Drawing on work of the past decade, this volume brings together articles from the philosophy, history, and sociology of science, and many other branches of the biological sciences. The volume delves into the latest theoretical controversies as well as burning questions of contemporary social importance. The issues considered include the nature of evolutionary theory, biology and ethics, the challenge from religion, and the social implications of biology today (in particular the Human Genome Project).
For much of this century, moral philosophy has been constrained by the supposed absolute gap between is and ought , and the consequent belief that the facts of life cannot of themselves yield an ethical blueprint for future action. For this reason, ethics has sustained an eerie existence largely apart from science. Its most respected interpreters still believe that reasoning about right and wrong can be successful without a knowledge of the brain, the human organ where all the decisions about (...) right and wrong are made. Ethical premises are typically treated in the manner of mathematical propositions: directives supposedly independent of human evolution, with a claim to ideal, eternal truth. (shrink)
Preface ix Introduction 1 1 Two Thousand Years of Design 9 2 Paley and Kant Fight Back 31 3 Sowing the Seeds of Evolution 51 4 A Plurality of Problems 69 5 Charles Darwin 89 6 A Subject Too Profound 107 7 Darwinian against Darwinian 129 8 The Century of Evolutionism 151 9 Adaptation in Action 171 10 Theory and Test 195 11 Formalism Redux 223 12 From Function to Design 249 13 Design as Metaphor 271 14 Natural Theology Evolves (...) 291 15 Turning Back the Clock 313 Sources and Suggested Reading 339 Illustration Credits 358 Acknowledgments 359 Index 361. (shrink)
What are biological species? Aristotelians and Lockeans agree that they are natural kinds; but, evolutionary theory shows that neither traditional philosophical approach is truly adequate. Recently, Michael Ghiselin and David Hull have argued that species are individuals. This claim is shown to be against the spirit of much modern biology. It is concluded that species are natural kinds of a sort, and that any 'objectivity' they possess comes from their being at the focus of a consilience of inductions.
Evolutionary ethics - the application of evolutionary ideas to moral thinking and justification - began in the nineteenth century with the work of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer, but was subsequently criticized as an example of the naturalistic fallacy. In recent decades, however, evolutionary ethics has found new support among both the Darwinian and the Spencerian traditions. This accessible volume looks at the history of thought about evolutionary ethics as well as current debates in the subject, examining first the claims (...) of supporters and then the responses of their critics. Topics covered include social Darwinism, moral realism, and debunking arguments. Clearly written and structured, the book guides readers through the arguments on both sides, and emphasises the continuing relevance of evolutionary theory to our understanding of ethics today. (shrink)
This paper considers the question of whether the explanation of homosexual orientation offered by Sigmund Freud qualifies as a genuine explanation, judged by the criteria of the social sciences. It is argued that the explanation, namely that homosexual orientation is a function of atypical parental influences, is indeed an explanation of the kind found in the social sciences. Nevertheless, it is concluded that to date Freud's hypotheses about homosexuality are no more than unproven speculations. Also considered is the question of (...) whether the very topic of homosexuality falls or ought to fall within the domain of medical inquiry. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
This short and highly accessible volume opens up the subject of the philosophy of biology to professionals and to students in both disciplines. The text covers briefly and clearly all of the pertinent topics in the subject, dealing with both human and non-human issues, and quite uniquely surveying not only scholars in the English-speaking world but others elsewhere, including the Eastern block. As molecular biologists peer ever more deeply into life’s mysteries, there are those who fear that such ‘reductionism’ conceals (...) more than it reveals, and there are those who complain that the new techniques threaten the physical safety of us all. As students of evolution apply their new-found understanding to our own species, some people think that this is merely an excuse for racist and sexist propaganda, and others worry that the whole exercise blatantly violates the religious beliefs many of us hold dear. These controversies are the joint concern of biologists and philosophers—of those whose task it is to study the theoretical and moral foundations of knowledge. The comprehensive and fully up-to-date bibliography makes this an invaluable and indispensable guide. (shrink)
Evolutionary ethics has a bad reputation. But we must not remain prisoners of our past. Recent advances in Darwinian evolutionary biology pave the way for a linking of science and morality, at once more modest yet more profound than earlier excursions in this direction. There is no need to repudiate the insights of the great philosophers of the past, particularly David Hume. So humans’ simian origins really matter. The question is not whether evolution is to be linked to ethics, but (...) how. (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)
Michael Ruse offers a new analysis of the often troubled relationship between science and religion. Arguing against both extremes - in one corner, the New Atheists; in the other, the Creationists and their offspring the Intelligent Designers - he asserts that science is the highest source of human inquiry. Yet, by its very nature and its deep reliance on metaphor, science restricts itself and is unable to answer basic, significant questions about the meaning of the universe and humankind's place within (...) it: why is there something rather than nothing? What is the meaning of it all? Ruse shows that one can legitimately be a skeptic about these questions, and yet why it is open for a Christian, or member of any faith, to offer answers. Scientists, he concludes, should be proud of their achievements but modest about their scope. Christians should be confident of their mission but respectful of the successes of science. (shrink)
In recent years Sir Karl Popper has been turning his attention more and more towards philosophical problems arising from biology, particularly evolutionary biology. Popper suggests that perhaps neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory is better categorized as a metaphysical research program than as a scientific theory. In this paper it is argued that Popper can draw his conclusions only because he is abysmally ignorant of the current status of biological thought and that Popper's criticisms of biology are without force and his suggestions for (...) its improvement are without need. Also it is suggested that Popper's desire to see scientific theory growth as being in some sense evolutionary may have led him astray about biology. And conversely it is suggested that since his claims about biology are not well taken his analysis of theory growth may well bear reexamination. (shrink)
There are two main senses of ‘mechanism’, both deriving from the metaphor of nature as a machine. One sense refers to contrivance or design, as in ‘the plant’s mechanism of attracting butterflies’. The other sense refers to cause or law process, as in ‘the mechanism of heredity’. In his work on evolution, Charles Darwin showed that organisms are produced by a mechanism in the second sense, although he never used this language. He also discussed contrivance, where he did use the (...) language of mechanism. This discussion relates metaphor in general and Darwin’s use of the machine metaphor in particular to the problem of the nature of science, concluding that one use of the metaphor reinforces the objective nature of science and the other use reinforces the subjective nature of science. (shrink)
Preface 9 PART I: RELIGIOUS, SCIENTIFIC, AND PHILOSOPHICAL BACKGROUND Introduction to Part I 19 1. The Bible 27 2. Natural Theology 33 William Paley 3. On the Origin of Species 38 Charles Darwin 4. Objections to Mr. Darwin’s Theory of the Origin of Species 65 Adam Sedgwick 5. The Origin of Species 73 Thomas H. Huxley 6. What Is Darwinism? 82 Charles Hodge 7. Darwinism as a Metaphysical Research Program 105 Karl Popper 8. Karl Popper’s Philosophy of Biology 116 Michael (...) Ruse 9. Human Nature: One Evolutionist’s View 136 Francisco Ayala 10. Universal Darwinism 158 Richard Dawkins PART II: CREATION SCIENCE AND THE McLEAN CASE Introduction to Part II 187 11. The Creationists 192 Ronald L. Numbers 12. Creation, Evolution, and the Historical Evidence 231 Duane T. Gish 13. Witness Testimony Sheet: McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education 253 Michael Ruse 14. United States District Court Opinion: McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education 279 Judge William R. Overton 15. The Demise of the Demarcation Problem 312 Larry Laudan 16. Science at the BarùCauses for Concern 331 Larry Laudan 17. Pro Judice 337 Michael Ruse 18. More on Creationism 345 Larry Laudan 19. Commentary: Philosophers at the BarùSome Reasons for Restraint 350 Barry R. Gross PART III: INTELLIGENT DESIGN CREATIONISM AND THE KITZMILLER CASE Introduction to Part III 369 20. But Isn’t It Creationism? The Beginnings of "Intelligent Design" in the Midst of the Arkansas and Louisiana Litigation 377 Nick Matzke 21. What Is Darwinism? 414 Phillip E. Johnson 22. Is It Science Yet? Intelligent Design, Creationism, and the Constitution 426 Matthew Brauer, Barbara Forrest, and Steven G. Gey 23. Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District Expert Witness Testimony 434 Michael Behe 24. Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District Expert Report 456 Robert T. Pennock 25. A Step toward the Legalization of Science Studies 485 Steve Fuller 26. What Is Wrong with Intelligent Design? 495 Elliott Sober 27. United States District Court Memorandum Opinion: Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. 506 Judge John E. Jones II 28. Can’t Philosophers Tell the Difference between Science and Religion? Demarcation Revisited 536 Robert T. Pennock. (shrink)
Biologists study life in its various physical forms, while philosophers of biology seek answers to questions about the nature, purpose, and impact of this research. What permits us to distinguish between living and nonliving things even though both are made of the same minerals? Is the complex structure of organisms proof that a creative force is working its will in the physical universe, or are existing life-forms the random result of an evolutionary process working itself out over eons of time? (...) What moral and social questions arise regarding modern advances in biotechnology? What is more relevant to human nature: genetics or sociocultural influences? Is Darwinism the death-knell of God? These are just some of the vital questions addressed by a distinguished group of philosophers and scientists which includes: Aristotle, Francisco J. Ayala, , Michael Benton, Tom Bethell, Joe Cain, David Castle, Charles Darwin, Richard Dawkins, Michael Denton, A.G.N. Flew, Stephen Jay Gould, J.B.S. Haldane, John F. Haught, D. W. E. Hone, James W. Kirchner, James Lovelock, Jane Maienschein, Ernst Mayr, Gregory M. Mikkelson, Leslie Orgal, William Paley, the Prince of Wales, Christopher Pynes, Richard A. Richards, Mark Ridley, Holmes Rolston III, Michael Ruse, Lee Silver, Elliott Sober, Kim Sterelny, Derek Turner, and Edward O. Wilson. This second edition contains material on design without selection, testing macroevolutionary claims, recent biotechnological issues, key ecological concerns, the Gaia hypothesis, genetically modified foods, and the so-called intelligent design movement. (shrink)
The relationship between biology, the science of organisms, and ethics, the philosophy of morality, has never been a particularly happy or fruitful one. Indeed, for much of this century, attempts to relate our animal nature to our sense of right and wrong have been taken as paradigms of how not to do moral philosophy. It has been argued that such systems of “evolutionary ethics” commit the most basic fallacies, and can serve only as dreadful warnings to those who would cross (...) interdisciplinary divides. (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)
Methodological naturalism is the assumption or working hypothesis that understanding nature (the physical world including humans and their thoughts and actions) can be understood in terms of unguided laws. There is no need to Suppose interventions (miracles) from outside. It does not commit one to metaphysical naturalism, the belief that there is nothing other than nature as we can see and observe it (in other words, that atheism is the right theology for the sound thinker). Recently the Intelligent Design movement (...) has been arguing against methodological naturalism, and in this project they have been joined by the Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga. In this paper I examine Plantinga’s arguments and conclude not only that they are not well taken, but that he does no good service to his religion either. (shrink)
The question of the levels at which natural selection can be said to operate is much discussed by biologists today and is a key factor in the recent controversy about sociobiology. It is shown that this problem is one to which Charles Darwin addressed himself at some length. It is argued that apart from some slight equivocation over man, Darwin opted firmly for hypotheses supposing selection always to work at the level of the individual rather than the group. However, natural (...) selection's co-discoverer, Alfred Russel Wallace, endorsed group selection hypotheses. (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 debate on whether insurance companies should be allowed to use results of individuals’ genetic tests for underwriting purposes has been both lively and increasingly relevant over the past two decades. Yet there appears to be no widely agreed upon resolution regarding appropriate and effective regulation. There exists today a gamut of recommendations and actual practices addressing this phenomenon ranging from laissez-faire to voluntary industry moratoria to strict legal prohibition. One obvious reason for such a variance in views and approaches (...) is that there are competing bases for evaluating the outcomes of restricting insurers’ use of such information. For example, an outright ban on the use of genetic test results may seem the best method for protecting against unfair discrimination, while allowing their use may seem to be the best way to foster efficiency in the market for insurance. However, there is also a lack of understanding about how restricting the use of genetic information would play out in the market through the so-called phenomenon of adverse selection. Using economic analysis, we discuss how the type of adverse selection that occurs in insurance markets affects various arguments both in favour and against an outright ban on insurers’ use of genetic tests for pricing insurance. We review arguments based on moral principles . Practical concerns from the insurance industry based on actuarial principles and economic efficiency are also compared. Each perspective is shown to lead to a range of conflicting recommendations about how genetic information should be regulated and these conclusions depend critically on whether one conducts the analysis from the ex ante temporal perspective , from the interim temporal perspective , or from the ex post temporal perspective. (shrink)
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)
There is a strong need of a reasoned defense of what was known as the “independence” position of the science–religion relationship but that more recently has been denigrated as the “accommodationist” position, namely that while there are parts of religion—fundamentalist Christianity in particular—that clash with modern science, the essential parts of religion do not and could not clash with science. A case for this position is made on the grounds of the essentially metaphorical nature of science. Modern science functions because (...) of its root metaphor of the machine: the world is seen in mechanical terms. As Thomas Kuhn insisted, metaphors function in part by ruling some questions outside their domain. In the case of modern science, four questions go unasked and hence unanswered: Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the foundation of morality? What is mind and its relationship to matter? What is the meaning of it all? You can remain a nonreligious skeptic on these questions, but it is open for the Christian to offer his or her answers, so long as they are not scientific answers. Here then is a way that science and religion can coexist. (shrink)