Do you think the vitriolic nature of your response aided in promoting
your opinion on the topic?
On Fri, Feb 13, 2009 at 10:57 AM, Doug <[address removed]> wrote:
> He might be British, that would kinda be a bummer though as it would ruin my
> otherwise witty insult.
> I think this situation with this individual is somewhat unique. It's a group
> of atheists who are coming together specifically because they are atheist.
> That Darwin is who he is and that there are Christians who do honestly
> believe that "darwinists" and "evolutionists" are some kind of science
> worshiping cult. Basically I just would hate to have it come up in debate
> with a christian that groups of atheists ran around celebrating darwins
> birthday as common practice, it would just be far to annoying to have to
> explain. I wouldn't be for having any sort of darwin/origin of species
> specific celebrations or holidays.
> Also I just have a deep personal aversion to idolizing people in general. It
> tends to be problematic as all people are flawed it's better to hold up
> ideas and principles than people.
> On Fri, Feb 13, 2009 at 10:19 AM, Malcolm <[address removed]> wrote:
>> Maybe he is British?
>> Those in-the-know (that I have spoken to) see this not a day to
>> idolize Charles Darwin, simply to celebrate the origin of an important
>> scientific theory in biology. A theory that has a contentious
>> relationship with many religious people (in the US), which many
>> atheists can identify with. Is your concerned that some people do
>> idolize Darwin? That atheists are being hypocritical if they
>> celebrate the day of a specific scientists birthday? Or are you
>> concerned about what others will think of those who do celebrate the
>> day? Do you think no historical figure's birthday should be
>> celebrated? Or some other arbitrary non-event should be celebrated?
>> If the publication of the Origin of Species were on a day other than
>> his birthday would you disagree with celebrating that day instead of
>> his birthday? Perhaps some other option I have missed entirely?
>> - Malcolm
>> On Fri, Feb 13, 2009 at 9:49 AM, Doug <[address removed]> wrote:
>> > My responses interlaced below.
>> > "I don't know what to make of your hostility. Are you joking? If not,
>> > I'll
>> > take you at face value and respond line by line."
>> > I'm not joking and don't make too much of my hostility. It's my manner
>> > of
>> > argumentative speaking when I have a disagreement of any kind.
>> > "<<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."
>> > I do think that celebrating Darwin's birthday is foolish and also could
>> > give
>> > the false impression to outsiders that he is being deified in some way.
>> > "<<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."
>> > Again I think it's a worse day than most because it gives the appearance
>> > of
>> > deification. Especially since you entitle it Darwin day and not
>> > scientific
>> > method day or something.
>> > "<<You going to email me me on Einsteins birthday? Newtons? Bohrs?
>> > Pastuers?>>
>> > 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."
>> > This is an opinion. Do you have some kind of study of survey to back
>> > this
>> > up? There were atheists, agnostics and secularists before Darwin.
>> > <<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 exegetical.
>> > This is obviously an attempt to insult me. So... Fuck you. It's
>> > perfectly
>> > valid to reference a familiar bible story as it is to reference jack in
>> > the
>> > beanstalk or star wars. Why would anything get contentious about that
>> > within a mailing list full of atheist who all see it on the level of
>> > just a
>> > story and not the literal truth. I'm sorry, I couldn't think of any
>> > other
>> > reference to deification. You are familiar with the story right? So...
>> > it
>> > was an effective and useful reference.
>> > "<<... 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?"
>> > The whole idea of the gathering to celebrate Darwins birthday implies
>> > worship. I'm obviously trying to drive the point home here with mocking
>> > exaggerations.
>> > "<<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."
>> > Again, that's just like your opinion man. Darwin or his theorys didn't
>> > cortibute at all to my personally adopting to an atheistic worldview for
>> > instance. I don't really find biology a more compleling scientific feild
>> > that physics. You try to insert granduer and beauty in front of the
>> > diversity of life in that sentence like it's part of the scientific
>> > theory.
>> > You could throw that in anywhere let's say it's "the grandeur and beauty
>> > of
>> > the gravitational relationships among bodies in motion". Just pointing
>> > out
>> > the bias in your hypothetical. You are just stating personal opinions as
>> > they were facts that you could use to back an agrument and it's
>> > ridiculous
>> > really.
>> > "<<... 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."
>> > I'll say it again ,the entire concept of the day is what gives the
>> > appearance of idolatry. Obviously that's what I'm criticizing because I
>> > didn't attend and therefore it wouldnt' make much sense for me to
>> > participte
>> > in a conversasion about the actions that took place.
>> > If you don't think it's idolizing someone to go out and have a
>> > celebration
>> > in there honor you are a fucking moron. I mean just do the thought
>> > experiment of celebrating Hitler day for a second or something. Let's
>> > say
>> > hitler day just consists of gathering together with others and playing
>> > monopoly. Seems a perfectly neutral right? So then would you ever attend
>> > Hitler day? (note:I'M NOT COMPARING DARWIN TO HITLER, he just somone
>> > whom
>> > most wouldn't want to be associated with idolizing therefore making it
>> > easy
>> > to see that's what you are doing in the thought experiment)
>> > You are making to contratdictory arguments. In one paragraph you sing
>> > the
>> > priases of Darwin and why he is great and important and derserves
>> > recognition and in the next you claim you aren't worshiping him.
>> > Honestly,
>> > it's so transparent it's almost humourus.
>> > "<<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."
>> > Whatever, I hadn't really looked into. I just don't think he's famous
>> > for
>> > being one anyway and was no outspoken champion of the cause.
>> > "<<... screw that fairy tale beleiveing moron.>>
>> > There is a lot to unpack in this your concluding remark::"
>> > Really, lol, this should be good.
>> > "1. Theism is not a fairy tale. Many components of theistic doctrine are
>> > sophisticated, compound, and compelling."
>> > Yes it is and no they arn't. Againt just opinions though.
>> > "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..."
>> > uhh... I disagree.
>> > "3. It is useless and furthermore stricly inaccurate to say that
>> > thesists
>> > believe in fairy tales."
>> > It's not inaccurate. You havn't proven that point you have just said it
>> > over
>> > and over. Useless is matter of opinion and who that received this letter
>> > was
>> > a theist anyway?
>> > "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."
>> > I will agree with you on this it's most certainly a dismissive ad
>> > hominem
>> > attack. I don't find it very difficult to reconcile though. My point was
>> > simply to blaspheme your little deity to get a rise out of you. Which
>> > consdiering the 5 point list you came up with here to respond to six
>> > words
>> > it obviously did. Maybe that should tell you something, eh?
>> > "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."
>> > I wasn't literally suggesting digging up his body and having intercourse
>> > with it. It's just a figure of speach there buddy, calm down.
>> > "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."
>> > No source just pulling shit out of my ass as I mentioned earlier. Again
>> > though, I think your defensiveness towards this dead man is awfully
>> > telling.
>> > "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."
>> > I don't plan to attend because I don't live in Boston but in Baltimore
>> > and
>> > honestly I'm a bit confused as to why I recieved this email in the first
>> > place.
>> > "Cheers,"
>> > Who says cheers? What do you have such a hard on for Darwin that you are
>> > pretending to be British now? lol, sorry, couldn't resist.
>> > -Doug
>> > --
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>> > This message was sent by Doug ([address removed]) from The Baltimore
>> > Atheists
>> > Meetup Group.
>> > To learn more about Doug, visit his/her member profile
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