Michael Dowd

Michael Dowd

Thank God for Evolution. How the Marriage of Science and Religion will Transform your Life and our World.
New preface. 2007. NY: New York. Plume Books/Penguin Group. 410 pages. P/back.

This year is the 200 anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150 anniversary of the publication of his famous and important book, The Origin of Species. These are truly important events.

So too is the publication of Michael Dowd’s book, Thank God for Evolution. Dowd, a former Pentecostal preacher, had a ‘conversion’ experience and in now one of the world’s leading and passionate ‘travelling’ advocates of evolution, and the ‘marriage’ of evolution/science and religion. He is, or was, in great demand as a speaker among hundreds of churches across America. Indeed, several colleagues in the USA have sponsored visits by Dowd and his science writer wife, Connie Barlow.  So the book’s tone is passionate – even evangelically progressive.

The book is encyclopaedic in its coverage. It has been embraced and endorsed by no less than 100 progressive religious, scientific and cultural leaders. It addresses every aspect and argument of evolution and religion through four substantial Sections and a total of 19 Chapters. It attempts to address questions raised by those who have rejected evolution because of their religious faith, and those who are unable to embrace religion because of their scientific worldview. It includes personal stories, historical facts, evaluated opinion, religious doctrine, theology and poetry.

Scattered throughout the book are shaded or highlighted stories which bring additional quotes or comments, plus other shorter ‘worth pondering’ quotes, with a Who’s Who at the back of the book as to who the people are and their standing in both the worlds or religion and science.

The book’s thesis is simply: evolution is “good news for individuals and families, for communities, nations, and our world. It is good news… because a sacred, deep-time understanding of history and our evolutionary heritage is the very foundation needed for facing global challenges of our own making” (Pg:xxiii).

As I write this general Review I have just learned that Michael Dowd has been diagnosed with lymphoma cancer and has had to cancel his touring for the next couple of years as he fights this disease. In place of his lectures and visits, he and Connie are establishing a series of iPodcasts – details of which can be obtained on-line from Evolutionary Times  http://www.thegreatstory.org/evolutionary-times-001.html

Back to the book… also of great value is the list of contacts and Resources at the back: both printed and on-line.

This book, while extensive in scope, is an easy read by an excellent communicator. It is a valuable resource to end the ‘Darwin year’ on, even though the Australian scene is a little different (thank God!) to the American scene. And it is an extremely valuable resource for those progressive ministers and congregations who celebrate Evolution Weekend each year – the 2010 date being Sunday 12-14 February.