To: All Msg #37, Apr0793 10:50AM Subject: Michael Ruse and the FTE The following is a lett

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From: John F Blanton To: All Msg #37, Apr-07-93 10:50AM Subject: Michael Ruse and the FTE Organization: Texas Instruments, Inc From: (John F Blanton) Message-ID: <> Newsgroups: The following is a letter from Jon Buell, Director of the Foundation for Thought and Ethics (FTE), a Creationist "think" tank located here in Dallas. FTE has previously produced the book "Pandas and People," promoting the intelligent design concept to replace naturalistic evolution in the public classrooms. See Frank Sonleitner's critique of the book for more on that. Last year FTE hosted a symposium at the SMU campus that featured a debate between Michael Ruse and Phillip Johnson. FTE fared well in this friendly environment, but I had not previously heard from them since. Now it appears they are claiming "victory." I think they are grasping at straws. I doubt Michael Ruse has reversed himself since then and certainly not on the basis of his talk with Johnson and his encounter with FTE. I rather believe we are seeing the depths of self-deception that prevail in these groups. The letter that follows may look somewhat odd. That's because I transcribed it in from hard copy using an OCR scanner, which preserved the formatting of the original letter. The OCR seems to have missed very few characters, which I hopefully corrected. The remaining errors were in the original letter. I would appreciate any follow up information on Ruse's AAAS talk and his thoughts on Buell's statement. Does anybody have Ruse's e-mail address? John Blanton Secretary, The North Texas Skeptics ========================= April 1993 Dear Friends of the Foundation: You will not believe what has just happened! Re- member our symposium on Darwinism on the campus of Southern Methodist University of a year ago? We told you at the time of its outstanding qual- ity. Well, its impact has just spilled over into the highest levels of science. Go get a cup of cof fee, and come back to enjoy some really good news--consider this a "happiness break!" The name of the Symposium was, "Darwinism: Scientific Inference or Philosophical Preference?" signifying the thesis of the program's debate, whether or not Darwin- ism relies on unproven, a priori metaphysical assump- tions (some people would just say "faith!") to make its case. The chief spokesman for the Darwinian view, that it does not, was Dr. Michael Ruse. Dr. Ruse, a leading philosopher of science, was the chief expert witness before the U.S. Supreme court in the "Arkansas Creation Trial" (McLean vs. Arkansas) a decade earlier, and his testimony was largely responsi- ble for the Court's adoption of the "fact/faith dicho- tomy," which defines science as strictly based on fact, and religion as strictly based on faith. Thousands of school administrators still dutifully recite Ruse's testimony to protect Darwinism from competing theories, and millions of school children are the losers. Now, at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Boston (not a partisan Christian group, by any means!) Dr. Ruse was addressing the audience. He had been assigned to critique Dr. Phillip Johnson's book, Darwin on Trial. As the chief spokesman for the intelligent design side of our Symposium, Johnson had been Ruse's primary opponent there, and the debate between the two had been the centerpiece of the Symposium program. (When Ruse began his presentation in the Symposium Johnson, he was obviously charmed. He laughingly said, "Jon Buell's pretty wife come up to me several minutes earlier and introduced herself, saying: 'We want to welcome you to Dallas, we hope it goes well for you tonight, and we hope you get clobbered!"') Last month in Boston, instead of the book bashing expected by the AAAS audience, something fascinating began to unfold. Ruse told the audience that he had been invited to a scientific meeting by a group of evangelical Christians in Dallas, and really enjoyed his encounter with Johnson. He said, "its a lot easier to hate these people in print than it is in person!" He went on to describe how Johnson argued that there were assumptions underlying Darwinism that could not be proven (the major contention of the intelligent design side in the Symposium) and that indeed, this was true. In a dramatic reversal of his testimony in the Arkansas Creation Trial, he told the AAAS: " ... evolution ... akin to religion, involves making certain a priori or metaphysical assumptions, which at some level cannot be proven empirically." [-------------------------------------------------------------------] [ Note: the following is THE FULL VERSION of the Michael Ruse quote:] [ ] [ "But I am coming here and saying, I think that philosophically ] [ that one should be sensitive to what I think history shows, ] [ namely, that evolution, just as much as religion -- or at least, ] [ leave "just as much," let me leave that phrase -- evolution, akin ] [ to religion, involves making certain a priori or metaphysical ] [ assumptions, which at some level cannot be proven empirically. I ] [ guess we all knew that, but I think that we're all much more ] [ sensitive to these facts now. And I think that the way to deal ] [ with creationism, but the way to deal with evolution also, is not ] [ to deny these facts, but to recognize them, and to see where we ] [ can go, as we move on from there." ] [-------------------------------------------------------------------] He repeatedly reassured his audience that he did not agree with creationists, but was very clear on this main point. More than once he added, you wouldn't want to say this in a court of law, or where a school board could hear it, but it is nevertheless the truth. When he opened it up for questions, his audience sat in stunned silence! [-------------------------------------------------------------------] [ Well, it strikes me that this is obviously a lie. The ] [ creationist's are so taken with their "giant secret conspiracy ] [ of evil scientists" model of western society that they seem to ] [ _believe_ things said in a AAAS meeting are somehow secret from ] [ school boards and courts of law. Beyond this they seem to assert ] [ that Ruse believes this. At least we can be heartened that the ] [ chap that produced this newsletter had to spend a couple of days ] [ at the hospital getting his arms fixed after he broke them patting] [ himself on the back. ] [ ] [ Talk about things you don't dare say where other people can ] [ hear... Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Mr. Blanton. ] [ Dan Danwell@IASTATE.EDU ] [-------------------------------------------------------------------] In a sense, Ruse put the keys, which had locked so many public school classrooms, back onto the table. This is a big step forward for the nation's students. Only because of your prayer and financial support was this influential Symposium possible, and you may not have known it at the time, but you were in Boston! Thank you for being part of our team! Sincerely, Jon Buell


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