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The Whole Question of Metaphysics

Report on the AAAS 1993 Boston meeting discussing "The New Anti-Evolutionism" and Professor Michael Ruse's surprising remarks Origins Research 15, no. 1

On February 11-16, 1993, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) met in Boston for its 159th National Meeting. While several sessions addressed topics of great interest, one in particular — "The New Anti-evolutionism" — focused on issues which have long been featured in OR publications and correspondence.1 This report concentrates on that section.

Transcript of Michael Ruse's 1993 Speech to the AAAS
(transcript added 5.98)


The Case of the Missing Speaker

Michael Ruse, a philosopher and biology historian at the University of Guelph in Ontario, was probably the best-known speaker featured at the session, "The New Anti-evolutionism." As session organizer Eugenie Scott remarked before Ruse spoke, "He is almost a person who needs no introduction in this context." Yet a recent article describing the session in the London Times Higher Education Supplement omits Ruse entirely.2 Although the Times provides the identities and views of all the other speakers in some detail, they make no mention — even in passing — of Ruse nor his talk.

Why the glaring omission? Was Ruse's talk so commonplace or forgettable that it warranted no mention? Hardly: indeed, the opposite is the case. Ruse is often controversial, but he is rarely boring, and his talk entitled "Nonliteralist anti-evolution as in the case of Phillip Johnson" was true to form; it was (for this correspondent) easily the most memorable and surprising of the meeting. Thus I speculate that Ruse's conspicuous absence from the Times article may be due to a certain uneasiness about his main point, which, Ruse argued (and I agree) "is an important one."

This eyewitness report may help to repair the Times complete neglect of Professor Ruse. Let's begin by reviewing the other speakers' remarks.

Continue Reading at Origins Research 15, no. 1

Paul Nelson

Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Paul A. Nelson is currently a Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute and Adjunct Professor in the Master of Arts Program in Science & Religion at Biola University. He is a philosopher of biology who has been involved in the intelligent design debate internationally for three decades. His grandfather, Byron C. Nelson (1893-1972), a theologian and author, was an influential mid-20th century dissenter from Darwinian evolution. After Paul received his B.A. in philosophy with a minor in evolutionary biology from the University of Pittsburgh, he entered the University of Chicago, where he received his Ph.D. (1998) in the philosophy of biology and evolutionary theory.