Darwinism Evolution

Michael Ruse: Contributes both to Johnson’s and Dawkins’s Festschriften in 2006

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Michael Ruse has the unique distinction of contrbuting essays both to Phillip Johnson’s Festschrift (see here) and to that of Richard Dawkins — and both in 2006. The latest Oxford U Press catalog of new & recent titles in philosophy has the following entry:

Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think, edited by Alan Grafen and Mark Ridley. Essays by Daniel Dennett, Steven Pinker, Matt Ridley, James Watson, Simon Blackburn, Michael Ruse, Michael Shermer, and the Bishop of Oxford (!), among others.

27 Replies to “Michael Ruse: Contributes both to Johnson’s and Dawkins’s Festschriften in 2006

  1. 1
    John Davison says:

    Sir Richard Dawkins is a scientist? I always thought of him as an author of children’s books but maybe that is a different Sir Richard Dawkins.

  2. 2
    John Davison says:

    Michael Ruse strikes me as a sort of jovial bufoon with nothing of substance to offer about anything. He didn’t respond to my personal invitation to enter my “Tournament of Evolutionary Hypotheses” but neither did anyone else. What do I know anyway?

  3. 3
    Xavier says:

    Dr Davison

    Why so abusive of other scientists? You have remarked that people (at Pandas Thumb for example) did not show you respect as an emeritus professor, but you don’t set a very good example.

  4. 4
    John Davison says:

    Xavier

    I agree with you entirely. I set a hideous exampkle by my atrocious refusal to afford respect to those who do not deserve it. If my illustrious predecessors had not been such perfect gentlemen, Darwinism would have died years ago. Like everything else in this world I too was prescribed to be what I am. My Providence, if may use that word and I just did, is to resurrect some of the most brilliant minds of the past two centuries, minds that have been not only ignored but often vilified. Those who have failed to honor their contributions have earned my heartfelt contempt and I have every intention of continuing to express my feelings toward such ideological bigots because that is exactly what they are. Now I am sorry that you do not care for my methods, but I can assure you that I have no intention of changing them after my many experiences on internet forums. I have many enemies and few supporters and I am very content with my position in the conflict that continues to wage. I am a free spirit by nature and inclination. I was “prescribed” to be that way. Grant me the same consideration that Einstein granted every human being:

    “Our actions should be based on the ever-present awareness that human beings in their thinking, feeling, and acting are not free but are just as causally bound as the stars in their motion.”

    Or don’t grant me that. I really couldn’t care less.

    Incidentally, neither Michael Ruse nor Sir Richard Dawkins is a scientist. Scientists ask questions and attempt to answer them. Neither of them qualify and I defy you to produce any evidence to the contrary.

    Thanks for asking the question and I hope I have answered it.

  5. 5
    Xavier says:

    Dr Davison,

    Professor Ruse is indeed not a scientist, but a philosopher. I apologise for implying otherwise.

    Dawkins graduated from Oxford in ’62 and stayed for his doctorate, studying under the ethologist and Nobel Prize winner Niko Tinbergen. He was asst. professor of zoology at UCB for 3 years before returning to Oxford as lecturer in zoology. He appears to have produced at least 40 scientific papers (some with co-authors), although he has devoted much time to writing popular science books since 1976. You may disagree fundamentally with his views, Dr Davison, but his scientific credentials are impeccable.

  6. 6
    John Davison says:

    Xavier

    Sorry, but earning a doctorate in ethology and publishing lots of papers and books does not a scholar make. The fact is that Dawkins has deliberately and cynically avoided many great biologists and built a world entirely of his own design. If you can take seriously the notion of a blind watchmaker climbing mount improbable, good for you. I say the man is either entirely deluded or is a snake oil salesman. I can’t really decide which. He sure wasn’t interested in responding to me on more than one occasion. Ideologues are like that of whatever persuasion.

  7. 7
    Xavier says:

    Well, Professor, if Dawkins is aware of the terms in which you speak of him, it would hardly be surprising if he did not wish to engage with you.

  8. 8
    TomG says:

    Professor Dawkins, on the other hand, has earned a reputation for being consistently gentle, kind, and reasonable with those with whom he disagrees. He has built a career, nay even historic renown, on his famous even-handedness. Most of all he’s known for his patience, so maybe there’s some other reason he did not want to engage with Dr. Davison.

  9. 9
    Xavier says:

    I have not heard that Dawkins gratuitously insults individuals. I suspect the reason is that Dawkins did not respond to Dr. Davison is that he was previously unaware of his existence. Perhaps Dr. Davison would like to quote the text of his request.

  10. 10
    John Davison says:

    My text was both open to all on my blog and by personal email invitation to Professor Dawkins. I have over the years on several occasions attempted a dialogue with Dawkins and like Gould and Mayr he too pretended that did not exist. Also like Mayr and Gould and Provine and all the rest of the Darwinian zealots, he has completely ignored those great scientists that have provided me with the basis for the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis. If you are such great fans of this science fiction writer why don’t you write to him and suggest he destroy me with his great knowledge? Or why didn’t you, representing his views, offer your essay on my blog when you had the chance. The truth is no one did and the reason no one did is that no one and I mean no one has a working hypothesis for the origin of biological diversity that he is willing to present. No one that is except myself.

    There are no rules of etiquette in the battle for the control of men’s minds. If it gives you a certain pleasure to disapprove of my tactics that is just tough. Got that? Write that down.

    I would be delighted personally to gratuiously insult Dawkins if he would only be willing to make that conceivable. I do not exist just as my sources don’t. If we did and if we had, Darwinism would have died long ago. I have no respect for the man and for the best of reasons, reasons that should now be obvious to anyone. He is the quintessential, ultraDarwinian, compulsively atheistic, homozygous mystic.

    How do you like them stuffed pork chops?

  11. 11
    Xavier says:

    Dr. Davison

    I was suggesting you may find people more receptive to your ideas if you did not wreath them in pejorative rhetoric. Also an attack on hypothesis X is not a proof for hypothesis Y.

    You wrote:

    I mean no one has a working hypothesis for the origin of biological diversity that he is willing to present. No one that is except myself.

    What about the theory of Intelligent Design as proposed By Behe and Dembski?

  12. 12
    Patrick says:

    ID is design detection as of now. It doesn’t say or predict exactly how a designer would choose to do the designing.

  13. 13
    John Davison says:

    No one has offered a MECHANISM for evolution except the Darwinians, the Lamarckians and myself. If you think there are others, please line them up for me but be sure you place the emphasis on MECHANISM. The Darwinians presented their MECHANISM. the Lamarckians presented theirs and I have presented mine. Where is there another proposed MECHANISM for evolutionary change (please don’t bring up Biblical Creationism) and if there is one why has it not been presented in the professional literature as mine has been in the form of several papers? Please enlighten me. I am all ears. Most of the IDists have been busy trying to prove something that I have always assumed, namely Intelligent Design. That is not a theory. That is not even an hypothesis. That is an undeniable, inescapable established reality. The only thing we do not know and may never know is who WAS the designer, and that doesn’t even matter.

  14. 14
    John Davison says:

    Also I get my jollies treating idiots with contempt. Got that? Write that down.

  15. 15
    John Davison says:

    And Dawkins has certainly not changed the way this scientist thinks as the title of his Festschrift suggests. No indeed.

  16. 16
    DaveScot says:

    Dawkins should wear dresses and high heels. He’d get more respect that way.

  17. 17
    John Davison says:

    I’ll bet that like J. Edgar Hoover he actually does.

  18. 18
    Xavier says:

    Dr. Davison

    On the ISCID site you advised people to visit you recently commented:

    For myself it is only the MECHANISM that is in question because I regard it as unthinkable that any objective mind could summarily deny organic reproductive continuity because that is the very definition of evolution. Yet it seems that some still consider such a possibility. If they do then I say let them put it in print if not in hard copy at least here, hopefully with their real name attached. I guess the anticipated silence of the Darwinians will mean that they still adhere to the aimless, randomly driven mechanism which has characterized the Darwinian model from its inception.

    But what of those who offer no explanation whatsoever like Dembski, Behe, Wells and the others identified with what has come to be known as the “ID movement,” a movement with which I have chosen not to be associated? What do they really believe? I honestly can say that I do not know because they have refused to reveal their convictions. They have been much too busy defending themselves from the overt ridicule characteristic of their Darwinian ultra-materialistic opponents. The Darwinian camp has apparently assumed that the IDists have a Christian Fundamentalist agenda, an agenda which has to my knowledge never been denied. In a sense I can understand the Darwinian position even though I thoroughly reject their own model.

    Do I understand you to mean from this that you believe evolution occurred but all information was pre-programmed by a designer and the unfolding was pre-determined?

  19. 19
    Dan says:

    Dr. Davison is bold and very smart. He is also not a “meanie”, just a heavily maligned scientist by the academic elitists. I recommend that you read his work “Prescribed Evolution”. Also, as a disclaimer, I do not agree with a bunch of his assertions, but he has my respect and my team down here in Boston.

    Dan

  20. 20
    John Davison says:

    Xavier

    The PEH does indeed claim that evolution was preplanned (that is what “prescribed” means)and has unfolded according to a plan, an idea certainly not unique with me as it was suggested independently first by by William Bateson, next by Leo Berg and then by Robert Broom, three of the greatest students of evolution of all time. Robert Broom reached that conclusion without ever mentioning either Bateson or Berg. It is also obvious that Both Broom and Grasse independently held the opinion that evolution was finished. Even Julian Huxley joined in after getting the evidence from Broom. I am delighted to be able to support their insights with my own interpretations based on the failure of sexual reproduction to support creative evolution. I have repeatedly challenged anyone to provide evidence of creative evolution in progress today. I have also asked that any two organisms be chosen with the evidence that one of them is ancestral to the other. Both challenges have gone unanswered. What we see is not evolution in action as the Darwinians have always claimed. We see the products of a past evolution no longer in progress and, in my opinion, it will not be resumed. Do organisms when they die ever return from the dead? Not in my experience. Ontogeny is an excellent model for phylogeny which should surprise no one as both are part of the same organic continuum. Both have been self-regulating, self-terminating and both have been driven by internal forces over which the environment has little or no influence.

    The whole Darwinian model is based on a faulty initial assumption. That assumption is that there is an identifiable exogenous cause of the evolutionary process. Such a cause has never been identified. It was only assumed in the form of this mysterious unidentified and undemonstrated phantom called Natural Selection.

    I say without qualification that Natural Selection never had anything whatsoever to do with the emergence of any new life form in the entire history of the earth. Its ONLY function was, and still is, to maintain the status quo. Again that is not unique with me as it was claimed independently in chronological order first by William Bateson, next by Reginald C. Punnett, next by Leo Berg and it is certainly implicit in Pierre Grasse’s opinion that creative evolution is no longer in progress. I am but the fifth person in that chain convinced that every one if my sources was correct. I regard that conclusion as carved in stone.

    A Darwinian strictly materialist view of evolution is not only inadequate, it is completely wrong. It has been a giant illusion sustained by congenitally predisposed (prescribed?) mentalities that are convinced that there is no purpose in the universe and that man is nothing but an accident. Stephen Jay Gould actually used those words when he said that “intelligence was an evolutionary accident.”

    An hypothesis that cannot be verified must be discarded as useless. The Darwinians even admit that they cannot anticipate what Nature is going to do by placing the entire responsibility for evolution in the hands of that which was created not that which is the creator. Nature never created anything. Nature WAS created and having been created played no further role except to provide an environment for the next predetermined step.

    I am sure this view will not be easily accepted but it represents my current thinking. I am of the opinion that everything we are now learning from chromosome physiology and molecular biology is compatible with the PEH and absolutely nothing is compatible with the Darwinian fantasy and a fantasy it most certainly has been.

    It is only natural when one considers an event to assume that it had a cause that one could identify somehow. I no longer believe that. Neither did Otto Schindewolf. That is what prompted him to deny that evolution was an experimental science. When I first read that I thought he was wrong. I no longer think so. That does not mean that the experimental method cannot be used to test for an endogenous evolutionary mechanism. I reviewed some that evidence in the 2005 Rivista paper and more of it appears all the time.

    Let me say, so there is no question of my position, that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the neoDarwinism paradigm that ever had anything to do with the emergence of a new life form on this planet. All that has ever been demonstrated through the most intensive of selection is the trivial production of varieties. All that can be inferred from Nature is the formation of subspeceis in some but certainly not all forms. The amazing thing is that a Darwinan by the name of Theodosius Dobzhansky exposed the failure of selection under the most rigorous conditions imaginable. He even admitted his failure but the Darwinians, driven as they are by their blind ideology, have steadfastly refused to accept the reality that Natural Selection is a phantom which never had anything to do with speciation or the formation of any of the higher categories. Neither did Mendelian Genetics which is the genetics associated with sexual reproduction, a mode incompetent as a creative device. Bateson too recognized that at about the same time that Berg’s Nomogenesis appeared in 1922. My several sources have paved the way for what I regard as the only viable explanation for the great mystery of organic evolution – the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis.

    “An hypothesis does not cease to be an hypothesis when a lot of people believe it.”
    Boris Ephrussi

    “It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatsoever to believe it is true.”
    Bertrand Russell

    Yet that is exactly what the Darwinians have always done and blindly continue to do.

    It’s hard to believe isn’t it? That does not mean it is wrong.

  21. 21
    John Davison says:

    Thank you Dan for the support. I am afraid I have become somewhat mean however. When your adversary can do nothing but isolate you, insult you and ultimately ban you, it should surprise no one that one might get a little testy. When in Rome do as the Romans do don’t you know. I have lost all respect for the monolothic Darwinian establishment largely because of the way they have pretended over the many ytears that they never had any adversaries. Their behavior was and continues to be a scandal unprecedented in the history of science. I predict that soon the Darwinan fairy tale will join two other myths, the Phlogiston of Chemistry and the Ether of Physics. Two of the three have already become footnotes soon to be joined by the most failed hypothesis in the history of biology. Trust me, but of course you can’t unless that is what you were “prescribed” to be able to do. We are all victims of our determined fate. Some of us have been luckier than others.

    “Everything is determined… by forces over which we have no control.”
    Albert Einstein

  22. 22
    Xavier says:

    Thank you for your reply, Professor.

    Your position is much clearer to me now, You state: I have repeatedly challenged anyone to provide evidence of creative evolution in progress today.

    What do you think of the apparent effect the Cane toad had on gape size of two snake species in Australia, where remaining individuals are no longer able to swallow an adult cane toad (an introduced species) and poison themselves. There is a reference here

    PS to Dan, I have read “A prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis” at least twice. In fact, I have printed off a copy for reference. I have also read the relevant ISCID thread. What in Dr. Davison’s hypothesis do you disagree with?

  23. 23
    John Davison says:

    Xavier

    The answer to your first question is: not much.

    Your second question is an excellent one and I too would like to hear an answer to it. The PEH has been largely rejected out of hand by those who just don’t like it, but seem unable to say what it is about it that they don’t like. I can hardly respond to a criticism yet to me made if you know what I mean.

    It has already been firmly established that our feelings about things from politics, belief or lack thereof in a creator, clothing, perfume and spouses to our taste in beer, toothpaste and jewelry all have a firm genetic basis. I am sure that our views on evolution are also determined or “prescribed” if I dare use that word.

    “Every boy and every girl,
    That is born into the world alive,
    Is either a little liberal,
    Or a little conservative.”

    Gilbert and Sullivan, Iolanthe, 1873

    That was before Einstein was even born and he reached the same conclusion. So have I.

    I have often wondered why it is that our universities are so infected with left-wing ultraliberal professors not only in the “soft” fields like sociology and history but in the hard sciences as well. That such is the case is well established. My only explanation is that it was determined that should be so or, if I may use that awful word, “prescribed.” I regard myself as really lucky not to suffer from that congenital condition.

    How do you like them sweet potatoes stuffed with all that honey and deli mustard? It makes you pucker doesn’it? I certainly hope so!

  24. 24
    Xavier says:

    Dr. Davison,

    Were you least impressed by the observation or the analysis? I assume you didn’t reject the paper out of hand 🙂

    I guess you would find this idea appealing.

  25. 25
    John Davison says:

    What I find appealing is of no consequence. My position has been very clear from the start. Evolution is now finished and when it was in progress it was entirely emergent and predetermined. I have no truck with any religious interpretations whatsoever beyond that of the obvious necessity for one or more original programmers whose intelligence exceeds our comprehension. That is basically Einstein’s view and if it is good enough for big Al, it is good enough for me. Sorry to seem so hidebound.

    How do you like them sour dough biscuits with the molasses all over them? You better like them because that is all you are going to get for breakfast.

  26. 26
    Bombadill says:

    LOL!!!!!

  27. 27
    John Davison says:

    Xavier

    Don’t ask me any more questions because I don’t intend to answer them. Now proceed to use that against me. Bye now. I have other eggs to fry.

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