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Kirkus Reviews | CARTER PHIPPS

Debut author Phipps offers a challenging reexamination of the connection between the “evolutionary dynamics of the universe and the very being of the divine.”

As the executive editor of the magazine EnlightenNext, the author has kept abreast of leading trends in modern science, theology and philosophy, and he denies that there is an inherent contradiction between science and religion. Phipps has coined the word “evolutionaries” to describe a group of scientists, futurists, sociologists, psychologists, philosophers and theologians who share an “evolutionary vision and a care for our collective future.” He cites writings of the Jesuit anthropologist priest Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955) as exemplary of those who seek inspiration from the past but are not bound by a fixed system of beliefs. Phipps is also sharply critical of environmentalists who deny the unique position of man as the highest expression of creation. He suggests that the chaos bred by rapidly changing environments creates the potential for evolution, whether of species or in the realm of culture, and he compares the “rough and tumble world of globalization in the twenty-first century [to] the dynamics at play in Earth’s prebiotic soup billions of years ago.” Both are chaotic environments that foster evolutionary transformation by bringing natural selection into play. At the same time, Phipps believes that evolution is not a random process; rather, it embodies directionality and purpose. “Might we in some way represent the feedback loop for the universe itself,” he asks, “fulfilling the next stage in our development…[and] creating the next novel stage of cosmogenesis?” Phipps interviews a number of physicists, futurologists working in artificial intelligence, and cognitive psychologists seeking an explanation for consciousness.

Thoughtful and provocative.

Read the online review here.