From Big Bang to Big Mystery
Brendan Purcell,Veritas, $43.99
Although published in Ireland, the author of this comprehensive and expansive inquiry into human origins and evolution is based in Sydney. He is at the University of Notre Dame and is an Archdiocesan priest at St Mary’s. This work is a reliable, meticulous and scholarly engagement with contemporary archaeological updates to classical Darwinian narratives and timeline.
The author is fascinated by questions that are raised but left unanswered from the recent of one origin out of Africa chronologies, in particular the lack of detailed or coherent arguments for the origin of language, consciousness and religion within a 100,000 year time frame. Within the landscape of modern science, Purcell fashions a philosophical synthesis for re-appreciation of distinct qualities of human nature. He gestures to Aristotelian and Platonic answers, but without any dogma or closure. This is a genuinely readable and important work that should form part of ongoing inquiry about the implications of revised evolutionary narrative on modern society and values.