Tudge is a biologist, science writer and broadcaster, educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge, the author of numerous books on food, agriculture, genetics and species diversity.
His basic premise is that many politicians, bolstered by their attendant academics and scientists, have bought-in to the dangerous and scientifically suspect dogma of the Neo-Darwinists that life is all about survival and competition and nothing else.
He refutes the myth that science and transcendence/metaphysics must always be at odds, and challenges the received wisdom in politics and other public spheres of life that competition is the only way for humanity to get ahead.
He does not belong (he is quick to point out) to any one manifestation of organised religion, but is equally quick to comment on the helpful dialogue and discussion he enjoys with theologians and philosophers from a wide range of spiritual backgrounds. From that standpoint he challenges materialist prejudices and argues that metaphysics are essential to our practical enterprises.
As Sir Crispin Tickell (environmentalist and academic) comments, “This book more than lives up to its subtitle. It does indeed challenge big bad ideas, whether they be about the natural world, the human condition within it, or our habits of thought and behaviour, and suggests some bigger, better ideas for the future. In short, replace the conventional wisdom. All this is laid out in easy but scholarly fashion, and the conclusions are a personal testament. Think differently is the message. We are now better able to do so.”
My personal response to the book is born out of the way it speaks into my own life situation…a person of faith with a scientific background. It articulates some of my own struggles with the either/or mentality of both fundamentalist atheists and Christians alike, my sense that God is so much bigger than all our attempts to define or constrain him and that one of the defining features of humanity is a sense that the material cannot be all there is. Sometimes I lose the plot and swing too far way to one of the extremes. This book is a sensible and challenging corrective.
As one who is totally disillusioned with the failing attempts at government based on competition all over the world, I find that the book also presents the possibility of a rebirth of co-operation as the foundational principal of government, and suggests ways that this might be achieved.