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Re: [atheists-55] Re: Darwin is a fairy-tale

From: Doug
Sent on: Friday, February 13, 2009 10:57 AM
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.
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