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

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,756 ratings  ·  155 reviews
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 Graffin

The 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 Profes
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 28th 2010 by It Books (first published 2010)
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 ·  1,756 ratings  ·  155 reviews

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Kevin Shepherd
Anarchy Evolution resides at the intersection of science, religion and punk rock. It’s Greg Graffin’s philosophy, autobiography and discography; an odd but interesting presentation of his world view.

I wasn’t at all sure I wanted to venture inside the mind of Bad Religion’s front-man and lead singer. Outside of The Clash (I still have a CD of ‘London Calling’) and maybe Green Day, I’m not much of a punk rock aficionado. In my mind, this had all the makings of a literary catastrophe. I imagined Si
Dec 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own
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, bu
Bastian Greshake Tzovaras
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 s
David Boone
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 direct ...more
Eve Kay
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Unlike others, I fail to see the point of this book. I'm analysing it now that I've read it and the only conclusion I come to is that it's Graffin's way of jotting stuff down and/or therapy. By writing, I think he is processing some stuff, it just feels to me he published it just 'cause other singers from other bands have also published books.

The mentioning of Dawkins in the beginning was mean, I was hopeful to find a similar style of analysis on religion as Dawkins has in his books but Graffin'
Oct 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Apr 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 evolu ...more
K Parker Howard
Oct 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Entertaining, yet satisfies my scientific curiosity. Recommended read especially when faced with evolution deniers :)
Landon Hale
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Hackie Laguna
May 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
one of those eye openers. makes you question things as they are
Nov 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 espec
Jennifer Johnson
Feb 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
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
Nov 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 28, 2012 rated it liked it
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 app
Jun 23, 2011 rated it liked it
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-18t ...more
Feb 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
David Holtkamp
Jan 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 t ...more
Oct 02, 2010 rated it liked it
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 p
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 i ...more
Oct 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did. I got it for P. Fisher and started reading the first few pages. Though it took me a while, I looked forward to reading a little bit every day. Quite prolific in expressing opinions (some that I share myself) in a way that I've always found difficult to put to words. Very good read of somewhat complex and thought provoking topics.
James England
Oct 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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.
Kind of hard to review as it's right up my lane. I enjoyed it. Bad Religion is one of my all time favorites so I'm hardly impartial here. Would recommend for non-religious people who want to learn something new about evolution and humankind and/or people who want to muse on the Big Questions. If you're offended or annoyed by Atheism, this is not for you.
Aug 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
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.
Feb 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Saying that Greg Graffin is an interesting guy is an understatement. He's an Ivy League-educated evolutionary biologist and cofounder/frontman for one of the most famous bands of all time. Worth a read for the cogent narrative, the sciency bits, and the punk history.
Apr 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
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 o
M.A. Garcias
Jun 03, 2018 rated it liked it
If you're a fan of Bad Religion (I am) and love science and nature (I do) you'll probably enjoy this book, although both topics are interleaved under a very subtle common theme. It reads more as a collection of essays put together, but as book you get to know more about Graffin's life and philosophy, the history of Bad Religion and a lot about natural history and biology evolution which are the big interests of the author aside of punk music. Can't rate it higher because it lacks structure as a ...more
Douglas L Allen
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Things I Said/Yelled Out Loud While Reading This Book:

“What kind of a fucking dickhead puts ENDnotes on their book instead of FOOTnotes?!”

“What is this book even about?!”

“What a fucking nerd!”

“I don’t think he has any idea how funny this book is.”

“Is he an alien?”

I wouldn’t say it was a great read and I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it, but if you want to learn more about how Greg Graffin’s mind works, this is the book for you.
Michael Anderson
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Examines issues surrounding religion, science, evolution, and punk rock in an interesting mix of philosophy and reminiscences by the lead singer of Bad Religion, who happens to have a PhD in biological sciences (or something like that). It’s uneven, even boring in places, but brilliant in others and overall well worth reading.
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Gregory Walter Graffin is an American punk rock musician and college professor. He is most recognized as the lead vocalist and songwriter of the noted Los Angeles band Bad Religion, which he co-founded in 1980 and has been its only continual member. Graffin obtained his Ph.D. at Cornell University and has lectured courses in life sciences and paleontology at the University of California, Los Angel ...more

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