Illuminated Origin of Species

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We just received the following letter from calligrapher Kelly Houle:

I am a natural history artist and calligrapher, and I’m creating a large-scale illuminated manuscript based on The Origin of Species. I’m looking for ideas and advice from biologists and evolution experts like you who might be willing to offer feedback on the scientific accuracy of my illustrations and possibly contribute to the project. I am designing each page as an individual work of art, writing out the entire text by hand and illuminating the realistic natural history illustrations with iridescent watercolors and 23-karat gold. The Illuminated Origin of Species will be nearly 300 pages, each measuring 22x30 inches, with over 500 illuminations. I would appreciate any constructive advice that will help make The Illuminated Origin of Species as good as it can be. Please contact me if you would be willing to serve as a science advisor for the project.

I believe that the main barrier to understanding The Origin of Species is the perceived difficulty of the writing. The concepts themselves are simple, yet profound. I hope to improve understanding of The Origin by integrating poetic arrangements of Darwin’s words with visually striking presentations of the evidence. I will use elements of poetry, traditional realism, lettering art, graphic design, and fine art illustration in the service of communicating one of the most important ideas in science.

I invite you to take a look at The Illuminated Origin of Species here. Once there, you can read about the project, watch a short video, and contribute if you wish. I’m writing the names of all donors in a special section of the illuminated manuscript. I’m also giving gifts of art related to The Illuminated Origin for donations of $10 or more. … I’m trying to raise $6000 by November 17 to create the first ten pages of The Illuminated Origin of Species. I’m 2/3 of the way there with only a week to go.

If you have any questions or comments about the project, I would love to hear from you. For project updates, please take a minute to find The Illuminated Origin of Species on Facebook and subscribe to my blog. If you know anyone else who may want to be involved in this project, please pass my information on to them. I am also seeking an institutional donor to fund the entire project in exchange for the completed manuscript. I hope you will want to be one of the very first supporters of this historic endeavor.

Kelly Houle is an artist, calligrapher, naturalist, and science educator. Her paintings, drawings, and handmade books are in public and private collections around the world. In 2008 she founded Books of Kell’s, a small, private, fine arts press under which she publishes handmade editions and one-of-a-kind books in addition to original art and prints. Her work has received numerous awards, including a Distinguished Book Award from the Miniature Book Society, a grant from The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and professional development grants from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. She is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists and a Fellow of The Linnean Society. She was recently nominated for a 2012 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship.

89 Comments

Has Kelly been in contact with St’ John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota? They are completing this year an illuminated manuscript Bible, the largest manuscript project since the invention of the printing press.

Even the smaller “Origin of Species” is a huge undertaking. St. John’s has five full-time calligraphers, a budget of $4 million, and 13 years of solid work.

I’ve seen a number of the original pages.

Wait for the inevitable claim that this makes Origin into our Bible.

It’s no reason to refrain from the project, though, as they say it anyway based upon nothing. And it’s a nice way to show respect to science.

Glen Davidson

I just want to know how much it will cost and will he put a few pages up so we can see them?

Davidson,

The fact that you feel Kelly Houle’s project is a way to show ‘respect’ to science betrays your ‘reverence’ for something that neither needs, requires, nor expects it.

Go figure.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/JxVN0eQFqtmg[…]X_Zhn8#57cad said:

Wait for the inevitable claim that this makes Origin into our Bible.

It’s no reason to refrain from the project, though, as they say it anyway based upon nothing. And it’s a nice way to show respect to science.

Glen Davidson

You don’t much care about the meanings of words, do you, Steve? Or are you really so sublimely ignorant that you don’t know the difference between “respect” and “reverence”?

Dave Luckett said:

You don’t much care about the meanings of words, do you, Steve? Or are you really so sublimely ignorant that you don’t know the difference between “respect” and “reverence”?

Steve P demonstrates both, actually.

Dave Luckett, why not reference an online dictionary as a precautionary measure?

Definition of reverence as Merriam-Webster sees it:

1. : honor or respect felt or shown : DEFERENCE ; especially : profound adoring awed respect

2. : a gesture of respect (as a bow)

3. : the state of being revered

Wouldn’t it be better not to provide ‘them’ with an opportunity to assert that you are attempting a sort of deification of science by simply avoiding phrases like ‘show respect’?

I mean, AFAIK science is not a person or a deity. It is a process of inquiry to understand the characteristics of the natural world. We need not respect it, but simply to use it.

Anyway, I suspect I am eearily close to busting the derail meter, so that’s all I’ll say.

Later.

Steve, unlike you I know how to use a dictionary. One of their conventions is that the meanings given become more colloquial and metaphorical as the number goes up or the aspects of meaning that are provided increases. They become looser, less rigorous. It is simply an ignorant error to assume that the definitions given later are to be identified completely with the meaning of the word being defined.

You are insisting on the conflation of “respect” with “reverence”. You are saying that the respect that I and others have for the attainments and achievements of science is exactly the same thing as reverence, and that reverence is necessarily religious feeling. This, in turn, implies that you think that “reverence” is necessarily religious in nature. This argument is based on two false premises: one, that “respect” and “reverence” mean exactly the same thing; and two, that “reverence” is necessarily religious in nature.

So the argument is trivially false, but so blatantly and obviously false that in making it you’ve only made a fool of yourself.

Steve P., why not reference an online dictionary as a precautionary measure?

Definition of respect as Merriam-Webster sees it:

1 : a relation or reference to a particular thing or situation

2 : an act of giving particular attention : consideration

3 a : high or special regard : esteem

3 b : the quality or state of being esteemed

3 c plural : expressions of high or special regard or deference

4 : particular, detail

Noticeably absent is “reverence” as either a definition of or as a synonym for “respect”.

One might even conclude that you’re dishonestly trying to make it look some like people treat evolutionary biology like a religion by replacing the fairly neutral “respect” with the more charged “reverence” and its religious overtones.

Oh, another thing for Steve P.:

The flag of my nation (the USA) neither needs, requires, nor expects respect. The flag is not a person or a deity.

Do you therefore argue that I am wrong to respect it?

SWT said:

Steve P., why not reference an online dictionary as a precautionary measure?

Definition of respect as Merriam-Webster sees it:

1 : a relation or reference to a particular thing or situation

2 : an act of giving particular attention : consideration

3 a : high or special regard : esteem

3 b : the quality or state of being esteemed

3 c plural : expressions of high or special regard or deference

4 : particular, detail

Noticeably absent is “reverence” as either a definition of or as a synonym for “respect”.

One might even conclude that you’re dishonestly trying to make it look some like people treat evolutionary biology like a religion by replacing the fairly neutral “respect” with the more charged “reverence” and its religious overtones.

Steve P. is quote-mining - he is being disrespectful of the work done by the compilers of the dictionary.

“Respect” in the original post was being used in much the same sense that it would in the sentence “The executor of a will is expected to respect the wishes of the testator.” The word invoked implications of “doing things properly”.…

Anyway, I suspect I am eearily close to busting the derail meter, so that’s all I’ll say.

While you were looking up the word “respect” you should have tried looking up your new word “eearily”

Dave Luckett said:

Steve, unlike you I know how to use a dictionary. One of their conventions is that the meanings given become more colloquial and metaphorical as the number goes up or the aspects of meaning that are provided increases. They become looser, less rigorous. It is simply an ignorant error to assume that the definitions given later are to be identified completely with the meaning of the word being defined.

You are insisting on the conflation of “respect” with “reverence”. You are saying that the respect that I and others have for the attainments and achievements of science is exactly the same thing as reverence, and that reverence is necessarily religious feeling. This, in turn, implies that you think that “reverence” is necessarily religious in nature. This argument is based on two false premises: one, that “respect” and “reverence” mean exactly the same thing; and two, that “reverence” is necessarily religious in nature.

So the argument is trivially false, but so blatantly and obviously false that in making it you’ve only made a fool of yourself.

Showing “respect” for science, as you and Glen say you wish to do, does not require nor usually involve producing an illuminated book with gold leaf decorated pages. Steve P brought the words respect and reverence together because the action of making an illuminated book would be better described as an act of “reverence.” He found a better word to describe the act in question that you claimed was just as sign of “respect.”

The ones who should be careful with definitions are those of you who are trying to downplay the obviously reverent action of treating Origin of Species the same way the Catholic Priests at St. Johns are treating the Bible.

By the way, I don’t believe that decorating a physical manifestation of the written word whether it be Bible or “Origin” is the type of reverence, respect, or emphasis these works deserve. They are both coded representations of their authors ideas and in such deserve reverence through they way they are honestly discussed, examined, challenged and interpreted through the very non-material mechanisms of thought and debate.

The greatest reverence or respect we can endow on either of these works is to examine their relation to truth and reality.

fittest meme said: …the action of making an illuminated book would be better described as an act of “reverence.” He found a better word to describe the act in question that you claimed was just as sign of “respect.”

I have an illuminated, gold-leaf, leather-bound copy of Treasure Island. Do you think that means I revere it? That I worship at the feet of Robert Louis Stevenson?

No. That conclusion would be ridiculous.

Its a beautiful piece of book-art, yes. But that’s it. As a story I don’t particularly love or hate it. It was good when I was 9…and I probably haven’t read it since.

This effort will (I hope) produced a beautiful piece of book-art. If its good and its the sort of thing I think would be great for my coffee table, maybe I’ll buy it. But I won’t buy it out of some reverence for Darwin or the OOS.

The ones who should be careful with definitions are those of you who are trying to downplay the obviously reverent action of treating Origin of Species the same way the Catholic Priests at St. Johns are treating the Bible.

Your error is that you forget that lots of people treat lots of non-religious books that way, too. Not just the bible.

Why, here’s a list of some. You may be surprised to learn that, according to you, someone is out there revering “The Grammar of Ornament.”

Two of the commentators in this discussion should take the time to actually read the artist’s explanation of why she has embarked on this project rather than assigning motives to her (and advocates of mainstream science) based on their own presuppositions.

The ones who should be careful with definitions are those of you who are trying to downplay the obviously reverent action of treating Origin of Species the same way the Catholic Priests at St. Johns are treating the Bible.

Absolutely right! The new illuminated manuscript will be broken down by chapter and verse, a new order of Darwinian monks will be founded to make copies of it by hand, and scientists will stand and make the sign of the beagle when it is read aloud in scientific meetings, and it will have special pages to record new species as they come into being. Yes, I can see it all coming…

eric said:

I have an illuminated, gold-leaf, leather-bound copy of Treasure Island.

Really now? This copy of Treasure Island you have has gold-leaf integrated into illustrations in the book?

Remember this is a discussion where people are being criticized for being careless with definitions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illumi[…]d_manuscript

A leather-bound book with gold trim as decoration on the cover is not quite the same as what is being described here. That’s the way most books were made at one point in time. Book covers for commercially sold books are almost always decorated in order to attract the attention of potential readers. Gold-leaf in the illustrations is something very different however. If your copy of Treasure Island indeed has the type of illuminated illustrations being described by Kelly Houle in her proposed rendition of OOS then by all means you have a point (and you probably have something that would be very valuable if you found the right collector). If not, I think you (like those who used the word “respect” instead of the more appropriate “reverence”) are downplaying what is being described here.

Karen S. said:

[…] and scientists will stand and make the sign of the beagle when it is read aloud in scientific meetings, […]

Sign of the beagle? Is that like floppy ears and wagging tail?

Henry J said:

Karen S. said:

[…] and scientists will stand and make the sign of the beagle when it is read aloud in scientific meetings, […]

Sign of the beagle? Is that like floppy ears and wagging tail?

It’s probably something like this

http://www.collectpeanuts.com/Colle[…]IMG_5763.jpg

fittest meme said: Really now? This copy of Treasure Island you have has gold-leaf integrated into illustrations in the book?

I don’t know if its actual gold, as in the precious metal, but yes it has illustrations within the book and yes they use gold metallic paint.

If your copy of Treasure Island indeed has the type of illuminated illustrations being described by Kelly Houle in her proposed rendition of OOS then by all means you have a point

Thank you, I think I just showed that I do.

Sign of the beagle? Is that like floppy ears and wagging tail?

Hey, we can have pilgrimages to South America.

Kevin B said:

Henry J said:

Karen S. said:

[…] and scientists will stand and make the sign of the beagle when it is read aloud in scientific meetings, […]

Sign of the beagle? Is that like floppy ears and wagging tail?

It’s probably something like this

http://www.collectpeanuts.com/Colle[…]IMG_5763.jpg

Come to think of it, the “tripe” currently flying around in the Bathroom might be a Fokker DR.1 ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fokker_Dr.I )

Ms. Houle want to make money. She wants to put gold on the page, and in her bank. This chatter about “respect” v “reverence” is pointless.

Gary_Hurd said:

Ms. Houle want to make money. She wants to put gold on the page, and in her bank.

All other things being equal, there is nothing wrong with making money from honest work (or from making a good investment, either, in my point of view). (For full disclosure, I favor a humane society with progressive taxation, social programs for the needy, universal access to health care, high quality public education, highly affordable if not outright free higher education through the doctoral level, a humane and unbiased justice system, etc. But none of that causes me to condemn people specifically for making some honest money.)

I am inclined to doubt that she chose this particular project solely for its commercial potential, though.

For full, full disclosure, I don’t have all that much interest (although the link to the artist’s site is disabled, so I can’t be sure).

This chatter about “respect” v “reverence” is pointless.

It’s rebuttal to an inane attempt by an emotionally troubled creationist to equate a neutral scientific theory with “a religion”, on the grounds that someone may publish an illustrated version of a scientific book.

A lot of creationist arguments are implicitly legal strategies. The “evolution is a religion, too, so if you teach evolution I can teach anything” argument is a particularly stupid one, but it is persistent, and it’s not totally worthless to practice rebutting it.

Gary_Hurd said:

Ms. Houle want to make money. She wants to put gold on the page, and in her bank.

Yup, and she’s going to do so by finding investors and purchasers who are willing to part with some of their own “gold” because hold the Origin of Species in a revered position. She figured she’d find a good target market here because there might be more of you who have opinions like these guys:

“Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species is one of the most precious books in the entire library of our species.” Richard Dawkins

“Arguably history’s most influential book.” E.O. Wilson

Why are you so many of you here ashamed to admit what is plainly obvious. Atheism is your religion and the Origin of Species is your revered replacement to the book of Genesis as an explanation to the unobservable events both books describe.

And eric … I doubt Kelly would be pleased with the comparison of your illustrated Treasure Island to the work she is creating. Even though I think the project is misguided it is an impressive undertaking that reveals great artistic ability and investment.

fittest meme said: Atheism is your religion and the Origin of Species is your revered replacement to the book of Genesis as an explanation to the unobservable events both books describe.

Your statement is a lie. Christianity is my religion; my ordination is in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Further, I revere no book; I revere the Almighty.

fittest meme -

It’s not just that you’re a liar, but you’re an incompetent, stupid liar.

fittest meme said:

The ones who should be careful with definitions are those of you who are trying to downplay the obviously reverent action of treating Origin of Species the same way the Catholic Priests at St. Johns are treating the Bible.

When those Priests start talking about all of Jesus’, Yahweh’s, and Moses’ errors of ignorance in the Bible, in the same manner that we are comfortable talking about Darwin’s similar errors, THEN you may compare the two. Otherwise, it’s a pathetic reach bordering on an outright lie.

fittest meme said:

Why are you so many of you here ashamed to admit what is plainly obvious. Atheism is your religion and the Origin of Species is your revered replacement to the book of Genesis as an explanation to the unobservable events both books describe.

Why are you you so ashamed to admit what is plainly obvious? You are an ignorant lying sack of shit.

I am amazed at the utter stupidity of nearly all the comments in this thread. I see almost nothing relevant to the topic of the page - the announcement of a work-of-art-in-progress.

Are you all so self-absorbed that you have to make everything about yourselves, rather than talk about what would be a very nice illuminated manuscript edition of OOS in the style of the Medieval manuscripts?

Criticizing Lewis or Tolkein becuase they did not fit into one of the modern “schools” of linguistics - some of which are patently ridiculous - is like criticizing Einstein or Newton because neither addressed string theory.

You folks seem singularly unaware of the history of science.

Rich

RichW said:

I am amazed at the utter stupidity of nearly all the comments in this thread. I see almost nothing relevant to the topic of the page - the announcement of a work-of-art-in-progress.

Are you all so self-absorbed that you have to make everything about yourselves, rather than talk about what would be a very nice illuminated manuscript edition of OOS in the style of the Medieval manuscripts?

Criticizing Lewis or Tolkein becuase they did not fit into one of the modern “schools” of linguistics - some of which are patently ridiculous - is like criticizing Einstein or Newton because neither addressed string theory.

You folks seem singularly unaware of the history of science.

Rich

Ah, yes, because the sub-thread wherein Tolkein and Lewis were brought up had *nothing to do* with the original topic of the parent post, right? And people really shouldn’t find anything interesting unless it’s exactly mappable to a post that was put up by a site administrator. AND, of course if someone mentions something that doesn’t fall strictly under the purview of science, then whomever made that mention is ignorant of science, or at least of its history.

I’m going to Godwin this right in its ass: YOU must hate the Jews because you didn’t mention WWII in your post, and you’re singularly unaware of the Holocaust.

RichW said:

I am amazed at the utter stupidity of nearly all the comments in this thread. I see almost nothing relevant to the topic of the page - the announcement of a work-of-art-in-progress.

1) You must have misread the thread. Go back and try again. Most of a comments are related to this.

2) Your subjective opinion about what is “stupid” is your own business. As it happens, I have an opposite belief. While threads should not stray to far off topic, rigid insistence on a narrowly defined topic would seem silly to me.

3) Your hostility seems to be out of proportion to your stated complaints.

Are you all so self-absorbed that you have to make everything about yourselves,

None of the comments here are about the personal characteristics of the commenters. I’m not sure how you got this impression.

rather than talk about what would be a very nice illuminated manuscript edition of OOS in the style of the Medieval manuscripts?

You could have talked about this yourself. Why didn’t you do that instead of, if I may say, whining about what other people said? You can directly control your own comments.

Of course, the main reason why this did not occur is because of the creationist response - which was, incidentally, although logically and factually incorrect to the point of absurdity, on topic.

Criticizing Lewis or Tolkein becuase they did not fit into one of the modern “schools” of linguistics - some of which are patently ridiculous - is like criticizing Einstein or Newton because neither addressed string theory.

I suppose this is partly true, despite the over the top hostile tone. That point did refer to issues that are not addressed in the works of Lewis and Tolkien, just as string theory is not addressed in the works of Einstein. Why this provokes you to hostility is not clear to me.

You folks seem singularly unaware of the history of science.

What a bizarre comment. There is nothing whatsoever in the thread to suggest this. I suspect it to be the opposite of the truth.

RichW said:

I am amazed at the utter stupidity of nearly all the comments in this thread. I see almost nothing relevant to the topic of the page - the announcement of a work-of-art-in-progress.

Are you all so self-absorbed that you have to make everything about yourselves, rather than talk about what would be a very nice illuminated manuscript edition of OOS in the style of the Medieval manuscripts?

Criticizing Lewis or Tolkein becuase they did not fit into one of the modern “schools” of linguistics - some of which are patently ridiculous - is like criticizing Einstein or Newton because neither addressed string theory.

You folks seem singularly unaware of the history of science.

Rich

Your concern is noted.

And dismissed.

RichW said:

I am amazed at the utter stupidity of nearly all the comments in this thread. I see almost nothing relevant to the topic of the page - the announcement of a work-of-art-in-progress.

Are you all so self-absorbed that you have to make everything about yourselves, rather than talk about what would be a very nice illuminated manuscript edition of OOS in the style of the Medieval manuscripts?

Criticizing Lewis or Tolkein becuase they did not fit into one of the modern “schools” of linguistics - some of which are patently ridiculous - is like criticizing Einstein or Newton because neither addressed string theory.

You folks seem singularly unaware of the history of science.

Rich

You seem singularly unaware that noone here is going to give one babboon’s red shiny arse-cheek about your obviously ill-considered opinion or about the frankly fucking petulant way in which you’ve expressed it.

You could have shared your thoughts on the Illustrated OOS; instead you chose to castigate everybody for not living up to your standards. You could have stuck to the topic yourself; instead you chose to drop a drive-by comment insulting everyone for not commenting the way you prefer.

Are you such a self-absorbed little troll that you have to make everything about you?

Dave Luckett,

Actually, if you reread my comment you will see that I am not conflating reverence with respect. What Davidson wrote was the phrase ‘show respect’. That is the giveaway. If you read the first definition from Merriam you would see that in fact reverence can be equated with the phrase ‘show respect’. Show respect for/to’ and ‘respect’ are two different things.

So it seems that purveyors of no-gods philosophies do desire a modicum of mental pharaphenalia to accompany their intellectual journeys after all.

Dave Luckett said:

Steve, unlike you I know how to use a dictionary. One of their conventions is that the meanings given become more colloquial and metaphorical as the number goes up or the aspects of meaning that are provided increases. They become looser, less rigorous. It is simply an ignorant error to assume that the definitions given later are to be identified completely with the meaning of the word being defined.

You are insisting on the conflation of “respect” with “reverence”. You are saying that the respect that I and others have for the attainments and achievements of science is exactly the same thing as reverence, and that reverence is necessarily religious feeling. This, in turn, implies that you think that “reverence” is necessarily religious in nature. This argument is based on two false premises: one, that “respect” and “reverence” mean exactly the same thing; and two, that “reverence” is necessarily religious in nature.

So the argument is trivially false, but so blatantly and obviously false that in making it you’ve only made a fool of yourself.

Mr. Young,

Truth is evolution skeptics like myself do not see the OoS as a proof text for evolution on par with the Bible.

What we do see is that design deniers like yourself still find Darwin’s metaphysics useful in covering for the impotence of evolution to account for the origins of life forms.

Matt Young said:

.…. Incidentally, my own concern (and that of others) was that, whereas the project is a worthwhile endeavor, it risks giving ammunition to creationists who conflate Origin with a proof text such as the Bible, even though it is plain that scientists have moved as far past Darwin as past Copernicus or Galileo. It seems we were right.

Word gaming always seems to be extremely important to science “critics” who refuse to learn any science.

If they don’t have the brains or stamina to dig in and learn scientific concepts, then they seem to think that playing games with words gives them the façade of erudition.

SteveP says If you read the first definition from Merriam you would see that in fact reverence can be equated with the phrase ‘show respect’.

No, the two can’t be equated. That’s simply your inability to understand what a dictionary is, and what words are.

There are some words that mean exactly what other words mean with the same intensity under all circumstances, but they are very few. Words are like clouds of meaning, and the cloud is more or less attenuated in various regions. “Reverence” and “respect” have regions where their clouds intermix, but those clouds occupy different spaces, with different “densities”. They’re not equal. They can’t be equated.

To “show respect” to or for something or someone is not the same as to “reverence” it, and that in turn is not the same as to worship or deify it. Your attempt to equate the terms so that you can accuse those who show respect for science of having a different religion is a stupid canard, perpetrated possibly out of ignorance, but also fuelled by malice.

Steve P. said:

Truth is evolution skeptics like myself do not see the OoS as a proof text for evolution on par with the Bible.

I have news for you, Steve, truth is evolution proponents don’t see OoS as a proof text for evolution either.

As we keep telling you, Darwin simply didn’t know enough about his subject to prove anything.

That’s not a dig, it’s just that in 1859 nobody knew enough about evolution to prove anything.

For evidence of evolution, nobody looks to Darwin. Darwin is dead. His giant contribution consisted mainly of saying “Hey guys, look over here, I think I see how this works”.

His relationship to the current science of evolution is that since he was the first to notice it, he got the honorary name. Had the Beagle been lost at sea we’d now be talking about “Wallancian evolution” instead.

No, the evidence for evolution comes not from Darwin, but from the 150 years of painstaking research carried on since then.

150 years during which nobody has found a serious flaw with the ToE.

Oddly, I don’t consider this a “proof on par with the Bible” either, but that’s simply because so much of the Bible has been proven factually wrong.

Steve P. said:

Dave Luckett,

Actually, if you reread my comment you will see that I am not conflating reverence with respect. What Davidson wrote was the phrase ‘show respect’.

Wel, you seem to be conflating Davidson whith Kelly Houle, the person actually creating the book/art, who has not said anything like that (at least not here). She has said that this effort is intended to make the book more understandable/accessible to a wider audience. Which is great, but utterly different from the motive you are trying to impute to her.

That is the giveaway. If you read the first definition from Merriam you would see that in fact reverence can be equated with the phrase ‘show respect’. Show respect for/to’ and ‘respect’ are two different things.

So it seems that purveyors of no-gods philosophies do desire a modicum of mental pharaphenalia to accompany their intellectual journeys after all.

So, as far as I can tell, here is your reasoning:

1. A bystander who is not actually developing the illuminated document said they respect the OOS.

2. In English the word ‘respect’ can be - but is not always - used as a synonym for ‘revere.’

3. In English the word ‘revere’ can - but doesn’t always - have religious connotations of worship.

4. Therefore, this effort is a form of Darwin worship and evidence that all scientists in general worship Darwin.

Did I get that right Steve?

Steve P. said:

Mr. Young,

Truth is evolution skeptics like myself do not see the OoS as a proof text for evolution on par with the Bible.

Nothing would make you understand or even acknowledge Evolutionary Biology, not even if God, Himself, were to come down from the Heavens to explain it to you with magic handpuppets.

Furthermore, how come “evolution skeptics” (sic) like yourself refuse to demonstrate or even explain how your proposed alternative, GODDESIGNERDIDIT, is supposed to explain anything, let alone be scientific?

What we do see is that design deniers like yourself still find Darwin’s metaphysics useful in covering for the impotence of evolution to account for the origins of life forms.

Darwin never discussed any “metaphysics,” nor did he discuss the “origins of life forms,” he discussed how species of life forms change over the course of generations.

If you had actually read even a summary of On the Origin of Species, you would have already known this.

On the other hand, you also think willful stupidity and malicious ignorance are virtues to be cultivated.

Furthermore, your own malicious and inane word games demonstrate the utter impotence of Intelligent Design as science.

That is the giveaway. If you read the first definition from Merriam you would see that in fact reverence can be equated with the phrase ‘show respect’. Show respect for/to’ and ‘respect’ are two different things.

So it seems that purveyors of no-gods philosophies do desire a modicum of mental pharaphenalia to accompany their intellectual journeys after all.

So, as far as I can tell, here is your reasoning:

1. A bystander who is not actually developing the illuminated document said they respect the OOS.

2. In English the word ‘respect’ can be - but is not always - used as a synonym for ‘revere.’

3. In English the word ‘revere’ can - but doesn’t always - have religious connotations of worship.

4. Therefore, this effort is a form of Darwin worship and evidence that all scientists in general worship Darwin.

Did I get that right Steve?

If all scientists worship Darwin, then how come none of them do things like kneeling before an icon of Darwin, in the manner normal people pray?

Isn’t it rather tedious for scientists to worship Darwin by buying and making illuminated copies of On the Origin of Species?

Steve P. said:

Mr. Young,

Truth is evolution skeptics like myself do not see the OoS as a proof text for evolution on par with the Bible.

What we do see is that design deniers like yourself still find Darwin’s metaphysics useful in covering for the impotence of evolution to account for the origins of life forms.

Truth is real scientists like myself do not see the OoS as a proof text for evolution on par with the Bible.

What we do see is that evolution deniers like yourself still find your metaphysics useful in covering for the impotence of religion to account for the origins of life forms.

The irony is strong in this one.

DS said:

Steve P. said:

Mr. Young,

Truth is evolution skeptics like myself do not see the OoS as a proof text for evolution on par with the Bible.

What we do see is that design deniers like yourself still find Darwin’s metaphysics useful in covering for the impotence of evolution to account for the origins of life forms.

Truth is real scientists like myself do not see the OoS as a proof text for evolution on par with the Bible.

What we do see is that evolution deniers like yourself still find your metaphysics useful in covering for the impotence of religion to account for the origins of life forms.

The irony is strong in this one.

I agree, DS, but you don’t go far enough.

Truth is, real scientists don’t engage in proof texting, period.

What is it with creationists projecting their own traits onto scientists/science and then re-labelling them as faults? Do they do this to paint science as some kind of equivalently-faith-based but (of course) false/heretical religion, the better to attack it? Crucially, without the false/heresy label, such a tactic would constitute an admission that their own faith-based worship of text is seriously flawed - but tack on a “…but their religion (which we just invented for them) is wrong!” and it’s all good. How transparently childish to say “You’re just the same as us but wrong, therefore we win!”

Here’s what I’ve noticed about creo behaviour:

- Because creationists revere the Bible, anyone who accepts evolution (henceforth “scientists” as shorthand) automatically reveres, for example, Origin in precisely the same way (disregard the progress that’s been made since 1859)

- Because creationists accept the Bible as True and infallible, scientists do the same with OoS (again, disregard how the ToE has been expanded and cross-confirmed since Origin was published)

- Because creationists worship and revere the Bible’s characters such as God, Jesus and all the various prophets, so too do scientists with Darwin (yet again, disregard the fact that Darwin’s observations, while revolutionary at the time and a fantastic starting point, were incomplete and in some cases his inferences were incorrect - also disregard the fact that he wasn’t necessarily the first or only scientist to ruminate over evolution either)

It seems like a case of massive assumption and/or projection on the part of creationists: they’re textual literalists who revere prophets and bow to spiritual authority therefore everyone else is, including those who quite simply aren’t or those who know where to draw the line between their faith and the facts of the universe.

It’s really a blatant false equivalency being committed here: WE behave like this, therefore THEY do, but they’re doing it WRONG, etc. It really is asinine.

The most interesting thing: most of the time, creationists only do this with evolution, Origin and Charles Darwin. I’ve yet to see any creationists rail against Newton’s Principia! Perhaps because evolution directly challenges the rank narcissism entailed in believing the entire universe was put here so YOU could live in it and YOU were specially created, separate from mere beasts, it’s railed against ad nauseam.

unkle.hank said: Do they do this to paint science as some kind of equivalently-faith-based but (of course) false/heretical religion, the better to attack it?

The focus seems to be winning whatever argument is at hand.

Thus, as you point out, sometimes they will use the PoMo approach and argue that “they are all worldviews, thus equal.” Sometimes they will argue the opposite, that ID is science. Sometimes they will agree with the mainstream that creationism is religious while mainstream science is not…and then make the legal argument that they are therefore being subjected to religious discrimination when its not taught.

Sometimes they will claim their main problem with it is moral, i.e. that (teaching) evolution breeds evil behavior. Sometimes they’ll claim their issue is getting more correct scientific ideas into school. To yet other audiences, they’ll claim the issue is putting God or prayer back in shools.

Getting the idea? Their strategy is any port in a storm. Use whatever works for the audience you have at hand. Consistency is not one of their hobgoblins.

eric said:

unkle.hank said: Do they do this to paint science as some kind of equivalently-faith-based but (of course) false/heretical religion, the better to attack it?

The focus seems to be winning whatever argument is at hand.

Perhaps one day they’ll realise that they suck irredeemably at this, regardless of how many approaches they employ and how quickly they hop between them when they get a certain uncomfortable feeling that they can’t define (most of us recognise it as “being wrong”).

But I suppose that would require a level of honest introspection and self-awareness that enables a person to recognise when they’re mistaken and alter their behaviour accordingly. It’s become pretty clear that if there’s one thing creos lack, it’s an adequately-equipped intellectual toolbox.

Steve P. said:

Mr. Young,

Truth is evolution skeptics like myself do not see the OoS as a proof text for evolution on par with the Bible.

What we do see is that design deniers like yourself still find Darwin’s metaphysics useful in covering for the impotence of evolution to account for the origins of life forms.

Matt Young said:

.…. Incidentally, my own concern (and that of others) was that, whereas the project is a worthwhile endeavor, it risks giving ammunition to creationists who conflate Origin with a proof text such as the Bible, even though it is plain that scientists have moved as far past Darwin as past Copernicus or Galileo. It seems we were right.

The Origin is basically pathetic as a proof text. It does not speak to men the way the Bible does. Their reverence for it, however, reveals something deep in their psychology.

The evolutionists revere Darwin precisely because he does not make them uncomfortable with their sad, pathetic selves. Darwin was nothing but an everyman who leaves them comfortable in their Slough of Despond which they choose to stay. They are not inspired even to do great deeds for their father the devil.

When I was an evolutionists I was inspired not by Darwin, but by Nietzsche, Lovecraft, and Crowley whose words inspired me in the pursuit of domination over others in a meaningless universe. The pathetic sniveling and sneering of the 21st century evolutionist movement will win more souls to Christ than a thousand Billy Grahams!

Can someone flush this new disgustingly inane troll to the Bathroom Wall?

Oh, now this is just fantastic! I’m really looking forward to the completion of this work; the few bits of art shown on Ms. Houle’s website look stunning, and while I’ve always loved the artistry present in illuminated texts…well, call me shallow, but the subject matter of most of ‘em always made it a little harder to appreciate their beauty. 2018’s quite some ways off, but ‘spose every good thing’s worth waiting for.

…And on a completely unrelated note, Ian Brandon Andersen? I’ll leave the main body of your post alone, because it’s evident that we think so differently on the matter that any attempt to communicate with each other (at least, in the rather combative environment of a comments section) would be utterly futile, but…How on Earth did you obtain “pursuit of domination” as a theme of Lovecraft’s works? If’n I recall correctly, most of his stories tended to have “Hide in cowering terror from the beings who currently dominate” as their chief theme, with most of the bolder characters ending up dead or insane–at the very best.

dromicosuchus said:

Oh, now this is just fantastic! I’m really looking forward to the completion of this work; the few bits of art shown on Ms. Houle’s website look stunning, and while I’ve always loved the artistry present in illuminated texts…well, call me shallow, but the subject matter of most of ‘em always made it a little harder to appreciate their beauty. 2018’s quite some ways off, but ‘spose every good thing’s worth waiting for.

…And on a completely unrelated note, Ian Brandon Andersen? I’ll leave the main body of your post alone, because it’s evident that we think so differently on the matter that any attempt to communicate with each other (at least, in the rather combative environment of a comments section) would be utterly futile, but…How on Earth did you obtain “pursuit of domination” as a theme of Lovecraft’s works? If’n I recall correctly, most of his stories tended to have “Hide in cowering terror from the beings who currently dominate” as their chief theme, with most of the bolder characters ending up dead or insane–at the very best.

Look at the story from the point of view of Cthulhu, Yog-Sogoth, and the rest. They are the true heros of his stories, and they engage in amoral domination. This is what the evolutionists’ worldview is all about. The death and insanity of Lovecraft’s humans is just the other side of the evolutionist worldview. In the religion of evolutionism, there is no way to affirm your own existence in the existential void of ordinary life, and death and insanity are the only paths to true feeling.

Ian Brandon Andersen said:

dromicosuchus said:

Oh, now this is just fantastic! I’m really looking forward to the completion of this work; the few bits of art shown on Ms. Houle’s website look stunning, and while I’ve always loved the artistry present in illuminated texts…well, call me shallow, but the subject matter of most of ‘em always made it a little harder to appreciate their beauty. 2018’s quite some ways off, but ‘spose every good thing’s worth waiting for.

…And on a completely unrelated note, Ian Brandon Andersen? I’ll leave the main body of your post alone, because it’s evident that we think so differently on the matter that any attempt to communicate with each other (at least, in the rather combative environment of a comments section) would be utterly futile, but…How on Earth did you obtain “pursuit of domination” as a theme of Lovecraft’s works? If’n I recall correctly, most of his stories tended to have “Hide in cowering terror from the beings who currently dominate” as their chief theme, with most of the bolder characters ending up dead or insane–at the very best.

Look at the story from the point of view of Cthulhu, Yog-Sogoth, and the rest. They are the true heros of his stories, and they engage in amoral domination. This is what the evolutionists’ worldview is all about. The death and insanity of Lovecraft’s humans is just the other side of the evolutionist worldview. In the religion of evolutionism, there is no way to affirm your own existence in the existential void of ordinary life, and death and insanity are the only paths to true feeling.

As opposed to Christian fundamentalists’ constant implication that the world God created for us humans to live in is worthless and evil, and ruled by the Devil, and that good Christians should simply do nothing but pray and wait for God to come down and destroy this evil world He created?

Ah, I see. I have to admit, looking at things from the Great Old Ones’ point of view didn’t occur to me. I’m not sure I’d really call them the “heroes” of the stories (they’re certainly never spoken of with approbation except by the despicable, and with the possible exception of Nyarlathotep they’re clearly indifferent to humanity), but I suppose I can sort of see how you’d get that perspective from the Cthulhu Mythos.

That said, though, I’d suggest that you’re mistaken about Lovecraftian screaming, hollow-souled (so to speak) nihilism being the logical conclusion of “evolutionism,” as you refer to it. While I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “affirming one’s existence,” I am at the most only mildly insane, and very much undead (okay, that was poorly phrased. You know what I mean). And I enjoy life, find beauty in the the same vastness and incomprehensibility that so terrified Lovecraft, and simply love this bizarre, fabulous, endlessly convoluted and complicated universe in which I find myself. I don’t need Yahweh, Yog-Sothoth, Raven, Amaterasu, or any other representative of any other pantheon to appreciate the universe, or find a reason for loving life. It’s possible, I suppose, that I’m deluding myself, and that deep down inside I’m always quaking in terror at the cosmic darkness that stretches out on all sides, with my delight in the universe being just a flimsy shroud cast over that primal fear. I half-suspect that you’ll conclude that that’s the case. But I’ve said my piece, and don’t know that I can present it any better than I just have. How you interpret it beyond this point is your concern.

Ian Brandon Andersen said: In the religion of evolutionism, there is no way to affirm your own existence in the existential void of ordinary life, and death and insanity are the only paths to true feeling.

[Pinch.] True feeling exprienced, existence affirmed.

eric said:

Ian Brandon Andersen said: In the religion of evolutionism, there is no way to affirm your own existence in the existential void of ordinary life, and death and insanity are the only paths to true feeling.

[Pinch.] True feeling exprienced, existence affirmed.

I think this troll’s projection of his innermost psychological state onto everyone else reveals to the world why he trolls the internet.

I have to agree with Ian in regards to the religious side of Darwinism. My father was a biology teacher and taught classes at the local Natural History Museum on Saturdays. I spent many of Saturdays attending those classes and going along on field trips. I learned quite a bit about natural history during those years and still maintain an interest. As a Christian, I look back on that experience with fondness, but I also realize how similar that culture was to a typical church. The word “church” simply refers to an assembly of believers. I now identify completely with Phillip Johnson’s analogy of Darwinism and religion. Darwinists attend their church, whether at a natural history museum or the local university. They give their money. That’s what keeps the museum running. They worship their religious artifacts (bones), and read Darwin’s version of the Bible. Darwinists also have their high priests such as Dawkins and Gould. Besides the similarity in actions, it is faith that is the most telling similarity. Relying on the Darwin of the gaps, the believer places their faith above empirical science because of their naturalistic presuppositions. These days I have a great relationship with my father, I just don’t attend his church.

Bill Meyer said:

I have to agree with Ian in regards to the religious side of Darwinism. My father was a biology teacher and taught classes at the local Natural History Museum on Saturdays. I spent many of Saturdays attending those classes and going along on field trips. I learned quite a bit about natural history during those years and still maintain an interest. As a Christian, I look back on that experience with fondness, but I also realize how similar that culture was to a typical church. The word “church” simply refers to an assembly of believers. I now identify completely with Phillip Johnson’s analogy of Darwinism and religion. Darwinists attend their church, whether at a natural history museum or the local university. They give their money. That’s what keeps the museum running. They worship their religious artifacts (bones), and read Darwin’s version of the Bible. Darwinists also have their high priests such as Dawkins and Gould. Besides the similarity in actions, it is faith that is the most telling similarity. Relying on the Darwin of the gaps, the believer places their faith above empirical science because of their naturalistic presuppositions. These days I have a great relationship with my father, I just don’t attend his church.

How sad that your father never seemed to teach you what science is really all about. I can assure you that real science is the absolute antithesis of religion. Real scientists don’t give their money because someone commanded them to. They don’t worship the artifacts they uncover. They don’t worship Darwin as a savior or read the Origin as a Bible. They don’t hold any truth above the evidence and they don’t have any naturalistic assumptions. If you ever bothered to learn how actual science works you wouldn’t make such erroneous statements. Too bad you haven’t figured out what has made your modern lifestyle possible and why.

Bill Meyers, if what you said about your father is true, then he was a failure as a teacher if he couldn’t teach you that science isn’t a religion, or that a museum is not a church.

Among other things, Ian is nothing but an Internet troll pretending to be an Asshole For Jesus, and Phillip Johnson is a professional Liar For Jesus. If you believe what these two liars say, then you are an Idiot for Jesus, as well.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on November 9, 2011 2:27 PM.

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