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Why Darwinian philosopher Michael Ruse is not a new atheist

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This one missed the religion news stream yesterday; just saw it today:

Partly it is aesthetic. They are so vulgar.

Dawkins in The God Delusion would fail any introductory philosophy or religion course. To take one example, the Ontological Argument for God was first devised by Anselm and refurbished by Descartes. Roughly, it runs thus: God is by definition that than which none greater can be thought. Does He exist? Suppose He doesn’t. Then there is a greater who does exist. Contradiction! Hence, God exists.

In The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins dismisses this longstanding and much debated philosophical argument with a few sneering paragraphs. His critique is on a par with someone arguing against Dawkins’ own body of work by saying that selfish genes cannot exist because genes cannot be selfish (and with about as much understanding or sensitivity). But hardly any serious theologian or philosopher thinks the Ontological Argument is valid in the way I have just described it. It has been reframed and reworked. Every serious theologian and philosopher knows that the argument leads us into important and sophisticated questions about the nature of existence. Does the notion of necessary existence – which must surely be true of God if he exists – even make sense? And so forth. To arrogantly dismiss the argument is bad scholarship and, worse still, bad taste. Ironically, I get on better with many of my Christian interlocutors than I do with many atheists.Michael Ruse, “I’m an atheist. But thank God I’m not a New Atheist” at Premier Christianity

Ruse’s comments followed a debate with Oxford mathematician John Lennox about Science, faith and the evidence for God.

Cover for Darwinism as Religion Michael Ruse is the author of Darwinism as Religion (2016) as well as many other works on Darwinism and culture.

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See also: Michael Ruse: Christianity and Darwinism as rival religions

and

Museum curator on allowing “a foot in the door” on origins questions

2 Replies to “Why Darwinian philosopher Michael Ruse is not a new atheist

  1. 1
    vmahuna says:

    “Suppose He doesn’t. Then there is a greater who does exist. Contradiction! Hence, God exists.”

    OK, but this is trivial. That is, “god” exists but is NOTHING like the being about whom people start religions. God creates nothing, does not rule over anything like “heaven”, has no “angel messengers”, etc., etc.

    This would seem to then move the debate to whether some SPECIFIC version of “god” exits, and THAT is ENTIRELY about your personal choice in Religions.

    In the Celtic versions of religion, which are THOUSANDS of years older than what certain Semitic people came up with circa 350 BC and certain Christian peoples came up with around 50 AD, all humans have an immortal spirit that continues to exit after their deaths. ALL spirits go to “heaven”, where they can experience God directly for the rest of eternity. God expects NOTHING from living human beings, but God does arrange “challenges” for them, the point of which is debatable. WHY God creates humans with immortal spirits might be explained to you once you go to Heaven. Or not. Maybe it was Tuesday, and God was bored.

    But there is no necessary connection between the existence of a Creator and any specific modern religion and its beliefs. And THAT is the great fallacy pressed by people who believe that their personal preferences represent The One True Religion, and of course The One True God.

  2. 2
    EricMH says:

    The ontological argument is interesting because it posits a necessary link between our thoughts and reality, or at least it is impossible for us to think otherwise. Even the doubt my last statement introduces contains some logical inconsistency according to the ontological argument. Anyways, it introduces a very non modern notion of how our mind relates to ultimate reality and it is fascinating to consider, especially if the ontological argument is sound. We know it is at least valid, since this has been computationally proven.

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