In this ground-breaking work, geneticist Steve Jones explores their shared mysteries - from the origins of life and humankind to sex, age, death and the end of the universe. He steps aside from the noisy debate between believers and unbelievers to show how the same questions preoccupy us today as in biblical times - and that science offers many of the answers. Erudite and accessible, The Serpent's Promise is a witty and thoughtful account of the ability and the limits of science to tell us what we are. Started off fascinating about viewing history through y mutations.
This book suffered from two major problems. The subtitle and the description lead the reader to imagine a walk through Biblical tales pointing out the science that may be behind them.
The Serpent's Promise: The Retelling of the Bible Through the Eyes of Modern Science
The promise is not found in the book. The blurb mentions the Great Flood, but in the book we hear not about the Flood but about other water events including modern day events like the Boxing Day tsunami. This was the closest alignment between promise and product. The dietary rules are an excuse to discuss the evolution of taste buds. The second problem is that the by ignoring this frame of retelling the Bible the book is left without a narrative thread. The subjects of chapters and even within chapters are haphazardly organized and sometimes only tangentially related to each other.
This storytelling approach left the reader a bit off kilter most of the time. Many of the anecdotes were interesting, but light on detail. Endnotes referring the interested reader would have been a wonderful addition. I turned to the internet while reading at least a dozen times for just this reason. The American preface addition seemed to indicate a backlash in other printings of this book, but I can't imagine any of those who believe in a literal interpretation would be reading this book.
I, however, was still surprised and dismayed, to see the beliefs of Catholics most often held out for ridicule by the author. Historical slurs were included incidentally throughout. The material of the disjointed chapters, style aside, was interesting nonetheless. I did learn some interesting things about animals, evolution, and taste buds.
If you are expecting a scientific explanation for Biblical events you won't find it here. If you are expecting to learn some interesting scientific stories you are in luck. Sep 02, Bonnie McDaniel rated it did not like it Shelves: evolution , science , non-fiction , did-not-finish. I hate to give up on a book, but man, at page I had all of this one I could take.
It's sad, because the last two science books I read were so good. When I saw this at the library, I thought the title was rather clever, and its premise--"The Bible Interpreted Through Modern Science"--sounded interesting. Unfortunately, it wasn't. The chapters I did finish meandered from here to there, making lit I hate to give up on a book, but man, at page I had all of this one I could take. The chapters I did finish meandered from here to there, making little sense, and the author seemed to forget his audience would most likely consist of laypeople or should, if he wants his book to sell.
His prose was turgid and unclear, and suffered mightily from Toxic Seriousness Syndrome. Steve Jones and Ellen Willis are two peas in a pod. If anyone says, "Well, you didn't give this book a chance," well, yes, I did. If you can't make your book interesting in the first pages, you're never going to. Aug 09, Peter Goodman rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , philosophy , religion.
Jones is a geneticist by trade, and a modern atheist, though not of the Dawkins haranguing school. This is a sly book: he examines the philosophical questions which the bible tries to answer. Where do we come from? How was everything created? How do we reproduce?
He points out that these are the basic questions of life, and of course the pre-scientific world would try to answer them, usually with some form of mythic or otherworldly or spiritual explanation. I'm quite enjoying Steve Jones' other book done in this sort of style, taking the work of Charles Darwin and revising, updating and adding to it. Unfortunately, this one fell flat for me.
Using some of the central stories of a religion as a gimmick while making it clear how much you look down on people who profess religious belief Just, ugh.. Some parts of the science here were interesting, but overall it's nothing I haven't read elsewhere. Mostly it feels like Steve Jones riding his hobb I'm quite enjoying Steve Jones' other book done in this sort of style, taking the work of Charles Darwin and revising, updating and adding to it. Mostly it feels like Steve Jones riding his hobby horse, over and over.
I've got several more of his books to read, but I'm starting to think he's a one-trick pony. Mar 22, Hannah Givens rated it it was ok Shelves: nonfiction , religion , science.
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Tell me about world flood legends! Tell me about psychiatric conditions that induce visions! Theorize me, baby! There was a little of that in the last half, but mostly there was a whole lot of nothing. There are a lot of genealogies in the Bible, so he spends almost pages talking about genealogy and genetics?? It's basically a page ramble with the occasional poetic appeal to a Bible verse, and if I wanted that I could read a Christian textbook. Worse, he strings together massive lists of examples and narrative syntheses without explaining where he's getting this information.
A lot of it seems very suspect to me, with correlation and causation all jumbled together in an unjustified way. Plus unfounded gender stuff about how women are "coy" and "larger" and whatnot because of evolution. It's one thing to anthropomorphize physical processes -- he might be using "coyness" to characterize a statistical trend or whatever -- but he doesn't indicate any distinction between that and individual behavior, so I have no idea which he's talking about.
It was quite readable, and I picked up a few tidbits here and there, but on the whole I don't feel like I learned much because there was no direction and not always solid examples. Jul 24, Gavin rated it did not like it. The scent is that of acetone, made in the liver as its capital runs out.
Minus a half for having no citations for any of its thousand claims. Mar 24, Tom rated it liked it. Amiable discussion of longevity, mortality, medicine, sexual relations, faith as a moral compass, the rise and fall of organised religion through history and most things in between.
It didn't "retell the Bible" as advertised - I suspected that was a bit ambitious and often there's just a biblical hook to set a chapter on its way. I appreciated the scientific and irreverent approach encouraged by the author's stated position as unbeliever although many readers won't: I enjoyed the paperback's in Amiable discussion of longevity, mortality, medicine, sexual relations, faith as a moral compass, the rise and fall of organised religion through history and most things in between. I appreciated the scientific and irreverent approach encouraged by the author's stated position as unbeliever although many readers won't: I enjoyed the paperback's introduction which recounts some "fire and brimstone" responses to the first edition.
Professor Steve Jones
Steering clear of dogma helps keep it entertaining and reminds that it shouldn't be taken that seriously Jul 18, Dave Betts rated it did not like it Shelves: general-knowledge. The title promises so much, but the content delivers so little. Rather than the Bible retold as science, this book is more a poorly backed up soapbox with a cursory glance to the Bible.
Unfortunately, even on sale I feel it was overpriced. You will find much more informative and helpful reads elsewhere The title promises so much, but the content delivers so little. You will find much more informative and helpful reads elsewhere! Feb 07, Ruth rated it really liked it Shelves: science , religion-academic. The author examines several elements of the Bible in light of human evolution and social science knowledge.
I was impressed by the depth of Biblical engagement in a thoroughly secular book, though as a theologian, I had a minor quibble along the way. I recommend this to anyone who wants thoughts provoked about the place of the Biblical narrative in Western culture and why, until that narrative is updated, people will still cling to Genesis and supplemental material in the rest of the Bible as mo The author examines several elements of the Bible in light of human evolution and social science knowledge. I recommend this to anyone who wants thoughts provoked about the place of the Biblical narrative in Western culture and why, until that narrative is updated, people will still cling to Genesis and supplemental material in the rest of the Bible as more inspirational than science.
In truth, I gave up on this book about one quarter the way through. I was just so frustrated with its disjointed presentation, wandering back and forth between topics, frequent unsupported, cryptic or unexplained statements, and almost complete lack of addressing biblical claims in terms of scientific understanding. That said, there were many interesting passages. A good content editor was needed.
The Serpent's Promise: The Bible Retold as Science - Steve Jones - Google книги
Jan 16, Ian Hayhurst rated it liked it. Interesting take on emergence of science through history with reference to the bible as a source or subject list but misleadingly titled IMHO. May 23, Susan Steed rated it it was ok. I did not enjoy this book. I bought this book because I saw a really ace talk by Steve Jones which purported to be about this book.
The premise is that he is using the Bible to address the big questions, like folds, plagues, life and death. He is trying to update the answers with science. In the talk I saw he argued that large organized religions came about with the beginning of agrarian farming. He made a point something along the lines of hunter gather gods not needing to judge people I wish I I did not enjoy this book. He made a point something along the lines of hunter gather gods not needing to judge people I wish I could read my notes. But the main point is that God as in the monotheistic sense began when farming began.
So, I was excited. I also found the book so ruthlessly focused on individuals, with very little focus on interactions between people or groups or empathy. These were only brought up in the last chapter. The book is also very cynical. There are also lots of broad statements about religions which seem too simplistic.
I found this to be a thoroughly fascinating book, a wonderful ramble through our current understanding of cosmology, geology and genetics. Steve Jones is, on the page as much as on the screen, a fascinating translator of scientific complexity into accessible English. Does Santa Exist? Coral: A Pessimist in Paradise. The Cobham Bookshop Open until Call Shop. Description The Bible was the first scientific textbook of all; and it got some things right and plenty more wrong. Show more.