Michael Ruse

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Michael Escott Ruse
Born (1940-06-21) June 21, 1940 (age 74)
Birmingham, England
Institutions Florida State University (2000–present)
University of Guelph (1965–2000)
Main interests Philosophy of biology
Philosophy of science

Michael Ruse, FRSC (born 21 June 1940) is a philosopher of science who specializes in the philosophy of biology and is well known for his work on the relationship between science and religion, the creation-evolution controversy and the demarcation problem within science. Ruse currently teaches at Florida State University. He was born in England, attending Bootham School,[1] York. He took his undergraduate degree at the University of Bristol (1962), his master's degree at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario (1964), and Ph.D. at the University of Bristol (1970).


Ruse taught at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada for 35 years. Since his retirement from Guelph, he has taught at Florida State University and is the Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy (2000–present). In 1986, he was elected as a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Canada and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Bergen, Norway (1990), McMaster University, Ontario, Canada (2003) and the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada (2007). In September 2014 he was made an Honorary Doctor of Science by University College London. He considers himself both an atheist and agnostic, but believes that "new atheism" is a disservice to science and loathes the term "Humanist."[2]

Ruse was a key witness for the plaintiff in the 1981 test case (McLean v. Arkansas) of the state law permitting the teaching of "creation science" in the Arkansas school system.[3] The federal judge ruled that the state law was unconstitutional.

Along with several other scholars, Ruse delivered the 2001 Gifford Lectures in Natural Theology at the University of Glasgow. His lectures on Evolutionary Naturalism, "A Darwinian Understanding of Epistemology" and "A Darwinian Understanding of Ethics," are collected in the edited volume The Nature and Limits of Human Understanding, (ed. Anthony Sanford, T & T Clark, 2003) Ruse debates regularly with William A. Dembski, a proponent of intelligent design.[4] Ruse takes the position that it is possible to reconcile the Christian faith with evolutionary theory.[5] Ruse founded the journal Biology and Philosophy, of which he is now Emeritus Editor,[6] and has published numerous books and articles.

Along with colleague Joseph Travis he is co-editor of Evolution: The First Four Billion Years (Harvard University Press 2009, ISBN 978-0-674-03175-3).[7]

Ruse was a colleague of the late philosopher of science Ernan McMullin and has cited his influence.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Ruse has two children from his first marriage: Nigel and Rebecca. He has been married to his second wife, Lizzie, since 1985 and they have three children: Emily, Oliver and Edward. In the Huffington Post Ruse wrote "Speaking as one who has probably no more religious beliefs than Richard Dawkins, I don't see anything morally wrong with someone trying to reconcile science and religion."[9]

Selected works[edit]


  1. ^ Bootham School Register. York, England: BOSA. 2011.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  2. ^ http://blog.beliefnet.com/scienceandthesacred/2009/08/why-i-think-the-new-atheists-are-a-bloody-disaster.html
  3. ^ "Testimony of Dr. Michael Ruse". AntiEvolution.org. 1981. Retrieved 14 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Stewart, R.B. (2007). Intelligent Design: William A. Dembski & Michael Ruse in Dialogue. New York: Fortress Press. 
  5. ^ Ruse, Michael (2000). Can a Darwinian be a Christian?. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  6. ^ "Editorial Board". Biology and Philosophy (Springer Netherlands). ISSN 0169-3867. 
  7. ^ Ruse, Michael, and Travis, Joseph, Evolution: the first four billion years, Harvard University Press, 2009
  8. ^ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01287.x/abstract
  9. ^ A Scientific Defense of the Templeton Foundation

External links[edit]