Herein, we conclude, from part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and
Herein, we conclude, from part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5 considering a discussion between Gary Gutting (professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame) and Michael Ruse (philosopher of science who specializes in the philosophy of biology of Florida State University) that was published as “Does Evolution Explain Religious Beliefs?,” New York Times, July 8, 2014 AD
GARY GUTTING: There seems to be a tension in your thinking about religion. You aren’t yourself a believer, but you spend a great deal of time defending belief against its critics.
MICHAEL RUSE: People often accuse me of being contradictory, if not of outright hypocrisy. I won’t say I accept the ontological argument for the existence of God — the argument that derives God’s existence from his essence — but I do like it (it is so clever) and I am prepared to stand up for it when Dawkins dismisses it with scorn rather than good reasons. In part this is a turf war. I am a professional philosopher. I admire immensely thinkers like Anselm and Descartes and am proud to be one of them, however minor and inadequate in comparison.
I am standing up for my own. In part, this is political. Religion is a big thing in America, and often not a very good big thing. I don’t think you are going to counter the bad just by going over the top, like in the Battle of the Somme. I think you have to reach out over no-man’s land to the trenches on the other side and see where we can agree and hope to move forward.
I should say that my Quaker childhood — as in everything I do and think — is tremendously important here. I grew up surrounded by gentle, loving (and very intelligent) Christians. I never forget that. Finally, I just don’t like bad arguments. In my case, I think I can offer good arguments against the existence of the Christian God. I don’t need the inadequate and faulty. In “Murder in the Cathedral,” T.S. Eliot has Thomas à Becket say, “The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason.” Amen.
People accuse Michael Ruse of “being contradictory, if not of outright hypocrisy” why, because he claims to be “an ardent Darwinian evolutionist” and also an “evolutionary skeptic”?
Well, in part 2, I noted that Ruse likened Richard Dawkins to a “first-year undergraduate in philosophy” student. Ruse references him again as exemplary of the shrug off tactic as Dawkins thinks he can bypass great philosophical argument with Twitter sized pseudo-arguments.