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UD’s First “Suck up to Darwin” Contest

Ken Miller continues to tour the U.S. giving his lecture “The Collapse of Intelligent Design.” Moreover, the bicentennial of Darwin’s birth and the sesequicentennial of his ORIGIN OF SPECIES is coming up in 2009. Together these have convinced me it’s best that all of us here at UD hone our skills at sucking up to “The Big D.” Here’s my ode to the man. I encourage others to try their hand at this in the comments of this thread (if I really like what you’ve written, I’ll send you one of my books as a prize):

Dembski’s Entry in the “Suck up to Darwin” Contest

There are rare times and places, in the illustrious history of science, when outbursts of genius supply human civilization with the supreme wonders of human greatness. It is the contemplation of these that raises the mass of humanity to levels not unworthy of what, in less enlightened ages, we would have regarded as the divine image and which we now, rightly, regard as the pinnacle of evolutionary development. Such moments of supreme scientific achievement are to be found in the works of Archimedes, Copernicus, Newton, Maxwell, and Einstein. However, never before–or since–has scientific genius burst in such profusion on the human scene, as in the 19th century when Charles Darwin propounded his theory of evolution and taught the creatures of evolution to understand that they are products of evolution. If an award were to be given for the single best idea anyone ever had, it would go to Darwin, ahead of everyone else. In a single stroke, the idea of evolution by natural selection unifies the realm of life, meaning, and purpose with the realm of space and time, cause and effect, mechanism and physical law. Natural selection is the greatest, simplest, most elegant logical construct ever to dawn across our curiosity about the workings of natural life. It is inarguable, and it explains everything. Every human good that we enjoy today is, directly or indirectly, a legacy from what Charles Darwin wrought and what Richard Dawkins has preserved.

I confess that I’ve adapted the work of Harry Jaffa, Daniel Dennett, and Barbara Kingsolver to compose this panegyric, but it is all in the service of rendering due praise to “The Big D.”

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25 Responses to UD’s First “Suck up to Darwin” Contest

  1. Darwin lived in age of superstition and squalor yet rose above it to lead humanity into sunlight, into the promised land.

    Darwin was abandoned by his mother at the age of three months after the insane King George III ordered the death of all infants named “Charles”, “Chas” or “Chuck”. The King’s daughter saw him floating in a basket amongst the bullrushes, however. His superior persona was obvious even at that age and she adopted him as her own.

    Darwin grew into a comely man of great height and uncommon strength. He was known to be able to carry a full-grown cow upon his shoulders. Many respected accounts have him running a four-minute mile over a century before Roger Bannister. And in boots.

    Still it is the prowness of his mind, not his body for which he is known.

    Science was in a primative and unenlighted state before his birth. There was no telephone, eletric light, or aeroplane.

    There was no motor car. Not a single luxury.

    Darwin’s then theorized that whales might have descended from bears – swimming bears, that is — and all these things became possible.

    The glories of the 20th Century would not have occurred without Charles, Chas, Chuck, Darwin.

    Much has been written about Darwin, and much more will be.

    It can never be enough.

    He was a real man of genius. Charles Darwin, we salute you!

  2. Ken Miller continues to tour the U.S. giving his lecture “The Collapse of Intelligent Design.”

    Seeing as how ID theory, in one form or another, has been around for several thousands years, I wouldn’t give very good odds that it’ll disappear any time soon, especially since evidence in physics, cosmology, and molecular biology continues to mount in ID’s favor.

    I’ll start ruminating on my Darwin tribute.

  3. “As If I Were There”
    To Charles Darwin, the best thinker since the Cambrian explosion. I went to the study to compose but slumbered, much like Coleridge, I think!

    ((I’ll take that book now. I’m not a bit snooty.
    I’ve got a couple, so I’ll choose my own booty.
    My hubris flew into motion,
    I yelled, “Darwin walked on the ocean.”
    Like Dawkins, I am expert on things evoluty!))

    (We gather with highly evolved chairs around us.)

    Your recipe brought us out of the “Age of the Moat”.
    You shoved natural selection down our collective throat.
    Your inventive hand-waving stories,
    Are great new science, Oh glory!
    (Could you hash out some details when we tour the “Beagle-boat?”)

    Is it too much to say that you explain it all?
    You’re better than Newton whose apple by formula falls
    Or Einstein whose dice
    Soon will not play nice.
    Oh Great “D” I salute you, from here to Pall Mall.

    You’ve skipped right on past things — so pedestrian –
    Like method, experiments – you just rephrase the question
    and add time, eternal less one
    And hidden pathways, just for fun.
    Uh, by the way, is that whale a bovine or equestrian?

    Never mind, Sir Charles, ‘tis of no import.
    We’ve all learned of your common, if labored, retort
    Selected by nature makes sense
    Just repeat, wash, and rinse
    Till the spirogyra gives forth a snort.

    (We select the best brandy, naturally.)

    Oh NO! Just as I prepared to toast our l’homme celebre
    Two memeless neurons switched on a last mutant lever!
    I see one special kind
    Where Chuck’s vision is blind
    ((I can no longer succeed in this somber endeavor.))

    Time stood still, I’d lost my friendly tock-ticky
    I float and dream a wicket most sticky
    Both my meter and rhymes
    Are purely designed!
    Darwin could not foresee things limericky!

  4. As we approach 200 years since Darwin’s birth, how can we go about gauging his importance to the world? When looking at the role of individuals in history, it can be easy to forget that history moves dialectically. Ideas are not the result of individuals, but material, historical processes. If Darwin had chosen a different profession in his youth, the idea of Evolution would have still emerged as a great force in the world.

    Does this mean that we shouldn’t honor and revere Darwin? Absolutely not. Material reality chose Darwin to reveal the truth of evolution. By honoring Darwin, we honor the ultimate material reality. Conveniently, Evolution also molded man so that he needed heroes to look up to. Evolution, amazingly, built in a mechanism by which the idea of Evolution can spread. We can honor Darwin by celebrating him and reading his work. In doing so, we fulfill two important Evolutionary needs: the need for a hero and the need for truth about reality. Truth about reality, of course, helps humans advance as a species. Darwin’s work, by undoing the misguided superstitions that evolved for thousands of years, has done more to help us advance as a species than any other man in modern times

  5. Oh Darwin

    (sung to the tune of “Oh Darling” by Paul McCartney as performed by The Beatles)

    Oh! Darwin, please reveal me
    I’ll always need your voice alone
    Reveal me when I am lost
    I’ll always need your voice alone

    Oh! Darwin, if you conceal me
    I’ll never know what I can find
    Reveal me please I beg you
    Don’t ever leave me alone

    When you told me we didn’t need God anymore
    Well you know I nearly broke down and cried
    When you told me I didn’t need God anymore
    Well now I know you’re gonna save me when I die

    Oh! Darwin, if you conceal me
    I’ll never know what life is about
    Reveal me when I beg you
    Don’t ever leave me alone

    When you told me you we didn’t need God anymore
    Well you know I nearly broke down and cried
    When you told me I didn’t need God anymore
    Well now I know you’re gonna save me when I die

    Oh! Darwin, please reveal me
    I’ll always need your voice alone
    Reveal me when I am lost
    I’ll always need your voice alone

  6. Are we allowed to vote? If so, I vote for the last one. I think Dawkins would agree; he is from England which is near Ireland, where we find county Limerick, isn’t that how those hidden pathways work? Sort of like getting from that Type III gizmo to the BF? Two votes for me!!

  7. Late entry:
    In the melody of “B-I-N-G-O”
    [appropriate site[NIH] referecne:
    http://www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lyrics/bingo.htm

    I call it…

    C-H-AR-LEO!

    There was a doctor had some gelatinous protoplasm.

    And Charlie was his name-o.
    C-H-AR-LEO!
    C-H-AR-LEO!
    C-H-AR-LEO!
    And Charlie was his name-o!
    There was a doctor had some gelatinous protoplasm,
    And Charlie his name-o.
    (Clap)-H-AR-LEO!
    (Clap)-H-AR-LEO!
    (Clap)-H-AR-LEO!
    And Charlie was his name-o!

    There was a doctor had some gelatinous protoplasm,
    And Charlie was his name-o.
    (Clap, clap)-AR-LEO!
    (Clap, clap)-AR-LEO!
    (Clap, clap)-AR-LEO!
    And Charlie was his name-o!

    There was a doctor had some gelatinous protoplasm,
    And Charlie was his name-o.
    (Clap, clap, clap)-AR-LEO!
    (Clap, clap, clap)-AR-LEO!
    (Clap, clap, clap)-AR-LEO!
    And Charlie was his name-o!

    There was a doctor had some gelatinous protoplasm,
    And Charlie was his name-o.
    (Clap, clap, clap, clap)-LEO!
    (Clap, clap, clap, clap)-LEO!
    (Clap, clap, clap, clap)-LEO!
    And Charlie was his name-o!

    There was a doctor had some gelatinous protoplasm,
    And Charlie was his name-o.
    (Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap)
    (Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap)
    (Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap)
    And Charlie was his name-o!

    Yay !!!!

  8. ps. The above is best if sung with the site music running in the background:

    http://www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lyrics/bingo.htm

  9. [Off topic]
    Are others here aware of the moves towards a North Americna Union (NAU)? Similar to the European Union(EU) in Europe?

    [The equivalent of the Euro currency may be the Amero.]

    Whose agenda is it?

    Be aware, look it up for yourselves & spread this word.

  10. In the case of human history, seldom does nature allow true genius to express itself as it did in the case of one man, Charles Darwin. This humble man who dedicated his life to science had the courage to see past the superstition and religious dogma of his time and present to the world what has come to be known as “The Theory of Evolution” Darwin first revealed his elegant theory to the world when he published his now famous work, “Origin of Species” Unlike men before him, Darwin had the courage to follow the scientific evidence where it led despite his cherished beliefs in a Creator. Through his laborious work, Darwin revealed how nature could create and develop life without the need for divine intervention. Darwin’s theory has led to breakthroughs in nearly every field of science. It has become an invaluable tool to theoretical physicists and has even been used to develop new theories concerning the natural origin of our Universe. But the far-reaching effect of Darwin’s theory doesn’t stop with science, or with scientists. It has profoundly changed the personal lives of millions outside the scientific community by toppling long held beliefs and philosophies in favor of the shining light of logic and reason. Darwin was more than just a scientific genius – in freeing the minds of so many, he became a liberator as well. Through the bravery of Charles Darwin, our shackles have been thrown off, and we have all been freed.

  11. man that was fun! Long live Darwin!

  12. We are all laughing but in truth we have much to thank for Charles Darwin.

    If not for Darwin it is unlikely that this site would exist.

    If not for Darwin we would never have enjoyed reading “Darwin’s Black Box” or “No Free Lunch”.

    If not for Darwin we would never get to laugh at P.Z. Myers’ ravings.

    If not for Darwin who would have heard of William Dembski or Michael J. Behe other then science nerds?

    If not for Darwin what sort of righteous struggle would we partake in?

    If not for Darwin, let’s face it, we would be bored.

  13. “…Darwin undoubtedly scored a brilliant coup, and it remains a great oeuvre [work] in the history of ideas. With an astounding gift for observation, enormous diligence, and mental prowess, he succeeded in producing one of that history’s most influential works. He could already see in advance that his research would create many areas of endeavor. Today one can truly say that the ‘evolution’ paradigm has become, so to speak, a ‘master key,’ extending itself within many fields of knowledge…”

    Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, October 2005

  14. “Free at last, free at last, free at last”, these are the words originally uttered by the father of modern enlightenment, Charles Darwin, and all those fortunate enough to recognize the profound importance of his revelation of the origins of man. Yes, without his remarkable insight into the now undeniable and inarguable truth of the singular evolutionary nature of life, and its inevitable manifestation of humanity, everyone would still be subject to the mental slavery from the dark ignorance of theistic and deistic dogmas.

    Is there any honor too high, or praise unworthy, for such a one who has laid bare the indisputable reality that we are all (gratefully) animals, of such a high evolutionary order as to be blessed, albeit metaphorically, with the self awareness of our own nature, free from any responsibility for our own condition. What a wonder of revelation to be unencumbered with any accountability for behaviors that, while once mistakenly believed to be self directed, can now be seen in their true light of being just another evolutionary process that, by the vary laws of physics, were destined to have occurred.

    Thank you Charles Darwin, for never again shall I, nor mankind at large, be troubled with responsibility over past actions, or concern for what next we may conceive. For truly, the experiential reality of reductionism, is a gift the world will be forever indebted.

  15. Perhaps I need to send the good Cardinal one of my books.

  16. Isn’t this the same Cardinal Schonborn who has been promoting ID within the Catholic church?

  17. Charles Darwin, how can words even begin to describe a man of such genius. Perhaps, the best way, is to quote the man himself.

    “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose. [...]the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker…” No, wait, that was Richard Dawkins. Let’s try again. “The process of natural selection feeds on randomness, it feeds on accident and contingency, and it gradually improves the fit between whatever organisms there are and the environment in which they’re being selected. But there’s no predictability about what particular accidents are going to be exploited in this process.” Again, that’s Daniel Dennett, not Darwin.

    Maybe a different approach would suffice. Who comes to mind when you think of Biology? Francis Crick and James Watson, discoverers of the DNA helix. No, try again. How about, Jacob, Lwoff, and Monod for their discoveries of the genetic control of enzyme and virus synthesis. No… The answer we were supposed to be arriving at was Charles Darwin.

    Well, then, what can be said about Charles Darwin. He did write a couple important books, Origin of Species and the Descent of Man. He did make an amazing trip on a boat called the Beagle and came up with the so called brilliant theory of evolution. Maybe Theodosius Dobzhansky said it best “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution”……

  18. Friends, Darwinists, Materialists, lend me your ears;
    I come to bury Darwin, not to praise him;
    The evil that men do lives after them,
    The good is oft interréd with their bones,
    So let it be with Darwin…. The noble Dembski
    Hath told you Darwin was mistaken:
    If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
    And grievously hath Darwin and all civilization answered it….
    Here, under leave of Dembski and Uncommon Descent,
    (For Dembski is an honourable man;
    So are they all; all honourable men, and a woman)
    Come I to speak on Darwins’s anniversary….
    He was my icon, brilliant and insightful to me:
    But Dembski says he was mistaken;
    And Dembski is an honourable man….
    He hath brought many captives home to materialism,
    Whose vitas did the public school system fill:
    Did this in Darwin seem mistaken?
    When that the poor have cried, Darwin answered with survival of the fittest:
    Error should be made of less creative stuff:
    Yet Dembski says he was mistaken;
    And Dembski is an honourable man.
    You all did see that on the Lupercal
    Dawkins thrice presented him a scholarly crown,
    And thrice did Dennet, also: was this mistaken?
    Yet Dembski says he was mistaken;
    And, sure, he is an honourable man.
    I speak not to disprove what Dembski spoke,
    But here I am to speak what I do know.
    You all did love him once, for Panda’s cause:
    What cause withholds you then to celebrate him?
    O judgement! thou art fled to creationists in cheap tuxedos,
    And men have lost their reason…. Bear with me;
    My heart is in the coffin there with Darwin,
    And I must pause till it come back to me.

  19. Listen my child and I shall tell you
    Of the Prophet and His mighty works

    The story begins eons ago,
    Indeed in the very beginning

    For in the beginning were the particles
    And, lo, the particles were in motion

    Eons passed
    Galaxies formed
    stars were born; burned for billions of years and died

    And in all this time, the particles knew naught
    Of themselves or anything else
    There was no knowing, my child, for what can particles in motion know?

    But slowly, ever so slowly, some of the burned out star stuff
    Began to coalesce around a core and form a small planet

    Further eons passed and still there was nothing but particles in motion
    That knew nothing, for what can particles in motion know?

    But then one day, in a warm pond on this little planet
    Some of the particles received a surge of energy and
    Formed self-replicating groups of bio particles

    But still, the particles knew nothing; for what can particles in motion know?

    Further eons passed.

    And then, oh day of days, came a descendant
    Of that first group of self replicating bio particles from that warm pond
    And he looked to the heavens and declared “I know.”

    This great and glorious amalgamation of bio particles we call the Prophet
    Others call him Darwin.

    But alas, Darwin did not really know, as he himself recognized
    For what can particles in motion know?

    I would call you “best beloved” but we know
    That love is not real; it is just a chemical reaction in our brain.

    So, I shall say, “one who is the object of
    The illusory but nevertheless pleasurable chemical reaction in my brain
    That I choose (alas, another illusion) to call love”
    That is how we came to know that we do not know
    For what can particles in motion know?

  20. BarryA wrote:
    “But then one day, in a warm pond on this little planet
    Some of the particles received a surge of energy and
    Formed self-replicating groups of bio particles”

    LOL! Although, scary because this is pretty much verbatim what “they” believe and expect everyone else to believe.

  21. Charles Darwin was a genius at discovering the self-evident, an intellectual giant whose labors finally uncovered the truth of that which no sane and intelligent person doubts. He steeped himself in a tub of natural selection, finally bursting forth with a cry of, “Eureka! Science is methodologically naturalistic, therefore we all evolved from a single microbe!”

  22. I feel the attempts at humour will be lost, at it will be impossible to distinguish genuine admiration from parody.

  23. 23

    Lord Rutherford’s remark that “all science is either physics or stamp collecting” gave biologists an inferiority complex. Charles Darwin has earned biologists’ everlasting gratitude by restoring their self-esteem by giving biology something that physics does not have, a grand overarching fundamental unifying “theory of everything,” Darwinism. Darwin also made it possible for Richard Dawkins to feel like an “intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

    Darwin has properly been declared to be a latter-day saint and his day, Darwin Day, is celebrated annually around the world.

    Darwin is by far the greatest British scientist who was not given the title “Lord” or “Sir.” However, this slight has been corrected by putting his image on British paper money — just like golfer Jack Nicklaus.

  24. bFast (16): “Isn’t this the same Cardinal Schonborn who has been promoting ID within the Catholic church?”

    To see the context of the quote, see the full text of the lecture: http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p91.htm

    (which happens to be PhilVaz’s website).

    For a summary and clarification of Schönborn’s views, see http://www.cardinalschonborn.c.....dec05.html

  25. J, thanks for the links.

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