There is really only one question for human beings that matters. What, if any, is the purpose of existence, and what are we here for? It is a question that has underlain religious conviction and philosophic inquiry throughout human history, and to which scientific rationalism in recent centuries has added some important insights. It highlights two contesting views of the nature of reality: is there a purpose behind the universe, or is it a mechanistic universe driven by blind natural forces? Or is there indeed some alternative third explanation?
What is one to believe about the ultimates of human existence? What Michael Meacher seeks to do in this book is rather to assess the evidence without a predetermined worldview as a premise, and to decide objectively what the evidence points to.
interesting and challenging Tony Benn, Politician and former Labour Party MP,
powerful and topical The Most Rev and Rt Hon the Lord Carey of Clifton, former Archbishop of Canterbury,
sometimes controversial, always well-written Sir Crispin Tickell GCMG KCVO, former diplomat and academic.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Meacher thinks deeply, writes well, wears his learning lightly and concludes, with his medieval, if not pagan, Green Man face on, that the Universe was designed, is not purposeless and God cannot be left out of the equation. ~ Keith Richmond, Tribune
A lucid, clear, if sometimes over concise, guide to the present state of thought about what it means to be human. Specialists will doubtless quibble, but the rest of us will be grateful for this courteous and honest â€œrough guideâ€. ~ David Cornick, general secretary of Churches together in England, REFORM
I interviewed Mr. Meacher yesterday on the show. He was incredible. I wanted to reach through the phone and tap him for a Nobel Prize. (Wish I had that power!) Mr. Meacher is quite the gentleman, scholar, politician with heart and a true humanitarian. ~ Barbara Bruce, kvwm radio - Believe
Meacher's book is important. It deserves to be widely read. ~ The Rev John MacDonald Smith, author/reviewer
Hugely informative and thoughtful book. ~ Human Givens Journal
Written with careful deliberation and without the preconceived propagandistic viewpoint of religion, science, philosophy or environmental dogma, this fascinating book began as a personal quest to figure how it all fits together. Michael Meacher makes a very credible, twenty-first century interpretation of the evidence on the meaning of human existence.
This book is one that will challenge you, but it is one that has a lot to say and share with you to expand your knowledge and understanding of the juxtaposition of religion and science. ~ Dad of Divas, http://dadofdivas.blogspot.com/2010/02/book-review-destination-of-species.html
This book is an exploration of often mutually exclusive and even contradictory opinions as to the purpose of human existence â€“ explanations offered by religion and humanism, scientific rationalism or ideological belief, divine purpose versus meaningless random mutation, and so on.
In a short review, it is impossible to go into any specific details of the issues discussed. It must suffice to say that many of the more popular theories that I am familiar with seem to be mentioned. The final chapter, Who Then Are We?, does not solve the riddle of human existence but the wealth of material presented here makes it clear that the most probable scenario must embrace something from both of the extreme positions of religious fundamentalism and scientism. As for the Destination of the Species: the authorâ€™s view is as logical a possibility as many others. ~ Howard Jones, Amazon.co
Though the book offers no final answer on the reason for our existence, the author includes scientific research that supports both sides, ultimately urging readers to live balanced and harmonious lives so that humans have the opportunity to fulfill our destiny, whatever it may be. ~ Green Life blog, Sierra Club, http://sierraclub.typepad.com/greenlife/2010/07/book-roundup-wednesday-evolutionary-tales.html.
A thoughtful and informed account of where we have been as a species. ~ Frank Regan, Renew
The books is an interesting - if challenging - experience, and represents one man's honest attempt to cope with the apparently conflicting aims of science and religion. It's a valuable contribution to the rapidly growing literature on this top, becuase it brings personsal and unconventional insights. ~ David Williams, Faith and Freedom
Refreshing, methodical and well-researched. The product of a mind that is organised and thinks clearly. Meacher succintly and sensibly summarises issues of contemporary debate. Meacher's overview of the issues that lie behind the philosophical and practical questions that science proposes is excellent.
A well-balanced and intriguing book. ~ Canon Gavin Ashenden, Church Times
I could not put this book down! I'm constantly trying to figure life out and Michael expressed many interesting ideas. If you're looking for a good mind-bender, this is your best option. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars. ~ Bridget, http://bridget3420.blogspot.com
A timely and profoundly important book. As Christians, and Franciscans in particular, this is a tremendously useful book for informing our dialogue with all those we meet who seek to understand the environmental and cosmological context of humankind. The closing chapter particularly would provide very good background reading for moving such people further in the direction of meeting the person of Jesus. ~ Maximillian, Franciscan
Meacher draws a rich and detailed picture of the complexity and inter-relationship of life from its origins onwards. He sees humanity as driven to discern the rules that govern the life systems of the universe, while all the time being unable itself to live by them. Meacher the writer can see how science and religion can call humanity to observe these laws, but Meacher the politician is silent on whether we can be trusted to do this. This really seems to me the big question.
~ Peter Cruchley-Jones, Reform
Impressive book, it is exceptionally well-informed and wide ranging. ~ Network Review
In this powerful and topical book Michael Meacher examines the post-Darwin arguments for God and the meaning of life, and challenges both believers and unbelievers to reconsider their assumptions. ~ The Most Rev and Rt Hon the Lord Carey of Clifton, former Archbishop of Canterbury
Michael Meacher is a man of great courage and imagination, and he sees a pattern in life and tries to bring it out in a way that is both interesting and challenging. I believe it will be read, studied and admired by those who have been puzzled by the complexity of our existence ~ Tony Benn, Politician and former Labour Party MP
Is spirituality as well as curiosity part of the human condition? This is a sometimes controversial, always well-written story of the world we thought we knew. ~ Sir Crispin Tickell GCMG KCVO, former diplomat and academic, currently Director of the Policy Foresight Programme at the 21st Century School, Oxford University
A challenging, informed, and very readable account of how modern science puts ancient philosophical and religious questions in a new light. ~ Keith Ward, Reverend Professor and ex Canon of Christ Church, Oxford
An intelligent and incisive look at the mystery of the universe that concludes that to leave God out of the equation is to raise more questions than it solves.
An impressive and topical book that shows that the argument for a creator God is far from dead.
In this powerful and topical book Michael Meacher examines the post-Darwin arguments for God and the meaning of life, and challenges both believers and unbelievers to reconsider their assumptions ~ Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury
I much enjoyed what is a formidable piece of work. Is spirituality as well as curiosity part of the human condition? This is a sometimes controversial, always well-written story of the world we thought we knew ~ Sir Crispin Tickell, former diplomat and now director of 21st Century Policy Unit
This is an impressive book, spanning some very wide areas and bringing them together creatively. It presents a very broad meta-narrative, and I think it makes a worthwhile contribution to the field of religion and science ~ Dr George D. Chryssides, Head of Religious Studies, University of Birmingham