Michael Ruse

Mar 5, 2019

The Problem of War

Darwinism, Christianity, and Their Battle to Understand Human Conflict

Oxford University Press 2018

purchase at bookshop.org What accounts for the antagonism between Christianity and Darwinism? For Michael Ruse, a professor of the history and philosophy of science at Florida State University, the answer is simple: Darwinism is not just a robust empirical science, but also a secular religious perspective—hence, a clear rival to Christianity. In The Problem of War: Darwinism, Christianity, and Their Battle to Understand Human Conflict (Oxford University Press, 2018), Ruse provides a concise intellectual history of that rivalry as it played out in their multifaceted and conflicting responses to war. With wide-ranging erudition, analytical acuity, and passionate moral engagement, Ruse surveys Christian thinking about war from Augustine to Barth and beyond, and Darwinian views from Darwin himself to Steven Pinker and Franz de Waal. Highlighting the ways in these which these traditions have evolved over the course of the 20th century, Ruse shows how their interaction has become increasingly complicated, making any simple narrative of straightforward antagonism inadequate. With the problem of war as pressing as ever, The Problem of War helps us better understand how both secular and religious attitudes towards war fundamentally reflect our conceptions of human nature and value, and offers a way for Christian and Darwinian perspectives to potentially find common ground.

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