“No Real Conflict When One Side Gives Up”: Richard Weaver and the Darwin Debate

Richard M. Weaver, who died at age 53 in 1963, effectively launched modern philosophical and political conservatism in the United States. Everyone cites one of his titles, Ideas Have Consequences, but too few bother to read his actual works. In reading him now I’m struck by what a brilliant ally he would have made in the current debate over Darwinism. Though a philosopher and a professor of English stationed at the University of Chicago, he anticipated not only the major outlines of contemporary thinking about why the evolution debate matters. He also foresaw the outlines of the scientific critique of Darwinian theory. I’ve been writing about him the past week in this series (whose Parts I through IV are here, Read More ›

On Mechanism: Response to Some Thomist Critics of Intelligent Design

Several “Thomist” critics of ID have claimed that ID is either committed to, entails, or somehow relates to what they consider an unsavory “mechanistic” philosophy. While a number of ID proponents have explicitly denied this, the details are somewhat complicated. So I’d like to respond to this critique at some length in a series of posts. Orthodox Catholics have long opposed the overreaching of a “mechanical philosophy” that came to prominence in the seventeenth century with René Descartes (1596-1650) and Francis Bacon (1561-1626). Christoph Cardinal Schönborn calls mechanism “the dominant form of reductionism in science.” 1As critics of the Aristotelian philosophy that had come to dominate the thinking in medieval Europe, Descartes and Bacon banished formal and final causation from Read More ›

Mainstream Media Now Picking up on Intelligent Design Discrimination Lawsuit Against NASA’s JPL

Last week we reported on a discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of JPL employee David Coppedge. Over the weekend the San Gabriel Valley Tribune ran a lengthy story reporting on the suit. After Coppedge discussed intelligent design with JPL scientists, his supervisors told him to stop discussing religion. Last April Coppedge’s bosses demoted him. Coppedge had been a leader on the system administrator team for the Cassini mission, according to the suit. The paper also reports that after being ordered by his superiors at JPL to stop talking about intelligent design, Coppedge did just that. Even more interesting is this: Earlier this month Coppedge claims he met with his supervisors, who told him that the written warning was inappropriate and Read More ›