on Etna in which evolution is represented as exposing religion as mere human illusion. Robinsons view of wilderness comes not only from her think ing about contemporary environmental issues but also from her familys western heritage. We are of one substance with these roaring phenomena our mathematics stumbles in describing. All of them, she accurately notes, are contrarian in method and spirit; they assert that the prevailing view of things is often wrong and, further, that the opposite view of things is also usually wrong. The question, as Robinson puts it, is whether 'all that has happened on this planet is the fortuitous colonization of a damp stone by a chemical phenomenon we have called 'life.' ' Or, in the words of an eminent sociobiologist, 'an organism is only DNA's.
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: 2 6 0 3 4 ( 2 ) summer 1 9 9 9 philosophy, which would also influence his final novel, Whistle (35). (The words "competition" and "struggle" are grossly euphemistic, since what is being described in Thomas Malthus's. As we have seen, if by nature we are to understand the nonhuman world, that preparing essay exam is by no means the only setting in which Darwin saw his principle at work. Thus the weak members of civilized society propagate their kind. With a clear passion, Robinson argues for the need to re-conceptualize subjects thought to be already known or understood, and she presents a strong case for the need for sweeping cultural change. Thus when she sniffs that a 'more brilliant sociologist' than Max Weber would have been more sensitive to Calvinism, one wonders whether the world has ever seen a more brilliant sociologist than Weber. There is a lot about Marilynne Robinson that is politically incorrect - beginning, perhaps, with her obvious suspicion of easy categories like 'political correctness.' The essays in this volume range widely, from the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was murdered by the Nazis in 1945. In the end, though, these are small matters, dwarfed by the current of high moral seriousness that animates 'The Death of Adam.' The subtitle tells us the book contains 'essays on modern thought.' 'Against modern thought' would be more accurate. However generously this title is interpreted, clearly it does not assume that biological systems evolve by chance and not design, as Darwin is always said to have done. In The Descent of Man, Darwin says: With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. Because of Robinsons incisiveness, keen logic, and fine style, reviewers have rightly praised The Death ofAdam as a book that everyone should read.
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