Man, I must have smacked Michael Ruse really hard. Over and over, he repeats one simple, common phrase that I applied to him — it must have been painfully memorable.
I have been called many things in my time, but I truly believe that “clueless gobshite” is a first. In a way, I am almost proud of this. After all, if you are in your seventieth year and someone feels so strongly about your ideas that they refer to you in this way, then you must be doing something right. Or if not exactly right, you must have ideas that others want to challenge so strongly that they pull out this kind of language.
It’s a very peculiar phenomenon. Here is the post in which I casually referred to Ruse as a “clueless gobshite”; I criticized him and Andrew Brown much more strongly than that one remark would imply, yet it is all that stuck in his head. He repeatedly agonizes over the cruelty of my remark, and acts as if all I had to say about him was one vicious, cutting cliche, and he encapsulates every criticism in that one insult. Further, he hangs himself on a cross and tries to claim he didn’t deserve even that, that his crime was of being too reasonable, of being generous and charitable.
And yet, I am excoriated at every turn. Why? Simply, because I am an “Accommodationist.” I think that some kind of intellectual meeting is possible with religious believers, including Christian religious believers.
Oh, poor Michael Ruse, that gentle-souled and open-minded fellow who merely wants to reach out to his fellow human beings with sympathy—how could he deserve such unkind criticism? I clutch my pearls with one hand, place the other on my brow, and gaze skyward with eyes welling tearfully, and then swoon upon the fainting couch installed handily near my desk. Michael, Michael, Michael…how could we abuse you so?
Actually, with good reason, and my attacks on his flawed character have been even stronger than you’d guess from his limited quoting. What prompted my rudeness wasn’t his pious apologetics for the common man, but that Ruse visited the Creation “Museum”, ignored the lunacy on display (except to express his sympathy with it), and went on to identify the real culprit in this anti-intellectual abomination.
Michael Ruse went to Ken Ham’s house, twirled about among the exhibits showing dinosaurs with saddles, Noah’s ark being built to carry off members of every species on earth, exhortations to accept Biblical literalism, and accusations of malice and dishonesty against every sensible biologists, and what do he and Andrew Brown do? Why, blame the atheists, of course.
That is insane.
What the hell is wrong with Ruse? How can he stand among the lies, with little children being told abominable fabrications, and think then that the pressing problem is people who demand evidence for their beliefs? I was unimpressed with his momentary show of self-serving “open-mindedness”; but I was disgusted with his completely inappropriate neglect of a genuine problem to fling blame at the people who have consistently opposed every facet of that monument to ignorance.
Michael Ruse really needs to carefully read my original complaint, because I’m not giving him a rhetorical slap because he’s too open-minded. I’m kicking him to the curb because ideas matter (something I would think a philosopher would care about), and he espouses a kind of waffling relativism that acts as if young earth creationism and science are equivalently deserving of respect, and that if atheists would just shut up we’d all be living in a happy, loving relationship with Ken Ham.
He’s not just a clueless gobshite. He’s a traitor to reason.