Re: Ruse's Science Article

Date: Sat Mar 08 2003 - 17:10:07 EST

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    In a message dated 3/8/03 4:49:49 PM Eastern Standard Time, write=

    > Hi there,
    > There's a very interesting article by Michael Ruse in the latest issue=20
    > of Science entitled "Is Evolution a Secular Religion?"
    > This is his last paragraph:
    > "So, what does our history tell us? Three things. First, if the claim is=20
    > that all contemporary evolutionism is merely an excuse to promote moral=20
    > and societal norms, this is simply false. Today's professional=20
    > evolutionism is no more a secular religion than is industrial chemistry.=20
    > Second, there is indeed a thriving area of more popular evolutionism,=20
    > where evolution is used to underpin claims about the nature of the=20
    > universe, the meaning of it all for us humans, and the way we should=20
    > behave. I am not saying that this area is all bad or that it should be=20
    > stamped out. I am all in favor of saving the rainforests. I am saying=20
    > that this popular evolutionism--often an alternative to=20
    > religion--exists. Third, we who cherish science should be careful to=20
    > distinguish when we are doing science and when we are extrapolating from=20
    > it, particularly when we are teaching our students. If it is science=20
    > that is to be taught, then teach science and nothing more. Leave the=20
    > other discussions for a more appropriate time."
    > Very interesting conclusions from someone who doesn't consider himself a=20
    > Christian.
    > -Marcio

    Michael Ruse is often quoted on ldg-net on yahoo groups which is an open lis=
    of IRAS (a lot of post modern sentiments expressed here) IRAS publishes Zygo=

    Darwin's Cathedral by the evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson is the=20
    current kid on the evolution/religion reconciliation bandwagon

    IMHO: religion is adaptive and good for us which is Wilson's conclusion. =20
    Evolution is not a religion - it's a perspective that enables us to see=20
    the adaptability of religious beliefs - their practical value - Wilson does=20
    an entire chapter, quite complimentary on Calvinism and its effect on Geneva=

    The preview on the inside cover of Darwin=E2=80=99s Cathedral reads:=20


    =E2=80=9COne of the great intellectual battles of modern times is between ev=
    and religion. Until now, they=E2=80=99v ebeen considered completely irreconc=
    theories of origin and existence. David Sloan Wilson=E2=80=99s Darwin=E2=80=
    =99s Cathedral=20
    takes the radical step of joining the two, in the process proposing an=20
    evolutionary theory of religion that shakes both evolutionary biology and=20
    social theory at their foundations.

    The key, argues Wilson, is to think of society as an organism, an old idea=20
    that has received new life based on recent developments in evolutionary=20
    biology. If society is an organism can we then think of morality and religio=
    as biologically and culturally evolved adaptations that enable human groups=20
    to function as single units rather than mere collections of individuals?=E2=

    An excerpt:

    =E2=80=9CWe must think of religious thought as something that coexists with=20
    scientific thought, not as an inferior version of it=E2=80=A6. even massivel=
    fictitious beliefs can be adaptive, as long as they motivate behaviors that=20
    are adaptive in the real world=E2=80=A6 once the reasoning associated with s=
    thought loses its status as the only adaptive way to think, other forms of=20
    thought associated with religion cease to be objects of scorn and=20
    incomprehension and can be studied as potential adaptations in their own=20

    Link to a review:

    <A HREF=3D"">

    Kevin MacDonald's (evolutionary psychologist) review of DSWs Darwin's=20
    Cathedral is attached for your convenience.

    [note from TMG: no attachments on the ASA list]


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