These chapters could well serve as a textbook for Catholic high schools and parish religious instruction classes. They give students the intellectual tools to critically challenge creationism, intelligent design and evolutionism, which the author defines as an effort to convert evolutionary concepts such as natural selection into a worldview that explains why human life exists.
The final two chapters, however, are preachy, confusing and repetitive.
Verschuuren tries to convince supporters of creationism, intelligent design and evolutionism that their views make no sense without the Catholic theological concept of God the Creator and the Catholic philosophical concept of God as the primary cause of the physical universe. His arguments make sense to people who are part of Catholic tradition. But they are liable to fall on deaf ears to those trying to force religious and philosophical explanations of evolution into public classrooms and to people who see in the randomness of natural selection a basis for atheistic ideologies.
Needed at the beginning of the book is clear development of the idea that religion and philosophy are among the many ways of analyzing and interpreting what science discovers through its empirical methods. Not until the middle of the book does Verschuuren make this clear.
But the fact that a decade into the 21st century a book needs to be written telling why science is not religion or philosophy and why religion and philosophy are not science shows the chasms created by today's cultural wars.
Bono is a retired CNS staff writer.