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Evolution and Theology

These sections deal with the enormous impact Darwinian schemes have had both on scientific understanding and on theology. Charles Darwin (1809-82) was not however the first naturalist to think that organic evolution might have occurred (see important evolutionists before Darwin and influences on Darwin). 

Darwin published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in 1859. The importance of the Origin is that Darwin a) presented a vast amount of evidence for evolution and b) proposed a mechanism by which it could give rise, given time, to the vast variety of life-forms he had observed. See Darwin’s evolutionary scheme, and the rhetoric of Darwinism

Darwin's challenge to theological positions was a profound one, more subtle than is implied in the caricature - Darwin v. Christianity. We explore the way the scheme has developed in from Darwinism to neo-Darwinism, self-organisation and the development of complexity, and some recent debates about evolution.

In these pages we also address the scientific question: how are humans thought to have evolved (the evolution of hominids). We note the very similar but different evolutionary career of the Neanderthals, and the paradox of the development of modern humans.

Scientific descriptions of humans as evolved beings call forth religious responses to the science of human evolution. These particularly relate to humans as made in the image of God and the doctrine of the Fall.

These religious responses have to be seen in the context of some scientists’ rejection of the possibility of religious truth. See the science of sociobiology critiques the truth-claims of religion.

Email link | Feedback | Contributed by: Dr. Christopher Southgate and Dr. Michael Robert Negus
Source: God, Humanity and the Cosmos  (T&T Clark, 1999)

Topic Sets Available

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AstroTheology: Religious Reflections on Extraterrestrial Life Forms

Agency: Human, Robotic and Divine
Becoming Human: Brain, Mind, Emergence
Big Bang Cosmology and Theology (GHC)
Cosmic Questions Interviews

Cosmos and Creator
Creativity, Spirituality and Computing Technologies
CTNS Content Home
Darwin: A Friend to Religion?
Demystifying Information Technology
Divine Action (GHC)
Dreams and Dreaming: Neuroscientific and Religious Visions'
E. Coli at the No Free Lunchroom
Engaging Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence: An Adventure in Astro-Ethics
Evangelical Atheism: a response to Richard Dawkins
Ecology and Christian Theology
Evolution: What Should We Teach Our Children in Our Schools?
Evolution and Providence
Evolution and Creation Survey
Evolution and Theology (GHC)
Evolution, Creation, and Semiotics

The Expelled Controversy
Faith and Reason: An Introduction
Faith in the Future: Religion, Aging, and Healthcare in the 21st Century

Francisco Ayala on Evolution

From Christian Passions to Scientific Emotions
Genetic Engineering and Food

Genetics and Ethics
Genetic Technologies - the Radical Revision of Human Existence and the Natural World

Genomics, Nanotechnology and Robotics
Getting Mind out of Meat
God and Creation: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on Big Bang Cosmology
God, Humanity and the Cosmos: A Textbook in Science and Religion
God the Spirit - and Natural Science
Historical Examples of the Science and Religion Debate (GHC)
History of Creationism
Intelligent Design Coming Clean

Issues for the Millennium: Cloning and Genetic Technologies
Jean Vanier of L'Arche
Nano-Technology and Nano-ethics
Natural Science and Christian Theology - A Select Bibliography
Neuroscience and the Soul
Outlines of the Science and Religion Debate (GHC)

Perspectives on Evolution

Physics and Theology
Quantum Mechanics and Theology (GHC)
Questions that Shape Our Future
Reductionism (GHC)
Reintroducing Teleology Into Science
Science and Suffering

Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action (CTNS/Vatican Series)

Space Exploration and Positive Stewardship

Stem-Cell Debate: Ethical Questions
Stem-Cell Ethics: A Theological Brief

Stem-Cell Questions
Theistic Evolution: A Christian Alternative to Atheism, Creationism, and Intelligent Design...
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