I’ve read the first couple chapters of Robert Wright’s new book, The Evolution of God, and I’m not interested in prejudging it as a whole before I’m actually finished with it, but so far it’s a very stimulating read. The book is densely argued, and ranges widely, and is definitely not designed for merely casual perusing or fast scanning. Wright is summing up and digesting a lot of anthropology, archeology, and religious history, and trying to see some larger patterns.
Atheist biologist Jerry Coyne, at the New Republic website, gave The Evolution of God a grossly oversimplified and, I would argue, even distorted review of the book. But I notice that Robert Wright has replied to Coyne here. The reply, in my view, is devastating because it shows clear evidence that Coyne, at least in this instance, showed himself to be a sloppy, biased, and impatient reader. These are not great traits for a reviewer of books for the New Republic. I’m sure Coyne will counter-sass Wright soon, but I will only say that the book that I’m reading does not have much resemblance to the dismissive review that Coyne offered of it.