University of Chicago Darwin at Chicago Debating Darwin
Debate Darwin Spring 2012


Elliott Sober


Elliott Sober, "Ch. 4 - Darwin and Naturalism," in Did Darwin write the Origin Backwards? (Prometheus Books, 2011), 121-152.

Elliott Sober, "What Is Wrong with Intelligent Design?"  Quarterly Review of Biology, 2007, 82: 3-8.

Elliott Sober, "Evolution without Naturalism ." In J. Kvanvig (ed.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion, 2011, volume 3, 187-221.


Autumn Workshop

ManuscriptGO Manuscript Project


Naturalism and Evolutionary Theory

Can conclusions about God – for example, that he does not exist, or that he lacks this or that property if he does exist -- be deduced from well-established scientific theories?  For example, do established results in biology concerning mutation show that God never guides mutations?   I answer this question by explaining what biologists mean (or should mean) when they say that mutations are unguided.  I make use of the fact that evolutionary theory is a probabilistic theory; its truth does not entail that it is causally complete.

ELLIOTT SOBER - April 13, 2011 from Debating Darwin on Vimeo

This lecture is one in an ongoing series. PLEASE NOTE: It will be held at 4PM, Room 224, Social Sciences Research Building, The University of Chicago, 1126 E. 59th St.

For further information contact Beth Calderon (


The Debating Darwin workshops are a series of lectures given by the most acclaimed historians and philosophers of science. These workshops, headed by Robert J. Richards of the University of Chicago and Michael Ruse of Florida State University are co-sponsored by the Fishbein Center for History of Science, the Office of the President, and the Templeton Foundation.


April 13 - ELLIOTT SOBER(Wisconsin, Madison): Naturalism and Evolutionary Theory

May 25 - GEORGE LEVINE (Rutgers): Darwin among the non-scientists: some literary influence

BONUS VIDEO April 25 - NAOMI BECK (Max Planck): Be Fruitful and Multiply: Growth, Reason & Cultural Group Selection in Hayek & Darwin

Autumn 2011

Sept. 30 - PHILLIP SLOAN (Notre Dame): Natural Historical Realism and the Epistemology of Darwin's Descent: Turning the Zoological Gaze onto Human Beings

Oct. 14 - JAMES LENNOX (Pittsburgh): Accentuate the Negative: A Puzzle about the Structure of the Origin Solved

Oct. 28 - ROBERT J. RICHARDS (Chicago) AND MICHAEL RUSE (Florida State): Debating Darwin

Nov. 11 - GREGORY RADICK (Leeds): Lessons of the Galapagos

Lectures will occur at 4PM in the Social Sciences Research Building (1126 E. 59th St.), room 224


Cambridge Companion to the Origin of Species eds., Michael Ruse and Robert J Richards, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).

Darwinian Heresieseds. Robert J. Richards, Abigail Lustig and Michael Ruse (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

Reflections on the Origin of Species, Michael Ruse, with David Reznick, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008).

Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior Robert J. Richards (University of Chicago Press, 1987).

Darwinism and its Discontents Michael Ruse (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe Robert J. Richards (University of Chicago Press, 2002).

The Evolution/Creation Struggle Michael, Ruse (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2005).

The Tragic Sense of Life: Ernst Haeckel and the Struggle over Evolutionary Thought Robert J. Richards (University of Chicago Press, 2008) .

Debating Design: Darwin to DNA Michael Ruse (edited with William Dembski), (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).