The Independent September 7, 2001

Academics Clash Over Darwinism

By Steve Connor

A science historian has attacked the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and other scientists for equating Darwinism with atheism.

Michael Ruse of Florida State University, who describes himself as an "ultra-committed Darwinist", said Professor Dawkins, of Oxford University, was doing Darwinism a disfavour by saying that belief in God was incompatible with belief in evolution. Professor Dawkins was playing into the hands of Creationists, who believed in the literal truth of the Bible, Professor Ruse said.

"One of the things that has made the job of Creationist fighters – and I'm one – more difficult has been my fellow evolutionists, notoriously Richard Dawkins, because he links Darwinism to atheism," Professor Ruse told the British Association meeting.

"They are absolutely blunt that Christianity is a load of rubbish. It's certainly made it very difficult because people like Dawkins have been very openly and flamboyantly saying that Christianity is a refuge of sort, it's for people with flabby brains," Professor Ruse said.

"Although I'm not a Christian, what I'm saying is that if you've even bothered to look at the Christian tradition and theology there are ways of dealing with science, including Darwinism," he said.

Professor Ruse, who is British, said that Creationism was undergoing a revival, especially in America, where it was being taught under the banner of "intelligent design", which argued that living organisms were too complex to be the result of chance.

Also see: Evolution 'becoming a rival religion' from the Daily Telegraph

File Date: 09.12.01