Re: Phil Skell replies to David Campbell

From: janice matchett <>
Date: Fri Sep 23 2005 - 13:12:46 EDT

At 01:52 PM 9/21/2005, Pim van Meurs wrote:

>>Ted Davis wrote: "Darwin's "theory" is mainly *metaphysically-based*
>>speculation ..."

Janice had responded: A statement backed up by "the man", himself, who
apparently didn't have the guts to publish it publically because these
sorts of statements are only found in his private notebooks ......" [Darwin
quote, etc. snipped]

>Your comments are a bit distasteful Janice.

## Janice responds: Many scientists (not to speak of the self-appointed
"religious" leaders) thought the comments made by Galileo were more than a
bit "distasteful", also.

"[Galileo] ..was a passionate, powerful character ... his biting sarcasm
...made him some formidable enemies. [He] thrived on debate... His
professional life was spent not only in observing and calculating but also
in arguing and convincing. .." Charles E. Hummel, The Galileo Connection
(InterVarsity Press, 1986), pp. 27-29

If this forum existed in Galileo's day, and he joined "the discussion",
how long do you think the easily offended would have put up with him here? :)

I can only imagine what the behind-the-scenes whining and sniping against
him would have looked like as the namby-pamby,
self-appointed hall-moniter-types "reported" him so as to have him
"moderated" and forced to be more "reasonable". "How DARE he not
respect / esteem the opinions of the "learned" majority as being worthy
of carrying more weight than the fools on the forum", they no doubt would
have confidently intoned.

In addition to the behind-the-scenes goings-on, some would probably write
disengenuous things like this to him in public: "You know, Galileo, it
isn't so much what you say --- it's the way you say it" , as if they
actually would think that there were no intellectually honest mentalities
on the forum. :)

>Quote mining.... an unsupported snipe at Darwin... Why may I ask ? ~ Pim

### Janice responds: Three things- I'll take them one at a time:

[1] Re: the charge of "quote mining": To quote out of context is to
remove a passage from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort
its meaning. The context in which a passage occurs always contributes to
its meaning, and the shorter the passage the larger the contribution. For
this reason, the quoter must always be careful to quote enough of the
context not to misrepresent the meaning of the quote. Of course, in some
sense, all quotation is out of context, but by a
"<>contextomy", I refer
only to those quotes whose meaning is changed by a loss of context. The
fallacy of Quoting Out of Context is committed when a contextomy is offered
as evidence in an

[2] Re: the charge of "an unsupported snipe at Darwin": I'm not clear on
what you think is "unsupported".

  If you think the Darwin quote [ "Origion of man now proved. --
*Metaphysics* must flourish. - He who understands baboon would do more
toward *Metaphysics* than Locke." --- Darwin, *Notebook M*, August 16,
1838 ], is a contextomy, and really doesn't reflect Darwin's true beliefs,
you should take it up with Michael T Ghiselin who proudly used that quote
front and center in his book, entitled: *Metaphysics and the Origin of

And if Stephen Jay Gould was still living you could have taken it up with
him, because he said that "(Darwins's notebooks) include many statements
showing that he espoused but feared to expose something he perceived as far
more heretical than evolution itself: philosophical materialism -- the
postulate that matter is the stuff of all existence and that all mental and
spiritual phenomena are its by-products." ["Feared to expose" are Gould's
words. "Didn't have the guts" are mine.]

In addition, you may want to take it up with guys like Ernst Mayr, who
said: "It is apparent that Darwin lost his faith in the years 1836-39, much
of it clearly prior to the reading of Malthus. In order not to hurt the
feelings of his friends and of his wife, Darwin often used deistic language
in his publications, but much in his Notebooks indicates that by this time
he had become a 'materialist' "

Take it up with Richard Lewontin, who said: "We take the side of science in
spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its
failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in
spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated
just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to
materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow
compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on
the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material
causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that
produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter
how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an
absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."

And William Provine, who said: "Naturalistic evolution has clear
consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth
having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for
ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free
will is nonexistent. .... Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever
invented." Etc., etc., etc.

Will you wave off those quotes (and more just like them) with the
accusation that they are just "quote mining", also?? :)

If so, here are some excerpts from the Encyclopedia Britannica:

You will notice that Darwin's "fear" (gutlessness) manifested itself in
physical pain. The once adventurous young naturalist was a semi-invalid
before his 40th year. Some of you know that Darwin's illness has been the
subject of extensive speculation over the years. Some of the symptoms he
exhibited --painful flatulence, vomiting, insomnia, palpitations--appeared
in force as soon as he began his first transmutation notebook, in 1837,
says the Encyclopedia Britannica - which also states that "...a careful
analysis of the attacks in the context of his activities points to
psychogenic origins. Throughout the next decades Darwin's maladies waxed
and waned. But during the last decade of his life, when he concentrated on
botanical research and no longer speculated about evolution, he experienced
the best health since his years at Cambridge. ..."

Encyclopedia Britannica: (excerpts):

"...At this time, however, Darwin began to lead something of a double life.
To the world he was busy preparing his Journal of Researches into the
Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries Visited by H.M.S.
Beagle, which was published in 1839. ... Privately Darwin had begun a
remarkable series of notebooks in which he initiated a set of questions and
answers about "the species problem." .... Darwin kept this interest secret
while he gathered evidence to substantiate his theory of organic evolution.

..There was no place in Darwin's world for divine intervention, nor was
mankind placed in a position of superiority vis-a-vis the rest of the
animal world. Darwin saw man as part of a continuum with the rest of
nature, not separated by divine injunction.

After the publication of the Origin, Darwin continued to write, while
friends, especially Huxley, defended the theory before the public. ...

...Darwin met the issue of human evolution head-on in The Descent of Man,
and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871), in which he elaborated on the
controversial subject only alluded to in the Origin. ...

The second half of the book elaborated upon the theory of sexual selection.
Darwin observed that in some species males battle other males for access to
certain females. But in other species, such as peacocks, there is a social
system in which the females select males according to such qualities as
strength or beauty. Twentieth-century biologists have expanded this theory
to the selection by females of males who can contribute toward the survival
of their offspring; i.e., female selection secures traits that make the
next generation more competitive.

Although Darwin's description of female choice was roundly rejected by most
scientists at the time, he adamantly defended this insight until the end of
his life. While not universally accepted today, the theory of female choice
has many adherents among evolutionary biologists.

The last of Darwin's sequels to the Origin, The Expression of the Emotions
in Man and Animals (1872), was an attempt to erase the last barrier
presumed to exist between human and nonhuman animals--the idea that the
expression of such feelings as suffering, anxiety, grief, despair, joy,
love, devotion, hatred, and anger is unique to human beings.

Darwin connected studies of facial muscles and the emission of sounds with
the corresponding emotional states in man and then argued that the same
facial movements and sounds in nonhuman animals express similar emotional
states. This book laid the groundwork for the study of ethology,
neurobiology, and communication theory in psychology.

Later works.

Throughout his career Darwin wrote two kinds of books--those with a broad
canvas, such as the evolution quartet, and those with a narrow focus ...

Darwin worked alone at home, leading the life of an independent scientist
(a privileged existence open to a fortunate few in Victorian England).
Money from Robert Darwin made it unnecessary for Charles to seek employment.

After his return from the voyage Darwin knew he would never become a
clergyman like his mentor, Henslow. Nor would he remain a bachelor like his
brother, Erasmus, who was a man-about-town.

After drawing up lists of the benefits and drawbacks of marriage, he
proposed to his first cousin Emma Wedgwood, whom he married on Jan. 29,
1839. She brought fortune, devotion, and considerable housewifely skills
that enabled him to work in peace for the next 40 years.

Newly married, the Darwins moved into a house on Gower Street in London,
but within a few years Darwin's increasingly poor health prompted them to
move to the country. In 1842 the Darwins moved into Down House in the
village of Downe, Kent, only 16 miles from London but remote from easy
access to the city.

Charles and Emma Darwin had 10 children: two died in infancy and a third,
Anne, died at age 10. The surviving five sons went away to school. George,
Francis, and Horace became distinguished scientists, and Leonard, a major
in the royal army, was an engineer and eugenicist.

William Erasmus was undistinguished, as were his sisters, who prepared at
home to follow their mother into marriage. Henrietta married; Elizabeth
remained single at Down.

Darwin was devoted to his wife and daughters but treated them as children,
obliging Emma to ask him for the only key to the drawers containing all the
keys to cupboards and other locked depositories.

Darwin noted in The Descent that the young of both sexes resemble the adult
female in most species and reasoned that males are more evolutionarily
advanced than females.

His attitude toward women coloured his scientific insights. "The female is
less eager than the male," he wrote, "She is coy," and when she takes part
in choosing a mate, she chooses "not the male which is most attractive to
her, but the one which is least distasteful."

...Comfortable in English society, Darwin treasured his place and feared
alienating those who he knew would be offended by his theory. ...

He was a beneficiary of this conservative English society, and his fear of
ostracism was one of the forces that prevented him from publishing his
theory sooner.

He also dreaded the hurt he knew that his ideas would inflict on his close
friend Henslow and especially on Emma, both devout Christians, for whom his
theory was heresy.

The conflict between his science and his realization of what publication
would imply for the society he was so much a part of manifested itself in
physical pain.

The once adventurous young naturalist was a semi-invalid before his 40th year.

Darwin's illness has been the subject of extensive speculation. Some of the
symptoms--painful flatulence, vomiting, insomnia, palpitations--appeared in
force as soon as he began his first transmutation notebook, in 1837.

Although he was exposed to insects in South America and could possibly have
caught Chagas' or some other tropical disease, a careful analysis of the
attacks in the context of his activities points to psychogenic origins.

Throughout the next decades Darwin's maladies waxed and waned. But during
the last decade of his life, when he concentrated on botanical research and
no longer speculated about evolution, he experienced the best health since
his years at Cambridge. ...

Darwin died at Down House on April 19, 1882. ... his work remains central
to modern evolutionary theory.

Excerpted from the Encyclopedia Britannica without permission.

[3] Re: your question: "Why may I ask " : Why would I post quotes that
could only be found in Darwin's notebooks as opposed to what he published
for public consumption?

Two reasons:

[1] Because I know that many people are lazy, think only inside their
comfortable box -- only reading or listening to what certain elites deem
that the vast unwashed should know about. The fact that the insulated
credulous are "shocked", and exhibit disbelief when they are exposed to
anything other than the party line (public consumption propaganda), is
evidence of their sheep-like complacency. They aren't able to decipher
fantasy from reality. Michael Crichton lays out the problem and solution
perfectly here:

[2] And because I'm what Bill Whittle portrays here
< > as a "sheep dog" (hated by both the
wolves AND the sheep and couldn't care less) - which means that he and I
belong to the same "tribe". CAVEAT: Do NOT click on that link if you're
easily offended (You know who you are and you've been warned).

~ Janice
Received on Fri Sep 23 13:16:38 2005

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