Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Absolute Disasters in the Fight Against Intelligent Design

I linked to this email message from Michael Ruse to Daniel Dennett some time ago, but some of my readers may not have seen it. It is not to be missed. Some excerpts follow, but please go read the whole thing.

I am a hard-line Darwinian and always have been very publicly when it did cost me status and respect . . .

. . . .

It is true that I condemn or at least want to point to evolutionism, which I do think functions as a secular religion – but never have I said that Darwinian evolutionary theory is anything but a genuine theory – I am the guy who stood up in Arkansas and said this when all of the fancy philosophers would not have any part in the fight, and who got slammed afterwards by Larry Laudan, Ernan McMullin, Philip Kitcher, and others, because of my stand.

. . . .

Fourth, I thought your new book is really bad . . .

Fifth, I think that you and Richard are absolute disasters in the fight against intelligent design – we are losing this battle, not the least of which is the two new supreme court justices who are certainly going to vote to let it into classrooms – what we need is not knee-jerk atheism but serious grappling with the issues – neither of you are willing to study Christianity seriously and to engage with the ideas – it is just plain silly and grotesquely immoral to claim that Christianity is simply a force for evil, as Richard claims – more than this, we are in a fight, and we need to make allies in the fight, not simply alienate everyone of good will.



Other posts of mine involving the spat between Ruse and Dennett are here and here.

Related posts are here and here.

More on Michael Ruse and Daniel Dennett if you search by their names above.

4 Comments:

At January 09, 2008 10:17 PM, Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

In 1986, Ruse sounded much like Dawkins as he ranted against Christianity, in his book Taking Darwin Seriously:

"An all-powerful, all-loving God simply would not allow small children to die in screaming agony-- and that is that...I am not now trying to convert Christians to atheism...they go on believing in God on the basis of faith or some such thing, telling us that science is not all there is to life...We should not play fast and loose with causality, supposing that people can walk on water and raise others from the dead, abilities claimed for a certain well-known Nazarene." (p.176)

I wonder if he has really mellowed, or simply changed his tactics?

 
At January 11, 2008 1:48 AM, Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Michael Ruse said,
>>>>>"It is true that I condemn or at least want to point to evolutionism, which I do think functions as a secular religion –- but never have I said that Darwinian evolutionary theory is anything but a genuine theory ....."

What is the difference between "evolutionism" and "Darwinian evolutionary theory"?

 
At January 11, 2008 12:25 PM, Anonymous lawrence said...

Jim,

Don't know but an interesting question.

Larry,

Evolutionism is when people take the scientific theory of evolution and draw out the implications for philosophy, morality, religion, etc. One of my links in the post quotes Ruse on this, and gives more details.

 
At January 12, 2008 7:16 PM, Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Incidentally, I'm not a Christian or even a theist: my somewhat eclectic religious or spiritual views are influenced especially by Zen Buddhism and meditation. Darwinists insist that I must be a "fundie," but I simply have high regard for all religions. I don't believe in Darwinism; and am partial to intelligent design theory of some sort.

 

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