Dowd does have an interesting theory of the connection between brain development and sin, which I wrote about earlier. And he does have a useful timeline of cosmic evolution. Ultimately, though, he says he is not trying to coordinate religious views and scientific ones. He even seems to reject the project, though he does in fact do a bit of that himself. He is, as he says, a popularizer and evangelist for the view that evolution is itself a religious worldview. So if there is not as much science as I would like, that is more my problem than his.
Dowd's ambiguity and reinterpretation of Biblical language is more of a problem even within his own project. He distinguishes between the "night language" of religion and the "day language" of science. Here he gives a translation from one to the other:
Our purpose, individually, is to grow in Christ and to support one another in staying true to God's Word and God's will. Collectively, we are here to create Christ-centered institutions that glorify God and embody the values of the Kingdom.
He continues, "A day language way of saying the same thing might be:"
Our purpose, individually, is to grow in trust, authenticity, responsibility, and service to the Whole, and to support others in doing the same. Collectively, we are here to celebrate and steward what Life has been doing for billions of years and to devise systems of governance and economics that align the self-interest of individuals and groups with the wellbeing of the larger communities of which we are a part.
The latter might be a worthy ethical view, but I don't see how it is simply a translation of the former view. He articulates at some length his theory of Evolutionary Christianity, Evolutionary Islam, Evolutionary Judaism, Evolutionary Buddhism, etc., which re-interprets all faiths into one - the same one that he sees in evolution. Dowd even contends that all faiths will evolve into his version of cosmopolitan unitarianism when everyone faces up to "reality." Sociologically, it seems very unlikely to me that all the world's faiths will give up their tradition and what he calls "flat earth" Scriptures to embrace scientific unitarianism.
What has been hardest for me to pin down in reading this book is what Dowd means by God. On the one hand, he uses God talk all the time, starting with the title. On the other hand, he says:
God was active at every moment, at every critical juncture. God, as I have been using the term, is no less than a holy name for Supreme Wholeness, that Ultimate Creative Reality that brought everything, step-by-step, into existence.
On the other hand, he denies that God designed anything. Everything evolved by natural selection. In his final credo, Dowd asserts
I believe that God is creator and ruler of the Universe. And I know that this statement is metaphorical, not literal, in what it says about the nature of reality.
I can't tell what Dowd's God is - if he thinks God is real. If you take Dowd to mean exactly what he says, then God is a metaphor we use to describe whatever it is that happens to emerge from evolution. He believes that evolution is leading the universe toward greater complexity. Moreover, he thinks the fact that human beings understand the universe means that they evolved in order to be the universe's way of understanding itself. This is a pretty vision, but I don't see how he can derive that either from his science or his theology.