The last two days I have written blogs about science and creation. I published a review of Brendan Purcell’s new book, From Big Bang to Big Mystery, written by Irish scholar, Dr. Joe McCarroll. I also mentioned that I have invited Dr. Brendan Purcell to speak in the Chicago area on his book at an ACT 3 Luncheon. This event will begin at noon (ending by 1:45 p.m.) on Wednesday, September 12, at Alberto’s, the restaurant of the Holiday Inn located at 150 South Gary Avenue, Carol Stream IL 60188. You can register for this event at our web site. Everyone is invited who is interested in the topic and the event. The cost, which includes the meal, a beverage and the gratuity, is $25.00. Registration is required because of seating limitations. 

Dr. Brendan Purcell is a former professor of philosophy at University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland, from  where he retired in 2008. Currently, he is an adjunct professor in philosophy at Notre Dame  University, Sydney, Australia. He is also a Catholic priest, having been ordained in 1967 for the diocese of Dublin. He received his STL from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, and his PhD from UCD. He has published widely especially in the area of philosophical anthropology. He wrote The Drama of Humanity: Towards a philosophy of Humanity in History (1996), and with Detlev Clemens edited and translated Hitler and the Germans, volume 31 of the Collected Works of Eric Voegelin (1999).  His most recent book, From Big Bang to Big Mystery, has been described as “a must-read for philosophers and theologians and especially for paleoscientists. Their sciences will never be the same.”

Here are a few endorsements for Dr. Purcell’s magnificent book taken from the publisher’s web sire:

Brendan Purcell has given us a study of human origins that is comprehensive, wise, and of startling philosophical clarity. He combines the latest discoveries in paleoanthropology, genetics, neuroscience, linguistics, and other sciences with the insights of thinkers from Xenophanes and Aristotle to Eric Voegelin and Bernard Lonergan to produce a deeply impressive and convincing synthesis.Stephen M. Barr Professor of Theoretical Physics, University of Delaware and author of Modern Physics and Ancient FaithPurcell moves easily from the best scientific data on evolutionary genetics to mystical affirmations of God without skipping a beat.  This is an astonishing, learned, and profoundly moving book.

David Walsh

Professor of Politics, The Catholic University of America

This is a profound, challenging and erudite book, offering a fresh and constructive approach to issues and debates that affect us all. Highly recommended!’


Conor Cunningham

Assistant Director, Centre of Theology and Philosophy, University of Nottingham; Author of Darwin’s Pious Idea

Purcell has achieved a remarkable synthesis: he has brought together Bernard Lonergan’s philosophical concept of “emergent probability” and Eric Voegelin’s philosophy of participatory (and not just perceptual) consciousness with an immense and ever-growing literature dealing with the hominid sequence. This book is must-reading for philosophers and theologians and especially for paleoscientists. Their sciences will never be the same.


Barry Cooper

Professor of Political Philosophy, University of Calgary

Of the many books that continue to be written on human evolution, very few deal with the philosophy of human origins. But now we have a very welcome study by Fr. Brendan Purcell that addresses this very topic. Purcell paints an enormous canvas, ranging from the Big Bang to human consciousness.

Drawing on a wide range of authoritative sources to compose a gracefully written scholarly synthesis, the book is full of valuable insights. For example …

[Purcell] explains ‘the fallacy of answering the unasked question’ – when science or religion undertake to answer questions that don’t arise within their methodologies. Given that this fallacy is avoided, the author proposes that a sensible relation of complementarity should exist between science, religion and philosophy rather than a confrontational interaction where one discipline tries to refute and supplant the explanations of the others.


William Reville

Associate Professor in Biochemistry, University College Cork, and Science Today columnist in The Irish Times

Like G.K. Chesterton’s opening lines to his The Napoleon of Notting Hill, the book is addressed to ‘The human race to which so many of my readers belong.’ So I’d recommend it to anyone who’s a member of that same human race with an interest in the wonderful mystery of how we came into existence and why.


Cardinal George Pell

Archbishop of Sydney

This is a great book with a powerful message of the distinctiveness of human beings in the evolutionary story about life. The work stands at the crossroads of scientific, anthropological, philosophical and theological interests. Purcell’s work asks all the relevant questions at this intersection, with the information and clarity of thought to address them – there is no ‘blinking.’ A fine book for believers and unbelievers alike.


Rev. Dr. Stephen Ames

Lecturer in ‘God and the Natural Sciences,’ University of Melbourne

This is a unique opportunity to meet, and dialogue with, a first-rate scholar who is deeply devoted to his work in philosophy and science but even more deeply devoted to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am pleased to introduce Dr. Purcell to my friends. I hope some of you will come to this unique event and meet him with me.

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  1. Gerald W Stover August 17, 2012 at 11:00 am

    The NY Times Opinion Page of August 18 2012 reports on Reductionism as a Philosophical category. The title of the essay is “Reality is Flat. (Or is it?)
    The author, Richard Polt is Professor of Philospophy at Xavier University in Cincinatti OH. Interested Readers of the Brendan Purcell book review posted by Rev. John H. Armstrong may find this essay deeply complimentary to Professor Brendan Purcell’s philosophical anthropology.
    SEE :

    Respectfully submitted,

    Gerald W Stover
    bethlehem PA

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