Book Review: The Selfless Gene

Charles Foster, a writer and tutor at the University of Oxford has written a deliciously sound book on Religion and Science. The Selfless Gene was written in response to those staunch believers in Darwinism and those Young Earth Creationists who wouldn’t bother with sound research.

While reading the book, I came across some pros and cons and try as I might to separate the book from my own worldview, some things just should not have been said verbally or in written form. So here are some pros and cons that I found in this particular work.


1) For me, there was too much dissection of God’s word. Genesis does have two creation accounts, and Foster does a great job of highlighting this without making Christians feel like failures, but he ultimately repeats it again throughout the book and offers no reason why this is besides, “You do not have to read very deeply of the bible to see that the compilers expressly try to repudiate this view…” (The Selfless Gene, pg. 235).

2) Foster also says some things that just shouldn’t be said. It made wonder if he was a Christian at all to begin with. For instance on page 165 he states: “So although Jesus may ultimately turn out to be part of the solution…he is at least part of the problem.” I had trouble  writing that because again, my own worldview cut in. I see Foster may be trying to placate the atheist, the Darwinist or other self professed knowledgeable person, but why would Jesus be part of the problem? As I read further on he does perform some logistics to prove his point.


1) Foster may have used scientific exploration and research to write such a complete, logical book, but he uses a sort of apologetics towards the end. He makes the case for God in a very subtle way and some may even say he meant to do this. In the end, he said if there is evolution going on; the pain, the hurt, and the death may have started with something ancient and wholly evil- that would be Lucifer. I really liked that part. It made sense logically for me.

2) The Tangled Bank is alsowhat does it for me. It is deep, heartfelt, ingenious fiction implanted within a nonfiction work. You have to read the book to see what I mean because the author returns to this bank at the end and everything sort of comes together hypothetically speaking.

So before reading this book I implore you as a Darwinist to take in Foster’s careful research and no nonsense explanation because he is clearly on your side, but if you are a Christian be prepared to have your eyes opened to new theological concepts and the science behind it. If I were to give this book stars, I’d give it 4/5.



2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Selfless Gene

  1. Erica,Thank you very much for your kind comments on my book. They are much appreciated. Sorry that some bits grated – in particular the 'Jesus might at first seem to be part of the problem' bit. I thought and think that the problem has to be stated fully in order for the solution to be worth having. The context of the comment that worried you was that Jesus, who is supposed to (and does) usher in the new Kingdom prophesied by Isaiah, where the wolf lies down with the lamb, etc, is himself apparently an enthusiastic carnivore. As you know, I think that there is a solution to the problem….All best wishes.Charles

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