arly in December of 1981, the federal courtroom in Little Rock, Arkansas, was packed. It was the first week of a trial brought on by the American Civil Liberties Union to challenge the constitutionality of a state law passed earlier that year. The law mandated "balanced treatment," in the publicly supported schools, between evolutionary ideas and so-called Creation Science, better known as the early chapters of Genesis taken absolutely literally (Ruse 1988). By the end of the third day, the case (...) for the plaintiffs was going well. Theologians had testified that Christianity had long interpreted the Bible metaphorically; a philosopher (me!) had argued that Creation Science fails every criterion of demarcation between science and pseudo-science; and the scientists were pointing to error after error in the claims of the literalists. (shrink)
Are science and religion necessarily in conflict? This essay, by stressing the importance of metaphor in scientific understanding, argues that this is not so. There are certain important questions about existence, ethics, sentience and ultimate meaning and purpose that not only does science not answer but that science does not even attempt to answer. One does not necessarily have to turn to religion—one could remain agnostic or skeptical—but nothing in science precludes religion from offering answers. One may criticize the answers (...) of religion, but so long as religion is not attempting surreptitiously to offer scientific answers, the criticisms must be theological or philosophical or of like nature, and cannot simply be purely scientific. (shrink)
Julian Huxley on Darwinian evolution: A snapshot of a theory Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9499-8 Authors Michael Ruse, Department of Philosophy, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32303, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Abstract. I respond to the criticisms of David Wisdo of my position on the relationship between science and religion. I argue that although he gives a full and fair account of my position, he fails to grasp fully my use of the metaphorical basis of modern science in my argument that, because of its mechanistic commitment, there are some questions that science not only does not answer but that science does not even attempt to answer. Hence, my position stands and (...) plays a crucial role in our understanding of the science–religion relationship. (shrink)
Science and religion today Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-11 DOI 10.1007/s11153-011-9316-3 Authors Michael Ruse, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047.
David Hull: a memoir Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10539-010-9236-0 Authors Michael Ruse, Department of Philosophy, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA Journal Biology and Philosophy Online ISSN 1572-8404 Print ISSN 0169-3867.
In this discussion review of Robert John Russell's collection of essays I agree with him about the necessity of human existence given the claims of Christian theology. I look in detail at his suggestions for speaking to this issue, especially his thesis of NIODA—noninterventionist objective divine action. I end up disagreeing with the suggestion and argue that in respects Russell is tackling the science-religion relationship in the wrong way.
This paper is interested in the relationship between evolutionary thinking and moral behavior and commitments, ethics. There is a traditional way of forging or conceiving of the relationship. This is traditional evolutionary ethics, known as Social Darwinism. Many think that this position is morally pernicious, a redescription of the worst aspects of modern, laissez-faire capitalism in fancy biological language. It is argued that, in fact, there is much more to be said for Social Darwinism than many think. In respects, it (...) could be and was an enlightened position to take; but it flounders on the matter of justification. Universally, the appeal is to progress—evolution is progressive and, hence, morally we should aid its success. I argue, however, that this progressive nature of evolution is far from obvious and, hence, traditional social Darwinism fails. There is another way to do things. This is to argue that the search for justification is mistaken. Ethics just is. It is an adaptation for humans living socially and has exactly the same status as other adaptations, like hands and teeth and genitalia. As such, ethics is something with no standing beyond what it is. However, if we all thought that this was so, we would stop being moral. So part of the experience of ethics is that it is more than it is. We think that it has an objective referent. In short, ethics is an illusion put in place by our genes to make us good social cooperators. (shrink)
Introduction -- Part I: Epistemology after Darwin -- Part II: Ethics after Darwin -- Part III: The evolution of ideas -- Part IV: The evolution of rationality -- - Part V: Ethics and progress -- Part VI: The evolution of altruism.
The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin is universally recognized as one of the most important science books ever written. Published in 1859, it was here that Darwin argued for both the fact of evolution and the mechanism of natural section. The Origin of Species is also a work of great cultural and religious significance, in that Darwin maintained that all organisms, including humans, are part of a natural process of growth from simple forms. This Companion commemorates the 150th anniversary (...) of the publication of the Origin of Species and examines its main arguments. Drawing on the expertise of leading authorities in the field, it also provides the contexts - religious, social, political, literary, and philosophical - in which the Origin was composed. Written in a clear and friendly yet authoritative manner, this volume will be essential reading for both scholars and students More broadly, it will appeal to general readers who want to learn more about one of the most important and controversial books of modern times. (shrink)
The definitive work on the philosophical nature and impact of the theories of Charles Darwin, written by a well-known authority on the history and philosophy of Darwinism. Broadly explores the theories of Charles Darwin and Darwin studies Incorporates much information about modern Biology Offers a comprehensive discussion of Darwinism and Christianity – including Creationism – by one of the leading authorities in the field Written in clear, concise, user-friendly language supplemented with quality illustrations Examines the status of evolutionary theory as (...) a genuine theory and its implications for philosophy, epistemology and ethics Provides a strong understanding of the philosophical nature and impact of Darwin's thought Holds wide appeal for general audiences outside the world of academic philosophy Strongly supports Darwinism and fully explores modern naturalistic explanations of religion. (shrink)
The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Biology is an exciting collection of new essays written especially to give the reader an introduction to one of the most vibrant areas of scholarship today, and at the same time to move the subject forward dramatically. Written in a clear and rigorous style it will give the more experienced scholar much to think about and will also be of great value to the new student of the subject. The handbook covers the history of (...) the topic, then moves into important analyses of contemporary evolutionary thinking, and continues with discussions of genetics and the moral and epistemological foundations of our understanding of heredity. The book goes on to cover ecology, behavior and morality, and does not neglect religion or feminist issues. Finally, it takes up matters to do with language and metaphor. The authors range from the senior and experienced to new and exciting young scholars. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Biology is a collection that will be of interest to philosophers of science, to philosophers generally, as well as biologists of all kinds. There is no better way to learn about this dynamic field than through the essays in this volume. (shrink)
The philosophy of biology is one of the most exciting new areas in the field of philosophy and one that is attracting much attention from working scientists. This Companion, edited by two of the founders of the field, includes newly commissioned essays by senior scholars and up-and-coming younger scholars who collectively examine the main areas of the subject - the nature of evolutionary theory, classification, teleology and function, ecology, and the problematic relationship between biology and religion, among other topics. Up-to-date (...) and comprehensive in its coverage, this unique volume will be of interest not only to professional philosophers but also to students in the humanities and researchers in the life sciences and related areas of inquiry. (shrink)