Robert Wright on Morning Joe

By Chris Mooney | September 21, 2009 5:42 am

In prepping for the show, I came across this very good interview with the author of The Evolution of God:

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Comments (7)

  1. magistramorous

    I haven’t read his book yet, but I hope he’ll be an important bridge builder between the New Atheists and the Evangelicals. It’s a huge rift, so let’s start planning and executing the construction right away:)

  2. NewEnglandBob

    Wright is wrong. The rift is now bigger.

  3. MartyM

    This stinks of intelligent design concepts. I initially liked some of his ideas (as heard from an interview in a podcast) but as it went along, it’s started to seem like a lot of hand waving. I’m probably going to pass on this…

  4. Dark Tent

    Yes, this IS just intelligent design with Wright’s talk of ‘purpose”.

    The implication is that “moral development in humans” implies “purpose” which implies “existence of god”.

    it’s the same old argument: I can’t see how something like morality could ever have come about through natural selection. Therefore, it must have been God.

    The funny thing is that this is precisely the same argument that people have been giving for thousands of years. It seems to have advanced not one iota.

    You’d think that in today’s scientific age, people would realize that there are still lots of things we don’t understand about the natural world and to invoke god as an explanation for something like morality is really no more sophisticated than invoking God as an explanation for the movement of the planets around the sun or the path of a thrown baseball.

  5. Dark Tent

    BY the way, it is interesting how creationists move seamlessly from one failed effort to the next to get a forum for their views in the schools.

    first, Creationists confronted evolution directly …and failed miserably.

    Then they change the name to Intelligent Design and pursued the “teach the controversy” avenue (ie, appealed to the idea of “balance”, “equal time” and “fairness” that have co-opted the news media today) … and failed miserably to get equal footing and equal time with science.

    Now they are prefacing their arguments with the idea of “There is no inherent contradiction between religion and science” in order to get their foot back in the door — that they were just kicked out of!

    These people are nothing if not persistent!

  6. magistramorous

    This is not really a “god of the gaps” argument. Robert Wright explicitly states that this “higher purpose” need not involve the supernatural. It could merely be a description of the way nature works to generate morality, in the spirit of Richard Dawkins, W. D. Hamilton, and other evolutionary biologists who have looked at this problem.

  7. magistramorous

    Sorry, he didn’t state this on Morning Joe: he stated this on Charlie Rose, when pressed.


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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.


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