Are leading Darwinists succeeding in promoting a religion-friendly image? Prominent evolutionists have used warfare imagery to call upon people to “fight” against intelligent design and other forms of evolution-skepticism, including various religions. In a recent article about a talk on The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins told a crowd in Kansas, “I know you here are in the front-line trench against powerful forces of darkness… Fight the good fight” against the “the ‘rotten logic’ of intelligent design and creationism,” which he claims argue the religious viewpoint that “God did it.” (As noted yesterday, the article is factually challenged, as it repeatedly incorrectly calls Dawkins a “physicist,” when he is actually a zoologist and evolutionary biologist.)
In a similar fashion, Gerald Weissmann, writing in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (“FASEB“) Journal where he is editor-in-chief, wrote “The facts of evolution: fighting the Endarkenment,” where he argues that “much of society at large is beating a hasty retreat to the dark ages” because “superstition threatens our schools and Bible-thumpers preach that Darwin got it wrong.” Weissman expresses dismay that “[a] third of Americans believe that the Judeo-Christian Bible is the word of God to be taken literally, word for word.” Using tactics reminiscient of a general trying to inspire his forces, he envisions winning a war against “zealots of all stripes” through his call that “[e]xperimental science is our defense–perhaps our best defense–against humbug and the Endarkenment.”
Finally, Michael Ruse, who views intelligent design as a version of creationist religious beliefs, explained in Playboy Magazine that intelligent design and Biblical literalism must be fought because they are “evil” and denigrate “great religion”:
I think intelligent-design theory and its companions are nasty, cramping, soul-destroying reversions to the more unfortunate aspects of 19th century America. Although I am not a Christian, I look on these ideas as putrid scabs on the body of a great religion. … But if you are going to fight moral evil–and creationism in its various forms is a moral evil–you need to understand what you are fighting and why.
Ruse goes on to say that “[t]raditional Christians hate biblical literalism as much as atheists do–more, in fact, because it sullies their religion” and that non-religious evolutionists should unite with Christian theistic evolutionists against such sects because “in fighting Hitler [Churchill and Roosevelt] realized they had to work with the Soviet Union. Evolutionists of all kinds must likewise work together to fight creationism.”
Somehow I doubt that most readers of Playboy needed to be convinced by Ruse’s militant call to action against both the scientific theory of intelligent design, and various types of religious viewpoints.