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Bowler, Peter J(ohn) 1944-

BOWLER, Peter J(ohn) 1944-

PERSONAL: Born October 8, 1944, in Leicester, England; son of Wallace (a mechanic) and Florence (Moon) Bowler; married Sheila Mary Holt, September 24, 1966; children: Caroline Margaret, Ian Peter. Education: King's College, Cambridge, B.A., 1966; University of Sussex, M.Sc., 1967; University of Toronto, Ph.D., 1971.

ADDRESSES: Home—17A Hillsborough Rd., Moira, Craigavon BT67 OHQ, Northern Ireland. Office—Department of History, Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland.

CAREER: University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, assistant professor of history of science, 1971-72; Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, lecturer in history, 1972-75; University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Manitoba, assistant professor of history, 1975-79; Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland, lecturer, 1979-87, reader, 1987-92, professor of history of science, 1992—.

MEMBER: Royal Irish Academy (chairperson, National Committee for History and Philosophy of Science, 1996—), History of Science Society, British Society for the History of Science, Canadian Society for History and Philosophical Science, Canadian Science and Technical History Association.

WRITINGS:

Fossils and Progress: Paleontology and the Idea of Progressive Evolution in the Nineteenth Century, Science History Publications (New York, NY), 1976.

(Contributor) Sanborn C. Brown and Alexandra Oleson, editors, The Pursuit of Knowledge in the Early American Republic, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1976.

The Eclipse of Darwinism: Anti-Darwinian Evolution Theories in the Decades around 1900, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1983.

Evolution: The History of an Idea, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1984, revised edition, 1989, revised and expanded edition, 2003.

Theories of Human Evolution: A Century of Debate, 1844-1944, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1986.

The Non-Darwinian Revolution: Reinterpreting a Historical Myth, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1988.

The Mendelian Revolution, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1989.

The Invention of Progress: The Victorians and the Past, Blackwell (Cambridge, MA), 1989.

Charles Darwin: The Man and His Influence, Blackwell (Cambridge, MA), 1990.

The Fontana/Norton History of the Environmental Sciences, Fontana/Norton (New York, NY), 1992.

Life's Splendid Drama: Evolutionary Biology and theReconstruction of Life's Ancestry, 1860-1940, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1996.

(Editor, with Nicholas Whyte) Science and Society in Ireland: The Social Context of Science and Technology in Ireland, 1800-1950, Queen's University of Belfast, Institute of Irish Studies (Belfast, Northern Ireland), 1997.

Reconciling Science and Religion: The Debate in Early Twentieth-Century Britain, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2001.

Contributor to history journals.

SIDELIGHTS: Peter J. Bowler once told CA: "Perhaps because most of my writing concerns the development of a very controversial scientific theory (evolution), I try to avoid an 'ivory tower' mentality. I think it is vital that scientists (and all who deal with science) communicate their views as widely as possible. The scientific method doesn't guarantee the production of 'truth'—and it would be much less interesting if it did. We need to celebrate the freedom from dogmatism implied by the 'questioning' nature of science. Failure to communicate this point may lose us the fight against the anti-science movements—and against dogmatism." Indeed, the majority of Bowler's writing does concern theories of evolution and Darwinism, and he provides opportunities to examine both sides of this controversial topic with such titles as The Eclipse of Darwinism: Anti-Darwinian Evolution Theories in the Decades around 1900; Evolution: The History of an Idea, which he has revised twice since the original publication in 1984; Theories of Human Evolution: A Century of Debate, 1844-1944; The Non-Darwinian Revolution: Reinterpreting a Historical Myth; and Charles Darwin: The Man and His Influence.

Life's Splendid Drama: Evolutionary Biology and the Reconstruction of Life's Ancestry, 1860-1940 chronicles the history of ideas on the origins of vertebrates in the post-Darwinian era and also offers case studies on the origins of amphibians, birds, mammals, and arthropods. "It surveys events in the U.S., Britain, and Germany effortlessly and without evident bias . . . it succeeds admirably and impressively in providing what is not readily available anywhere else," commented T. J. Horder in a Quarterly Review of Biology review.

In the end of the nineteenth century, Darwinism caused a split in the intellectual world where science and religion previously had been closely linked, creating two opposing sides: Christianity and scientific materialism. In Reconciling Science and Religion: The Debate in Early Twentieth-Century Britain, published in 2001, Bowler advances the opinion that the impetus bringing the two camps together came from within each side, as scientists began to resent a rigid materialist philosophy that allowed no consideration of religious reasons for natural occurrences and Christian leaders became more willing to contemplate modern scientific views. With profiles of the leading thinkers, examinations of the inner controversies that caused dissention, descriptions of the political and economic atmosphere of the country and the world, and considerations of other influences, Bowler describes what caused these changes on both sides. Times Literary Supplement reviewer Mathew Thomson called it an "important and scholarly book . . . [that] provides us with a serious analysis of religion's position within the intellectual culture of twentieth-century Britain." An Economist contributor noted that Bowler "describes in scholarly detail different strategies for harmonizing faith and knowledge: the sought-after alliance between liberal theologians in the Church of England and religious-minded scientists, and the rather different efforts of science-minded writers such as Julian Huxley and George Bernard Shaw to foster a modern, non-Christian religion. All the while . . . the conservative faithful on the one side and the atheists on the other . . . resisted calls for reconciliation of any kind."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, June, 1977.

Booklist, July, 1993, review of The Norton History of the Environmental Sciences, p. 1930.

Choice, December 1988, review of Fossils and Progress: Paleontology and the Idea of Progressive Evolution in the Nineteenth Century, p. 610.

Economist, November 10, 2001, "The Perils of Religious Correctness; Religion and Science."

English Historical Review, October, 1993, review of The Invention of Progress: The Victorians and the Past, pp. 1046-47.

Historian, November, 1984, review of The Eclipse of Darwinism: Anti-Darwinian Evolution Theories in the Decades around 1900, p. 106; November, 1988, review of Theories of Human Evolution: A Century of Debate, 1844–1944, p. 114.

History Today, November, 2001, Anne Pointer, review of Reconciling Science and Religion: The Debate in Early Twentieth-Century Britain, p. 58

Isis, March, 1993, review of Charles Darwin: The Man and His Influence, pp. 113-14; June, 1993, review of The Invention of Progress: The Victorians and the Past, pp. 391-392; September, 1996, review of Biology and Social Thought: 1850-1914, p. 560.

Library Journal, March 1, 1984, review of The Eclipse of Darwinism: Anti-Darwinian Evolution Theories in the Decades Around 1900, p. 436; October 15, 1986, review of Theories of Human Evolution, p. 103.

London Review of Books, October, 15, 1987, review of Theories of Human Evolution, p. 13.

Nature, April 30, 1987, review of Theories of Human Evolution, p. 897; September 27, 2001, Geoffrey Cantor, review of Reconciling Science and Religion, pp. 363-364.

New York Times Book Review, October 17, 1993, review of The Norton History of the Environmental Sciences, p. 34.

Quarterly Review of Biology, March, 1991, review of The Mendelian Revolution, p. 68; December, 1993, review of The Eclipse of Darwinism, p. 564; The Non-Darwinian Revolution: Reinterpreting a Historical Myth, p. 83; June, 1998, T. J. Horder, review of Life's Splendid Drama: Evolutionary Biology and the Reconstruction of Life's Ancestry, 1860-1940, pp. 175-188.

Science, January 19, 1990, review of The Mendelian Revolution, p. 348; November 16, 2001, Thomas Dixon, review of Reconciling Science and Religion, pp. 1467-68.

Times Literary Supplement, June 17, 1977; December 9, 1983; August 2, 1985; February 14, 1992, review of Charles Darwin: The Man and His Influence, p. 26; March 29, 2002, Mathew Thomson, "Together and Apart," p. 6.

Victorian Studies, winter, 1989, review of Theories of Human Evolution, p. 276; summer, 1991, review of The Invention of Progress, p. 496.

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