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Crossing Over in the Culture War

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Reviewed by Amy E. Schwartz
Sunday, October 26, 2008


How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World

This Story

By Michael Dowd | Viking. 417 pp. $24.95


In Their Own Words

Edited by Nancy K. Frankenberry | Princeton Univ. 523 pp. $29.95


How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution

By Karl W. Giberson | HarperOne. 248 pp. $24.95

"Evolutionists Flock to Darwin-Shaped Wall Stain," ran a recent headline in the satirical newspaper the Onion. The picture showed breathless biologists worshiping a Shroud-of-Turin-like apparition of Charles Darwin's face on a concrete wall.

Darwinian fundamentalist mystics among us? Well . . . probably not. All the same, it's getting hard to tell the players without a scorecard in America's most peculiar culture war: the battle between evolution and its enemies.

Spectators often see this conflict as a straightforward affair. On one side, scientists pile up physical evidence; on the other, biblical literalists scorn that evidence as a snare of Satan. Adherents of " scientific creationism" and "intelligent design" blame evolution, with its explanation of how all living beings evolve through chance and natural selection, for everything from abortion to the Holocaust. Returning fire, the British biologist Richard Dawkins rides the bestseller list with his polemic The God Delusion, dismissing not just creationists but religious folk generally as dupes and creeps.

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