A fine introduction to evolutionary science that leaves room for religion.




Deploring both the atheistic and “intelligent-design” camps that have polarized recent debates over Darwin, this smart, well-informed but conflicted treatise insists that Christianity and evolution are entirely compatible.

Centering the author’s treatment of this contentious subject is a lucid, engaging defense of evolution against creationist obfuscations. Glass delivers a superb exposition of Darwinian theory and a meticulous, sharply reasoned discussion of the evidence—fossils, DNA analysis, vestigial or oddly engineered organs that suggest descent from distant species, direct observations of evolutionary change—that supports it. He supplements his discussion with a brief, engrossing history of life, taking readers from the earliest microbes through the emergence of the major categories of flora and fauna—birds, he contends, are essentially flying dinosaurs—to a detailed account of the evolution of man. Glass is uncompromising and persuasive in his dismissal of “creation science,” but his efforts to conjoin evolution to robust Christian faith are less compelling. Rejecting literalist readings of the Bible, he argues that the fundamentalist view of a God who instigates every event, or of a “God of the gaps” who lurks in every natural phenomenon that science can’t yet explain, misunderstands a supernatural God who stands outside time and space but can choose to work through physical laws and random happenstance. Steeped in Aquinas and St. Augustine, Glass is no mealymouthed agnostic—he believes in an unerringly good, omniscient God and serves up involved discussions of Christ’s divinity and the Trinitarian mystery. However, his full-blooded Christianity sits a bit awkwardly beside his scientific rationalism. His logic is impeccable when he insists that evolutionary theory does not rule out the existence of God, but he offers no positive evidence for a deity. (That, he contends, would be the error of looking to nature for proof of a God who transcends it.) Glass makes a stronger case for evolution than for Christianity, but readers of all persuasions will find his attempt to reconcile the two illuminating.

A fine introduction to evolutionary science that leaves room for religion.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2011


Page Count: 212

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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