The Greatest Show on Earth

The Greatest Show on Earth

Wow!  Richard Dawkins' new book, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution is awesome!  Dawkins presents a well-organized and compelling case for the fact of physical, biological, and cultural evolution, and he writes for the general public in clear, understandable language.  I predict this book will quickly become a classic.  ( Here are additional books and websites that I consider essential reading in this realm.)  The last two paragraphs on page 426 brought me to tears.

Religious leaders should pay special attention to pages 7 and 8 and thus heed Dawkins' warning:

"All too many preachers, while agreeing that evolution is true and Adam and Eve never existed, will then blithely go into the pulpit and make some moral or theological point about Adam and Eve in their sermons without once mentioning that, of course, Adam and Eve never actually existed!  If challenged, they will protest that they intended a purely 'symbolic' meaning, perhaps something to do with 'originial sin', or the virtues of innocence.  They may add witheringly that, obviously nobody would be so foolish as to take their words literally.  But do their congregations know that?  How is the person in the pew, or on the prayer-mat, supposedly to know which bits of scripture to take literally, which symbolically?  Is it really so easy for an uneducated churchgoer to guess?  In all too many cases the answer is clearly no, and anybody can be forgiven for feeling confused. ...

"Think about it, Bishop.  Be careful, Vicar.  You are playing with dynamite, fooling around with a  misunderstanding that's waiting to happen—one might even say almost bound to happen if not forestalled.  Shouldn't you take greater care, when speaking in public, to let your yea be yea and your nay be nay? [my emphasis] Lest ye fall into condemnation, shouldn't you be going out of the way to counter the already extremely widespread popular misunderstanding and lend active and enthusiastic support to scientists and science teachers?"

As I shared in a recent podcast:"The New Atheists as Modern-Day Prophets", I see Richard paradoxically playing the role of a traditional prophet -- speaking boldly on behalf of what's real and what is emerging, and warning us that there are consequences if we continue to ignore (or fail to come into alignment with) reality.   

Bottom line: buy three copies of this book—one for yourself and two giveaway or loaner copies.  You'll be glad you did, and the body of life will benefit accordingly.