The thesis of the book is both that humans are an inevitable outcome of evolution, and that life is unlikely to exist anywhere else in the universe.
Prothero discovers why.
This change in tone makes one wonder about the underlying motivation of the author. He’s an optimist about the possibility that humans are the inevitable by-product of evolution, but a pessimist that any other planet has humanoids — how can someone take those two mutually contradictory positions? The mystery is answered in the last chapter, when the author reveals that the whole motivation for his position is religious. Early in the book he trashes and dispenses with the fundamentalist Creationists, but by the end his arguments appear equally slanted and biased. His final chapter bashes agnostic materialists like Gould and Dawkins and veers abruptly off into his own philosophical beliefs, musing about why he finds materialism and agnosticism inadequate to provide “meaning” to life.As Prothero laments, Morris seems to be aiming for the Templeton Price...
I have written about Prothero since I first started blogging. Search for all posts about him here.