A Religion for Darwinians?

H. Allen Orr in The New York Review of Books:

Darwin Darwinism seems to occupy a special place at the intersection of science, philosophy, and religion. One result is that evolution gets featured in controversies as different as those over theism versus materialism and nature versus nurture, to mention just two. In America, any discussion of evolution typically turns to the subject of creationism, the idea that an intelligent agent played a part in designing life. (According to this definition, creationism includes, but is not restricted to, the biblical account of life’s origins.) Though some of us doubt that creationism provides an ideal vehicle for serious discussion of science and religion, the topic won’t go away. In his latest book, Living with Darwin, Philip Kitcher considers creationist claims and uses them as a springboard for discussing subtler issues.

Kitcher hopes to accomplish two things in Living with Darwin. One is to survey various versions of creationism and to recount the arguments against them. In doing so, he hopes to present a positive case for Darwinism and “to formulate it in a way that people with no great training in science, history, or philosophy could appreciate.” Kitcher’s other goal is more ambitious and — given the current noisy debate over science and religion — perhaps more important. He hopes to get at just what it is about Darwinism that’s so threatening to religion. Why is it that of all intellectual enterprises, this one “particular piece of science provokes such passions, requires such continual scrutiny, demands such constant reenactment of old battles?”

More here.