On Atheism and Morality; a Reply to P.Z. Myers

P.Z. Myers has a recent post (“Morality Doesn’t Equal God”) in which he takes issue with Robert Wright, who is proposing a new kind of rapprochement between religion and science. Wright recommends that we move to a consensus on the view that purpose and moral law is inherent in nature, a view cleverly dubbed ‘Neism’ (Naturalism melded with Deism) by Joe Carter. I believe that Wright’s view is philosophically incoherent and even pernicious. His motives for imputing teleology and morality to nature are clear enough: Darwinism is faltering under scrutiny, as it denies teleology and fails to explain the moral law, and it will crumble unless it is welded to an ideology that invokes both. It’s ironic that Darwinism may Read More ›

At Bloggingheads, Fleeing the Ritual Contamination of “Creationism”

The imbroglio over editorial policy at Bloggingheads.tv would be of minor interest if it didn’t present such an evocative window on the psychology of the Darwin-believing community. Did you ever think about what actually drives these people? To recap: Robert Wright, the site’s editor-in-chief, was out of the shop when his staff pulled down an interview, six hours after it was put up, between linguist John McWhorter and biochemist Michael Behe. Somehow, pressure was applied to McWhorter resulting in his actually issuing a public apology. He was forced to cringe and beg forgiveness. Anyone could see the reason he had given offense: McWhorter in the interview expressed undisguised admiration for Behe’s specialty in the intelligent design field, irreducible complexity. When Read More ›

Wright Does the Right Thing, Reinstates Behe on Intelligent Design

When I wrote earlier on the Stalinist erasure of John McWhorter’s interview with biochemist Michael Behe on Bloggingheads.tv, I began by saying, “Wow.” I will say that again: “Wow.” Why wow? Because Bloggingheads editor-in-chief Robert Wright was, as I’d suspected, out of the shop when it happened — on a silent meditation retreat, in fact — and on returning he reversed his staff’s Orwellian move and put the interview back up. Way to go, Mr. Wright!There are three orders of business here. First, congratulations to Robert Wright, whose very interesting book The Evolution of God I’ve commented on before. He writes sensibly in explanation of what happened, making clear that the censoring of Behe was indefensible without publicly condemning his Read More ›

Robert Wright’s Bloggingheads.tv Censors Intelligent Design Interview

Wow. This is positively Stalinist. Robert Wright’s Bloggingheads.tv has abruptly removed an interview it put up hours before in which linguist Dr. John McWhorter talks with biochemist Dr. Michael Behe about Behe’s The Edge of Evolution. It’s a fascinating exchange. McWhorter starts off by saying that while his own writing has been primarily on race, other subjects interest him more. For example, it would seem, evolution. He proceeds to reveal startling depths of enthusiasm for Behe, Behe’s book, and intelligent design. He talks about how he never previously believed in God and never wanted to until he read Behe, who of course in his own writing steers clear of theological ruminations (apart from noting that he’s a Roman Catholic). A Read More ›

Fratricide: New Atheists vs. Framing Atheists

As of late there has been a lot of spittle passed between two camps in the Darwin-sphere. Things are getting really nasty, as so often happens among atheist factions. On one side are the new atheists: Coyne, Harris, Dawkins, Dennett, Myers. On the other side are the … well for want of a better word — the “framing” atheists: Ruse, Mooney, Kirshenbaum, Nisbet, Scott. With the exception of a few theist Darwinians (an oxymoron, I know) like Ken Miller, the motivation of the combatants seems to be the same: how to best advance an atheist-Darwinian understanding of man and nature. The factions differ on tactics. The new atheists advocate militancy. They believe: