For a long time, creationists have been trying to portray evolution as a religion and have failed. But with a new book on the horizon, Thank God for Evolution!, written by Reverend Michael Dowd, America's evolutionary evangelist, the creationists may finally have a case.
Consider the following book description:
A movement has been growing over the past few decades that takes our common creation story — the epic of cosmic, biological, and human evolution revealed by science — as the basis for a meaningful view of our place in the universe. Reverend Michael Dowd, America's evolutionary evangelist, is at the forefront of this movement. This well informed, thoroughly researched, and inspired book proclaims a gospel billions of years old.
Thank God for Evolution! presents in a lively and accessible manner the reasons why it is now possible to view evolution as a divine process; how current science shows that evolution is not meaningless blind chance; practical methods for using evolutionary insights to achieve greater personal fulfillment and thriving relationships; and how aligning with evolutionary trends can guide activists and others hoping to make our world a better place. As a Christian minister, Dowd especially addresses the concerns that Christians have about evolution, but this book contains insights that will appeal to people of all faiths and of no faith. Fun and uplifting, Thank God for Evolution! goes beyond the current debate to offer up a whole new way of thinking about science, religion, and the meaning and purpose of our lives.
So now a third movement enters the stage. We have the ID Movement, the New Atheist Movement, and now the Evolution As Religion Movement. If this book gets any traction (the book seems to have solicited support from many players), things will surely become even more interesting over the next few years. Dowd's book is unlikely to have any impact on people who would align themselves with the ID movement and endorsements from people such as Robert Wright, Eugenie C. Scott, Bishop John Shelby Spong, Starhawk, Joan Roughgarden, Ursula Goodenough, and Matthew Fox only help to ensure this. The real battle will be between Dawkins' New Atheist Movement and Dowd's Evolution as Religion Movement. Dawkins has clearly targeted for conversion the very people Dowd is targeting. Dawkins wants evolution to lead people to atheism and Dowd wants evolution as part of people's personal and social spirituality. Of course, the two movements could be bridged by someone like Sam Harris, who, as a leader in the New Atheist movement, doesn't want to be called an atheist and promotes mysticism. But I think this type of compromise will appeal to only a select few.
One thing is clear. The simple-minded perspective of "˜ID as religion' vs. "˜evolution as science' is so yesterday. We now live in a social reality where ID has been cut away from the Wedge, where Science is being used to evangelize for Atheism, and where Science is being used to evangelize for Religion. Popcorn, anyone?