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Planet Earth

The Reviews

The LoomBy Carl ZimmerMarch 22, 2004 9:14 PM

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I've posted a new batch of reviews for Soul Made Flesh on my web site. The newest is from Ross King, the author of Brunelleschi's Dome and Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling. His review in yesterday's Los Angeles Times is a rare sort--he likes the book (which he calls "thrilling") for what the book really is, rather than as a projection of some phantom in his own mind. A review of a different sort comes from Simon Conway Morris of the University of Cambridge. Conway Morris is a first-rate paleontologist who has shed a lot of light on how the major groups of animals alive today emerged in the Cambrian Period. In recent years he's also started to nudge some more spiritual notions into public view, suggesting for instance that the evolution of life has displayed a built-in direction towards us, or at least something like us. Conway Morris reviews Soul Made Flesh in the March issue of Bioscience, which is published by the American Institute of Biological Sciences. I can't complain about a review that calls my book "a wonderful read," but on the other hand, I found it odd that Conway Morris criticizes me for concluding that we know something more about how the brain works now than people did in 1600. He seems to think I'm attacking his personal notion of the human soul, when in fact I'm actually talking about how the seventeenth century notion of the soul was transformed--in part--into an understanding of the brain. As peculiar as it may be, it's well-written, though.

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