BEST EVOLUTION RESOURCES: Evolution as Inspiring, Meaningful Fact

Not long ago I was interviewed on radio by an intelligent design creationist who kept insisting, “There is absolutely no evidence for evolution!” I was amazed that this person was either unaware or dismissive of what God has revealed in recent centuries about cosmic, Earth, geological, biological, and human history (known collectively as “big history” or “the epic of evolution” or “The Great Story“). Before the interview ended, I determined to write this blog post that offers links to some of the best and most highly regarded web pages and books on the creation-evolution debate. The second set below (mostly wikipedia pages reflecting humanity’s collective intelligence) should be considered essential reading. The third set identifies the top books in the field. Beneath that, I have also included my favorite resources that show:

1.  How factual knowledge gained through the full range of evidential sources (history, science, and cross-cultural study) can legitimately and easily be interpreted as religiously inspiring—and why, at this time in history, it is so urgent and fruitful to do so;

2.  How the arrow of cosmic complexity upon which the vast majority of the world’s scientists agree can be viewed in spiritually nourishing and deeply empowering ways (teleologically or non-teleologically); and

3.  Why it is wildly erroneous to believe that moral exhortations in ancient texts, an unnatural (so-called ‘supernatural’) judge, or otherworldly carrots and sticks are necessary (or even helpful anymore) for superior moral development and healthy societies.

WHAT I RECOMMEND READING/VIEWING FIRST…
Good and Bad Reasons For Believing” – Richard Dawkins’ letter to his daughter
What’s Real? What’s Important? Evidence as Divine Guidance” – post: M. Dowd
“Kinship with the Cosmos” – Neil deGrasse Tyson (8-min YouTube clip)
“We Are All Connected” – Symphony of Science music video (feauturing Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Bill Nye “the Science Guy”)
“Evolutionize Your Life: Heaven Is Coming Home to Reality” – the main program I’m now delivering in all religious and non-religious settings, including at the United Nations in April 2009.

“MUST READ” PAGES RE THE CREATIONISM VS. EVOLUTION CONFLICT
Evidence of evolution – wikipedia
29+ Evidences for Macroevolution – article by Douglas Theobald
Evolution as theory and fact – wikipedia
Objections to evolution – wikipedia
Creation-evolution controversy – wikipedia
History of creation-evolution controversy – wikipedia
History of evolutionary thought – wikipedia
Big History – wikipedia
The Epic of Evolution – wikipedia
History of the Universe – wikipedia
Earth history – wikipedia
Geological history – wikipedia
Biological history – wikipedia
Human history – wikipedia
Evolutionary origin of religions – wikipedia
Dating methods -wikipedia
Evolution Education wiki
The Great Story – leading Epic of Evolution educational website

ACCLAIMED BOOKS SHOWING COMPELLING EVIDENCE FOR EVOLUTION
Science, Evolution, and Creationism: National Academy of Sciences
The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution: Richard Dawkins
Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction: Eugenie C. Scott
The Counter Creationism Handbook: Mark Isaak
Why Evolution is True: Jerry A. Coyne
Bones, Rocks, & Stars: The Science of When Things Happened: Chris Turney
Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters: Donald R. Prothero
Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origin of Species: Sean B. Carroll
The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution: Sean B. Carroll
Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors: Nicholas Wade
Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul: Kenneth R. Miller
Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design: Michael Shermer

DEEP MEANING AND INSPIRATION IN AN EVOLUTIONARY WORLDVIEW
The Empathic Civilization: Jeremy Rifkin
The View from the Center of the Universe: Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams
Green Space Green Time: The Way of Science: Connie Barlow
The Sacred Depths of Nature: Ursula Goodenough
God After Darwin: A Theology of Evolution: John F. Haught
Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist: Joan Roughgarden
The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves: Matt Ridley
The Universe Story: From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era: Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry
The Dream of the EarthThe Great Work, and Evening Thoughts: Thomas Berry
The Universe is a Green Dragon and Canticle to the Cosmos DVDs: Brian Swimme
Nature’s Magic: Synergy in Evolution and the Fate of Humankind, and Holistic Darwinism: Peter Corning
Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives: David Sloan Wilson
Not By Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution – Peter Richerson and Robert Boyd
The Symbiotic Man: A New Understanding of the Organization of Life and a Vision of the Future: Joel de Rosnay
Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, & the Economic World: Kevin Kelly
A Theory of Everything: An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science and Spirituality: Ken Wilber
Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution: Steve McIntosh
World as Lover, World as Self and Coming Back to Life: Joanna Macy
Humanity: The Chimpanzees Who Would Be Ants: Russell Genet
Conscious Evolution: Awakening Our Social Potential: Barbara Marx Hubbard
Promise Ahead: A Vision of Hope and Action for Humanity’s Future: Duane Elgin
Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World: Michael Dowd

EMERGENCE / LIFE’S TRAJECTORY / COMPLEXITY’S ARROW
Evolutionary Perspective – webpage
Introduction to Evolutionary Spirituality – webpage
Let There Be Sight! – A Celebration of Convergent Evolution” – Connie Barlow
This Fleeting World: A Short History of Humanity: David Christian
Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History: David Christian
Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity: Teaching Company course taught by David Christian (Bill Gates’ recommendation)
The Evolution of Complexity by Means of Natural Selection – John Tyler Bonner
Epic of Evolution: Seven Ages of the Cosmos: Eric Chaisson
Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny: Robert Wright
Evolution’s Arrow: The Direction of Evolution and The Future of Humanity: John Stewart
The Evolutionary Manifesto – essay by John Stewart
Evolution Extended: Biological Debates on the Meaning of Life: Connie Barlow
Major Transitions in Evolution: John Maynard Smith and Eors Szathmary
Life’s Solution and The Deep Structure of Biology (ed.): Simon Conway Morris
Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software: Steven Johnson
Complexity: A Guided Tour: Melanie Mitchell
The Global Brain and Waking Up in Time: Peter Russell
EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution: Elisabet Sahtouris
The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology: Ray Kurzweil
The Law of Accelerating Returns – essay by Ray Kurzweil
Radical Evolution: Joel Garreau

THE NATURAL/DIVINE ORIGINS OF MORALITY AND ETHICS
Evolution of Morality – wikipedia
Evolutionary Ethics – wikipedia
The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society: Frans de Waal
Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are: Frans de Waal
Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved: Frans de Waal
The Genial Gene: Deconstructing Darwinian Selfishness: Joan Roughgarden
The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Values: Sam Harris
The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures: Nicholas Wade
Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose: Deirdre Barrett
Beyond Revenge: The Evolution of the Forgiveness Instinct: Michael McCullough
The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule: Michael Shermer
The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation: Matt Ridley
The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology: Robert Wright
The Evolution of Morality: Richard Joyce
The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom: Jonathan Haidt
The Female Brain, and The Male Brain: Louann Brizendine
Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life: Steven Johnson
A General Theory of Love: Thomas Lewis, et al.
Comparison of Societal Health in Religious and Non-religous Democracies – article: Journal of Religion and Society
Bible Stories Your Parents Never Taught You (Parts 1 and 2: OT and NT) – by Mike Earl: free online audio programs, also on  here on YouTube

 

  • Barbara

    It seems to me that the Hebrew Bible itself is a testimony to evolution. In reading, we encounter God as the creator of all; when mankind is created, God walks the earth and talks directly to his people. By the time of Moses, God was residing either on the mountaintop or in a sacred tent and gave Moses instructions for constructing the ark and other artifacts. Then came the building of the temple. By the time we get to the prophets, they tell us that God cares more about mankind living a good life (taking care of the poor, the sick, the widows and orphans) than he cares about sacrifices in the temple.

    What we’re seing here is not the evolution of God, who is the great I AM, but the evolution of how mankind thought of God.

    • http://thegreatstory.org Michael Dowd

      Very true, Barbara. Robert Wright makes a similar point in his acclaimed book, The Evolution of God (which is really about the evolution of our ideas about Ultimate Reality).

  • David Grauer

    After some study on evolution, it seems to me there is some evidence of microevolution within species. However, I do not believe there is eveidence for Darwin’s claims related to common decent or universal common ancestry and natural selection. The fossil record and, in particular, the Cambrian explosion do not seem to support evolution. And, perhaps most troubling to me, is that the development of consciousness, purpose, thought, value and evolutionary do not logically to come out of the natural selection for life preservation. Noted philosophers, such as Plantinga (a Christian) and Nagel (an atheist), note the high improbability of evolution and the circular argument of naturalistic claims.

    • David Grauer

      Excuse me, in my earlier comment, I meant to say “evoutionary theory”.


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