Simply the thing you are shall make you live. Old Spanish Proverb For the moment, we are all waiting for the gate of time to open. The heroic era of scientific exploration appears at an end, the large aching questions settled. An official ideology is everywhere in evidence and everywhere resisted. From the place where space and time are curved Read More ›
Can scientists change their minds about controversial ideas? Can they reject theories if evidence requires? That may depend upon what theories are at stake. Consider a disturbing case in California involving a distinguished biology professor, Dean Kenyon. A year ago, Kenyon was removed from his biology classroom at San Francisco State University after a few students complained to administrators about Read More ›
In her Dec. 15 letter responding to my December 6th editorial-page piece “A Scopes Trial for the ’90s” Eugenie Scott claims that Prof. Kenyon and I misunderstand the nature of science. What she means, of course, is that we understand it — and its current arbitrary prohibitions — all too well. The Kenyon case underscores a fact that Dr. Scott Read More ›
When most of us think of the controversy over evolution in the public schools, we are likely to think of fundamentalists pulling teachers from their classrooms and placing them in the dock. Images from the infamous Scopes “monkey” trial of 1925 come to mind. Unfortunately, intolerance of this sort has shown itself in California in the 1990s as a result of students complaining about a biology instructor. Unlike the original Scopes case, however, this case involves a distinguished biology professor at a major university — indeed, an acknowledged expert on evolutionary theory. Also unlike Scopes, the teacher was forbidden to teach his course not because he taught evolutionary theory (which he did) but because he offered a critical assessment of Read More ›
Introduction: Why Return to a Disreputable Business? Present theological discussions . . . ignore natural theology, and for contemporary linguistic philosophers the Argument from Design possesses no validity whatsoever and is logically and morally indefensible, although it may serve to heighten religious emotions. Meyrick H. Carre“Physicotheology,” The Encyclopedia of Philosophy One wonders what religious emotions the argument from design is Read More ›
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.Read More ›