Suffering Through to Something Higher

Authored by: Holmes Rolston III

The Routledge Companion to Religion and Science

Print publication date:  October  2011
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415492447
eBook ISBN: 9780203803516
Adobe ISBN: 9781136634178


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The Darwinian world is often said to be “red in tooth and claw,” recalling Tennyson’s phrase (1850). Some biologists continue to speak of “survival of the fittest,” though most prefer to characterize the process as “survival of the better adapted” – recognizing that various skills, not just bloodshed, contribute to survival. The central determinant is the struggle for life. Such struggle is not present in all causal relations; there is none in astronomy or geology. It appears in biology, where over evolutionary time the fight for life deepens into sentience, and sentience into suffering.

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