One of the hardest things for bloggers, or professors, or, let’s face it, anyone, to do is admit that they were wrong. But Michael Ruse, long a favorite topic of this website, has done just that. Disturbed by the Catholic church’s strategy of trying to shut up abuse victims rather than bring their abusers to justice, he’s penned a column called “Why Richard Dawkins was Right and I Was Wrong”. Yes, it’s at Huffington Post, and yes, Ruse is still publicly licking his wounds, but you have to give the guy credit for saying he erred. Kudos, at least for this and its last sentence:
I have long been involved in the fight against creationism and its successor, intelligent design theory. To this end, I have embraced strongly the philosophy that science and religion speak of different things — a philosophy sometimes known as neo-orthodoxy or the independence position. This means that although I have no religious beliefs whatsoever, it does not follow that I cannot respect those who do. Together, believers and non-believers can join in fighting what we both see as travesties of science properly understood and religion properly understood. For this reason I have opposed the so-called New Atheists in their scorn for all and any religious beliefs. And I might add, somewhat proudly, that I, too, had their scorn poured down on my head.
Recently, the New Atheists’ most prominent representative, Richard Dawkins, wrote a highly emotive piece for the Washington Post, in which he derided the present pope and expressed glee and satisfaction that such a person was now leading the Catholic Church. In Dawkins’s judgment, not only was this no less than the Church deserved, but such leadership could only hasten the Church’s demise. I thought at the time that Dawkins was over the top and wrong. I now think that he was right and that it was I who was wrong. Let me say at once that, unlike Dawkins, I don’t necessarily want to see this as the end of religion or even of the Catholic Church in some form. I stress that although I cannot share the beliefs of Christians, I respect them and applaud the good that is done in the name of their founder. But I do now think that as presently constituted, the Catholic Church is corrupt and should be eradicated.