This was Michael Ruse last week, explaining why, as a nonbeliever, he was still trying to reconcile evolution’s randomness with the determinism—i.e., the inevitability that a humanlike creature would appear in evolution—demanded by science-friendly Christians. (My emphasis in second sentence below):
This is not because I am a believer, because I am not. It is not really because it is a politically good thing to do, although I think that is so. It is rather because, well, it is a problem that is interesting and challenging!
This is Michael Ruse two days ago, revising the reasons for his own accommodationism:
But my critics are right in thinking that my writing does have a political component. It is not, contrary to widespread belief, in the hope that I might win the Templeton Prize. They are never going to give it to a non-believer like me. Nor is it because I am secretly a Christian. I left my childhood Quaker faith at about the age of 20 and have never been attracted back.
. . . This said, I live in a country – a country of which a couple of years ago Lizzie [Ruse's wife] and I voluntarily and with joy became citizens – where at least half of the people are genuine, believing, practicing Christians – and with others sympathetic or as committed to other faiths like Judaism. My neighbors go to church on Sundays and believe that Jesus died for their salvation. So did the teachers of my kids and many of the folk that we interact with every day. Lizzie’s closest friend is the youth coordinator at First Presbyterian and I am co-teaching a course this fall with one of my good friends, an ordained Presbyterian minister.
. . . Perhaps it is not so much a question of being mistaken, but of realizing and recognizing that others do not share your views, and that while you have the right – and the obligation – to oppose them, you must live with them.
And if I – a non-believer – can show the world that it is possible to be both a Darwinian and a Christian, that is all of the political motivation I want.
So it’s political after all! Doesn’t the man read what he writes from one column to the next? At least we’ve learned that Ruse’s sincerity is sometimes a ruse.
And where has he exercised his “right and obligation” to oppose Christianity? All he does is make the occasional remark that he’s an unbeliever. I wouldn’t call that opposition at all. In contrast, he writes books and columns not opposing their religious beliefs, but telling them how to make those beliefs compatible with science. If Christians were really Christians, they wouldn’t hold this against him. Is he that afraid to openly tell them why he disagrees about God?
In my estimation, all atheist philosophers who try to reconcile religion and science are doing so for political reasons—as are organizations like the National Academy of Sciences and the National Center for Science Education that engage in the same activity. It takes a profound hypocrisy to try to reconcile for others things that you can’t reconcile for yourself.
And the accommodation issue is just not that interesting as a philosophical problem. Anyone with two neurons to rub together can reconcile religion with any scientific fact. All you have to do is make stuff up. You might as well write discourses on how to reconcile belief in UFOs with the complete lack of evidence for them. Or reconcile astrology with the palpable fact that there is no connection between astronomical phenomena and human personality. After all, many people believe in UFOs and astrology.
Finally, Ruse throws in this little tidbit:
I see major similarities between the Tea Party and the New Atheists. There is a moral absolutism about both movements. It scares me. Always I think of Cromwell and the Church of Scotland. “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.”
What is the moral absolutism in saying “I see no evidence for a deity” or “I’m going to ask those who believe in one for their evidence”? Compared to scientists, religious people are far more absolutist.