I received this reply from Zachary Boss to an email I never sent. I am
not the author of the original email. It must be another Doug or
Zachary was "replying to all".
Zachary Bos wrote:
> Dear Doug:
> I don't know what to make of your hostility. Are you joking? If not,
> I'll take you at face value and responsd line by line.
> <<This is such horseshit, no wonder creationists think we worship
> Darwin or something.>>
> I didn't invite anyone to a worship service, and am quite outspoken in
> my opinion that such deification of human heroes is dangerous and
> indefensible. Don't make the same mistakes many theists do, and see
> ghosts where none are.
> <<Who cares whether it's this guys birthday?>>
> It is as good a day as any to come together to affirm our collective
> appreciation for the scientific method. Since the celebration of
> birthdays is a widespread practice, it seemed natural enough to
> channel our enthusiasm for rationalism into the ready-made cultural
> template of a birthday celebration. So, I suppose we care less about
> the birthday qua birthday, and more about having a pretext to
> celebrate less tangible values.
> <<You going to email me me on Einsteins birthday? Newtons? Bohrs?
> None of these men is as widely acknowledged as having provided a
> scientific justification for a purely secular worldview. For millenia,
> the argument from the apparent design of organisms has been the most
> accesible and seemingly reasonable argument for the existence of a
> designer. Darwin's publications helped make that argument obsolete,
> and for that reason -- the promotion of secularism into palatable
> terms -- a lot of freethinkers get excited about the symbolic
> significance of his research and the research it led to.
> <<Perhaps there is something to be said about that old Christian story
> about the golden calf>>
> I appreciate you not wanting to throw the baby out with the bathwater,
> but let's try to leave Old Testament fables out of this kind of
> internal BA discussion, eh? Things can get contentious when folks get
> <<... apparently humans can't go five minutes without bowing down and
> worshiping something.>>
> No one has done this or suggested this be done. Why are you projecting
> this kind of sheepish knee-bending template onto what I'd actually
> describe as a perfectly benign social gathering?
> <<There have been many scientists before and since how have made as
> much or greater contributions to human knowledge>>
> It was the particular contribution Darwin made to the credibility of
> secularism that so many atheists are concerned with him. And the
> particularly charismatic nature of his research topic that attracts so
> many admirers, in general: compare "the grandeur and beauty of the
> diversity of life" to "the mathematical description of the
> gravitational relationships among bodies in motion," "the ineffably
> dualistic flavor of fundamental particles," or "the benefit of heating
> milk before drinking," and you'll have answered your own question
> about why the average scientifically literate citizen likes Darwin but
> is typically indifferent toward Newton, Bohr, and Pasteur. To put it
> briefly, people like animals.
> <<... and even if thier weren't it's the knowledge that's the
> important part not idolizing the guy that first came up with it.>>
> Had you attended this evening, you would have seen no rites, no idols,
> no songs of praise, and no tithing.
> <<Darwin wasn't even an athiest anyway>>
> I am aware of a great deal of evidence that suggests he was not any
> sort of theist. I hope you'll provide references for this claim; I
> know others will be interested to know where you get your information.
> <<... screw that fairy tale beleiveing moron.>>
> There is a lot to unpack in this your concluding remark:
> 1. Theism is not a fairy tale. Many components of theistic doctrine
> are sophisticated, compound, and compelling.
> 2. To call theism "a fairy tale" is to fail to realize the many good
> reasons many theists believe in gods. Of course, none of them are
> quite good enough...
> 3. It is useless and furthermore stricly inaccurate to say that
> thesists believe in fairy tales.
> 4. To call Darwin m a moron is a dismissive ad hominem attack, one
> that is difficult to reconcile credibily with Darwin's education,
> insight, and scientific achievement.
> 5. To conclude one's argument with the suggestion that we "screw" the
> one with whom we disagree suggests that as one lacks the confidence in
> the intellectual credibility of one's argument, one must resort of
> physical acts of intolerance and antagonism.
> All that aside, which fairy take exactly do you think Darwin believed
> in? Again, you'll know from reading the mailing list and perhaps from
> your encounters with other members that we do prefer citations for
> this kind of assertion; I hope you'll send us to a source for whatever
> claims you make about Darwin's fairy tale subscriptions.
> To read your subtext, it sounds like yoy harbor suspicions that our
> presence of tonight's Darwin Day festivities betrays an irrational
> mindset, is that right? I'd welcome the chance to talk you out of that
> perception, if you are open to such a discussion. Perhaps we can talk
> about it at Sunday's brunch, if you plan to attend.
> Zachary Bos
> Director, Boston Atheists
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