Read Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science, and Bad Religion in a World Without God by Greg Graffin SteveOlson Online


A provocative look at the collision between religion and science-by the founding member of the cult punk band Bad Religion who is also a professor.“I’ve always had a problem with authority.” —Greg GraffinThe world knows Greg Graffin as the lead singer of the cult punk band Bad Religion which he founded in the 80s— what they may not know is he also also a Ph.D. and a ProfesA provocative look at the collision between religion and science-by the founding member of the cult punk band Bad Religion who is also a professor.“I’ve always had a problem with authority.” —Greg GraffinThe world knows Greg Graffin as the lead singer of the cult punk band Bad Religion which he founded in the 80s— what they may not know is he also also a Ph.D. and a Professor of Life Sciences at UCLA who is immersed in the debate on religion. In Anarchy Evolution, Graffin puts forth his bold ideas about “naturalism” and the connection between science religion and art. In this provocative and timely book, Graffin tackles head on the “intellectual dishonestly” of creationism; he also shares compelling stories about his childhood and how science saved him when he ran into trouble as a teenager. Anarchy Evolution will appeal to the fans of Bad Religion (which as sold over 2.8 million albums) as well as readers of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. The book coincides with a major national Bad Religion reunion tour that will start in October of 2010....

Title : Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science, and Bad Religion in a World Without God
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780061828508
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science, and Bad Religion in a World Without God Reviews

  • Michael
    2019-03-05 11:41

    Greg Graffin, through his music, has been one of my most profound personal influences. I've been a fan of Bad Religion for going on two decades, and Graffin's lyrics have always struck me as personally and socially relevant.It was with this level of admiration that I picked up his book. Sadly, I've found his prose to be far less inspirational or insightful than his poetry. One is left with the feeling that Graffin actually does have a valuable perspective to share in regard to his world-view, but it was inexpertly articulated in this first book. The craft of writing was missing here, feeling more like a stream-of-consciousness style essay than a well considered thesis or biography. It rather felt like Graffin just had some stuff he wanted to get off of his chest, and now that he's done it, I sincerely hope that he returns to popular science writing with some better crafted examples of his positions and experiences. I know he's capable, and I'll be happy to buy his next book when he gets around to it.Additionally, I don't think I was the target audience for this book. It felt geared toward high school aged youths that might be in search of meaning and community. Perhaps within that demographic this book will be more meaningful.

  • Jan
    2019-03-11 14:38

    From the lead singer of Bad Religion, a book about science and religion and music and other stuff. I'm not totally sure what this book was about, but I liked it anyway. Sometimes I don't need to get the "point" to enjoy something.I thought the book worked best when Gaffin spoke of his personal life. I enjoyed his tales about his childhood, about how he founded Bad Religion, and of how he became obsessed with evolution, which led him to eventually receive a PhD (he is a college professor as well as a punk rock singer). His chapter about the first big field expedition he did in the Amazon was fantastic. I also really enjoyed reading his personal opinions about science and religion. Of particular interest to me was his piece on our national obsession with the theory of natural selection, which has colored the debate on evolution for far too long. As I read it, I kept thinking to myself, "Thank you!" because it was nice to see a man of science voice this particular opinion.Where I thought this book didn't work as well was when he was explaining scientific stuff. It's not because he's bad at it. It's just that I knew all of that stuff already. It was all pretty basic, and for most people with a general grasp of science, it wouldn't be anything new. However, I do realize that he was writing for a broad audience, so he had to keep it simple. It was just a little boring for me.Overall, a really solid piece of work.

  • David Boone
    2019-03-11 10:56

    Greg Graffin, Ph.D., punk rock's resident evolutionary biologist, tells the story of his band (Bad Religion) and his beliefs (monistic naturalism) in this interesting book that is part memoir, part punk history, and part apologetic for an evolutionary worldview. He weaves his story together really well, bridging the two disparate fields in which he splits his time. The science he presents is easy to understand, and he infuses it with additional relevance by relating the evolutionary ideas directly to his experience as a musician. If you're a fan of the band, it will give you all kinds of glimpses behind the scenes of their development and history; and even if you're simply a science, philosophy, or religion buff, you might find it interesting how he builds and presents his views. Personally I found listening to Bad Religion's entire discography while reading this to be the icing on the cake. They were always jokingly called "thesaurus punk" due to Graffin's propensity for using complex technical terms in his lyrics, and yet in the context of the narrative he presents here, his lyrics take on an even deeper relevance.

  • Jennifer Johnson
    2019-02-28 13:46

    I eagerly bought this book as I've been a long time admirer of Graffin's music, which is based around intellectual lyrics and thought provoking social commentary. Therefore, I was sure his musings on Atheism would reflect the same quality. I was sorely disappointed. Now, I feel the need to qualify my criticism because I'm not sure my views would represent those of the average person reading the book. I spent my entire adult life living with a scientist and have spent even more time listening to Graffin's music and going to countless Bad Religion concerts. So, I'm not sure whether the book itself bothered me, or if it bothered me to spend so much time reading things I already knew. For example, the first five chapters provide what I felt was a grade school education on evolution, his life, coupled with some decent musing on religion. Unfortunately, all of it lacks the vocabulary and insight shown in his music, a fact that disappointed me more than anything else. The only reason the book even gets 3 stars from me is that it does improve after the first five chapters. At this point his arguments, structured around the parallels he sees in the scientific process and the order of the natural world, the creative process, and the process of developing a life philosophy minus God, finally begin to mesh. Still, many times I found the details added in the notes in the back more intriguing than the text itself to the point I wished the whole book was written like the notes, and the back had notes for those requiring more information to understand Graffin's message. The last chapters were the best of all. In these chapters he presents a compelling argument about ethics and Atheism in which he proposes a myriad of reasons and ways atheists are actually more motivated than religious people to live a good life and take care of the natural world (i.e. environment). This part was totally worth reading. I only wish it didn't take 150 pages for the book to get there.

  • Bastian Greshake Tzovaras
    2019-03-06 09:02

    I'm a huge fan of Bad Religion and an evolutionary biologist. So this looked like the perfect book for me. Unfortunately it's not, although I've tried hard. Graffin tries to mix anecdotes about his biography in Science & with Bad Religion along basic biology while criticising faith in a "Dawkins-light" way.Which sounds like an awesome mix of topics comes short as Graffin doesn't succeed in weaving all those topics together. The jumps between biography/science/beliefs are abrupt and often don't seem to make much sense. About each topic on it's own: I enjoyed the bits about his biography & Bad Religion, they are good to read, give some interesting insights into Graffins live and his career in Science & Music (the parts about visiting the Amazonian rainforest is great). His science descriptions are pretty basic and his usage of vocabulary is often quite sloppy. If you've read any other book about evolution you probably won't learn something new. One point that really bugged me: Graffin depicts most evol. biologists, especially those working with molecular data, as firm adaptionists in a way probably not even Dawkins is. Maybe it's because he grew up during a time where the neutralist-selectionist-debate ( was up and running, but nowadays his description feels like an uncanny remix of a true straw scotsman of "All real Mol. biologists believe in adaption". I don't have too much to say about his criticism of belief as it's pretty much the gospel which you'll find in any book of modern-day skeptics/atheists/naturalists. As said: Each topic could give an interesting book but this one comes short of delivering an interesting mix. If you're interested in Bad Religion & Greg Graffin you should give it a read, otherwise you can easily turn to other (i.e. better) books about evolution and atheism.

  • Misled_punk
    2019-03-13 12:04

    Since 15 I've listened to Bad Religion. My ruthless inquisitiveness didn't give me an alternative. I had to get to known the lead vocalist. Soon I found out, to my surprise, that he is a biologist! Moreover, he has a family, one divorce which by the way remarks on his book as tragedy and such a punk life I've always wanted to have.Not only is Graffin a brilliant songwriter but he is an awe-inspiring author as well. In his book Anarchy evolution he talks a lot about personal adventures, thoughts back when he was a teenager and intellectual punk-rock. Unfortunately, I live in Greece where ,as in recession, finding such a great book printed is hard to impossible. Nevertheless, I typed the book's title on, which I also advise you to do.Back to the book, Greg describes some of his most thought-provoking statements. He explains from where he got the inspiration to write lyrics. For instance, he wrote an awesome song ("We're only gonna die from our own arrogance") when he read a book about evolution with the following ending lines :"To have arrived on this earth as the product of a biological accident, only to depart it through arrogance would be the ultimate irony" Henceforth, having read this book I support individuals to express their worldview which Greg does well. If I could find a single reason not to rate 100 out of 100 for this book it would be that Graffin doesn't talk at all about free will (which is a scientific dilemma) as I expected and criticizes some of my favorite lyrics he wrote.However, I ensure you that you'll enjoy his lively descriptions, laugh with his nerd jokes and learn a lot about his life, how to observe nature closely and come to conclusion rationally thinking and, if nothing else, you will learn to express your worldview.

  • Ashley
    2019-03-19 08:02

    It’s not often that you think of punk rock and PhD’s mixing, but they meld perfectly in Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science, and Bad Religion in a World Without God. Co-author Greg Graffin has a PhD in Zoology, teaches Evolution at UCLA, and is the lead singer of punk band Bad Religion.Anarchy Evolution is my February book from the backlog read for the Bookish Resolutions challenge. I’ve been reading this one on and off for a year. It’s part memoir, part celebration of the punk scene, and part approachable science text. I wouldn’t call this one a page turner, but if like me, you have an interest in music and science, I think you’ll understand the appeal.Graffin explores his own evolution into punk rocker and scientist, while also exploring the disconnect between faith and scientific evidence. Unlike Dawkins, Graffin comes across less antagonistic to believers, but explains how a blind faith in a literal creation story is at odds with science. He delves into the debate between a guiding creator and the evidence of the impartiality (and sometimes the illogic) of nature and evolution.This book wasn’t what I expected it would be when I bought it, but I am glad that I finished it. I learned about some nuances of evolutionary theory that I was unaware of. And I’ve added some Bad Religion to my Spotify account- Graffin actually sings about some of his scientific experience, and there’s an intellectualism to some of his lyrics that is missing from a lot of other songs.I recommend this one for people with an interest in science and a fascination with how that can mix with something as creative as music.

  • Cudjoe
    2019-03-13 13:59

    Greg Graffin, singer for punk heroes Bad Religion and Professor of evolution, writes an interesting book that weaves, evolutionary science, music history and personal narrative. While at times the writing can be very dry especially when Graffin gets explicitly scientific, the narrative of the process of his life pushes the reader forward. And basically that might be the overall goal of "Anarchy Evolution": it's not about the particular subjects by themselves but how to understand Graffin's evolution as a musician and a writer and maybe this how method or logic to looking at nature. This might not be totally apparent to many readers and hopefully they will get. At times the book is an exciting read because he can take you from a sold-out show in Los Angeles where a riot breaks out to a jungle wilderness of the Amazon to research plant and animal life. Graffin's strength is in his argument to win others to a "naturalist" understanding of the world over a religious understanding of the world. He doesn't mince words. Religions are beliefs that people can have but they are not science or a way to understand how the world developed or is still changing. We have science to prove that. He's never bullheaded or mean, just stern and direct in his language.Highly recommended for those who want an introduction to scientific understanding of the world without all weight of science lingo or metaphor. And of course this highly recommended to fans of one of the most influential California punk bands ever, Bad Religion.

  • Pete
    2019-03-23 14:05

    Graffin isn't a particularly good prose writer, but his insistence on a worldview based on naturalism and biology--and, contrary to popular belief, the inherent beauty and goodness that arises from such a worldview--is a significant statement. The intertwining of his own life story and artistic contributions with evolutionary theory is also of note. I've been reading this alongside Richard Holmes' "Age of Wonder" (which outlines the connections between various scientific explorations in late-18th and early-19th century England and the Romantic movement), and it dawns on me that, while I firmly believe that evolution is the single greatest explanatory theory ever proposed and that scientific knowledge undeniably advances exponentially, "correctness" has little to do with anything. For anyone particularly interested in culture, as most book-readers are, a basic scientific literacy is required. The sciences increasingly supply the paradigms by which we conceptualize the world, and the arts will not stay independent of them. It is becoming very natural to see connections between the arts and sciences, and the trend will continue.

  • Juliet
    2019-03-23 14:41

    As a huge Bad Religion fan and a long time admirer of Greg Graffin's lyrics and the strength with which he holds and refines and defends his views, I loved this book.But know that it's not a science textbook - don't read it if you want a definitive study of the theories of evolution, although it will point out avenues where you could learn more. Don't read it if you're looking for a history of punk, or a philosophical study of anarchy.That's not what this is. This book is about Greg Graffin, his experiences, his beliefs and why those beliefs are logical to him. Nothing more, nothing less. What's great about punk is the emphasis on proactivity - if you don't like something, get up and change it. If you don't understand something, go and learn about it. Just as Graffin is not going to answer all your questions for you, or tell you what to believe, this book cannot hope to fulfill the expectations of everyone who reads it. But it just might give you a place to start if you're curious about a whole bunch of things.

  • David Holtkamp
    2019-03-18 16:04

    Greg Graffin is the lead singer for Bad Religion. He is also a professor of life sciences and biology at UCLA. If anybody has ever heard Bad Religion or seen their logo, they will immediately know that they are anything but religious. Graffin is a staunch "naturalist" (he hates the word atheist because it only represents something you're against). It's obvious that he doesn't believe in God, and there are parts where he strongly argues his position, but I didn't feel like that was the focus of the book, which I found refreshing. His book is part scientific, part biographical. To be honest, I'm not much of a scientist, so those parts weren't as interesting to me as the parts about playing in a punk rock band. It was entertaining and very insightful as to what constitutes the belief system of one of the punk world's most influential bands.

  • Myron
    2019-03-09 10:44

    While Bad Religion is one of my favorite bands and I admire Dr. Graffin, this book left me wanting more meat and less fluff.I did enjoy stories about the early days of Bad Religion, and Graffin's thoughts on epigenetics and 'immortality', I don't think this book is meant for my demographic. Ironically, I'm a scientist and a musician.This book, I believe, is better meant for High School students or Undergrads.One last critism: Graffin shouldn't have used "Anarchy" in the title. I understand the point he's trying to convey but he fails to adequetly approach the concept of anarchy - whether Philosophical or otherwise.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-09 07:47

    My Review: Who knew that punk rock and evolution had so much in common? I never would have guessed I’d be reading about Darwin and Bad Religion on alternating pages of the same book. But, yet again in this life, I’ve been proven wrong. And pleasantly so! Greg Graffin’s complex experiences in the field of evolutionary biology; combined with his equally complex experiences on stage as the lead singer of the punk rock band Bad Religion highlight the inevitable- yet beautiful- anarchy of existence itself. Part biology lesson, part social narrative, Graffin’s worldview is refreshingly unique.

  • Paul
    2019-02-25 14:50

    A great relation of one mans personal philosophy and cosmology. Graffin weaves scientific fact and autobiographical experiences into chapters that, though meandering, never fail to return to their original point. His conclusions are well thought out and often backed up with experiential evidence which only serves to make the message more personal.

  • James England
    2019-02-26 13:58

    Very interesting take on a subject that is usually presented as dry and uninterestingly as possible by other authors. Graffin, as the singer and co-founder of the punk rock band Bad Religion as well as a evolution professor at UCLA, uses his unique experiences as references in explaining his thoughts on the subjects of evolution and God.

  • John
    2019-03-19 15:01

    I bought this book mainly because I'm a Bad Religion fan. That being said I am not a student of the teachings of evolution. The book is interesting enough even if it did loose me a few times but I can't say that it's a book I will want to read a second time either.

  • Kim Parker
    2019-03-26 09:36

    Entertaining, yet satisfies my scientific curiosity. Recommended read especially when faced with evolution deniers :)

  • Rod
    2019-03-09 11:39

    Now this was a fun challenge. Especially since I generally (I mean ALWAYS) mock Atheistic macro-evolutionary claims, bad Punk Music, and all things that poorly attempt to attack my beloved Bible. But that's no reason we can't have a blast.Here's a game I play with all Evolutionary Propaganda: (what else would Harper/Collins bother to put out?)Underline every evolutionary Fact that is met with a "Maybe, possibly, might have, we assume, are led to believe, appears, or plays loosely with billions of years... then after over a 100 - Just roll on the ground laughing, and then mumble something incoherent about finches and peer review having a 100% factual rate of perfection. Science indeed.Here's an enlightened sample: Page 35"Evolutionary reconstructions, like all historical accounts, almost ALWAYS have an element of SPECULATION, but a plausible account goes like this. Sometime before 375 million years ago, a species of fish MUST HAVE lived in the vegetation-choked...some of the members of this ancestral species MUST HAVE had longer, more articulated front fins...These fins MAY HAVE given those individuals...SUGGESTING that it used it fins...PERHAPS an individual with longer and stronger was better able...if so, individuals with longer limbs COULD HAVE had more offspring... (Offspring ROCKS! Great Cali Punk band).So you get the idea. That's a LOT of maybe's. But i'm no scientist. But I do like FACTS.Anyway,I enjoyed all the bits about Bad Religion and Graffin boasting about how insightful he always was. YES, it's not hard to prove you are smarter than all the other punks who got arrested, abused, dropped out, or just died from stupidity - sorry, the bar was low buddy. (That's why I'm a big OFFSPRING fan and generally ignore all things Bad Religion.) Which reminds me:My son and I went to Vegas last summer to see Offspring, Bad Religion, Pennywise, Stiff Little Fingers. My goodness that was the dumbest bit of inbred music fans I've seen EVER. At least Offspring knows exactly what their fans are made of (They even insulted them on occasion..."shhhhh!" don't tell anyone - all the fans were too drunk, pierced, tattooed and emotionally needy to comprehend it.) But I still hate Bad Religion and couldn't make out more than two or three words Greg babbled. Maybe Jesus won't condemn you for the bits he couldn't make out. Here's hoping. So the funny part is how Greg Gaffin keeps insisting that punk music and his desperate blind faith in evolution has some similarities...actually, when worded THAT WAY they indeed do. I could quote the book - since most readers have probably forgotten all of it by now - but remember all those parts about punk music meaning something??? Of course Greg seems to fail to mention all the DEAD celebrities of punk culture (remember the SEX PISTOLS anyone? And the general retardedness of the Ramones? Those were still fun songs though.) But not something I would boast about.But Greg seems to consider all of his fans enlightened citizens of a possible Utopian culture...if only...Greggy, next time you do a gig: look around at all the people puking, flopping, swearing, snearing, piercing. The term "Enlightened" or "Brights" (as Dawkins like to think) just never comes to mind. Here's a quote about Punk fans: "Sometimes the rules of the pit are violated by jerks, drunks, and assholes. But almost everyone is aware of the rules." Punks indeed._________________________________________________________________Now what really got me interested in this book was the end of the title ...IN A WORLD WITHOUT GOD by Greg & Steve.So how exactly does Greg prove to us we are in a world without God? ...? Ummmh? Well, he didn't. Just more assumptions from an enlightened Evolutionary forest dweller who teaches other enlightened students (hopefully?) at the University of California. How often he teaches? Don't care. Intermission: sings "We've got the American JesusBolstering national faithWe've got the American JesusOverwhelming millions every day..."Fair enough. It's best not to get your religious understandings from television or people who look like used car salesmen - or especially politicians (actually ESPECIALLY Punk musicians.) But I also don't recommend learning much from Country or Blues singers. Here's a horrible thought: Page 102"...and learning every word and every note of Jesus Christ Superstar...That album taught me...also the basic story of the New Testament. What a bonus! I didn't have to read the Bible to get the gist of Jesus' life."Now that's funny. Greggy you really should have carefully read the Bible. Here's another fun and significant quote: "And certainly the lack of religion in my upbringing affected my worldview." And boy did it - You assumed Punk music was noble and the God of all existence was bad. Greg even attempted some deep biblical theology: "...and religion erases any desire to be skeptical. As Romans 14:23 states: He who has doubts is condemned."Really Greggy? Is that what the Bible says? And you call yourself an honest thorough scientist and scholar? Hilarious.Here's what the Bible fully says:" It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.Ummmm, yeah, I think you failed big time there. Like I said - It's best not to get your theological understandings from celebrities or Punk Musicians. Their ignorance and general laziness may be your undoing.Here's another example of Greg not thinking something through:"With all of these influences on our religious outlook, it's amazing that anybody ever changes their mind."Hmmmm? And yet we apparently have over 10,000 different denominations of Christianity. It seems a LOT of people are not sticking with tradition or fear inflicted historical religious propaganda - as Greggy seems to insist. And most wannabe church goers are disgustingly liberal nowadays.One final quote by Greg: "This guidance emerges spontaneously from the interactions of human beings living in societies and thinking together about how best to get along. It doesn't require a god or a sacred text."Thankfully most societies on earth have a historical foundation of Religion. But often we get barbarians and free-thinkers fully embracing the lusts of atheism on the masses. AS I often say: "One man's prostitute is another man's sister/mother/daughter. One persons abortion is another persons DEAD baby. One persons liberal pot smoking is another persons entrepreneurial grade school drug dealing gang potential." It appears it DOES require a God and sacred text to keep people from destroying any moral hopes of an ethical future for communities. Atheism offers nothing but changing opinions. Okay, maybe one last religious tidbit from the theological giant of Bad Religion: "My goal is to learn about life by living it, not by trying to figure out a cryptic plan that the Creator had in store for me."Greggy you failed to read the Bible and clearly comprehend this very simple plan the Creator laid out. And you call yourself an investigating scientist? You missed the obvious. We exist simply as a gift from the Heavenly Father to the Kingly Son. It appears you are going to miss out on heaven Greg. But you aren't dead yet - there's still hope. Maybe you should have learned something from your Great Grandfather E.M. Zerr and his commentaries - instead of pop theological crap by Jesus Christ Superstar.I did enjoy Greg's chapter on Natural Selection. Seems all isn't in agreement in the faultless institute of Evolutionary agreement and FACT. How interesting. I can see Darwin rolling in his grave and putting some OFFSPRING into his Ipod.But Darwin was just as emotional about his hatred of a World with God. So it all makes sense - His science just blindly fed that passion.To end: Greg posted a very relevant quote from Richard C. Lewontin" ...Because the worldview that we WANT, what I WANT, is a materialistic worldview...blah blah blah and that's desirable."Science should never be about what we WANT. Our hearts and minds can lie to us.

  • Douglas L Allen
    2019-03-17 10:40

    I absolutely loved this book. The mixing of his philosophy on life and religion, while telling the story of his life inside and out of Bad Religion is mesmerizing. Extremely well written and thought out. I am admittedly bias as Bad Religion is one of my favorite bands, but this more well more than your typical autobiography. If you are the type to question everything and true belief comes with substantial evidence, this book will keep you enthralled.

  • Chris Simerly
    2019-03-04 11:47

    Huge fan of Bad Religion, so I decided to read Mr. Graffin’s book! I enjoyed it a lot! Lots of Bad Religion stories mixed with evolution and naturalist information! I learned a lot by reading this book! I highly recommend!

  • Landon Hale
    2019-03-03 10:00

    Outstanding! This book was so informational and engaging that I couldn't put it down. It kept me interested in every page and made me respect Greg and Bad Religion so much more than I already did.

  • David Shaver
    2019-03-10 11:47

    Very intelligent book. Cool concept comparing natural sciences to Bad Religion history and philosophies.

  • Juuso
    2019-03-21 09:42

    The businessman whose master plan controls the world each day is blind to indications of his species' slow decay.

  • Hackie Laguna
    2019-03-18 13:01

    one of those eye openers. makes you question things as they are

  • Jenylin
    2019-03-16 12:40

    In this book Graffin attempt to write about his Naturalist worldview, which is a perspective where one believes the world can be understood and explained through science without supernatural elements. He also tells readers how his reverence for science began and his days as an adolescence as being the lead singer of Bad Religion. Graffin tries to show how both music and science are connected.The purpose for Graffin writing this book is to show readers that calling oneself a Naturalist has more meaning that calling yourself an Atheist. Sometimes people see the word ‘atheist’ or know a person who doesn’t believe in god(s), they think that person to be evil, or they are shunned because no one understands what they are about, but Graffin makes an interesting point where he writes “Defining yourself as against something says very little about what you are for” (pg. 94) which I really agree with.The book is highly autobiographical and less scientific. It is autobiographical in the sense that Graffin writes a lot about growing up in California. He discusses his days an early punker and gives the readers insight of the punk scene during the 80’s.“I was never attracted to the illegal and dangerous aspects of punk. For me, the thrill was always the intellectual challenge to authority in the music that I and others were writing.” (pg. 86)I can empathize with Graffin, because much like me, the lack of religion he had growing up shaped who he is, and growing up he never gave in to many of the harmful drug or alcohol addictions that surrounded him, which is something that I greatly admire, for I have too lived somewhat the same life.The book is less scientific in which when sections of evolution and science do make their way into the chapters, it’s nothing you didn’t learn in biology or living environment class back in high school (e.g. Charles Darwin, Natural Selection, Survival of the fittest, Chlorophyll in plants, Melanin in the skin). Maybe I expected too much, but afterall this book is not a textbook. Like he says in this video about the book, it is written like a personal narrative.What made me pick up the book in the first place is a curiosity to know and understand his perspective on “God”, I mean religion is extremely irrelevant in my life but that does not mean I don’t have questions about the world and if you ever get a chance to pick up the book, on the inside flap of the cover says at the end “This is a book for anyone who has ever wondered if god really exists.” I read the book to find out how religion is there to make people’s lives more bearable, how religion is hardwired into children that affects the way they think in adulthood, or how he says “Many religious people, for example, believe that without religion there can be no morality”, all of this I had figured out for myself long before I even heard of Greg Graffin or this book. Instead I learned more about the type of person he is, how much Bad Religion really means to him, and the goals he tries to achieve by showing people to ask questions and think for oneself. There are instances where he even criticizes himself. It’s not what I bargained for when I got the book but I’ll take it. It is not poorly written, Graffin and Olson write with clarity. Don’t let his PhD scare you, this book is really easy to understand, there is no confusing scientific jargon, its not written with authoritativeness and forcefulness. However, I did like the book, and I respect Graffin and his music, and what he has tried to achieve to make people think and question their surroundings.

  • Len
    2019-03-01 10:05

    There are a lot of different ways to look at the world and at life, and we each have our own opinions and thoughts on these matters, but it's still nice to find someone who shares the same worldview because in a way it sort of validates how you think about things. Greg Graffin and I look at life in very much the same way.In Anarchy Evolution, Graffin explores his worldview while taking the reader on the journey of his life and along the way the reader learns a lot about nature, science and especially evolution. Graffin is the lead singer of punk band Bad Religion, which has been performing and recording together for more than 30 years. During those 30 years, he also managed to earn three college degrees including a PhD in zoology from Cornell University and when he's not performing with Bad Religion he teaches evolutionary biology at UCLA. Talk about a Renaissance man! The book weaves together stories of his childhood in the Midwest and Southern California with tales of the band...and along the way he explores his worldview as a naturalist and evolutionary scientist. The book is not a diatribe against religion, but rather it's a thoughtful explanation of why he is an atheist. It's also a great introduction to evolution and natural selection for those who do not know much about these subjects. It's really refreshing to hear from someone who knows how to explain the world of science in simple to understand ways and can connect those explanations to how naturalism (atheism) differs from theism. He also has a knack for taking long-held theist beliefs about atheists and turning them around and redefining the discussion to make sense of things from a non-theist perspective. I am sure I will take many nuggets from this book and use them when discussing my beliefs with my religious friends.I highly recommend the book for anyone who is an atheist or wondering about how atheists think. It's also a great book for religious people to read if they'd like to get a scientific and non-threatening explanation of the naturalist or humanist worldview. Buy a copy for your curious religious friends!As an added benefit, I definitely plan to listen to some Bad Religion over the next few weeks. I've only scratched the surface of their music and now I am really interested in listening to a wider array of their music from across their 30 years together.

  • Jackie
    2019-03-05 08:59

    Full disclosure: I'm a Bad Religion Fan Girl. Or something. Fan Girl sounds awfully frivolous, but what else do you call it? Fan? OK. I'm a Bad Religion fan. And I have been for something like 17 years. Bad Religion was a huge influence on my life and world view as a teenager. You know those years where everyone is figuring things out for themselves and starting to ask the big questions? Those were the years that I listened to and studied Bad Religion albums. And I sang along. I knew every lyric (still do) and found so much to think about. So Yeah. I pretty much grew up with Greg Graffin's philosophic influence. And, not necessarily as a result, but as it happens, I'm an atheist and a monist and I find evolution in everything. I am not a scientist, but I sometimes wish I was. Pretty much I've been so influence by Greg Graffin and I've listened to and read his lyrics for so long that Anarchy Evolution is just common sense to me. I'd like to say that I think like him, but maybe it's more correct to just say that I understand what he's saying. It's what I would say if I were eloquent (OK, I wouldn't write the personal memoir-type stuff, but the philosophy/atheism/evolution stuff).In short. I'm going to buy my own copy of this book because I want to read it again with a hi-lighter (they frown on that with library copies) and I want to hi-light the crap out it. And I want to shove my neon yellow copy into the hands of the next person who asks me some dumb question about atheism or what I believe and say read the yellow parts.Then, there's also the fact that it's a punk rock memoir. Awesome.I don't believe in self-important folks who preachNo Bad Religion song can make yourself completeYou'll get no direction from me.

  • Primo Flores
    2019-03-08 11:38

    What can I say?, I like science and I like punkrock, and if Greg Graffin (singer from Bad Religion) comes up with written work you're damn right I'd want to have a peek, sad to say that what I learned from having a go at this is that I don't like my science fully mixed with my punkrocking. I mean, I can handle Bad Religion's weird themes and multisyllabic lyrics, but when you try to find the meaning and dynamics of a mosh pit through evolutionary means that's when everything goes south, also, the author jumps back and forth from sciency stuff to BR's origin and musical development, I would gladly prefer to read about both subjects in two separate books.The good things that I take from this read is that it got me thinking about evolution, I thought that evolution drove improvement and its goal was to achieve physical and mental perfection among a race, this book made me change my mind, evolution is about randomness and what works best at any given time for a species. Another topic that interested me is knowing that 200 years ago, biologists were monks, priests and religious people trying to document God's holy creation and only until people like this guy Darwin came up, the whole mindset started to drift away from the focus on "the Arquithect". The last thing that I liked is that Greg goes against the whole "Science can explain everything" kind of atheism, and he accepts the limitations of the scientific method and that there is plenty to learn.Favorite quote "My goal is to lear about life by living it, not by trying to figure out a cryptic plan that the Creator had in store for me."

  • Polackio
    2019-02-24 09:52

    First and foremost, this book is an autobiography. The title would seem to allude to grander ambitions, but that's just not what Graffin was trying to accomplish here. I didn't read this book to be convinced of anything. I didn't read this book to learn about science or religion or philosophy. I didn't read it to identify with someone who I thought would agree with me (and I found myself in disagreement with Graffin more than I expected). I read it to learn about the author, and that's exactly what I accomplished.Through a series of recollections and anecdotes Dr. Graffin gives a fairly straightforward and humanistic account of how he got here and what experiences shaped him into the man he is today. It's not an attempt to convince you he's right. It's not an anti-religious screed or a scientific primer. It's a story of his life, and how his experiences shaped his philosophy. I found myself really understanding how Graffin's personal experiences shaped the man I've seen on stage, the lyrics of his music and the unique course of his career. I found myself relating to him even as I disagreed with him. I found the human in him, underneath the performer and the phd. This is the critical thing. It's not a written debate. It's not an attempt to "convert" the reader to a new way of thinking. It's simply an honest accounting of one man, but without apology or regret or the need to justify itself by someone else's standards or values. It just is what it is, a window to his perspective. What more do you want an autobiography to be?

  • Andrew Guerci
    2019-03-05 10:42

    This book is fantastic. PhD of Evolutionary Sciences and Zoology and front man of internationally renowned punk rock band Bad Religion, Greg Graffin uses his advanced level of diction and scientific knowledge to craft Anarchy Evolution. In one part, a memoir of the perfect punk upbringing -- L.A. 1979, Teenager fresh out of Wisconsin, used to party beverages being known as sodas, is exposed to the anarchic side of society, the budding musical and social revolution known as Punk Rock. Young Graffin falls head over heels and begins to find his identity as a punk, despite the beatings he will endure from opponents to the movement. Now, flash forward. The Los Angeles street kid is now in College on an expedition in the Bolivian sector of the Amazon Rainforest collecting samples for a museum curator. He is enjoying the sampling but feels entirely disconnected from the other scientists, who seem only concerned with their own agendas. This experience will stick. (This is in no structural order to the book)In the present, Graffin has an immense knowledge of evolution and has been experiencing the life of punk rock for over thirty years. He has two primary concerns in life. One is the overshadowing of naturalistic genuinity from the opponents to evolution, creationists. He does not condone the belief in god, but begins to fear the idea that an all powerful being insists a strict code of conduct on many human beings -- the complete opposite of everything he stands for as a loyal soldier of punk and individuality. His next concern is the disconnection of the human race.