Friday, 31 August 2012

Did Darwin Kill God?

There are some who believe that Darwin's theory of evolution has weakened religion, fuelled in part by Richard Dawkins' publishing phenomenon The God Delusion. Conor Cunningham argues that nothing could be further from the truth.

Cunningham is a firm believer in the theory of evolution, but he is also a Christian. He believes that the clash between Darwin and God has been hijacked by extremists - fundamentalist believers who reject evolution on one side, and fundamentalist atheists on the other. Cunningham attempts to overturn what he believes are widely held but mistaken assumptions in the debate between religion and evolution.

He travels to the Middle East where he shows that from the very outset, Christianity warned against literal readings of the biblical story of creation. In Britain, he reveals that, at the time, Darwin's theory of evolution was welcomed by the Anglican and Catholic Churches. Instead, he argues that the conflict between Darwin and God was manufactured by American creationists in the 20th century for reasons that had very little to do with science and religion and a great deal to do with politics and morality.

Finally, he comes face to face with some of the most eminent evolutionary biologists, geneticists and philosophers of our time to examine whether the very latest advances in evolutionary theory do in fact kill God.

Conor Cunningham was born in Belfast and only left that idyll to study Law at the University of Kent. There, he came under the influence of the Catholic Marxist, David Mclellan who, despite holding the Chair in Political Theory, decided to also read for a Law degree. Following graduation, Conor moved to the University of Dundee to study for an M. Phil., in Philosophy under the supervision of the Jean-François Lyotard and Giles Deleuze scholar, James Williams. On completing his M. Phil. with distinction, Conor went to the University of Cambridge to read for the Diploma in Theology. Upon completion of this, he was awarded a British Academy Studentship to study for a Ph.D. Initially doing so under the supervision of John Milbank, but when he took up a Chair at the University of Virginia, Professor Graham Ward took over the mantle. After writing a book on nihilism (Genealogy of Nihilism), which is being translated into Spanish, Conor has recently published a large monograph on evolution, entitled - Darwin's Pious Idea. This book has already won a prize and is being translated into a number of languages. In relation to evolution, Conor also wrote and presented the multi award-winning BBC 2 documentary - Did Darwin Kill God?

As well as teaching in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, he is also assistant-director of the Centre of Theology and Philosophy, University of Nottingham.

Conor is also co-editor of three book series: Veritas (Wipf and Stock Publishers, and SCM); Interventions (Wm B Eerdmans); and Kalos (Wipf and Stock). He is also a co-editor of two professional journals: Radical Orthodoxy: Theology, Politics and Culture, and Syneses: Beyond Secular Faith.

Teaches on;
  • Evolution/Darwinism in relation to religion
  • Phenomenology in relation to religion
  • The questions of Grace and Nature, or the supernatural and the natural, especially in 20th century theology as related to how we interpret the works of the Church fathers and the medieval doctors of the Church and how this relates to philosophy and science.
  • Philosophy of Religion
Researches on;
  • Darwinism, evolution, metaphysics and systematic theology

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