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Theist, Agnostic, Atheist: Will the Real Charles Darwin Please Stand Up?
Uncommon Descent ^ | November 11, 2009 | Flannery

Posted on 11/11/2009 2:02:08 PM PST by GodGunsGuts

When history imitates game show . . .

When history imitates game show . . .

Those old enough to remember TV in the late 1950s through the 60s will recall a delightful game show, “To Tell the Truth.” As a kid I fondly recall trying to figure out along with the celebrity panelists which of the three contestants was the “real” person to be identified. It was a challenging game; the three contestants would all introduce themselves as “I am Mr./Miss /Mrs. [the generic Ms. hadn't come along yet] X” and, after the announcer read a brief description of the featured guest, the panelists would begin their questioning. The idea was for the contestants to try and stump the panel as to the which of them was the real X, so the impostors had their ingenuity tested in how well they could manufacture deceptive but plausible lies. At the end celebrities would cast their vote and then the telling question: “Will the real Mr./Miss/Mrs. X please stand up?” After some pregnant pausing and feinting, the truth would literally emerge.

Somtimes history imitates game show and no more so than when we try to guess at Charles Darwin’s religious beliefs, for surely there are more ideas on Darwin’s convictions (or lack thereof) in this regard than perhaps any figure of the modern era. Darwin, in his various comments on religion and God, could have been a one-man “To Tell the Truth” stumper on the question of his own beliefs. A brief review of the many conclusions offered in this regard will serve to make the point.

Some , like Alberto Kornblihtt, rather naively claim, “Darwin believed in God and his body is buried in Westminster Abbey.”1 The standard rendering of Charles Darwin’s faith, however, is that it was a slow imperceptible slide into unbelief. On that we have Darwin’s own word. On religious matters he said, “I found it more and more difficult, with free scope given to my imagination, to invent evidence which would suffice to convinced me. Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress.”2 And so it has come down to us to this very day. The standard view of Darwin is that he slowly, reluctantly abandoned Christianity first and later–much later–all belief.

This received canon notwithstanding, others are less convinced. Stanley Jaki has noted: “The publication in full of Darwin’s Early Notebooks forces one to conclude that in writing his Autobiography Darwin consciously lied when he claimed that he slowly, unconsciously slipped into agnosticism. He tried to protect his own family as well as the Victorian public from the shock of discovering that his Notebooks resounded with militant materialism. The chief target of the Notebooks is man’s mind, the ‘citadel,’ in Darwin’s words, which was to be conquered by his evolutionary theory if its materialism were to be victorious.”3

The radical deism of his grandfather Erasmus matured to a quiet atheism in his father Robert, and as a boy the Unitarian instruction of young Charles devolved to his sisters. Introduced to radical freethinkers as a teenager in the Plinian Society during his abortive attempt at pursuing a medical career at the University of Edinburgh, we find him taking almost naturally to the skepticism of David Hume (1711-1776) and the positivism of Auguste Comte (1798-1857).4 No wonder Janet Browne admits that “Darwin was profoundly conditioned to become the author of a doctrine inimical to religion.”5 Darwin claims to have started out as a theist when writing Origin of Species, but then asks rhetorically, “can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animals, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?” and concludes, “I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.”6

But can we really leave it at that? In the end, can we conclude that Darwin, in a hopeless theological muddle, simply settled on uncertainty in this question? Some who read his Origin would have accepted perhaps a different designation. Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873) blasted Darwin’s theory. Accepting Darwin’s evolutionary ideas threatened, according to Sedgwick, to “sink the human race into a lower grade of degradation than any into which it has fallen since its written records tell us of its history.”7 Charles Hodge (1797-1878) agreed. Whatever Darwin’s personal religious faith may or may not be, he insisted, Darwinism is Atheism.8 So what are we to make of Darwin? Theist, Atheist, Agnostic: Will the real Charles Darwin please stand up?

On balance, the historical evidence suggests that Darwin’s religious views always tended toward some form of theistic nihilism. Darwin was always careful to keep any teleological implications out of his theory even when couched in befuddlement:

With respect to the theological question. This is always painful to me. I am bewildered. I had no intention to write atheistically. But I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I wish to do so, evidence of design and benificence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. . . . I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance. 9

Again he wrote:

The old argument from design in Nature, as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection has been discovered. . . . There seems to be no more design in the variablity of organic beings, and in the action of natural selection, than in the course which the wind blows.10

And he was emphatic not to be misunderstood on the teleological question:

For brevity sake I sometimes speak of natural selection as an intelligent power; in the same way as astronomers speak of the attraction of gravity as ruling the movements of the planets, or as agriculturalists speak of man making domestic races by his power of selection. In the one case, as in the other, selection does nothing without variability, and this depends in some manner on the action of the surrounding circumstances on the organism. I have, also, often personified the word Nature; but I mean by nature only the aggregate action and product of many natural laws–and by laws only the acertained sequence of events.11

It is clear that when Darwin viewed nature God was not there. In fact, for Darwin man was mere animal, different in degree certainly but not in kind. As for the complex emotions often associated with reverence for God, Darwin saw parallels in the “deep love of a dog for his master” and “of a monkey to his beloved keeper.”12 “The idea of a universal and beneficent Creator,” he insisted, “does not seem to arise in the mind of man until he has been elevated by long-continued culture.” In short, God is the invention of man not man the creation of God. All this tends toward atheism. But to view Darwin simply as an atheist and leave it at that seems too simplistic. After all, he claimed to be an agnostic. Why not take his word for it?

The problem with simply calling Darwin an agnostic is that agnosticism means many things. Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895), in fact, coined the word to distance himself from charges of materialism and even atheism. But it became a failed strategy as agnosticism soon came to have a wide range of connotations in public discourse and common parlance. Even Lenin noticed the miscarriage stating that “in Huxley agnosticism serves as a fig leaf for [his] materialism.” Indeed by the end of the 19th century agnosticism had come to mean different things to different people. Many simply regarded agnosticism as a kind of uncertainty about God’s existence; hypothetically any agnostic might be swayed into belief by reason and argument. At first blush one is inclined to associate Darwin with this brand of agnosticism. Darwin, after all, was always a minimalist in his negation of God. However, he never felt a direct attack was necessary because he, like Huxley, believed that all talk of God and deity was beyond human understanding. Darwin adhered not to a weak form of agnosticism that says merely, “I don’t know if there’s a God because I’ve not seen sufficient evidence for Him,” his was a much stronger form of agnosticism that argued God was unknowable–all God-talk was ultimately, for Darwin, nonsense. It is this epistemological certainty that makes this a strong version of agnosticism. So here’s the problem: simply calling Darwin an agnostic is not specific enough because it leaves the two forms (the strong and the weak) ambiguous.

Well known historian of science Maurice Mandelbaum (1908-1987) understood this. In an interesting analysis of Darwin’s religious views, he noted, “In the end his Agnosticism was not one brought about by an equal balance of arguments too abstruse for the human mind; it was an Agnosticism based on an incapacity to deny what there was no good reason for affirming. Thus, those who, at the time, regarded Agnosticism as merely an undogmatic form of atheism would, in my opinion, be correct in so characterizing Darwin’s own personal opinion.”14 Darwin as “undogmatic atheist” came as close to the truth as anyone had been able to come in the century since Origin appeared.

But perhaps another designation would be even more precise or at least equally useful in this regard. Scottish theologian Robert Flint (1838-1910) offered a term of his own that comports well with Darwin’s position. He wrote:

The atheist is not necessarily a man who says “There is no God.” What is called positive or dogmatic atheism, so far from being the only kind of atheism, is the rarest of all kinds. It has often been questioned whether there is any such thing. But every man is an atheist who does not believe that there is a God, although his want of belief may not be rested on any allegation of positive knowledge that there is no God, but simply on one of want of knowledge that there is a God. If a man have failed to find any good reason for believing that there is a God, it is perfectly natural and rational that he should not believe that there is a God; and if so, he is an atheist, although he assume no superhuman knowledge, but merely the ordinary human power of judging evidence. If he go farther, and, after an investigation into the nature and reach of human knowledge, ending in the conclusion that the existence of God is incapable of proof, cease to believe in it on the ground that he cannot know it to be true, he is an agnostic and also an atheist, an agnostic-atheist–an atheist because an agnostic. There are unquestionably many such atheists. Agnosticism is among the commonest apologies for atheism. While, then, it is erroneous to identify agnosticism and atheism, it is equally erroneous so to separate them as if the one were exclusive of the other: that they are combined is an unquestionable fact.15

Flint’s important study of Agnosticism offers an insightful and useful designation in the term agnostic atheist. Nick Spencer’s recent article in The Guardian (interestingly cited approvingly on Richard Dawkins’ blog May 21, 2009) noted a problem with the overly simplistic use of the term agnostic. “Attitudes are fine,” he suggests, “but they need to be about something. Adjectives need nouns. If Huxley was indeed an agnostic, he was an agnostic atheist, tending away from the divine but unwilling (so he claimed) to be too dogmatic about it.” And so too with Darwin.

Perhaps more importantly Darwinism is suffused with agnostic atheism. Edward Larson is right in concluding that, “For Darwin, differential death rates caused by purely natural factors created new species. God was superfluous to the process.”16 Darwin never argued against God in any of his works, including Descent of Man, only against the necessity of God. This minimalist formulation is powerful in its dismissiveness of deity and thus forms an essential (though not necessarily sufficient) foundational premise for secularism. It was–and is–atheism but always of a distinctly undogmatic stripe. When the liberal Victorian clergy rushed to support Origin, Darwin was quick to respond. The Reverend Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) approved of a theistic brand of Darwinism, and sure enough it soon found its way into the very next edition of Origin in January of 1860 (and every subsequent edition thereafter) as having the approbation of a “celebrated author and divine.” When Harvard botanist Asa Gray (1810-1888) supported his own theistic version of Origin Darwin compiled his warmly supportive reviews and published them as Natural Selection Not Inconsistent with Natural Theology. A Free Examination of Darwin’s Treatise on the Origin of Species, and of Its American Reviewers in 1861. Publication expenses were completely borne by Darwin. As Benjamin Wiker points out in his incisive The Darwin Myth, it’s not that Darwin actually agreed with Gray; his private correspondence is replete with his polite objections to Gray’s theistic additions. Nevertheless, “he had no qualms about using Gray’s argument if it would smooth the way for acceptance of his theory. Once the theory was accepted,” Wiker adds, “the theistic patina would be ground away by the hard, anti-theistic core of the argument.”17 The point is it would be wrong to interpret Darwin’s willing inclusion of Kingsley’s religious support in Origin or his eager approval of Gray’s theistic reviews of his work as evidence of his matching belief; Darwin was always more than willing to set his hard agnosticism aside in the interest of promoting his pet theory.

So what are we to make of Darwin’s religious beliefs? There are five possibilities:

So, in the end, I’m willing to accept either Darwin as undogmatic atheist or agnostic atheist. The dual attribution of “atheism” shows the common ties that bind. But please let’s not wallow in codswallop about Darwin as a “sincere religious believer” whose eventual conversion to a more hardened agnosticism was late in life and reluctant.18 The notebooks demonstrate quite clearly Darwin’s religious skepticism and materialistic propensities as early as age 28, ideas he had been introduced to as early as age 17 as a Plinian. The Plinian Society was telling for Darwin. Despite his casual dismissal of them in his Autobiography, Darwin was exposed some of the most radical freethinking of day at those meetings. Darwin was always careful to conceal this fact because its revelation would have made plain the philosophical template through which he would make all his observations while voyaging on The Beagle. In short, the metaphysic preceded the science.

Is Darwinian evolution compatible with theism? It surley was never intended to be and certainly never intended to be compatible with Christianity, though Darwin was more than willing to enlist religious allies on its behalf. Darwin’s materialism would sharpen into the undogmatic atheism or agnostic atheism described earlier but materialism was the template upon which he developed his evolutionary theory to be sure. Whether Darwin was a full-blown materialist or, as Neal Gillespie believes, a positivist influenced by the ideas of Comte is for another posting at another time, but Darwin was most surely not a weak or soft agnostic who abandoned his faith slowly and reluctantly.

So Darwin’s cagey religious minimalism would almost surely have stumped everyone on “To Tell the Truth.” Depending on the question he could appear weakly agnostic or even theistic at times. It is only after looking carefully at his private notebooks and matching his early experiences with his later writings that a coherent pattern emerges. Once identified as an undogmatic atheist or an agnostic atheist the real Charles Darwin can then stand up.

References

1Alberto R. Kornblihtt, “On Intelligent Design, Cognitive Realism, Vitalism and the Mystery of the Reald World,” Life 4/5 (April-May 2007): 235-237.

2Charles Darwin, Autobiography, edited by Francis Darwin (1893; reprinted, Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2000), p. 62.

3Stanley L. Jaki, The Savior of Science (Washington, DC: Regnery Gateway, 1988), p. 126.

4For more on the these influences see William B. Huntley, “Charles Darwin and Daivd Hume,” Journal of the History of Ideas 33.3 (Jul.-Sept. 1972): 457-470; and Frank Burch Brown, “The Evolution of Darwin’s Theism,” Journal of the History of Biology 19.1 (Spring 1986): 1-45.

5Janet Browne, Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002) , p. 177.

6Darwin, Autobiography, p. 66.

7Quoted in Browne, Charles Darwin, p. 94.

8Charles Hodge, What is Darwinism?(1874; reprinted, New York: Bibiobazaar, 2007), p. 110.

9The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, v. 2, 105. This problem of pain and suffering is often used by the nay-sayers of theism as a telling argument. Why, they ask, would a beneficent and all-powerful god create a world with so much misery? For a thorough response and a well-grounded theodicy see William A. Dembski’s The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World.

10Darwin, Autobiography, p. 63.

11Charles Darwin, The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication, 2 vols. (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1897), 1: 6-7.

12Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man (1871; reprinted, New York: Barnes & Noble, 2004), p. 79.

13Ibid., p. 556.

14Maurice Mandelbaum, “Darwin’s Religious Views,” Journal of the History of Ideas 19.3 (June 1958): 363-387, 376.

15Robert Flint, Agnosticism, The Croall Lecture for 1887-88 (London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1903), pp. 50-51.

16Edward J. Larson, Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory (New York: The Modern Library, 2004), p. 69.

17Benjamin Wiker, The Darwin Myth: The Life and Lies of Charles Darwin(Washignton, DC: Regnery, 2009), p. 109.

18Karl W. Gioberson, Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution (New York: HarperOne, 2008), pp.19-20.



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1 posted on 11/11/2009 2:02:10 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: spirited irish; metmom; DaveLoneRanger; editor-surveyor; betty boop; Alamo-Girl; MrB; GourmetDan; ..

Well worth reading...PING!


2 posted on 11/11/2009 2:04:55 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts

This is an interesting read, but are you in charge of the creationist ping or something.

As for atheists, we don’t need to rehash all their ailments again do we? It’s par for the course that an atheist will always try to manipulate others for their own gain, since the atheist denies the judge and, by default, holds values like honor, and integrity and honesty in contempt.

Ask any psychologist about the sociopathic personality and they will sum it up that the sociopath believes that everyone else shares their complete lack of empathy for others only for “good public face” they pretend to care. A sociopathic murderer will smirk and think to themselves “Good grief” when he sees the mother of the teenage girl he raped and murdered start to cry on the stand at trial.

The atheist is on a par with this, not that all atheists are murderers, but they think in similar manners to the sociopathic murderer.

Maybe atheism could be classified as a sociopathic disorder?

No offense intended.


3 posted on 11/11/2009 2:15:22 PM PST by BertWheeler (Dance and the World Dances With You!)
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To: GodGunsGuts

I see Bud Collier, Tom Poston, Kitty Carlisle, and Orson Bean. Where’s Peggy Cass?


4 posted on 11/11/2009 2:17:01 PM PST by Wacka
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To: GodGunsGuts

Thank you for the variety.


5 posted on 11/11/2009 2:22:54 PM PST by UCANSEE2
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To: GodGunsGuts
Darwin started off hard-core Christian, even considering a career in clergy.
"I liked the thought of being a country clergyman. Accordingly I read with care Pearson on the Creed and a few other books on divinity; and as I did not then in the least doubt the strict and literal truth of every word in the Bible, I soon persuaded myself that our Creed must be fully accepted."
Even on the Beagle he surprised other officers with how devout he was. His research led him to agnosticism, and the death of his daughter sealed it.
6 posted on 11/11/2009 2:25:14 PM PST by antiRepublicrat
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To: BertWheeler

Interesting take. I think there are different degrees of atheism. The hardest of the hardcore atheists are what I call revolutionary evolutionists. And as you say, they are sociopaths that attempt to dupe the masses into handing over their sovereignty to them. If revolutionary evolutionists are are successful, they immediately start a mass genocide against the masses, until everyone is sufficiently terrorized into going along with the program, which is, of course, slavery combined with a system that ensures only the most ruthless rise to the top. Darwin was not one of these. He didn’t have the stomach for it. He was more or less a passive aggressive atheist, who sought to undermine Christian society, while at the same time enjoying its benefits. He is what the hardcore revolutionary evolutionists would call a useful idiot IMHO.


7 posted on 11/11/2009 2:31:11 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts

Thanks!

Another interesting read.


8 posted on 11/11/2009 2:39:33 PM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: GodGunsGuts

Thanks!

Another interesting read.


9 posted on 11/11/2009 2:39:41 PM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: BertWheeler

“Maybe atheism could be classified as a sociopathic disorder?”

Now that’s a thought!

Perhaps a HUGE ego contributes to that.


10 posted on 11/11/2009 2:40:59 PM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: nmh

As always, the pleasure is all mine :o)


11 posted on 11/11/2009 2:42:02 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: BertWheeler

“The atheist is on a par with this, not that all atheists are murderers, but they think in similar manners to the sociopathic murderer.”

Wow. How positively Christian of you.

You’ll sure turn alot of agnostics your way with that kind of crap.


12 posted on 11/11/2009 2:49:36 PM PST by battletank
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To: GodGunsGuts

Evangelical atheism = social autism


13 posted on 11/11/2009 3:41:13 PM PST by Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus (There are only two REAL conservatives in America - myself, and my chosen Presidential candidate)
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To: battletank
Wow. How positively Christian of you.

Interesting. Why do you think Christians are somehow bound to countenance and approve of atheism? You apparently have bought into the notion that Christians are supposed to sit around like church mice and never say a disapproving thing of those who are clean in error. Little church mice, so kind and meek.

If so, then you are sorely mistaken.

14 posted on 11/11/2009 3:45:26 PM PST by Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus (There are only two REAL conservatives in America - myself, and my chosen Presidential candidate)
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To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

No. Of course I don’t think you should sit around “approving”. I would expect a Christian to not be calling others sociopath murdering type thinkers, however.

It’s exactly absolute crap like that that gives people reasons to call out the “loving” Christians.


15 posted on 11/11/2009 3:50:51 PM PST by battletank
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To: BertWheeler

“...not that all atheists are murderers, but they think in similar manners to the sociopathic murderer”

With all due respect Bert, it’s statements like these that prevented me from becoming a Christian for many years.

I’m a Christian now, and I think it’s applicable here to state that Jesus said, “Love Thy Neighbor”.

Now, I’m no pansy Christian - but I think we should be careful what we say....

Scott


16 posted on 11/11/2009 4:05:17 PM PST by scottdeus12 (Jesus is real, whether you believe in Him or not.)
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To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

But you YECers have no friends. You have total disdain for fellow OECers only using them as useful idiots in your fight against evolution.


17 posted on 11/11/2009 4:09:30 PM PST by ColdWater ("The theory of evolution really has no bearing on what I'm trying to accomplish with FR anyway. ")
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To: GodGunsGuts

Interesting article, GGG. However, while intellectually fascinating, I fail to see the connection between Darwin’s religious beliefs and the objective scientific truth (or otherwise) of his work.


18 posted on 11/11/2009 4:41:56 PM PST by Rafterman ("If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting." -- Curtis LeMay)
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To: BertWheeler
It’s par for the course that an atheist will always try to manipulate others for their own gain, since the atheist denies the judge and, by default, holds values like honor, and integrity and honesty in contempt.

And upon what fount of wisdom do you base this vapid, meaningless, uncalled-for stereotyping of people who do not share your belief system?

And for the record, no, I am not an athiest... my religious beliefs are no one's business but mine and God's.

19 posted on 11/11/2009 4:47:52 PM PST by Rafterman ("If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting." -- Curtis LeMay)
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To: BertWheeler
As for atheists, we don’t need to rehash all their ailments again do we? It’s par for the course that an atheist will always try to manipulate others for their own gain, since the atheist denies the judge and, by default, holds values like honor, and integrity and honesty in contempt.

Ask any psychologist about the sociopathic personality and they will sum it up that the sociopath believes that everyone else shares their complete lack of empathy for others only for “good public face” they pretend to care. A sociopathic murderer will smirk and think to themselves “Good grief” when he sees the mother of the teenage girl he raped and murdered start to cry on the stand at trial.

The atheist is on a par with this, not that all atheists are murderers, but they think in similar manners to the sociopathic murderer.

Funny. Although most of the time I'd call myself a philosophical theist (sometimes wavering toward agnosticism) I'm pretty well convinced that God does not judge humans. Nor do I believe in any sort of an afterlife.

Therefore, since, exactly like an atheist, I "den[y] the judge," I should regularly contemplate murder. But I never have. Not even once. I should be incapable of empathy. But I am. I should hold "honor, and integrity and honesty in contempt." But I find I don't.

What's more, I respect believers, almost universally, making exception only for particularly deviant individuals. I would never even think of declaring them "sociopaths," or of putting forward any remotely comparable smear, as a global assertion.

In fact, it occurs to me that I find the practice of positing such hostile claims about large and broadly inclusive groups of persons, based solely on group membership, to be false, facile and contemptuous.

So what's wrong with me?

20 posted on 11/11/2009 4:52:46 PM PST by Stultis (Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia; Democrats always opposed waterboarding as torture)
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To: BertWheeler

“No offense intended.”

—As an atheist I’m not offended since: 1) I strongly doubt that you actually believe a word of that and 2) only someone completely demented would believe any of that, and it would be difficult to get offended by anything uttered by someone that insane.


21 posted on 11/11/2009 5:12:22 PM PST by goodusername
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To: goodusername; BertWheeler

BW believes that it is ok for him to whack your dog as long as he pays the medical bills.


22 posted on 11/11/2009 5:16:52 PM PST by ColdWater ("The theory of evolution really has no bearing on what I'm trying to accomplish with FR anyway. ")
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To: Rafterman

I posted it as an informational piece, as well as to help establish Darwin’s motives for coming up with his blatantly atheistic “theory” of Evolution (seeing how so many evos mistakenly believe he was a Christian, or a theist, or otherwise spiritually pious man).


23 posted on 11/11/2009 7:39:20 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts
I posted it as an informational piece, as well as to help establish Darwin’s motives for coming up with his blatantly atheistic “theory” of Evolution...

While I understand your motivation, I still fail to comprehend how one relates to the other. In my opinion, it's akin to denying the scientific validity of Galileo's discoveries on no other basis than because he was condemned by the Church as a heretic.

24 posted on 11/11/2009 7:52:03 PM PST by Rafterman ("If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting." -- Curtis LeMay)
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To: Rafterman
Darwin's evo-atheist creation myth is being falsified by science on all sides. Indeed, it has gotten so bad for the Temple of Darwin, that even the evos are abandoning the HMS Beagle for a new God-denying evolutionary ship. But I thought my ping list would also be interested in Darwin's non-scientific reasons for coming up with his so-called “theory” of evolution, which, as Ernst Mayr (and Darwin himself) points out, is nothing more than “a long argument” devoid of macro-evolutionary data.

As for Galileo's discoveries being condemned by the Church, that is a myth that was created by evo-atheists to make it appear as though Christianity and Science have been at war with each other. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, the Catholic Church was quite open to Galileo's ideas, it was the Aristotelian science establishment that pressured the Catholic Church to go after Galileo. Of course, Galileo didn't help himself by insulting everyone around him, including the Pope.

25 posted on 11/11/2009 8:13:24 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts

Thanks for the ping!


26 posted on 11/11/2009 8:49:17 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: GodGunsGuts
As for Galileo's discoveries being condemned by the Church, that is a myth that was created by evo-atheists to make it appear as though Christianity and Science have been at war with each other. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, the Catholic Church was quite open to Galileo's ideas...

On that, sir, you are almost wholly incorrect. Galileo was denounced to the Inquisition in 1615. Although he was cleared at the time, the Church denounced heliocentrism the following year. Later in his life, he was again tried by the Inquisition, found guilty of heresy, forced to recant, and spend the remainder of his life under house arrest.

We: [names of ten Cardinals]

By the grace of God, Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, and especially commissioned by the Holy Apostolic See as Inquisitors-General against heretical depravity in all of Christendom.

Whereas you, Galileo, son of the late Vincenzio Galilei, Florentine, aged seventy years, were denounced to this Holy Office in 1615 for holding as true the false doctrine taught by some that the sun is the center of the world and motionless and the earth moves even with diurnal motion; for having disciples to whom you taught the same doctrine; for being in correspondence with some German mathematicians about it; for having published some letters entitiled On Sunspots, in which you explained the same doctrine as true; for interpreting Holy Scripture according to your own meaning in response to objections based on Scripture which were sometimes made to you; and whereas later we received a copy of an essay in the form of a letter, which was said to have been written by you to a former disciple of yours and which in accordance with Copernicus's position contains various propositions against the authority and true meaning of Holy Scripture;

(snip)

We say, pronounce, sentence, and declare that you, the above-mentioned Galileo, because of the things deduced in the trial and confessed by you as above, have rendered yourself according to this Holy Office vehemently suspected of heresy, namely of having held and believed a doctine which is false and contrary to the divine and Holy Scripture: that the sun is the center of the world and does not move from east to west, and the earth moves and is not the center of the world, and that one may hold and defend as probable an opinion after it has been declared and defined contrary to Holy Scripture. Consequently you have incurred all the censures and penalties imposed and promulgated by the sacred canons and all particular and general laws against such delinquents. We are willing to absolve you from them provided that first, with a sincere heart and unfeigned faith, in front of us you abjure, curse, and detest the above-mentioned errors and heresies, and every other error and heresy contrary to the Catholic and Apostolic Church, in the manner and form we will prescribe to you.

Furthermore, so that this serious and pernicious error and transgression of yours does not remain completely unpunished, and so that you will be more cautious in the future and an example for others to abstain from similar crimes, we order that the book Dialogue by Galileo Galilei be prohibited by public edict.

We condemn you to formal imprisonment in this Holy Office at our pleasure. As a salutary penance we impose on you to recite the seven penitential Psalms once a week for the next three years. And we reserve the authority to moderate, change, or condone wholly or in part the above-mentioned penalties and penances.

The Galileo Affair: A Documentary History, edited and translated by Maurice A. Finocchiaro

Although you are correct that Pope Urban VIII (who was a supporter of Galileo prior to being elected Pope) felt insulted by Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, most historians agree that the insult was unintended.

27 posted on 11/11/2009 8:58:02 PM PST by Rafterman ("If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting." -- Curtis LeMay)
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To: Rafterman

May I suggest you read the following, as it will most certainly alter your thinking on what went down re: the Galileo affair:

http://creation.com/the-galileo-affair-history-or-heroic-hagiography


28 posted on 11/11/2009 9:04:33 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: BertWheeler
Maybe atheism could be classified as a sociopathic disorder?

That's the Soviet way. "Crime-thinkers are mentally unsound!"

29 posted on 11/11/2009 9:17:13 PM PST by Oztrich Boy (("To psychology! The cause of... and solution to... all of life's problems"))
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To: GodGunsGuts
May I suggest you read the following, as it will most certainly alter your thinking on what went down re: the Galileo affair

Thanks for the link... I'll take a look at it; but I highly doubt that it will change my mind, as the excerpt above is from the recorded minutes of the Roman Inquisition, and is very clear to me.

But I will take a look.

30 posted on 11/12/2009 3:38:47 AM PST by Rafterman ("If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting." -- Curtis LeMay)
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To: GodGunsGuts
Again, our disagreement re: Galileo notwithstanding, one does not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Scientific validity will stand on it's own, regardless of the religious beliefs of the researcher or even those of society at large.

Copernicus' De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium was denounced by the Church three years after it's publication, and was banned in 1615. Galileo was convicted as a heretic and his books banned. Both books remained on the Church's list of banned books for over 200 years, but their scientific discoveries have withstood the tests of both time and censure, and both men were validated in the end.

It's also interesting to note that Sir Isaac Newton was a very religious man, although perhaps not in the conventional sense, as he did not believe in the Holy Trinity. Do Newton's religious beliefs somehow make the fundamentals of gravity more scientifically valid?

31 posted on 11/12/2009 4:01:25 AM PST by Rafterman ("If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting." -- Curtis LeMay)
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To: Rafterman
.. my religious beliefs are no one's business but mine and God's.

Amen to that............there are some folks here who need to take a long look in the mirror instead of constantly judging others.

32 posted on 11/12/2009 4:13:24 AM PST by cerberus
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To: cerberus

I could not agree more.

Bookmarking for later, as we are off to Orlando to meet the Tea Party Express on it’s final stop!!


33 posted on 11/12/2009 4:24:20 AM PST by Rafterman ("If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting." -- Curtis LeMay)
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To: ColdWater

Coldwater, you’re misquoting a conversation I had in a different thread. The topic in that thread was that dogs should not be so elevated as to be nearly comparable before the law as humans.

There was a case where a person threw a dog from a moving car and received a three year prison sentence yet any pregnant woman can legally stick a fork in a baby’s head. What gives? This is a sign of moral decay.

I like furry critters just as much as the next guy but I also disagreed with Michael Vick going to jail for mistreating his own private property. A more appropriate punishment would be to donate $250,000 to a homeless shelter or some charity run by a local church.


34 posted on 11/12/2009 6:16:09 AM PST by BertWheeler (Dance and the World Dances With You!)
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To: Stultis

Stultis, I never said atheists couldn’t conjure up clever sentences.

I knew a guy who was a proclaimed atheist and he often said that life itself was trivial. But he also once said that if any of his children ever got mad at him and said “I hate you” that he would NEVER forgive them.

This atheist friend of mine has literally turned himself into a god. I pointed this out to him and he refused to ever speak to me again. I guess I offended him by refuting his self-made view of himself as a god. You could call me a “Dan Barker” sort where it concerns his solipsistic god.

As for you and your lack of plans to commit murders, that’s a good thing because a bright guy like you would certainly get away with them. Most murderers are dumb as dirt so I guess the atheists who are also physical murderers are the dumb ones.


35 posted on 11/12/2009 6:22:12 AM PST by BertWheeler (Dance and the World Dances With You!)
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To: goodusername

I don’t think you disagree with me as much as you may seem to now. Take some time to think about the implication of my words.

Isn’t atheism the prime mover behind abortion? Of course it is. Since the atheist does not believe in God, he therefore does not believe that life is a gift from God. It’s okay to view the lower animal forms in a breeder mentality, but viewing humanity in all it’s POTENTIAL glory in that manner?

Don’t atheists, by disbelieving in God, deny the Judgeship of God? You know it. So my saying they are simply looking for a way to deny the judge is correct.

In your life, I’m sure you don’t go around acting like some kind of sociopathic criminal preying on the weak otherwise you would be at Daily KOS or some other leftwing wackjob website.

When I say no offense intended, I really mean it. My views on what drives atheists is up for debate, but it’s also a very distilled version of my thoughts. On a web forum, you gotta keep it pithy.


36 posted on 11/12/2009 6:27:23 AM PST by BertWheeler (Dance and the World Dances With You!)
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To: GodGunsGuts
Why does the question of Darwin's religious beliefs, specifically, belief in God, matter since the gentleman has been moldering away lo these many years?

What a person believes affects how they interpret the world around them, their worldview in the popular usage. And how the world molds their beliefs.

And young Master Darwin did a great deal of interpreting, assigning of causes to the effects he observed, viewing the world through the lens his world had ground.

Had Darwin been a profoundly religious man and a firm believer in the truth and inspiration of the Bible that would be just as important to know of him and how it affected him.

37 posted on 11/12/2009 10:07:09 AM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: count-your-change

You are absolutely correct. He came up with a theory of origins (at least a theory of origins of the already living) that jived with his worldview. And it just so happens that the predictions Darwin made based on that worldview are now being falsified so fast that it is making the evos collective heads spin!


38 posted on 11/12/2009 10:19:03 AM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: Rafterman
"May I suggest you read the following, as it will most certainly alter your thinking on what went down re: the Galileo affair:"

It won't matter how many credible sources you post or link to. GGG will always trot out some posting from dubious site like creation.com written by someone who got their Doctor of Divinity degree in night school from the South Tulsa School of Creation and Diesel Maintenance to "trump" the original data.

39 posted on 11/12/2009 11:22:54 AM PST by Natural Law
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To: GodGunsGuts
And it just so happens that the predictions Darwin made based on that worldview are now being falsified so fast that it is making the evos collective heads spin!

What predictions would those be? Evolutionary biology is largely a historical science, especially in Darwin's time.

40 posted on 11/12/2009 1:32:55 PM PST by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: GodGunsGuts
In Germany militant Darwinismus elevated Darwin to heroic status. When the eminent Freethinker Doctor Ludwig Büchner requested an audience he thought he was greeting a noble ally. To Darwin this was a grotesque misunderstanding, but he felt unable to refuse. Darwin's wife Emma Darwin expressed her expectation that their guest "will refrain from airing his very strong religious opinions" and invited their old friend the Revd. Brodie Innes. On Thursday 28 September 1881 Büchner arrived with Edward Aveling. Darwin's son Frank was also present. Darwin wittily explained that "[Brodie] & I have been fast friends for 30 years. We never thoroughly agreed on any subject but once and then we looked at each other and thought one of us must be very ill".

In uncharacteristically bold discussions after dinner Darwin asked his guests "Why do you call yourselves Atheists?" When they responded that they "did not commit the folly of god-denial, [and] avoided with equal care the folly of god-assertion", Darwin gave a thoughtful response, concluding that "I am with you in thought, but I should prefer the word Agnostic to the word Atheist." Aveling replied that, "after all, 'Agnostic' was but 'Atheist' writ respectable, and 'Atheist' was only 'Agnostic' writ aggressive." Darwin smiled and responded "Why should you be so aggressive? Is anything gained by trying to force these new ideas upon the mass of mankind? It is all very well for educated, cultured, thoughtful people; but are the masses yet ripe for it?" Aveling and Büchner questioned what would have happened if Darwin had been given that advice before publication of the Origin, and had confined "the revolutionary truths of Natural and Sexual Selection to the judicious few", where would the world be? Many feared danger if new ideas were "proclaimed abroad on the house-tops, and discussed in market-place and home. But he, happily for humanity, had by the gentle, irresistible power of reason, forced his new ideas upon the mass of the people. And the masses had been found ripe for it. Had he kept silence, the tremendous strides taken by human thought during the last twenty-one years would have been shorn of their fair proportions, perhaps had hardly been made at all. His own illustrious example was encouragement, was for a command to every thinker to make known to all his fellows that which he believed to be the truth."

Their talk turned to religion, and Darwin said ""I never gave up Christianity until I was forty years of age." He agreed that Christianity was "not supported by the evidence", but he had reached this conclusion only slowly. Aveling recorded this discussion, and published it in 1883 as a penny pamphlet. Francis Darwin thought it gave "quite fairly his impressions of my father's views, but took issue with any suggestion of similar religious views, saying "My father's replies implied his preference for the unaggressive attitude of an Agnostic. Dr. Aveling seems to regard the absence of aggressiveness in my father's views as distinguishing them in an unessential manner from his own. But, in my judgment, it is precisely differences of this kind which distinguish him so completely from the class of thinkers to which Dr. Aveling belongs." Wikipedia

41 posted on 11/12/2009 1:42:08 PM PST by x
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To: ColdWater; goodusername; BertWheeler
BW believes that it is ok for him to whack your dog as long as he pays the medical bills.

Just noticed that BertWheeler also believes that:

Blacks and their neighborhoods and their nations are hellholes because of the way blacks think and act. Nothing else.
Bigots rarely confine themselves to one flavor of bigotry.
42 posted on 11/12/2009 2:30:12 PM PST by Stultis (Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia; Democrats always opposed waterboarding as torture)
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To: BertWheeler; Stultis
Coldwater, you’re misquoting a conversation I had in a different thread.

Here is what I said: BW believes that it is ok for him to whack your dog as long as he pays the medical bills.

Here is the exact quote: There should be no real penalty for kicking a dog except medical bills paid to the owner of the dog and ONLY if the kick required vet care for the pooch.

43 posted on 11/12/2009 6:51:42 PM PST by ColdWater ("The theory of evolution really has no bearing on what I'm trying to accomplish with FR anyway. ")
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To: count-your-change; metmom
What a person believes affects how they interpret the world around them, their worldview in the popular usage. And how the world molds their beliefs.

Uh, when we bring up the beliefs of the chief proponents of ID, you and metmom always say that what they believe does not matter.

44 posted on 11/12/2009 6:55:33 PM PST by ColdWater ("The theory of evolution really has no bearing on what I'm trying to accomplish with FR anyway. ")
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To: ColdWater; count-your-change; metmom
Uh, when we bring up the beliefs of the chief proponents of ID, you and metmom always say that what they believe does not matter.

Uh, gross misrepresentation of those comments.

What IDer's believe doesn't matter to creationists only in that it's irrelevant to the connection that evos keep trying to make between the two.

Count-your-change's comment is accurate. What a person believes DOES affect how they interpret the world around them>

Which is why it's so telling when evos claim religious belief but interpret the world according to the secular humanist ideology.

Their interpretation says volumes more about their faith than the words they put on the screen claiming allegiance to God and His Word.

45 posted on 11/12/2009 7:06:01 PM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: metmom
Count-your-change's comment is accurate. What a person believes DOES affect how they interpret the world around them

Then your belief on whether God is the ID or not DOES affect your views. Please tell us, do you believe that God in the Intelligent Designer?

46 posted on 11/12/2009 7:12:55 PM PST by ColdWater ("The theory of evolution really has no bearing on what I'm trying to accomplish with FR anyway. ")
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To: metmom; GodGunsGuts
What IDer's believe doesn't matter to creationists only in that it's irrelevant to the connection that evos keep trying to make between the two.

Not us. It is GGG and you that keep bringing up the IDers. GGG keeps talking about IDers on FR but has yet to show even ONE! Except maybe for you.

47 posted on 11/12/2009 7:18:09 PM PST by ColdWater ("The theory of evolution really has no bearing on what I'm trying to accomplish with FR anyway. ")
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To: metmom
cw is lonely because I won't respond to his posts to me, mostly because they're irrelevant.
Quoting someone doesn't mean I accept their views or that those views have anything to do with the matter at hand.

I've never said what a person believes does not matter if that is the subject. What ID folks believe is not what makes Darwinism false, reality does that.

48 posted on 11/12/2009 8:38:50 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: count-your-change; metmom

You buddy missed a courtesy ping.


49 posted on 11/12/2009 10:28:17 PM PST by ColdWater ("The theory of evolution really has no bearing on what I'm trying to accomplish with FR anyway. ")
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To: count-your-change
cw is lonely because I won't respond to his posts to me, mostly because they're irrelevant.

I am not lonely because you keep posting to me reminding me that you are ignoring me.

50 posted on 11/12/2009 10:29:21 PM PST by ColdWater ("The theory of evolution really has no bearing on what I'm trying to accomplish with FR anyway. ")
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