From Cliff Sosis’s interview with Florida State University philosopher Michael Ruse (born in Britain to a Quaker family) on the blog “What is it Like to be a Philosopher?”
You recently became a citizen, correct? Do you think religious fundamentalism will always have a place in American politics?
Yes, I feel that if I am going to live here and teach students, I should make a commitment. Also by being a US citizen I can criticize without being a hypocrite. In my lifetime yes, I think these things will always be around so long as we are still fighting the Civil War – perhaps as the Hispanic vote and other immigrants get more sizable we shall see a shift – but not in a hurry.
Do you think creationism is ever going to go away? Where do you think the new atheists get things right?
Creationism isn’t going to go away in my lifetime! I don’t think a fondness for pseudoscience or irrational religion will ever go. Well, I think the New Atheists are right that Christianity is false! I think they are wrong to say that all religious believers are charlatans and fools.
You’ve worked a bit with the intelligent design guy, Bill Dembski. How did that come about?
Just meeting him at conferences or when we were on the same platform – if I were a scientist, I would hesitate about collaborating, but I think as a philosopher one ought to be open to debate – that is our job.
What are your political views?
Left wing – socialist but not Marxist – very much in the British Fabian tradition – Mill, the Webbs, that sort of thing. That said, there are days when I have a bit of a libertarian streak. I wish universities would stop being therapy units and get on with teaching and research.
Read the entire interview at what is it like to be a philosopher?