Jason Rosenhouse has written a blog about Michael Ruse and William Dembski. His complaint against Ruse, among other things, is that Ruse is too cordial, too civil with ID supporters, Dembski especially.
And while I may dislike and disagree with Ruse’s thinking, it is his actions over the last several years that I loathe and detest. I hate the way he has been doing everything in his power to prop up the ID folks. I hate that he persuaded a presitgious university press to publish a book co-edited by William Dembski, which featured four essays defending “Darwinism” that seemed tailor made to make evolution look bad. I hate that he contributes essays to anthologies designed to celebrate ID promoters and that he tells debate audiences that Dembski has made valuable contributions to science. Go here for relevant links and further details.
Rosenhouse hates quite a lot. What Rosenhouse also finds intolerable is that Ruse would even entertain the idea that an atheist Darwinist like Ruse gives any credence whatsoever to the proposition that religion is not the world’s greatest evil:
If you mean someone who agrees that logically there could be a god, but who doesn’t think that the logical possibility is terribly likely, or at least not something that should keep us awake at night, then I guess a lot of us are atheists. But there is certainly a split, a schism, in our ranks. I am not whining (in fact I am rather proud) when I point out that a rather loud group of my fellow atheists, generally today known as the “new atheists”, loathe and detest my thinking.
If the new atheists (folks like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett) are making the party line, Rosenhouse is just towing it like a pack mule. But be forewarned, all you young lurkers, because Rosenhouse can’t tolerate nine year old’s either:
A while back I was a counselor at a summer camp, keeping an eye on a group of rowdy nine year olds. One of the kids was taunted relentlessly by the others for his incessant whining. He did not help his cause by answering such taunts with, “I don’t whine!” said in a pathetically whiny tone of voice.
If you have to tell people you are not whining, you’re whining.
Rosenhouse would, not doubt, maintain that he himself is not whining.
Second, unlike the new atheists, I take scholarship seriously. I have written that The God Delusion made me ashamed to be an atheist and I meant it. Trying to understand how God could need no cause, Christians claim that God exists necessarily. I have taken the effort to try to understand what that means. Dawkins and company are ignorant of such claims and positively contemptuous of those who even try to understand them, let alone believe them. Thus, like a first-year undergraduate, he can happily go around asking loudly, “What caused God?” as though he had made some momentous philosophical discovery.
Indeed, it is an uneducated question that Ruse is right to point out. It is based on the assumption that everything, even supernatural things, need a first cause. Natural things do need a first cause, but I don’t see how we could logically apply natural rules to supernatural things. Yet Dawkins is so steeped in materialism, that I presume he smuggles in material necessities, such as the necessary first cause argument, even when thinking about the immaterial and supernatural. I appreciate that Ruse is trying to understand the argument, while the new atheists and Rosenhouse don’t seem to be, or maybe they are just too dense to understand, or too lost to care, or both.
The rest of his blog is much of the same kind of argument. I would say it’s childish, but that would be an offense to children, for children, in their innocence, have more of a sense of fairness and respect for their fellows than Rosenhouse has. Praise for Michael Ruse for having intellectual integrity instead of a rabid dog in the fight. The response that Rosenhouse has is, I suspect, the result of a poor education.
“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”
Although, I have to admit, Rosenhouse is not even clever.