Cover: Evolution, Games, and God: The Principle of Cooperation, from Harvard University PressCover: Evolution, Games, and God in HARDCOVER

Evolution, Games, and God

The Principle of Cooperation

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Print on Demand

$41.00 • £35.95 • €37.95

ISBN 9780674047976

Publication Date: 05/07/2013


416 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

14 halftones, 1 line illustration, 2 tables


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This is an important volume because it completely subverts the idea that the evolutionary narrative is in some profound sense antithetical to theology. Not so. The ‘selfish gene’ as a metaphor makes no sense of biological realities. Co-operation is here to stay, as important at the level of interacting genes in genomic as it is at the level of interaction between organisms.—Denis Alexander, The Times Literary Supplement

The book is almost heroically interdisciplinary, touching on everything from brain science, meerkats and slime molds to experimental economics and the theological concept of kenosis (or divine ‘self-emptying’).—Matthew Reisz, Times Higher Education

Martin Nowak is undeniably a great artist, working in the medium of mathematical biology.—Sean Nee, Nature

A good entry point into the controversial subject of the adequacy of biological explanations of human behavior.—A.C. Love, Choice

Evolution, Games, and God is perhaps science and religion at its best: going further than the somewhat stale debate about whether such a discussion is possible by plunging into a specific topic that is in itself changing rapidly and at the cutting edge of scientific analysis. It also brings in, rather more extensively than some volumes, a philosophical perspective that chastens scientific and theological reflection, without compromising the insights that are possible in both fields of study.—Celia Deane-Drummond, Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

I have been anticipating this book for years and it has exceeded my high expectations. Nowak and Coakley combine the courage of applying a specific evolutionary theory to altruism with the prudence of recruiting sharp minds to explore and challenge their own thesis. The result is essential reading for anyone interested in carefully bringing science into conversation with moral and theological phenomena while avoiding the pitfalls of reductionism.—Ariel Glucklich, Professor of Theology, Georgetown University

What makes Evolution, Games, and God so interesting and valuable is that the essays collected here, in addition to providing readable introductions to and discussions of the role of game theory in evolutionary explanation, also provide information and/or considerations relevant to the larger question of whether science is now at the point of providing an exclusively naturalist, and even physicalist, explanation of human tendencies that formerly seemed to require the realities of God and soul. The essays deal in an informed and sophisticated way with this and other related questions, and they do so without the venom that characterizes so many other popular treatments of the question of science, faith and morality.—John F. Haught, Ph.D., Senior Fellow in Science and Religion, Georgetown University

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