PvM posted Entry 1962 on February 2, 2006 12:02 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1957

Could Ruse be any clearer about his position on Intelligent Design?

Ruse wrote:

Do you think there is anything at all to the intelligent design argument from irreducible complexity?

No. I think it’s “creationism lite” tarted up to look like science to get around the constitutional separation of church and state.

Leading ID theorists say that all they want to do is teach science, not philosophy or theology. Do you take them at their word?

Not really, but the point is, I just don’t think you can teach ID just as science. I don’t think it is science. It would be like saying, “All I want to do is look at naked women. There’s nothing to do with sex about it, understand?” Yeah, right.

Michael Ruse: Darwinist talks with Points about ID and evolution in the classroom

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Comment #76957

Posted by Albion on February 2, 2006 1:13 AM (e)

Arg. He starts off by saying that people like Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould have injected more than just science into their books about evolution, and ends up by saying that scientists should be out there talking about morals and ethics and more than just science.

Comment #76973

Posted by Dale on February 2, 2006 3:16 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #76974

Posted by Dale on February 2, 2006 3:20 AM (e)

…and if you want to get there without registering, try

www.bugmenot.com

which can provide you with login and password fields (if you supply the URL).

Ruse thinks that some people indulge in “secular religion”. Surely that’s a tautology?

Comment #76979

Posted by Norman Doering on February 2, 2006 3:53 AM (e)

“secular religion”. Surely that’s a tautology?

More of an oxymoron, isn’t it?

Comment #76998

Posted by Dale on February 2, 2006 6:25 AM (e)

Norman Doering wrote:

More of an oxymoron, isn’t it?

Yes, silly me - “tautology” gives the opposite meaning to what I had intended. Thanks for the correction.

Comment #77015

Posted by Caledonian on February 2, 2006 9:27 AM (e)

It’s entirely possible to have a secular religion. See the cult of the flag in America, or (for a more extreme example) Stalin’s rule in the USSR or Mao in China.

Comment #77027

Posted by Norman Doering on February 2, 2006 10:16 AM (e)

It’s entirely possible to have a secular religion. See the cult of the flag in America, or (for a more extreme example) Stalin’s rule in the USSR or Mao in China.

Isn’t that just a metaphorical use of the term “religion”?

Does not religion have to refer to supernatural belief systems?

Comment #77059

Posted by Mr Christopher on February 2, 2006 1:34 PM (e)

Ruse is to debate William The Theologian tomorrow, any predictions?

Comment #77066

Posted by Corkscrew on February 2, 2006 2:04 PM (e)

Caledonian: I believe the standard word for what you’re calling “secular religion” is “dogma”.

Comment #77076

Posted by Will on February 2, 2006 2:25 PM (e)

Okay, I’m a little familiar with Ruse’s writings, so I think that I know what he means. He meant that Dawkin and Gould make their atheism clear in their books at times (I don’t know if this is true) and do not make it clear that their religious stance and science are separate. So, their books come off as sounding like “the only rational stance based on evolution is atheism”.

So, he’s saying that those two are doing a disservice, since they further the belief that evolution = atheism, and of course, most Americans are going to reject evolution on that basis.

Comment #77078

Posted by k.e. on February 2, 2006 2:34 PM (e)

Historically religion= social reality enforced by the state (theocracy eg Ancient Egypt,European Middle Ages,Today: Iran,Saudi Arabia)
Historically secular religion=social reality enforced by the state (Social realism eg USSR Today:North Korea)

Comment #77080

Posted by cleek on February 2, 2006 2:50 PM (e)

“secular religion”

it might be an oxymoron, but it’s also a standard wingnut talking point. all those wicked Secularists are trying to force their religion on everyone by banning the Bible and persecuting Christians.

nothing beats poltics for stirring up the ol’ hyperbole.

Comment #77082

Posted by RBH on February 2, 2006 3:00 PM (e)

Mr. Christopher noted

Ruse is to debate William The Theologian tomorrow, any predictions?

Yeah. Their joint roadshow to sell books is merely making another stop.

RBH

Comment #77087

Posted by Flint on February 2, 2006 3:36 PM (e)

Ruse said:

Personally, I think the bigger threat is when these things go up to the Supreme Court. I think what’s going to happen is the Supreme Court is going to start arguing that the separation of church and state doesn’t have to go as far as before. Those who are prepared to overturn Roe vs. Wade are not going to stop at keeping ID out of the classroom.

And I think he has a disturbing point here. Scalia is already on record dissenting from the existing cases. Thomas asks Scalia how to vote. Roberts and Alito seem to share the same sort of judicial philosophy as Scalia: The Constitution explicitly forbids the state from establishing someone else’s religion but mine isn’t religion, it’s the Truth.

So long as the High Court remains packed with Bush appointees who lean WAY over to the far religious right, it’s probably the best strategy to try to win ID-in-biology-class cases one by one on the local level. When religion is involved, the Court will not be the friend of either fact or law for two generations to come. We elected Bush, we elected a religious-right-majority Congress, we are getting what we asked for. Praise Jeezus.

Comment #77095

Posted by Caledonian on February 2, 2006 4:06 PM (e)

Does not religion have to refer to supernatural belief systems?

Hard to say. Is Buddhism a religion?

Comment #77107

Posted by Albion on February 2, 2006 4:52 PM (e)

And I think he has a disturbing point here. Scalia is already on record dissenting from the existing cases. Thomas asks Scalia how to vote. Roberts and Alito seem to share the same sort of judicial philosophy as Scalia: The Constitution explicitly forbids the state from establishing someone else’s religion but mine isn’t religion, it’s the Truth.

I think this is a very good point. People have been tending to not be too concerned about some of what’s going on at school boards because once it gets to the courts, the judges will sort it out. Well, we were lucky with the judge in the Kitzmiller trial, but that isn’t a given. If it had been someone like Scalia, he’d have twisted his thought process into pretzels if that’s what it took to come out in support of the ID people.

In the meantime, we have one of the judges in Georgia trying hard to cause problems for the pro-science side of the textbook-sticker issue. The more that Bush appoints judges and justices in the image of the religious right, the more likely it is that these issues are going to go the other way when they hit the courts.

Comment #77109

Posted by Norman Doering on February 2, 2006 4:57 PM (e)

Hard to say. Is Buddhism a religion?

Yes, it has supernatural beliefs; reincarnation for example.

Comment #77131

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on February 2, 2006 6:10 PM (e)

We elected Bush, we elected a religious-right-majority Congress, we are getting what we asked for. Praise Jeezus.

What you mean “we,” paleface? Deserved, perhaps, but certainly not asked for. It was, after all, the Supremes that put Shrubby Boy in the White House in the first place. (People forget that in 1960, Richard Nixon did the classiest thing he ever did by conceding to Kennedy in order to spare the country exactly what Bush and Gore put us through during the last two months of 2000.)

That’s why term limits are such a good idea; it’s not about me losing my right to vote for Boxer or Feinstein, it’s about the people of North Carolina losing their right to continuously inflict Jesse Helms on the rest of us. (OK, yeah, I know, he’s dead. Alaska/Stevens, then.) Politicians, after all, are like diapers: inherently in need of being frequently changed, and for much the same reason.

Comment #77144

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 2, 2006 6:42 PM (e)

Ruse is to debate William The Theologian tomorrow, any predictions?

(1) the nutters will raise lots of money there

and

(2) nobody will be convinced of anything that they weren’t already convinced of when they walked through the door.

Comment #77145

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 2, 2006 6:44 PM (e)

Yes, it has supernatural beliefs; reincarnation for example.

There’s nothing supernatural about “reincarnation”, although certainly the mistaken view of it that most Westerners have might indicate so.

Comment #77147

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 2, 2006 6:46 PM (e)

Perhaps this post is better suited to this thread:

Alito and the other “conservatives” are what they refer to as “originalists” —- they want to interpret the Constitution according to “the original intent of the ratifiers”. More specifically, they are of the opinion that anything not specifically mentioned in the Constitution cannot be acted upon by the Federal government, but only by the states. That would include things like, oh, environmental regulations, labor law, racial and sexual discrimmination, etc etc etc.

I.e., they are the same old “states righters” who so vehemently OPPOSED things like, well, environmental regulations, labor law, racial and sexual discrimmination etc etc etc.

Convenient that, in their view, the Constitution doesn’t protect any of the things they have never liked, isn’t it.

As for church/state/ID, the First Amendment states “CONGRESS shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. This could be (and has been) interpreted so that the “original intent” of the amendment was to prevent the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT from interfering with the right of STATE governments to establish any damn religion they want to.

It could also be (and has also been) interpreted to mean that Congress can give any support to religion that it likes, as long as such support is “nondenominational” and “nonsectarian”, and doesn’t favor one specific sect over another. Like, say, “intelligent design theory”.

None of the “originalists” has been willing to go so far as to eliminate the wall of separation of church and state, or to eliminate environmental regulations, or the 1964 Civil Rights Act, or the Labor Relations Act (or, more accurately, none of them has said any such thing out loud). But it is apparent that they have no legal respect for any of them, don’t think any of them deserve any Constitutional protection, and will make every effort to gut all of them as far as public outcry will allow them.

And, given the fact that the American public hasn’t made a peep of protest concerning things like jailing people without trial or tortuing them in secret overseas prisons, I think the judges will be able to go pretty damn far before there is any public outcry.

And as I have said before, if all this comes to pass, then ID and “science education” will be the very LEAST of our problems …. .

As I have also said before, once that happens, I think we as a people are justified in doing whatever we have to do, to restore democracy and the rule of Constitutional law.

Comment #77152

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on February 2, 2006 7:00 PM (e)

There’s nothing supernatural about “reincarnation”, although certainly the mistaken view of it that most Westerners have might indicate so.

Any belief involving any form of personal post-mortem survival or even body/mind duality of any sort (in which “mind” or “soul” is immaterial) would qualify as “supernatural” as far as I understand the word. Is there a concept of “reincarnation” that doesn’t?

Comment #77159

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 2, 2006 7:31 PM (e)

Any belief involving any form of personal post-mortem survival or even body/mind duality of any sort (in which “mind” or “soul” is immaterial)

Buddhism asserts neither of these.

Comment #77175

Posted by Norman Doering on February 2, 2006 9:43 PM (e)

There’s nothing supernatural about “reincarnation.”

You’re going to have to explain that one or else I’ll consider you full of bovine fecal matter. How can a belief in “reincarnation” not be a supernatural belief?

It depends on what you think the term “supernatural” means I suppose. In Christianity it means not of the natural order and therefore of the divine order. Buddhism apparently makes no distinction between a natural and a supernatural order.

But I think the terms supernatural/superstition extends beyond the Christian definition and includes any kind of belief in magic, paranormal or mystical notion. For example, Buddhism has miracle stories about its founder, Siddharta Gautama, and claims about ESP (called “mano” in Buddhism). The ancient manuscripts quite matter-of-factly list six senses. Same is true of re-incarnation.

Buddhism is clearly not a materialist or naturalist religion.

Comment #77178

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 2, 2006 9:55 PM (e)

For example, Buddhism has miracle stories about its founder, Siddharta Gautama, and claims about ESP (called “mano” in Buddhism). The ancient manuscripts quite matter-of-factly list six senses. Same is true of re-incarnation.

Buddhism is clearly not a materialist or naturalist religion.

Many Buddhists would say that it’s clearly not even a religion. (shrug)

As noted in an earlier thread, these stories and gods are all symbolic, not descriptive. Buddha was a man. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.

As for why “reincarnation” isn’t supernatural, see my above response to Bill — there is no “personal post-mortem survival” in Buddhism. What survives your death is not “you” – it is merely the energy and elements that make you up. They are released, upon death, back to the unvierse, and reborn again in something else. In life, you are a part of the universe. In death, you once again become part of the universe.

Comment #77179

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 2, 2006 10:05 PM (e)

Lenny, We would appreciate some advice over here.

http://justscience.1.forumer.com/index.php?act=idx

We are just starting out. So some campaign advice would be welcome. BTW. This also applies to anybody with relevant experience.

Comment #77193

Posted by Caledonian on February 3, 2006 12:10 AM (e)

It depends on what you think the term “supernatural” means I suppose. In Christianity it means not of the natural order and therefore of the divine order. Buddhism apparently makes no distinction between a natural and a supernatural order.

Neither does science.

Comment #77194

Posted by CJ Croy on February 3, 2006 12:12 AM (e)

Lenny wrote:

As for church/state/ID, the First Amendment states “CONGRESS shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. This could be (and has been) interpreted so that the “original intent” of the amendment was to prevent the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT from interfering with the right of STATE governments to establish any damn religion they want to.

This is exactly what Clarence Thomas believes. Go read any dissent of his from a case on the seperation of church and state. He really thinks it’d be constitutional for Georgia to declare Southern Baptism to be the official state religion. However, Thomas is completely alone on this point. No one else on the court in recent history has expressed this belief, not even Scalia. Scalia votes with Clarence on some of these cases but for completely different reasons. It’s worth noting that just because Thomas or any other justice believes something is constitutional does not mean he thinks it’s right. Go read Lawrence vs Texas where he says that if he was in the Texas legistlature he would absolutely vote agains the anti-sodomy laws, but he does not think the constitution forbids such laws.

Relatedly, Scalia’s not an originalist. Originalism is just a club he hits his opponents in the face with from time to time.

Comment #77196

Posted by Tice with a J on February 3, 2006 12:28 AM (e)

“All I want to do is look at naked women. There’s nothing to do with sex about it, understand?”

I couldn’t agree more.
I’m kidding, of course.

Comment #77197

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on February 3, 2006 12:30 AM (e)

What survives your death is not “you” — it is merely the energy and elements that make you up. They are released, upon death, back to the universe, and reborn again in something else. In life, you are a part of the universe. In death, you once again become part of the universe.

That sounds more like recycling than reincarnation! ;-) And if the “energy” part of that is something other than mc**2, it could easily be argued that it qualifies as supernatural.

Comment #77211

Posted by Jim Harrison on February 3, 2006 1:40 AM (e)

The most counterintuitive claim traditionally made by Buddhsist is not rebirth, but the assertion that the universe is governed by the Dharma. i.e. that actions now have precise consequences in the lives of future sentient beings. In this respect, Buddhism, like many other religions, provides a comforting explanation for why, among other things, the evil flourish like the green bay tree. In the Abrahamic religions, the books are balanced by hell. In Buddhism, karma ensures that actions have the appropriate consequences.

Over the years, many Buddhist thinkers have addressed the question of how we can know that there is such a thing as karma. At least the ones I’m familiar with assert that enlightenement brings a superhuman, ESP-like insight into the workings of the cosmos. Buddhas are aware of all their former lives. Which means, of course, that the karmic law is either obvious (if you’re enlightened) or a matter of faith (if you aren’t).

My Buddhist friends seem to have a sense of humor about all this.

Comment #77218

Posted by hehe on February 3, 2006 2:09 AM (e)

> and of course, most Americans are going to reject evolution on that basis.

You mean, most Americans are stooopid? ;-)

Comment #77246

Posted by Andy H. on February 3, 2006 5:51 AM (e)

Comment #77194 posted by CJ Croy on February 3, 2006 12:12 AM

Lenny wrote:

As for church/state/ID, the First Amendment states “CONGRESS shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. This could be (and has been) interpreted so that the “original intent” of the amendment was to prevent the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT from interfering with the right of STATE governments to establish any damn religion they want to.

This is exactly what Clarence Thomas believes. Go read any dissent of his from a case on the seperation of church and state. He really thinks it’d be constitutional for Georgia to declare Southern Baptism to be the official state religion.

That interpretation of the establishment clause is absurd. And I have seen no evidence that Justice Thomas believes in such an absurd interpretation.

Here is the complete first amendment –

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. “

Though the first amendment’s restrictions explicitly apply only to Congress, it is obvious that they also implicitly apply to state governments, local governments, and sometimes even private entities, because otherwise the amendment’s protections of freedom of speech, assembly, etc. would be meaningless.

Comment #77260

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 3, 2006 7:58 AM (e)

That sounds more like recycling than reincarnation! ;-) And if the “energy” part of that is something other than mc**2, it could easily be argued that it qualifies as supernatural.

If you say so. (shrug)

How many years did you say you studied Buddhism, again . . ?

Comment #77261

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 3, 2006 7:59 AM (e)

I am ignoring Larry the Crank.

Comment #77262

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 3, 2006 8:03 AM (e)

In this respect, Buddhism, like many other religions, provides a comforting explanation for why, among other things, the evil flourish like the green bay tree.

In Tantric mikkyo, evil is a simply part of the universe, and there is no need for a “comforting explanation of why there is evil” any more than there is a need for a “comforting explanation of why there is water”.

There can be no good without evil. No up without down. No yin without yang. All are part of the universe.

Comment #77283

Posted by AC on February 3, 2006 10:23 AM (e)

Andy H. wrote:

Though the first amendment’s restrictions explicitly apply only to Congress, it is obvious that they also implicitly apply….

Whence Amendment 14?

Lenny wrote:

What survives your death is not “you” — it is merely the energy and elements that make you up. They are released, upon death, back to the universe, and reborn again in something else. In life, you are a part of the universe. In death, you once again become part of the universe.

What role does consciousness play? The quoted statement, in itself, is just a general naturalistic description of decomposition.

Comment #77301

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on February 3, 2006 12:33 PM (e)

There’s nothing supernatural about “reincarnation”, although certainly the mistaken view of it that most Westerners have might indicate so.

Buddhism asserts neither of these. [post-mortem survival or mind/body duality]

Many Buddhists would say that it’s clearly not even a religion. (shrug)

As noted in an earlier thread, these stories and gods are all symbolic, not descriptive. Buddha was a man. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.

As for why “reincarnation” isn’t supernatural, see my above response to Bill —- there is no “personal post-mortem survival” in Buddhism. What survives your death is not “you” — it is merely the energy and elements that make you up. They are released, upon death, back to the unvierse, and reborn again in something else. In life, you are a part of the universe. In death, you once again become part of the universe.

If you say so. (shrug)

How many years did you say you studied Buddhism, again . . ?

I haven’t. This all started with you correcting people and telling us what Buddhism isn’t and not what it is, at least not that I could discern. I pose questions to you seeking enlightenment. You, in response, seem to do little more than assert, then imply that (being a simple Westerner) I am not capable of understanding. Kind of reminds me of another on-going discussion around here somewhere, people just making assertions without offering explanation….

Comment #77392

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 3, 2006 6:46 PM (e)

What role does consciousness play?

None. Consciousness does not survive death.

The quoted statement, in itself, is just a general naturalistic description of decomposition.

No, it is better thought of as “recycling”. The concept of “cycles” is important in Buddhism, as it is in most Asian traditions. Nothing is permanent, nothing is linear, everything rises, falls, and rises again in different form. Nothing is permanent except ceaseless change.

In Tantric mikkyo, this is illustrated with the symbolism of the Five Elements – Earth, Water, Wood, Metal and Fire. Together, these form a cycle. A tree begins from a seed that is planted in Earth, is nurtured by Water and grows into strong mature Wood, only to be chopped apart by a Metal axe and reduced to ashes by Fire. But the ashes themselves return to the Earth to form the next generation.

This cycle is true of countries, institutions, mountains, people, and everything else on earth. Everything goes through a cycle of birth, growth, maturity, decline, and death. But in death, one helps nourish and produce new life.

Nothing “supernatural” anywhere in it.

Comment #77393

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 3, 2006 6:48 PM (e)

How many years did you say you studied Buddhism, again . . ?

I haven’t.

Well I have. (shrug)

Comment #77394

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 3, 2006 6:49 PM (e)

I haven’t. This all started with you correcting people and telling us what Buddhism isn’t and not what it is, at least not that I could discern. I pose questions to you seeking enlightenment. You, in response, seem to do little more than assert, then imply that (being a simple Westerner) I am not capable of understanding. Kind of reminds me of another on-going discussion around here somewhere, people just making assertions without offering explanation….

If you say so. (shrug)

Comment #77408

Posted by CJ Croy on February 3, 2006 8:03 PM (e)

Andy H. wrote:

And I have seen no evidence that Justice Thomas believes in such an absurd interpretation.

I may have, through unintentional omission, made Justice Thomas’s opinions seem crazier than they are. That’s not to say they aren’t crazy, just not as crazy as I may have implied.

The archives for Dispatches From the Culture Wars contain numerous posts on Justice Thomas’ opinions on the seperation of church and state. One example would be this blog entry. I would suggest slumming through Ed Brayton’s archives for more articles on this as I’m really not equipped for this sort of debate.