Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Does Darwin Need Defending?


In the U.S., Darwin still needs defending
Saturday, December 3, 2005 Page D6
Darwin: Discovering the Tree of Life By Niles Eldredge

Norton, 256 pages, $49

I am an English-born Canadian who now lives in Florida. I am here because Ontario universities still fire people for being old. The United States regards ageism as a moral wrong, on a par with sexism and racism. This is one of the many things I find right about the United States, along with Saturday mail delivery and good-quality Sunday newspapers.

Yet after a lifetime of studying Americans — I have gone to school with them, I have argued with them, I have had sex with them, and now I live with them — I am still puzzled. Most particularly over religion. I cannot understand how anyone over the age of 12 can take seriously and literally the creation stories of Genesis. It is truly beyond me to fathom how someone can spend time and effort actually trying to work out the elephants’ living arrangements on the Ark. Yet this is the sort of stuff I deal with daily on my campus.


Keiths- that's silly. You seem to imply there's some sort of conspiracy here. Science has implications on nearly all worldviews- so, it affecting religion is no secret. Dembski and others talk about religion, but it's not ALL about religion to them...to ID critics, for the most part, it's ALL about religion and nonsense claims of theocracy, separation of church and state (sorry, but teaching a science that has religious implications is hardly what the founders wanted to ban!), and proclamations that this isn't real science, these aren't real scientists, etc. The complaint is paranoid and your reasoning implies a double standard. No doubt Darwinism has been used to push the idea that God is dead (this was Darwin's own purpose!), yet that's not suspect, but a theist who embraced ID IS? By your reasoning, it seems that anytime anyone speaks of neodarwinism, it should include the note that it's used more often than not for atheistic purposes. Josh Bozeman
Josh Bozeman says: "One thing we can say for sure- it’s the anti-ID crowd that brings up religion a hundred times more often than IDers do themselves." Josh, That's true, but there are very good reasons for the discrepancy. IDers don't mention religion for tactical reasons. Opponents mention it because they feel that the agenda of ID proponents is primarily religious rather than scientific. Phillip Johnson does nothing to put us at ease when he explicitly advocates "theistic science." keiths
One thing we can say for sure- it's the anti-ID crowd that brings up religion a hundred times more often than IDers do themselves. Josh Bozeman
Once again we see the real driving force behind the evolution activists. They can't help it really, since they can't actually defend evolution with science they have to resort to demagoguery in their rhetoric. It is becoming more and more apparent that as they feel more and more frustrated with the amount of people who reject evolution that their real objective (to denigrate religious belief) comes more and more out in the open. They want nothing less then to force their religious views onto everyone in the guise of preaching rational thinking. These are Karl Marx's philosophical children in that sense. They dream of their utopian societies where the scientific dictatorship is given free reign to shape peoples minds to their way of thinking without any competition. But because that Marxian worldview became untenable Marx's children now seek to control and shape society through their sole control over the public education system. Therefore they hate what ID scientists are doing. They hate them. Truely hate them. They will try to destroy careers and in doing so they reveal their true unstable psyche. These are sick people. Their best and last hope for ontological hegemony over the world is being challenged. They feel as if their delusion of an atheist or pseudo spiritual utopian future is at the brink of forever being dashed by the forces of darkness. What fools these mortals be. mentok
So Mike has a problem with people who hold to absolute moral standards, huh? Well, in that case, I'm sure he has no moral objection to the sexual fantasies of Marquis de Sade or the eugenic practices of the Nazis or the policies of the Stalinist USSR. And why should he? It's not like any harm could ultimately come from laissez faire morality, right? :P David crandaddy
The article by Michael Ruse reminds me of many programs on the BBC written about the US. The BBC has a fascination with correcting perceived US cultural problems by making light humour of conflicts. I cannot recall a program critical of English habits being broadcast on the BBC. He casts the lack of belief in Darwinism and variants into a light humour contrast. "We English have the origin puzzles sorted out but our rebellious colonials are still stuck in Genesis." He does write in an interesting way. I wish I could write as well. Does he deal with the core engineering and scientific issues in any of his books? Downunder in New Zealand we have a joke about the English. How do you tell the difference between a Pom and a Boeing 747? The 747 stops whining (complaining, whinging, grizzling) when it lands in Auckland. Michael landed in Northern Florida and hasn't stopped grizzling about its cutlural features. RussellBelding
Bill, about the topic of the blog my answer is: "Yes" *grin* Mats
"Yet this is the sort of stuff I deal with daily on my campus." a) There must be a reason as to why the Darwinists, after decads of indoctrination, haven't been able to convert the Americans, like they convertesd the Europeans. b) Professor Ruse, perhaps you should try to find out why is it that one of the most technological advanced nations in the world is having a hard time swallowing your belief system. c) Prof Ruse, in case you didn't notice, a new front has opened against your religion. It is called "ID" and it doesn't seem it is going anywhere. So you attacking the plain understanding of Genesis won't make Evolutionism look any better. Oh, about a), yes, you are right. The major reason (not the only one) why Americans have a hard time accepting Darwinism is bkz of the Book of Genesis. But you know that. ;) Mats
Someday phychologists (or phyciatrists!) will want to examine what underlay the mass insanity of the 20th and early 21st century. My theory: the cause of the insanity will be found to be ... Darwinism. (Judeo-Christian theism has been around for 5 millinia; institutionalized liberty has advanced under its banner. [See Declaration of Independence.] Not so Darwinism. I provide examples upon request.) Insanity has become a way of life for many a "enlightened" modern man. It is exhibited across the board in the writings AND POLITICS of everyone who believes it! The example above by Michael Ruse demonstrates the insanity of one who relates Darwinism to the "politically correct" stands on Terri Shiavo? Levees? Universal health care? Darwinian defenders were "for the war" before they were "against it." A few days ago, we saw Fr George Coyne SJ defending panthism.... This is what you get: "…Of course, by the interaction of chance and necessity, "many hydrogen molecules are formed and eventually many "of them combine with oxygen to make water, and so on, "until we have very complex molecules and eventually the "most complicated organism that science knows: the human brain. (“Fr George Coyne SJ, responding to Cardinal Schoenborn at http://www.thetablet.co.uk/cgi-bin/register.cgi/tablet-01063 ) Darwinism is "faith", the never-seen but imagined, a magical thinking, that leads to "rational insanity". In other words, insanity that proceeds logically from a faulty premise: "A) If this is true (it's not, but if it is), then B) this MUST be true. Repeat A) B) ad nauseum." "A) Man evolved over millions of years from B) a single living molecule in A) the priordal soup to the ... B) genius that he is today, A) lord of all B) that he surveys...." "Therefore, A) there is no 'god' and B) people who believe in 'God' must be either A) illinformed or B) evil. Furthermore, A) people who are (fill in blank) must be A) re-educated [starting with ridicule] or B) put in jail (where 'political correctness' is going)." One of the things ID is doing in the present is exposing the insanity of people who believe the Darwinian "just-so" stories: "molecules combined until (poof!)... we have ... the human brain." Michael Ruse says, "I cannot understand how anyone over the age of 12 can take seriously and literally the creation stories of Genesis." Reality confronts insanity and leaves Ruse bewildered. Red Reader
A Gladiator-For-Darwin like Ruse should know better than to shamble around bringing up the "moral drives" of simple minded fundamentalist types. What of the "moral drives" of the late great atheist communist bloc nations? Carlos Alberto Montaner, an exile cuban writer recently authored a piece in which ID is mentioned. In "Darwin & God" he addresses the importance and consequences of belief in either have on a democracy. Montaner describes himself as an agnostic at the end of the piece. http://www.firmaspress.com/587.htm Having suffered the effects of atheism on cuba Mr. Montaner, who fled the island for the sake of freedom, may have more insight into the issue of moral drives than Mr. Ruse who appears to have fled Canada for warmer weather, employment, and sex (not that I can blame him...) lpadron
I've never seen a video or anything of any debates with this guy, but when people go off on rants about issues that aren't even related, you know they're probably fools. Terri Shiavo? Levees? Universal health care (does he want to pay the taxes to make that possible?), etc. That has NOTHING to do with evolution and it has nothing to do with religious people- news flash, most Americans oppose universal health care, most Americans supported Shiavo's right to life when they actually heard that she was NOT in a "vegetative state", and most Americans are vocal in their support of the right to bear arms. Somehow no one clued this guy in to the fact that we're not talking about raving lunatics but rather the majority of the US public. And his demeaning tone to people who believe in the Bible is disgusting- how anyone older than 12 could believe it is beyond him...it's beyond me how anyone older than 12 can be so confused merely by others not agreeing with their positions. I see this nonstop pattern here- hateful diatribes from mainly one side of this debate, and it's not on the ID side. The ID supportive pieces are, from what I have seen, nearly always thoughtful and fair, polite to those who disagree...but you don't get that much from the NDE side- you get rants about the religious and how foolish they are, how IDers are quacks and nuts, and how anyone who doesn't believe in NDE is dangerous to society. Let's face it, students who don't buy into NDE are in no danger of wrecking society, and the future scientists who support ID aren't going to lead to some terrible situation where there are no real scientists in the US. Along with the hateful rants come the scare tactics, nothing more. Josh Bozeman
Wait, here's bona-fide evidence for evolution by natural selection - the transformation of the 10 lb. note from Dickens to Darwin all because of the size of the beard. I just knew that beard was good for something! jacktone
Yeah, like the others, he likes to compartmentalize. Bombadill
Ahhhh the inevitable conclusions drawn by those who begin with the presupposition that the supernatural "just don't happen, cuz I ain't never seen it." This guy rubs me the wrong way, more so than even Ken Miller. He's stubborn and tries to talk over people during debates. Tiring. Bombadill
Now, I know Ruse is a complete waste of time when he starts on about how he's amazed that any over the age of 12 can take the bible literally, then goes on to rant (like a lunatic):
This all leads to moral drives in the present. Do not attempt grand plans of reform and progress. Concentrate on personal purity, so you will be among the chosen. Do not concern yourself with plans for universal health care. Stop the plug from being withdrawn from Terri Schiavo. Do not worry about the levees of New Orleans. Fight the good fight against the anti-Christ in Iraq. Care not for the gun-driven murder rate. Support the Second Amendment to the Constitution and the right to bear arms.
So bible believers said to heck with the levees in NO? Can someone find evidence of this please, for it's an insane claim! And it's bad to want to be on the side of life as with Shiavo? And how on earth is Iraq the anti-christ? Who has made this claim and how on earth is it related to bible believers or evolution for that matter? Ruse is clearly another hate-filled Darwinist who just can't stand that the majority in the US just simply don't see the evidence for what he praises as such a magetic and wonderful theory. Paint those who disagree with you as nuts, end of story- how nice. Josh Bozeman
So, he's embarassed by those who believe the bible from genesis to revelation? Cry me a river. Why someone needs to whine about this, I've no idea. You're in a slim minority- get over it and move on...but for the love of God, stop ridiculing others who don't share your views. Josh Bozeman

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