its reliance on recent journal articles, genomic databases, and protocol manuals to classic fields such as taxonomy with its scattered literature found in monographs and journals from the past three centuries. Using the Biological Literature: A Practical Guide, Fourth Edition is an annotated guide to selected resources in the biological sciences, presenting a wide-ranging list of important sources. This completely revised edition contains numerous new resources and descriptions of all entries including textbooks. The guide emphasizes current materials in the English language and includes retrospective references for historical perspective and to provide access to the taxonomic literature. It covers both print and electronic resources including monographs, journals, databases, indexes and abstracting tools, websites, and associations—providing users with listings of authoritative informational resources of both classical and recently published works. With chapters devoted to each of the main fields in the basic biological sciences, this book offers a guide to the best and most up-to-date resources in biology. It is appropriate for anyone interested in searching the biological literature, from undergraduate students to faculty, researchers, and librarians. The guide includes a supplementary website dedicated to keeping URLs of electronic and web-based resources up to date, a popular feature continued from the third edition.
Looks at scientific journals in the life sciences to explain their variety. Written to aid those who see their budgets decreasing while the price of serials increases, this guide describes the life science journals, comparing the leading titles via competitive advantages and cost efficiency.
We live in a world with many religious traditions. People in these traditions believe that their religious view of life embodies what is important, true, and real. Their religious views of life, however, differ significantly. They can't all capture equally what is important, true, and real. This book seeks to unravel this dilemma. It rejects two approaches to address the problem: First, the view that one religious view of life is the absolute, unique product of revelation, and second, the view that the foundation of all religious views of life is the same--that they are all the product of religious experiences of the same religious ultimate. This ultimate is sometimes called Being-Itself, sometimes the One. Under the second view, the differences between them are considered cultural. Making Sense of Religion shows us that religious views of life are often radically different, and these differences are not just cultural, but substantive. This book explores the hidden logic beneath the surface of religious views of life that holds them together and helps explain their differences. What follows is a way presenting, comparing, defending, and criticizing religious views of life. This is a type of theology.