A Further Response to Larry Arnhart, pt. 1: Darwinism and Traditional Morality

Political science professor Larry Arnhart, author of the book Darwinian Conservatism, is probably the most thoughtful and articulate proponent of Darwinism as a support for conservatism. My recent book Darwin’s Conservatives: The Misguided Quest is largely framed as a response to Arnhart’s arguments. I appreciate how seriously Arnhart takes the debate over the implications of Darwin’s theory, and also how committed he is to a civil discussion. Arnhart has now responded to my book in two posts (here and here) on his Darwinian Conservatism blog, and in a four-part series over the next several days I will be offering my response to his comments. After some initial clarifications, today’s post will focus on the issue of Darwinism and traditional morality.

When the Non-religious Tell the Religious to Accept Evolution

I don’t necessarily believe that religion has to always be incompatible with evolution, but it’s always amusing when unreligious people try to convince the religious that Darwinism is highly compatible with religion. The famous example is of course Eugenie Scott, a signatory of the Third Humanist Manifesto, who recommends that biology teachers discuss pro-evolution theological viewpoints in public schools. This past week has revealed two more examples of attempts by unreligious scholars telling the public that religion and evolution are compatible: H. Allen Orr In an article in the latest issue of New York Review of Books, evolutionary biologist H. Allen Orr attacks Dawkins for fighting against religion and says, “it’s far from certain that there is an ineluctable conflict Read More ›

Orr Attacks Dawkins

A number of scientists, most notably Richard Dawkins, are presently engaging on what is being called a “crusade against religion, not just intelligent design.” Richard Gallagher, editor of The Scientist calls it “thought-provoking and worthwhile.” But not so H. Allen Orr, who attacks Dawkins’ latest book as “an extended polemic against faith.” Orr calls Dawkins “an enemy of religion” and says he is “is on a mission to convert.” But Orr is apparently not on such a mission, saying “I’m among those scientists who must part company with him.” Orr calls The God Delusion “badly flawed” because it “never squarely faces its opponents.” In short, Orr believes that Dawkins rejects religion too hastily and in too dismissive a fashion, saying, Read More ›

“Celebrating” Christmas at the “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster”

During the holiday season, many Americans take time to seriously and respectfully reflect on Judeo-Christian religious beliefs. Not so for one website, the “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster” (FSM), a pro-evolution satire against intelligent design. They exhibit no interest in treating Christian holidays with respect. To celebrate the season, they are selling Christmas cards which show a dead Christian fish symbol. Other Christmas Cards portray Michelangelo’s well-known “Creation of Adam” painting on the Sistine Chapel, but the FSM cards have God replaced by the “Flying Spaghetti Monster.” Another graphic promoted on the page shows a nativity scene where Jesus is replaced by the “Flying Spaghetti Monster.” I can appreciate humor, but it’s also clear that the FSM images are Read More ›

Rationalization in the Debate over Evolution

Thanks to a notice by William Dembski at UncommonDescent, people are becoming aware that video footage of the “Beyond belief: Science, religion, reason and survival” conference where scientists bashed religion at the Salk Institute is now online. A panel discussion, which included Neil deGrasse Tyson, Lawrence Krauss, and Michael Shermer, discussed why as many as 15% of National Academy of Sciences (NAS) scientists believe in God. Tyson expressed surprise that the number was as high as 15%: Tyson: I want to put on the table, not why 85% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences reject God, I want to know why 15% of the National Academy don’t. That’s really what we’ve got to address here. Otherwise the Read More ›