Michael Ruse wonders why those of us who are against religion don't just shut up and tolerate mediocre religious bullshit for the sake of opposing creationism, which is really virulent religious bullshit. The question is self-answering: Because mediocre bullshit is still bullshit; if you tolerate mediocre bullshit, you compromise an important principle contra virulent bullshit.
Ruse trots out his anti-creationist credentials (and good for him) and whines that atheists are being "nasty" to him. Well boo fucking hoo. Dennett says Ruse stands in danger of losing the respect of his peers. Dawkins calls him a "Chamberlain".
Ruse is entitled to his position:
I do not see that committing oneself to science necessarily implies that one thinks that all of religion is false, and that those who worship a supreme being are in some respects at one with the fanatics who flew planes into the World Trade Center. ... I fully accept that many believers are good because of their beliefs. Moreover, I think it is both politically and morally right to work with believers to combat ills, including creationism.There's a real controversy here; and Ruse is certainly entitled to argue his position.
His argument, which spans almost two full paragraphs, a whopping ten percent of this essay, certainly deserves consideration: Dawkins fails to "acknowledge that few if any Christians have ever claimed that the proofs are the true reason for the belief in God ... [and] the proofs are a lot more subtle than these critics recognize." That's it. Sounds to me like a variation on the "bad food and not enough of it" argument.
Ruse holds up Augustine's cosmological proof as an example of this subtlety. It's uncontroversial, though, that that Augustine himself was an intelligent person and his argument subtle. But Augustine proffers this argument sixteen centuries ago; subtle it may be, but it is still wrong and has been proven wrong. Ruse states that he is "absolutely committed to the belief that science is our highest form of knowledge." Is this sincere? Why mention then that "few if any Christians have ever claimed that the proofs are the true reason for the belief in God" to defend them?
Ruse does not merely argue his position, but also demands that his opponents remain silent in the name of "unity", while simultaneously calling them dogmatic "true believers", unwilling to listen. Ruse labels his opponents dogmatic because they fail to maintain unity; Ruse seems to think that it is impossible that anyone could honestly disagree with his position, therefore his opponents must fail to listen.
The projection, hypocrisy and utter lack of intellectual integrity is blatant and loathsome.
(h/t to Darwiniana)