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Darwin, Saint of Science
Internet Archive ^ | 1912 | Victor Robinson

Posted on 01/22/2009 5:50:35 AM PST by Ethan Clive Osgoode

From Pathfinders in Medicine by Victor Robinson, Medical Review of Reviews, 1912. Includes a dedication letter to Ernst Haeckel. Haeckel responded, but in German.

Darwin, Saint of Science

Victor Robinson

In my opinion the doctrine of evolution has done more for the intellectual uplift of the human race than all other movements combined. Its chief pioneers were Darwin, Huxley, Spencer, Tyndall, Wallace, Haeckel. Out of this group only Wallace and Haeckel survive. Wallace, unfortunately, has gone over to the enemy -- he has become a spiritualist; there remains to us, therefore, only Professor Haeckel, the boldest and most effective fighter of them all, and no incident connected with the making of my book has given me quite so much gratification as his willingness to receive the dedication.

To Ernst Haeckel

Illustrious Master:

It is with pleasure that I avail myself of your permission to dedicate my book to you. Not only the young men of Jena are your pupils; wherever is found a truth-seeker, there is found a student of Haeckel.

The world knows that on the battlefield of rationalism, you are the leading warrior. In the struggle for truth, your voice has long been the foremost In the conflict against superstition, you have ever held aloft the banner on which is inscribed Impavidi progrediamur! The history of modern science cannot be written without the name of Ernst Haeckel.

Nothing unworthy must be found in these pages; no unfair passage should be left within these covers; only pure thoughts belong to a book consecrated to an unsullied light-bringer. I have written with careful hands and clean; for I have sat near the altar of the Temple of Truth. The many shortcomings and imperfections of this volume are due to my limitations alone; the best that I could do, I have done.

Our benefactors are those who enlarge our mental vision; since Darwin and Spencer left us, you have remained without a peer in the realm of thought and you have gone beyond them. Nothing can repay my intellectual debt to you, but as a token of my endless esteem and affection, I lay before you my PATHFINDERS IN MEDICINE.

VICTOR ROBINSON.


"When the carriage drew up before Darwin's house, with its ivy and its shadowy elms, the great scientist stepped out of the shade of the creeper-covered porch to meet me. He had a tall and venerable appearance, with the broad shoulders of an Atlas that bore a world of thought: a Jove-like forehead, as we see in Goethe, with a lofty and broad vault, deeply furrowed by the plough of intellectual work. The tender and friendly eyes were overshadowed by the great roof of the prominent brows. The gentle mouth was framed in a long, silvery-white beard. The noble expression of the whole face, the easy and soft voice, the slow and careful pronunciation, the natural and simple tenor of his conversation, took my heart by storm in the first hour that we talked together, just as his great work had taken my intelligence by storm at the first reading. I seemed to have before me a venerable sage of ancient Greece, a Socrates or an Aristotle." -- HAECKEL.

EONS ago, when the Megatherium and the Dinatherium fought, and the huge tusks of the Mastodon and the Mammoth clashed, and gigantic reptiles crawled on their bellies over the face of the earth, and the yell and howl of Cretaceous creatures resounded thru the primitive jungle, -- the world was savage.

Later, an ape-like being grasped a hanging branch, and raised itself to an upright position, and peered into the primeval forest. This was the immediate ancestor of Man, --- but the world was savage still.

In the Tertiary epoch, for the first time appeared an animal that walked erect, and used a tool, and wore a garment. This was lordly Man himself, -- but the world was savage still.

Since that distant day, species have evolved into different forms; sea has turned into land and earth become water; mountains have crumbled into dust, and the lowest valleys have become the highest hills; customs have prevailed and perished; races have lived and died; religions have come and gone; empires have risen and fallen; one system has replaced another, which in its turn has given way to a later, -- and now we are veneered with culture and varnished with civilization, but, scratch us, and you will find us savage still. The lower instincts of the lower beasts survive in us. We, too, worship the primitive law of force. We do not bite with the pointed tooth, nor rend asunder with sharpened claw, but our navies ride at anchor, and at a moment's notice a million murderous guns will belch forth the stuff that makes a child an orphan. We, too, are hunting and being hunted in a World of War.

But Nature, it is you who are the supreme warrior. Destruction is your delight. The entire earth is your graveyard. Every grain of soil is stained with blood, and every blade that grows, every flower that bows its head before the breeze, is a monument to the dead that forever rest beneath. Where is the feathered songster of the forest that has not feasted on its prey? Alas, the same lovely throats which from their leafy dwellings fill the great woods with harmony, are red with the blood of weaker victims. Then they sit and shiver at the thought of intruders more powerful than themselves.

Fear, fear, fear, -- everywhere is fear. Nothing is safe. All is murder. Nature is the eternal veteran, all are her enemies, and she never accepts the flag of truce. She makes a type and then she kills it. For the individual she has not the slightest regard. She cares nothing for the life which comes continually from her teeming womb.

Nature, thy mandate is chiseled on the rocks, it is echoed from the swamps to the snows, it resounds from the marshes to the mountains, the prairies know it, and the pampas tell it; it is writ across the sky, and our planet moans beneath the stern decree: flesh shall feed on flesh, and life must take life.

You destroy what you create, O Blunderer! Nature, where is thy justification? In the beginning, this earth swept thru space, formless and void. Darkness was upon its face, -- except when the lightnings flashed and the volcanoes glowed. But the black veil lifted, the golden sun poured its warming rays on the desolate globe, and lo! -- Mother Earth was pregnant. A tiny speck lay in the primitive waters, and this was life. And Nature watched our ultimate ancestor, and from that time on, her heavy hand has smitten and slaughtered.

What is it all for? Nature, is this the secret: that thou wipest out a type to bring a higher in? Show us then, the Perfect Man. Thou hast worked long enough for him. Thru countless epochs the process has gone on. Show us, Nature, the best you have produced. We wish to see your favorite and pride.

And if you show to us a savant whose wisdom was vast, but who fawned at the feet of degenerate aristocracy, we want him not. And if you show to us a writer whose style was sweet, but who bartered his brain for gold, we want him not. And if you show to us a scientist who studied the laws of the universe, but paid toll to theologic superstitions, we want him not. And if you show to us a bishop who preached in favor of the poor, but evicted his tenants on a wintry day, we want him not. And if you show to us a poet who vehemently sang of love, but deserted his trusting wife, we want him not. And if you show to us a philosopher who wrote on the responsibilities of parenthood, but neglected his little children, we want him not.

But Nature answers: What of him, my warmest lover, my humblest servant? What of the gentle hand that placed the radiant crown on the undecked brow of Truth? And Nature has redeemed herself. She may have blundered, and she surely has effaced, but she has evolved the Perfect Man. She has unfolded Darwin the Great and Good.

Charles Darwin was a naturalist. He investigated facts. He did his work so well that to-day no thoughtful man can cast his net for specimens, or wander thru the depths of a tropical grove, or explore fossil remains in a geological deposit, or scrape the barnacles from a passing ship, or study the structure of a coral-reef, or survey a belt of sand-dunes, or scrutinize a monkey's expression, or question an aboriginee, or watch a crawling worm, or examine a pollen-grain, or look at a dung-rolling beetle, or dissect a curious stomach, or observe a plant under domestication, or witness an unusual hail-storm, or climb a granitic range, or view a glacier casting off its icebergs, or meditate upon the dawn of mankind or speculate on its future destiny, without recalling some careful and conscientious passage from the unassuming thinker who dressed in dusty gray, and lived in the village of Down.

The works of Darwin! Put all his books on a shelf, stand in front of them, O Mortal, -- and think! Think how much love, how much wisdom, how much patience, how much learning, how much merit, how much modesty, how much greatness, how much goodness, went into the making of them. Here is the Journal of Researches, which has awakened the love of nature in many breasts, and induced more than one individual to travel from one end of the globe to the other. Here is the Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs, an unsurpassed example of the scientific method. Here is A Monograph of the Sub-class Cirripedia, and this alone is sufficient upon which to found an immortal reputation. Here is the Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, which laid the broad foundations of the modern science of comparative psychology. Here is the Formation of Vegetable Mould thru the Action of Worms, which involves an experiment that occupied twenty-nine years, and thus serves as an inspiration to all who labor earnestly in the arduous fields of science. Here is the Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, one of the most valuable possessions in the mighty treasure-house of botany. Here is the Descent of Man, which fully treats of selection in relation to sex. The scientist who saw all nature at strife, saw her also in moods of love. The nightingale sings, the turtle-dove coos, the katydid babbles, the pigeon nestles close, the cricket chirps in the amorous dusk, the widow-bird spreads its caudal plumes, the butterfly shakes its brilliant wings, the sea-scorpion swims to the spawning-bed, the crocodile splashes in the little lagoon, the black-cock dances in eager passion, the starling flies to its waiting mate, the turkey struts with distended wattles, the night-jar makes a booming noise, the wood-pecker strikes a sonorous branch, the bustard rises with hurried flapping, the bower-bird builds its courting-home, the peacock extends its gorgeous train, the pheasant displays its splendid frills, the eared-seal carries its willing bride, the musk-deer emits a pleasant odor, the lion tosses its jubate mane, the linnet distends its rosy breast, the draco glides thru the sweetened air, -- all in spring-time, all for love. Look at this; here is the Origin of Species, the book that changed the world, by causing its intellectual channels to flow in different courses than it had hitherto followed. The works of Darwin! You stand before the accumulated knowledge of all the ages. A thousand discoveries are within these covers. Think how deep and often that noble brow has been contracted with thought. Is the topic too vast? Does its immensity balk the mind? Then think of this one theme: From a chattering ape of the forest, swinging from branch to branch by its prehensile tail, to the scientific Darwin in his studio, writing on the Geological Succession of Organic Beings!

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Father of Paleontology showed by fossil remains that a series of different animal species had succeeded each other in the various stages of the earth's existence. Naturally, the question arose: What caused the extinction of the older species, and what gave rise to the later ones? Linne and Cuvier and nearly all others solved this problem by the catastrophic theory.

They claimed that overwhelming periodic cataclysms swept over the globe, wiped out every living creature, and then entirely new beings were specially created. It was a series of wholesale destructions and wholesale re-buildings. The Architect of the Universe grew dissatisfied with his work, and, therefore, threw away his old blocks and commenced to build anew.

A few intellects were too clear to be entangled in these mythological meshes. Some were keen enough to see that species undergo modification, and that the existing forms of life are descended from pre-existing ones.

To Buffon belongs the high honor of first scientifically discussing the origin of species by development. But Buffon lived in the priest-pested age of Louis XV, when the Bastille cast its shadow on the brain of every thinker. And Buffon often thought of the chains that eat out the flesh, and the dungeons which the sun cannot find, and then he ended his arguments thus: "But no; it is certain from revelation that every species was directly created by a separate fiat." (Yet Galileo-like, he must have murmured, Eppur Si Muove!)

In the same land was born Lamarck, a genius cast in more daring mold, who openly proclaimed his conviction that all species, including man, were descended by modification from primordial forms.

Men began to recall that Kant, in his cosmical conception, had said something of development.

Then three stars brightened the scientific sky, -- Goethe, Erasmus Darwin and Geoffrey St Hilaire.

Next came the American Dr Wells, who recognized the operation of the principle in the distribution of the human race.

Dean Herbert and Professor Graut saw a twinkle of the coming dawn.

A little later, Patrick Matthew, building far better than he knew, wrote a book on Naval Timber, the appendix of which contained a brief but complete account of the doctrine of natural selection!

Von Buch in the Canaries, and Wollaston in Madeira were coming to the conclusion that varieties may be gradually changed into species.

Every Sunday afternoon, in the spacious halls of his great museum, a German professor walked to and fro, his hands behind his back, buried in thought. A favorite pupil sat in the angle of the window, skilfully drawing the skulls of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fishes. "Master," asked the boy, "must not all these vertebrates, with their identity in internal skeleton, in spite of all their external differences, have come originally from a common form?" "Ah," answered Johannes Muller, as he looked at young Ernst Haeckel, "if we only knew that! If ever you solve that riddle, you will have accomplished a supreme work."

Lyell caught a glimpse of the truth. Oaken was re-studying Lamarck. Bates wandered thru the Brazilian forests, and on the gossamer wings of the tropical butterflies read the tale of evolution.

To Treviranus, Haldeman, Horner, d'Halloy, Owen, Freke, Naudin, Keyserling, Schaaffhausen, Baden-Powell, Isidore St Hilaire, -- to these, nature whispered the same secret.

Lecoq the botanist, and Von Baer the zoologist, heard it. Wallace sat under the Malayan palm-trees, and the lazy breezes bore him a similar story. Spencer wrote on the theme and Huxley lectured.

The scientific atmosphere grew tense. Much thinking was done, but the theory of evolution remained in an unsatisfactory state. There were many scattered bricks, but no stately temple. The thoughtful ones worked by day and prayed by night, O curtain, that hidest the unknown, when wilt thou be drawn aside?

On November 24th, 1859, as if in answer to this cry, a light pierced the gloom, and the world has been illumined since.

That light was Darwin's Origin of Species.

A score and seven years ago, the body of Darwin, -- borne by two dukes, two sirs and a belted earl -- was laid at rest in Westminster Abbey, next the ashes of the mighty Newton. A fitting honor, and yet a vain one, for when the altars and architraves of the great Abbey rock and reel, when its lighted and vaulted ambulatory becomes the abode of the bats, when its murals and mosaics are destroyed, when its twisted columns and its spiral bands totter in despair, when its effigies of angels and its monuments of royalties are obliterated, when the cloisters and the chapter-houses tumble in a heap, when its pointed towers and projecting transepts embrace the lowly dust, the illustrious and immortal name of Charles Darwin will still be a living force. Only when the race of man ceases to search for truth, can the lustre of that name grow dim.

One hundred years ago, Darwin was born. To-day the entire intellectual world salutes him with homage. Not with the roaring of guns, but with the throbbing of brains and beating of hearts. Of all the men who ever lived it is perhaps impossible to find another who was so world-famous and so modest. An Alexander conquers a few kingdoms from barbarian subjects, and henceforth considers himself a god. A Horace writes verses which gain admiration, and he follows this by another poem boasting that he has reared unto himself a monument more enduring than brass. But a Darwin wrests secret after secret from the breast of nature, he explains what was never explained before, and at the last he simply says: Ignoramus, In Hoc Signo Laboremus.

But in spite of his excessive gentleness he was absolutely independent, and when the cause of his beloved science was at stake, he could easily stand against all without flinching. His work was great, and so is his reward. Let anyone now think in a pre-Darwinian manner, and he becomes as much an anomaly as one who should seek for the magic stone that transmutes baser metals into gold. Within his own lifetime his name was turned into an adjective, and a thousand Darwinian writers were filling libraries with books on Darwinism.

Succeeding generations have continued the worthy and welcome task, and to-day on his centenary, his grave is the greenest in all the world. Tall men from the ends of the earth have garlanded him with wreaths that do not fade, and laurels that never die.

Among these glorious bay-trees I cast this little chaplet. It is small, and its merit scant, but every leaf of it was interwoven with veneration. It will not bloom like other coronals, tho it was love that brought it forth. Accept, accept it, O Saint of Science, for I too know thee as the wonder and the glory of the universe!


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: darwin; evolution
Just a little something from the past, to put you in the mood for the coming Darwin bicentennial on Feb 12. Who was the "illustrious master" Haeckel? Go to this thread.

Inbred Science

1 posted on 01/22/2009 5:50:36 AM PST by Ethan Clive Osgoode
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To: MrB; CottShop; metmom; LiteKeeper; valkyry1; GodGunsGuts; chuck_the_tv_out; Fichori; ...
Sacrifice a Goat at the Temple of Darwin Ping!

2 posted on 01/22/2009 5:52:30 AM PST by Ethan Clive Osgoode (<<== Click here to learn about Darwinism!)
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode
Wallace, unfortunately, has gone over to the enemy-- he has become a spiritualist; there remains to us, therefore, only Professor Haeckel, the boldest and most effective fighter of them all, and no incident connected with the making of my book has given me quite so much gratification as his willingness to receive the dedication.

Says it all. And that mentality is still there.

3 posted on 01/22/2009 5:56:48 AM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode
EONS ago, when the Megatherium and the Dinatherium fought, and the huge tusks of the Mastodon and the Mammoth clashed, and gigantic reptiles crawled on their bellies over the face of the earth, and the yell and howl of Cretaceous creatures resounded thru the primitive jungle, -- the world was savage.

Later, an ape-like being grasped a hanging branch, and raised itself to an upright position, and peered into the primeval forest. This was the immediate ancestor of Man, --- but the world was savage still.

In the Tertiary epoch, for the first time appeared an animal that walked erect, and used a tool, and wore a garment. This was lordly Man himself, -- but the world was savage still.

BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!

ROTFLOL!!!!!!!!

Once upon a time.......

4 posted on 01/22/2009 5:59:12 AM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode
-- but the world was savage still.

"Teach your children well"... -70's song by C,S,N

-images from Google of "jihadi"

5 posted on 01/22/2009 6:05:47 AM PST by WVKayaker ("There are no facts, only interpretations." -Nietze)
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode

I always enjoy reading the extracts from your antique collection. It’s a diversion from grappling with the deluge of modern evidence that is continually driving evolutionary science forward. Thanks!


6 posted on 01/22/2009 6:24:18 AM PST by Natufian (The mesolithic wasn't so bad, was it?)
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode

Why people refuse to see this cult for what it is, escapes me.


7 posted on 01/22/2009 7:02:35 AM PST by tpanther (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing---Edmund Burke)
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To: tpanther
Why people refuse to see this cult for what it is, escapes me.

"Monism" was an organized cult -- the Monistenbund. It had thousands of members. Haeckel's books were translated into a dozen languages. But even 30 years before Victor Robinson wrote that chapter you see above, we find similar stuff in unlikely places (from some member of the Brooklyn Ethical Association who, I think, was involved in education):

The intelligent world owes a debt of gratitude to Prof. Haeckel. It is due to his labors, mainly, that the doctrine of evolution is now as well established as Kepler's laws of the motions of the planetary bodies, or Newton's law of gravitation. No careful student of modern scientific thought now doubts that the law of cause and effect prevails throughout all phenomena, whether physical or mental. Every effect is the exact product of antecedent causes. Thought is as much the product of the condition's under which it arises as is the formation of a crystal or the growth of a tree. There is no room for supernatural interference anywhere. Though the natural evolution of living forms out of non-living matter has not been demonstrated as a fact of present occurrence, there is no doubt in the mind of consistent evolutionists that the most primitive organisms were originally produced by spontaneous generation. Prof. Haeckel's investigations in embryology constitute a most important confirmation of the Darwinian theory, and entitle him to be placed in the front rank of experimental scientists.

-- Nelson J. Gates

Weird and scary, and this stuff pops up all over the place in evolution books of the pre-Nazi era.
8 posted on 01/22/2009 7:17:28 AM PST by Ethan Clive Osgoode (<<== Click here to learn about Darwinism!)
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To: metmom
"Wallace, unfortunately, has gone over to the enemy"

Says it all. And that mentality is still there.

Romanes went over to the enemy also. At one time he was billed as Darwin's successor (by Times). It was Romanes who concluded, in his book on the evidences for evolution, "the theist must despair: where now thy God?" But before he died, he reconciled himself with the Anglican Church. That is why you never hear about him. All his research and tomes on evolution (and his anti-Prayer, monism, etc. books) amounted to absolutely nothing. Nobody remembers him and evolutionists never mention him.

9 posted on 01/22/2009 7:37:36 AM PST by Ethan Clive Osgoode (<<== Click here to learn about Darwinism!)
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To: WVKayaker

“When the dictator smiles, the sun shines, when the dictator frowns, little children die in the street”


10 posted on 01/22/2009 7:39:23 AM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode

None so ignorant as those who ignore the truth!


11 posted on 01/22/2009 7:56:12 AM PST by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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To: tpanther

It’s like the global warming cult. All evidence favors the myth, even evidence against it, like the Cambrian explosion of forms.
Humans have a need to worship a higher power and the evolution cult attempts to fulfill that need.


12 posted on 01/22/2009 7:58:51 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; tpanther

This whole humanism/atheism/Darwinism thing is just another cult that sprang up in the 1800’s like so many others that appeared at that time.

Kind of curious what it might have been in the water or air to make the spiritual climate so receptive to deceit.


13 posted on 01/22/2009 8:02:46 AM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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More nonsense placemarker.
14 posted on 01/22/2009 8:09:41 AM PST by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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To: count-your-change
All evidence favors the myth, even evidence against it, like the Cambrian explosion of forms.

How does the "Cambrian explosion of forms" (a rather slow motion, approximately 53 million year "explosion" that took place 500 million years ago) constitute evidence in support of creationism and against evolution?

15 posted on 01/22/2009 8:30:49 AM PST by atlaw
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To: LiteKeeper
None so ignorant as those who ignore the truth!

Creationist "truth" as a flow chart!

Source: http://sensuouscurmudgeon.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/creo-flow.jpg

16 posted on 01/22/2009 8:32:18 AM PST by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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To: Coyoteman

Like I said, none so ignorant as those who ignore the truth. The flowchart has nothing to do with reality, nor with the position of creationists.


17 posted on 01/22/2009 8:52:59 AM PST by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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To: LiteKeeper

If you review any crevo thread on FR, that flow chart is spot on.


18 posted on 01/22/2009 9:23:35 AM PST by doc30 (Democrats are to morals what an Etch-A-Sketch is to Art.)
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To: atlaw

By the time lines suggested by evolutionary theory five million years is not slow motion. And I said nothing about creationism, which is not my belief.


19 posted on 01/22/2009 9:34:02 AM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: metmom
The time between the Civil was and the WWI was a time of exploration, invention and scholarship. Humans being what they are, the ground was fertile for the growth of poisonous philosophies too.
20 posted on 01/22/2009 9:44:31 AM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: LiteKeeper

Be gentle, someone thought that chart quite clever, rather like the notion of slime pools hit by lightening to produce life, call it Frankenstein soup!


21 posted on 01/22/2009 10:09:14 AM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode

As long as it’s not an endangered species, if it is then then the celebrant will be tossed on the altar and our p.c. Aztec priest will come in and do his open the heart thingy.

Goat, human? Fruit on Darwin’s tree of life.


22 posted on 01/22/2009 10:34:44 AM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: LiteKeeper

[[Like I said, none so ignorant as those who ignore the truth. The flowchart has nothing to do with reality, nor with the position of creationists.]]

He knows that, he just can’t help being a pimple on the butt of life because his preferred hypothesis is in such danger of being exposed for hte scam it really is


23 posted on 01/22/2009 10:54:09 AM PST by CottShop (Scientific belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge)
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To: doc30

No its not. And you know better! That chart completely misstates the creationist case.


24 posted on 01/22/2009 2:06:49 PM PST by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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