According to British scholar Conor Cunningham, the debate today between religion and evolution has been hijacked by extremists: on one side stand fundamentalist believers who reject evolution outright; on the opposing side are fundamentalist atheists who claim that Darwin’s theory rules out the possibility of God. Both sides are dead wrong, argues Cunningham, who is at once a Christian and a firm believer in the theory of evolution. In Darwin’s Pious Idea Cunningham puts forth a trenchant, compelling case for both creation and evolution, drawing skillfully on an array of philosophical, theological, historical, and scientific sources to buttress his arguments.
Conor Cunningham is the assistant director of the Centre of Theology and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham.
“[This book] is nothing short of magnificent. Every now and then Providence sends a book to save the day. Darwin’s Pious Idea may be one of those books.”
— Andrew Davison, The Church Times
“Despite its length, Darwin’s Pious Idea is a very readable book, engaging and often acerbically witty. It has some serious and original things to say about what always threatens to turn into a sterile debate between rather fictionalized and trivialized versions of science and religion. . . . The sheer exuberance of the presentation is a delight. . . . Certainly the most interesting and invigorating book on the science-religion frontier that I have encountered.”
—Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, Times Literary Supplement
“Writing with engaging humor that betrays an extraordinary energetic intelligence, Conor Cunningham shows us why, given the Christian God, an evolutionary account of life is necessary. . . . This theological account of creation, I believe, will become a classic.”
— Stanley Hauerwas
“This book attempts to connect the debate about the nature of Darwinian evolution to the Christian theology of creation. . . . Cunningham shows that the picture of God as the great Designer of artifacts, espoused by Paley and common to both ultra-Darwinians and Creationists, is profoundly at odds with Christianity.”
— Charles Taylor
author of A Secular Age
“Even those sympathetic to the recent wave of evolutionary attacks on religion cannot help feeling that something is missing there: Dawkins and company lack a minimum of understanding of what religion is about, of how it works. Cunningham’s book is thus obligatory reading for all interested in this topic: while fully endorsing the scientific validity of Darwinism, it clearly brings to light its limitations in understanding not only religion but also our human predicament. A book like Cunningham’s is needed like simple bread in our confused times.”