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Is There Purpose in Biology?


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Finding common ground between the world of biological science and the world of faith.

Table of Contents

Figures 10
Preface 11
Introduction 12
1 The Historical Roots of Purpose in Biology 18
2 Biology’s Grand Narrative 58
3 Biology’s Molecular Constraints 104
4 Biology, Randomness, Chance, and Purpose 140
5 The Christian Matrix Within Which Biology 179
6 Death, Pain, Suffering, and the God of Love 218
Postscript 248
Notes 250
Bibliography 257
Index 271

About the Author

Denis Alexander is the Emeritus Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion,St Edmund's College, Cambridge, where he is a Fellow. Dr Alexander was previously Chairman of the Molecular Immunology Programme and Head of the Laboratory of Lymphocyte Signalling and Development at The Babraham Institute, Cambridge. Prior to that he was at the Imperial Cancer Research Laboratories in London (now Cancer Research UK), and spent 15 years developing university departments and laboratories overseas, latterly as Associate Professor of Biochemistry in the Medical Faculty of the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. There he helped to establish the National Unit of Human Genetics. He was initially an Open Scholar at Oxford reading Biochemistry, before obtaining a PhD in Neurochemistry at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. Dr Alexander writes, lectures and broadcasts widely in the field of science and religion. His Monarch titles include: Creation or Evolution and Is There Purpose in Biology?.


"A much-needed book on a crucial topic." Jeff Hardin, Professor of Zoology, University of Wisconsin

"This book corrects the popular bleak view of a pitiless, indifferent universe and instead presents a most welcome view of a world of purpose." Cees Dekker, Professor of Nanobiology, Delft University of Technology

"An ideal starting point for those who believe evolution is incompatible with God yet are open to explore further." Andrew Halestrap, Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry, University of Bristol

"Alexander's book breathes wonder for God's creation, and love for the science that studies it." René van Woudenberg, Professor of Epistemology and Metaphysics, Free University of Amsterdam

"The author makes a careful and convincing case that modern biology is consistent with belief in a world imbued with divine meaning." Peter Harrison, Director, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Queensland

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