After writing yesterday’s post, I found I was still muttering about Michael Ruse’s paper. So I thought to myself, why should I just rant here at the blog? How about I get down to business and write a proper journal article about it?
Mentally I started doing just that. To my surprise, I found the article practically writing itself. I quickly had an outline of what I wanted to say, started composing paragraphs, and thought about various books and articles I would want to cite. I started to get excited. Figured I could toss it off in a week, and then get back to my various other unfinished projects.
Of course, upon having decided to write a paper it behooves you to go prowling through the literature, to see what everyone else has been saying. So I spent part of this afternoon browsing through back issues of Zygon, which published the paper I discussed yesterday. Zygon is a journal about science and religion, you see.
Well, it wasn’t long before I came across the article, “Michael Ruse On Science and Faith: Seeking Mutual Understanding,” by philosopher David Wisdo, from the September 2011 issue of the journal. The abstract made it clear that Wisdo was not impressed with Ruse’s attempt at science/religion reconciliation. Wisdo was addressing Ruse’s then recent book Science and Spirituality. The Ruse paper I addressed yesterday was basically an abbreviated version of the argument from the book.
I started to get nervous. Had Wisdo anticipated me? So I read the article. And the nervousness turned to defeat. The two main points I made in yesterday’s post: that Ruse was essentially making a God of the gaps argument, and that he was putting religion in a highly subordinate position relative to science, were discussed at length in Wisdo’s paper. Discussed in almost precisely the terms I had in mind.
Ruse replied to Wisdo in the same issue of the journal, and I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that for the most part I found his replies inadequate. I can think of other articles that could be written around this issue, that would use Ruse’s views as just one part of a larger argument. So I may yet write a paper about this. (Whether I could get it published is a separate issue!) But it will definitely take longer than a week, which means it has to get in line behind a bunch of other partially-formed projects.
Oh well! Maybe I should just stick to math.