For a year, from when the date was set, I had been looking forward to Friday 29 January, until it was rather soured a fortnight ago by being named as the time when Blair would defend his infamous record over Iraq at the Chilcot Inquiry. On, I hope, a rather more uplifting note, my book ‘Destination of the Species: the Riddle of Human Existence’ is being published today by o-books, which seeks to answer some very fundamental about the universe and the meaning of human existence.
It is a systematic review of all the scientific evidence which shows that the Dawkins and neo-Darwinian view that the universe is driven by pitiless, directionless chance is seriously wrong and misleading. The evidence shows: astronomically precise fine-tuning in the construction of the universe; early life driven for billions of years by symbiotic and cooperative networking, not blindly by mutations; and the spontaneous transposition of matter and energy into new higher organisational states at certain thresholds of complexity both in biological and cosmological systems.
Instead of an analytic, reductionist and arbitrary model of the universe, it uncovers a dramatically different subjective, holistic and purposeful one. The book is not parti pris, not written from the propagandistic viewpoint either of science or religion, rather that of a spiritual agnostic. It is written as a sceptical searching after how all the component parts of human experience fit together within a single indivisible reality, and what that totality means.
The book comprehensively analyses the scientific evidence from the origin and development of the universe, the origin and evolution of life forms on Earth, the absurdly unlikely but probably inevitable evolution of the human species, and the intellectual, cultural, moral and spiritual uniqueness of humans. It repeatedly asks the central question: what does all this mean? What is it telling us?
The evidence shows that religion and science, so far from being incompatible, are in fact mutually complementary, though based on very different paradigms of experience. The book reveals how the latest scientific findings about a designed and purposeful organisation of the universe and of life forms within itpoint to an ultimate reality, not of the human race as the summit of evolution, but of an overarching cosmic plan of which we may be a key part.