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Toronto journalist’s further correspondence with the Darwin fans …


I don’t know what I would do without my regular fix of fellow Toronto journalist David Warren, who – having made clear that he thinks Darwinism a crock – is constantly hearing from anxious Darwin fans, who don’t know what they’ll do if it isn’t true.

If life cannot be produced accidentally by jiggling chemicals in a test tube, … apparently life makes no sense to them – or something like that anyway.

Warren continues to offer boilerplate responses (one must live, after all). Indeed, he appears to know some of the same Darwoids as I hear from, to judge from their inimitable prose style:

“Atrociously bad, pig-ignorant garbage.” … “Mixture of gall & negligence.” … “Sheer brazen quality of this ignorance is a wonder to behold.”

This is what’s said ABOUT the likes of me, third-personally, by the more articulate correspondents advising my editors to sack me. The letters to me personally are, however, much ruder. As usual, among the charges, I am a “faggot,” or at least a “closet fag.”

[ … ]

Many, many, of my apoplectic correspondents refer me to websites on “The God Delusion,” & other standard sources for atheist proselytizing. Several correspondents refer to a website where Michael Behe’s “claims” are “refuted” in a similar manner to the above (i.e. with a lot of more-or-less clinical abusive language).

And apparently, many of these ill-tempered illiterates have taken to styling themselves “the New Enlightenment.”

To hear Warren’s literate thoughts on the notion of “the survival instinct”, go here.


Favorable review of Behe’s Edge of Evolution

From the whodathunkit? files: Dan Rather suing CBS over pajamagate

Terminology wars: Materialist philosopher calls agnostic biochemist a creationist

CS Lewis on science writing – why it matters

larrycranston I have given the wikipedia links above, which mention briefly about it. It was deemed a religion for tax exemption purpose. [The Straits Times (above) is a very reputable and trustworthy newspaper in our region.] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_humanism#Torcaso_v._Watkins Torcaso v. Watkins The phrase "secular humanism" became prominent after it was used in the United States Supreme Court case Torcaso v. Watkins. In the 1961 decision, Justice Hugo Black commented in a footnote, "Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others." Such footnotes, known as obiter dicta, are personal observations of the judge, and hence are incidental to reaching the opinion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Seeger United States v. Seeger, 380 U.S. 163 (1965)[1], was a case in which the United States Supreme Court ruled that the exemption from the military draft for conscientious objectors could not be reserved only for those professing conformity with the moral directives of a supreme being, but also for those whose views on war derived from a "sincere and meaningful belief which occupies in the life of its possessor a place parallel to that filled by the God." MatthewTan
MatthewTan: Can you provide a reference for the Supreme Court ruling that secular humanism is a religion? I'd really be interested to see that. larrycranston
Stephen J. Gould on "Darwinian Fundamentalism"
A movement of strict constructionism, a self-styled form of Darwinian fundamentalism, has risen to some prominence in a variety of fields, from the English biological heartland of John Maynard Smith to the uncompromising ideology (albeit in graceful prose) of his compatriot Richard Dawkins, to the equally narrow and more ponderous writing of the American philosopher Daniel Dennett (who entitled his latest book Darwin's Dangerous Idea). Moreover, a larger group of strict constructionists are now engaged in an almost mordantly self-conscious effort to "revolutionize" the study of human behavior along a Darwinian straight and narrow under the name of "evolutionary psychology." Some of these ideas have filtered into the general press, but the uniting theme of Darwinian fundamentalism has not been adequately stressed or identified. Professionals, on the other hand, are well aware of the connections. My colleague Niles Eldredge, for example, speaks of this coordinated movement as Ultra-Darwinism in his recent book, Reinventing Darwin. Amid the variety of their subject matter, the ultra-Darwinists share a conviction that natural selection regulates everything of any importance in evolution, and that adaptation emerges as a universal result and ultimate test of selection's ubiquity.
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1151 Jehu
Incidentally, wikipedia includes Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennet in the list of "notable secular humanists". So, these two guys are religious persons of secular humanism, and arguably, Darwinism is a sub-branch of secular humanism. MatthewTan
Davescot Darwinism Religion 1. Darwin's God: Nature God 2. Moral Absolute: Survivalism. There is no right and wrong: as long as you survive. "Selfish genes" determinism. 3. Creation of life: natural selection and random mutation 4. Dogma No.1 : Design without Designer. 5. Priests: Dawkins, Jerry Coyne, Kenneth Miller, etc. 6. Denominations: neo-Darwinism, punt eek, etc. 7. "surface signs" - pictures of ape-to-man evolution, Darwin Fish symbol, Darwin scripture 8. Scripture: Origin of Species, Descent of Man 9. Special Worship Day: Darwin's Day 10. Treatment of heresies: Modern Inquisition, Excommunication, Character assassination 11. Saints: Darwin, Stephen J Gould, Dobzhansky, etc. 12. Mantra: "no intelligence allowed" MatthewTan
Conflationary Sins of The Darwinian Preisthood 1. Conflating Intelligent Design with Christian Fundamentalism 2. Conflating macro-evolution with micro-evolution 3. Failure to conflate overwhelming evidence with overactive imagination. DaveScot
matthew The Church of Saint Charles DaveScot
Is Darwinism a religion? I read that the US Supreme Court has ruled that "secular humanism" is a religion. Perhaps it is high time to question whether Darwinism is a religion rather than science. Maybe those who are legally trained can looked into the matter. Perhaps someone can refer this matter to Phillip E. Johnson? The following is an excerpt from a Singapore's news analysis on whether the Chinese fengshui is a religion - a recent court case in Singapore ). The writer explained why "secular humanism" was considered a religion by US Supreme Court. If that is so, then for the same reasons, there might be a case to argue that Darwinism is a religion. The Straits Times, 20 September, 2007, p. 24. (subscription required) Review Page Article By Andy Ho, Senior Writer Fengshui>> Moved By The Spirit ...Many educated Chinese reject any suggestion that fengsui is religious as there is no deity involved. But then Buddhism has none either. In fact, in a 1961 case, Torcaso v. Watkins , the United State Supreme Court even called secular humanism a religion. In its long-standing jurisprudence over the issue of religion, that august body has dissected, among others, the nature of religion. For example, in US v. Seeger (1965), it called a belief religious if it was a “sincere and meaningful one about ‘ultimate concerns’ and occupied a place parallel to that filled by God” in the lives of indisputably religious folk. It suggested that religious beliefs addressed comprehensively and systematically “fundamental questions (such as) the meaning of life and death, Man’s role in the Universe, (as well as) right and wrong”. Moreover, they would also be embellished with formal, external, or surface signs” or elements such as rituals and clergy. So, though secular humanism has no deity – in fact it rejects the supernatural – its beliefs provide answers to questions of ultimate concerns. It holds that Man is the real source of value while his autonomy is absolutely central. While it does not offer its acolytes a moral code, it adjures them to wield Reason in apprehending life’s great questions. Thus it addresses enough ultimate questions, such as Man’s role in the universe, to be called a comprehensive system. Broadly then, it is religious – with Man and Reason as its deities – even if its organizational form is diffused and indeterminate, with no one individual sitting ever so pretty as High Priest(ess). Now apply this analytic framework to fengshui…. Also fengshui serves the same purposes that other religious beliefs do in offering non-verifiable explications for and ascribing non-testable ultimate meanings to the universe, the nature of existence, and other life events. Finally, fengshui is not bereft of the surface signs of recognized religion either, with its practitioners brandishing the Lo P’an, the I-Ching and astrological charts. All in all, fengshui is a facet of – for lack of a better term – the Religion of the Chinese Nation, writ large. So, while it may not be “religion” in the conventional sense, it has more than enough similarities with conventional religion to justify tax exemption. MatthewTan
Reminds me of something I read from Alister McGrath recently: Since the publication of my book Dawkins’ God in 2004, I am regularly asked to speak on its themes throughout the world. In these lectures, I set out Dawkins’s views on religion and then give an evidence-based rebuttal, point by point. After one such lecture, I was confronted by a very angry young man. The lecture had not been particularly remarkable. I had simply demonstrated, by rigorous use of scientific, historical and philosophical arguments, that Dawkins’s intellectual case against God didn’t stand up to critical examination. But this man was angry—in fact, I would say he was furious. Why? Because, he told me, wagging his finger agitatedly at me, I had “destroyed his faith.” His atheism rested on the authority of Richard Dawkins, and I had totally undermined his faith. He would have to go away and rethink everything. How dare I do such a thing? Alister McGrath, The Dawkins Delusion? Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine (IVP 2007), 18 Mathetes
What an interesting discussion of the survival instinct! Thank you for bringing it to my attention. Janice

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