SOCIOLOGICAL: Evolution vs. Creationism
The New Euphemisms: Fooling Only The Fools Themselves
"Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity - and I'm not sure about the universe." - Albert Einstein.

The first time I heard the words "intelligent design," I thought it was a euphemism - however misapplied - for Evolution.

But it has nothing to do with Evolution. And it has nothing to do with intelligence.

"Intelligent design" is merely a re-rendering of the term "Creationism" to keep apace with the changing aspect of public sophistication. The mightier-than-thou Creationists (Intelligent Designists / Religionists / Creation Scientists - call them what you will, but read as "Fundamentalist Christians") fawn to the very Method which they belittle - the Scientific Method (which retains its forward momentum by questioning and rejuvenating its precepts to keep abreast of modernaires, albeit more logically than Creationists.). Are the Creationists as obtuse as we'd like to think they are, or do they simply refuse to acknowledge that the New Terminology (obviously an attempt at diminishing the fanatical-sounding "religious" element) in no way reconciles faith-driven religiosity with verifiable science? "Creationism" is (or was, until the New Marketing paradigm) a belief system holding that everything in the universe was created by divine fiat. "Intelligent Design" now minutely augments that stance by specifying that the creator of the universe was "an intelligent being." (That oughta hold them Scientist Fellas for awhile…)

But no one's fooling anyone…

While I was writing this article, I had to question why I was writing it at all. How can anything thought-provoking possibly be said about an issue which has been open like a suppurating wound since Charles Darwin published the touchstone for Evolutionary precepts The Origin of Species in 1859? And how can there be intelligent debate between a discipline which exalts a dynamic process of postulation, experiment, discovery and self-correction, and a close-minded faction who petulantly claims a proprietary stance simply because their invisible leader in the sky says so?

In 2004, eight of twenty-five appointees to a Kansas state education board proposed revisions to their science curriculum, "to make clear that Evolution is a theory and not a fact" (which is true - but a rigorously defined theory, with incontrovertible evidence to support it, as opposed to a divine ordinance that fishes and birds magically "appeared" on the planet) and, amongst other proposals against Evolution, had the gall to maintain "that scientific knowledge can be used for good and evil" (also absolutely correct - and the Spanish Inquisition was a beneficent adjunct of the Roman Catholic Church, whose peaceful methods of suppressing heresy and converting Muslims and Jews to Christianity included iron maidens and hot pokers through eye sockets and rectums). Though the final fizzle of this debate seemed to be the Supreme Court's 1987 decision, voiding the last remaining Louisiana Creationist statute (calling it "a sham designed to make public schools espouse religion, in violation of America's separation of church and state"), instances like Kansas - which has blossomed to the courtroom stage - are a sordid indication that Creationism is once again rearing its tentacles of misapplied inculcation.

The fact that this spurious topic has gained credence at all comes as no surprise in a United States that is fast becoming deficient in common sense and clear thinking, with the overwhelming rash of frivolous lawsuits not even regarded as frivolous anymore, a dying Terry Schiavo suddenly very lively political meat, a felon fiancé cutely euphemized as a "runaway bride," Paris Hilton role-modeling for 14-year-old latent streetwalkers, George Lucas lauded as a film-making genius, and a war with Iraq that no one can find any legitimate reason behind.

Add Creationism to that list and it looks almost sane next to a Governator or a Wacko Jacko.

We find ourselves once again girding our loins in the manner of lawyer Clarence Darrow at the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925, whose "purpose of preventing bigots and ignoramuses from controlling the education system in the United States" (his words to prosecutor William Jennings Bryan) is as imperative now as it was then, in this seemingly stalemated duel between Good and Evil - Science versus Religion.

A mile-high fence separates Science and Religion - and no one gets across; not even those scientists who profess a belief in a god, nor those priests who embrace Evolution. (My guess is that those scientists need to retain their funding and the priests use Evolution as yet another facet to laud their god's powers, not really grasping that this biological process negates the need for a god's powers.) In an ironic simulacrum of the Evolutionary (phylogenetic) "tree of life," humans are born to either side of that fence and, like organisms which diverged at the genus level, they have grown too far apart genetically to be compatible and cannot mate to produce a conciliatory offspring which would unite the branches once more. We're all gonna die on our respective sides of the fence, screaming and posturing through the gaps in the paling.

Thus, for the edification of only those intelligentsia sharing my greener grass on this side of the unbreachable bulwark, this is my contribution - however insubstantial when weighed against overwhelming historical canon - to the cause for Science, Evolution and Free Thinking; a cause which calls for redesigning Intelligence.





Read The Dunmore's abridged version of this article, with up-to-date developments in Kansas and Dover:

"Education Takes A Hit And Myth."



Albert Einstein

(1879-1955)
Time Magazine's "Man of the Century" and popularizer of the just-got-outa-bed 'do.



Charles Darwin

(1809-1882)
His mind scared adults and his face scared small children.








NOBODY
expects The Spanish Inquisition!...


 

 

 

 

 

 

 














 

Education Takes a Hit and Myth
"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal, philosopher, mathematician.

In a society which has conquered gonorrhea, split the atom, identified deoxyribonucleic acid, touched the Moon, gleaned the wonders of galaxies in collision, and deployed mechanical envoys that have attained the termination shock of our solar system, President George W. Bush, in his now customary quasi-conscious state of constant befuddlement (who cannot seem to assimilate the simple English passage in the American Constitution regarding "separation of church and state"), opined that Intelligent Design should be taught in schools (in his quest to rewrite prehistory in his own simplistic, dogmatic colloquialism) and fundamentalists (spearheaded by the incomparably misnomered "religious right"), having steadily gained power since the morbid election of this jejune President, have blighted the school systems in dozens of U.S. states by rallying behind this Neanderthal suggestion.

While dozens of states actually consider including Intelligent Design in their curricula as an alternative to Evolution, Jack O' Connell, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction was forced to make a statement in September 2005, decrying this idiocy: "I'd fight tooth and nail to protect our high academic standards and to ensure sound science is protected in our classrooms."

Meanwhile, Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, cites "academic honesty" (!) as his reasons for including Intelligent Design in school curriculums: "To keep it out is anti-education. You can't just tell children that they come from monkeys and to forget all about any other theory for how life began."

Of course, the bathos and irony in the C-student Bush espousing on "education" and "exposing people to different ideas" should probably be scripted into new episodes of That's My Bush (the irreverent 2001 sitcom spoof of the Presidency, axed post-9/11 for obvious reasons), not only for the hilarity of one of the most ignorant of Presidents espousing these ideals, but for the fact that those ideals are belied by Bush's actual education funding cutbacks (whilst paying lip service to his administration's hypocritical No Child Left Behind Act).

Creationists - the majority being unlearned and unwilling-to-learn Christians (Hi, Dubya!) - insist on promulgating only their version of "creation theory" - the creation myth extolled in the King James Version of the Bible. The more reasonable and learned of the Intelligent-Designists lucidly and smarmily advocate that the Bible need not be taken literally (acceding to grudging admissions that "creation" may have taken millions of years rather than 6 days, and that maybe some of the tall tales were "metaphorical"), yet they freak their reasoning and educated scientific rebuttals with the superstitious rationale intrinsic in a belief of divine intervention in the first place! It is astounding to think that adults who understand the biology behind sexual intercourse can believe that a snake spoke to a naked lady in a garden somewhere in Iraq in 4000 BC. The fact that most Christians are unaware that the snake actually walked on all fours whilst he was tempting their great-great-great-great-great grandmother is just one indication that they are too incognizant of their own handbook to even be considered as equals in an intellectual mêlée which is foundationed on absorbing and corroborating almost insurmountable reams of factual data. (Genesis 3:14: "Because you have done this, you are cursed above all beasts, and above every animal of the field. You shall go on your belly…" which infers that, up to that point, the walking, talking snake must have originally resembled an animal somewhat like Scooby Doo.)

A.J. Duffy, President of United Teachers Los Angeles laments, "the ultra conservative religious right… feel they can rewrite all the facts of Evolution and complete their agenda of having Creationism taught along with Evolution."

And this is where Creationists shoot themselves in the foot.

Whilst whining for their version of Creation to be instigated as curriculum, Creationists studiously ignore the blunt fact that the Creation Myth - as a cultural phenomenon - has been around since long before that coterie of duplicitous priests and drunken yahoos colluded in penning the Bible to generate status and bloodied wealth for themselves. Which means, even before those accredited authors (prophet Isaiah, priest Ezra, tax collector Matthew, shepherd Moses, deity God, et al) or the Septuagint Greek translation from Jewish scripture, or the 5th century Latin Vulgate translation from Hebrew to Latin, or any of a thousand translation permutations or "original" Dead Sea Scrolls documents, creation tales and (by association) every single fable related in the current King James Compendium of Fairy Tales can be discerned in ancient texts (from Egyptian, Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian sources), which pre-date even rudimentary versions of the Bible by millennia. (Every ancient culture had its Great Flood, its virgin birth, its crucified savior…)

So if, as the Creationists claim, their true concern lies in rendering "equal time" for other theories of Humankind's origins, why not grant - or, as is their wont, irrationally force and politically badger - Equal Time for the tales of the Quiché Mayan Popol Vuh, or the P'an-Ku cosmic egg, or the Egyptian Atum - and while we're being so munificent, why the hell not throw into the mélange the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? All but the last have been venerated since before the Bible was a glint in some nullifidian priest's eye - and, to use the Creationist's primo argument against them - who is to say that the Flying Spaghetti Monster did not will it that way?



Blaise Pascal

(1623-1662)
The French Michael Bolton - with brains.



The case
for
Reverse Evolution.


 

 

 



The most ironic cut of all: from That's My Bush! to DC 9/11: Time of Crisis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

 


A rare sighting
of the Flying Spaghetti Monster... believe!




MOVIE REVIEW
We know what you like!
Want more Bush-Bashing?

Fahrenheit 9/11

(2004)
Review by Poffy The Cucumber.

Rousseau Says "Unlearn", Creationists Say "Okay!"
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." - Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols.

The irony which these New Inquisitionists seem to miss is that in lobbying for ostensibly more education, in a system which is so understaffed and insufficiently funded that it is currently pimping children into the American population with already-questionable education levels, the groundless Creationism agenda will actually serve to make children less educated. Because Creationism is a "belief system." It is not a testable theory, nor is it based on any factual analyses. Any old poop can be espoused within the context of this unprovable and smugly unverified idiom. How could any school teach that humans are biologically generated via sexual pairing of gametes (whilst providing all the necessary biological evidence to corroborate the fact) and in the next breath, sanctimoniously intone that a human can be brought forth from dust (proof being a verse in a book supposedly authored by an invisible guy who created humans as nudists, until they disobeyed him)?

Lunacy! Educational retardation, lauded to new heights!

Ultimately, it is a symptom of the current low standard of education that the Intelligent Design furor is in debate at all. Eschewing any kind of politically-correct waffling, would a truly "educated" society spawn such bovine, antagonistic, hypocritical, irrational thugs as Creationists? Intelligent Design is a euphemism all right - for Ku Klux Klan close-mindedness, block-headed McCarthyism, Inquisition-style psychological brutality, Machiavellian unscrupulousness and pedestrian medievalism.

(At about this point during one of my hot-winded tirades, sitting around a loud table at a cheap restaurant, someone usually pipes up: "No, but tell us what you really think…")

Creationists doggedly refuse to apprehend what the term "Scientific Method" connotes: Science never claims absolute truths, but a constant testing of plastic theories; "provisional truth," as it were. Discounting the few individuals in the science community who muddle the Method for personal or political gain, the Scientific Ideal welcomes dissent and double-checking of experiments, in the name of acquiring verification of postulations. Wrong theories are amended or simply discarded; new data is constantly replacing old, adding to the collective knowledge of humankind. Whereas, with religious dogma, intellectual inquiry is actually frowned upon, because it unveils how flimsy, ignorant, contradictory and unholy Holy Writ is. (Let me amend that to "true" intellectual inquiry - inundation with specious "studies" of the Bible performed by biased Fundamentalists "imbued with the Holy Spirit" is no basis for ratification of the Bible's veracity.) Religionists claim they "search for Truth," yet in their mulish resistance to any elements which may tilt their blind faith, they move not one jot forward in the quest for real "truth" - whatever that may be.

The Religionists' greatest shortcoming is that, though they lack a prescribed Method or System to back up their pontificating and proselytizing, they refuse to establish or set up a credible Method by which to qualify their outrageous dogma. In The Beginning, their "Intelligent Designer" created an aesthetic predicated on vacant air and unfulfilled promises, circular reasoning and petulant posturing. And lo, it remains so to this day.

Science - through its errors - advances. Religion - through its faith - stagnates.


Jean-Jacques Rousseau
(1712-1778)
"We must learn to unlearn."
The 1700s Bill Maher.


Friedrich Nietzsche

(1844-1900)
"Christianity is Mankind's greatest misfortune."
Nihilist, misogynist, egotist - my kinda guy!



Block-headed McCarthyism.






Scientific Method
in action.



Scientific Method INACTION.

The non-reverend Jerry Falwell and Dead President Ronald Reagan snigger over fooling some of the people all of the time...



Media Is Truth; Truth, Media: The Gospel According to Man The Writer
"When you believe in things that you don't understand / Then you suffer / Superstition ain't the way…" - Stevie Wonder, Superstition

To the Religionists, "faith" means adhering to their gospel, and the gospel - so they tell us - is unequivocally true! That's why it's called The Gospel. Well… not exactly…

Applying our vaunted Scientific Method to the word "gospel," we discover - quite easily, as the case may be, in this internet age - that "gospel" comes from the Greek evangelion (reward for bringing good news), by way of Latin bona adnuntiatio (having the same meaning as the Greek translation), by way of Old English godspel (meaning simply "good talk/ story/ message/ news").

All well and good - but what this means is that the word "gospel" did not arrive on Earth through divine bequeathal. It is simply a bastardization of previous concepts (no derogation intended, as every single word of ours is etymologically linked with ancient civilizations). And if "gospel" is not divine, it is merely a word popularized by simple peoples who regarded the main, vain apostles' writings (Mathew, Mark, Luke and John), as "good messages," not necessarily "truth." Yet it was not enough for "gospel" to over-arch merely the King James Bible; it has transcended into the vernacular, and insinuated itself into all religions, as a word tantamount to infallible truth - when all it is really referencing is an anthology of philosophies articulated and documented by fallible humans!

What is "Gospel" truly then? Mantra, verse, fable and philosophy all penned by primitive authors who boasted the same brainpower and biases and diseases and desires of every other human; the same irrational fear of the unknown and the same tilting at knowledge - yet, who had not the benefit of thousands of years of collective education and technological advancement, making their irrational fears all the more tangible and their knowledge all the more questionable. Thus was it written. Thus did it come to us - not from "The Man," but from "Some Guy."

"Gospel" is another all-too-human aspect misrepresented as divine.

 











What would a treatise on Evolution be without the perfunctory dinosaur picture?









"Hmm, I'll need a whore and some murders to keep the Second Act snappy..."


Evolution Mistrial: The Search For Intelligent Life On Earth
He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind; And the foolish shall be servant to the wise of heart. - Proverbs 11:29

Casting an historical perspective on this beast, 1925's watershed Scopes Monkey Trial undoubtedly brought the Great Debate of Science Versus Religion vis a vis Evolution Versus Creation into sharper focus in the public domain. In an attempt to test the limits of the newly-instated, controversial Butler Act (March 1925, "…prohibiting the teaching of the Evolution Theory in all the Universities, Normals and all other public schools of Tennessee…and to provide penalties for the violations thereof…"), the American Civil Liberties Union proposed a "willing scapegoat" to undergo prosecution. Young Dayton, Tennessee schoolteacher John T. Scopes volunteered for the task and was duly arrested for his Evolutionary biology lessons.

To represent Scopes, renowned agnostic and civil libertarian, Clarence Darrow, stepped out of semi-retirement, not least because the prosecuting attorney was three-time presidential candidate and Fundamentalist demagogue, William Jennings Bryan. Though Scopes lost the case (after the now legendary battle of wills between Darrow and Bryan), the trial's precedent paved the way for like-minded dissenters of statute stupidity. Not only were individuals speaking out and winning against the anti-Evolution statutes (Gary L. Scott against Tennessee in 1967, Susan Epperson against Arkansas in 1968), courts in every state and at every level gradually flensed anti-Evolution laws from the legislature.

Based on the fracas of the Scopes Trial, Stanley Kramer's 1960 film, Inherit The Wind (inspired by Jerome Lawrence's and Robert E. Lee's 1955 play of the same name), though clearly on the side of the Evolutionists (by exaggerating the portrayal of Creationists as blathering, Bible-bent fanatics), does not provide a definitive clarification of Evolution per se. By 1960, a century after publication of The Origin Of Species, the word "Evolution" had come to represent intellectualism, rather than being understood as the world-girdling bio-environmental process that it actually is (involving, amongst other factors, genetics and mutation, predator-to-prey ratios, natural selection, birthing strategies and environmental paradigms).

And, though I am loathe to admit it, by their inaction, this is where the Evolutionists shoot themselves in the foot.

Too much misinformed media has been allowed to filter into the public domain by biologists, paleontologists and their ilk, the greatest misconception about Evolution being the saw that "man evolved from apes." He did not, but rather from an "ape-like" creature, which was a markedly different animal from the feces-flinging Pan troglodytes abounding in our modern zoos. Ridding the media of the false impression that we are overdeveloped chimpanzees will work greatly towards diminishing the rancor that elitist Religionists direct towards the concept of Evolution. Randy Thomasson (above), no doubt an intelligent enough human when not being questioned about imaginary fluff like angels and miracles, asserts that children are being taught that they "come from monkeys" - a patently untrue statement (if one is truly speaking of Evolutionary study) which has been erroneously disseminated via reputable media sources, The Daily News and many online sites. But - there it is. And not even a wrist-slap in retribution.

Secondly, the process of Evolution has been allowed to become too compressed, too simplistic. An example of this abbreviated thinking, from Inherit The Wind, shows a schoolboy testifying as to what he believes Evolution is, blathering as simplistically as the Biblers, stating that "the earth was too hot for any kind of life, then it cooled off a mite and cells 'n things began to grow…little bugs in the water; then the little bugs got to be bigger bugs, 'n sprouted legs and crawled up on the land…" If this is the extent to which Evolution is perceived by the Great Unwashed, it is no wonder that the Creationists object so vehemently to its being taught. Even the simplest formal explanation of Evolution is not attempted during the movie (with "experts" being denied their testimony), so one grasps no deeper concept than the ramblings of that schoolboy. Hoping for viewers' a priori knowledge is folly on the film-makers' part, as the finished film is all the legacy that Evolution has to wield in the end. And that hick schoolboy more than likely set back the struggle a few decades.

The Origin Of Species is a hard slog for modern readers, versed as we are with the practice of having everything précised for us by the media and pop literature; being the seminal expository work that it was, Origin is more a cornerstone curiosity, rather than a fully-developed thesis. Perusing the works of modern scientists who have built cogently upon the ramifications of Darwin's theorems is arguably more enlightening. Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, sociobiologist E.O. Wilson, or Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, all popularizers of Evolutionary esoterica (analogous to the late, legendary Carl Sagan's popularization of astronomy and physics), would equip the layperson with a more than cursory grasp of Evolution's tenets. (Note that all these great thinkers actually harbor opposing viewpoints on the intricacies of Evolution, so a broad scope of the topic will be gleaned by reading selections from all three.)

Enjoy. There will be an exam.





 


Darrow and Bryan

(Scopes Trial 1925)
The original Statler & Waldorf?


Clarence Darrow

(1857-1938)
The Last Cool Lawyer...


William Jennings Bryan

(1860-1925)
- almost John Cleese.




MOVIE REVIEW
by Poffy The Cucumber.

Inherit The Wind

(1960)





Stephen Jay Gould

(1941-2002)
with perfunctory dino.


Edward Osborn Wilson

(1949- )
with perfunctory biological specimen.


Richard Dawkins

(1941- )
with perfunctory bino.

Carl Sagan
(1934-1996)
with uncharacteristic collar.



The Big Bang and The Big Banging: Science versus Sexology.
"Objectivity cannot be equated with mental blankness; rather, objectivity resides in recognizing your preferences and then subjecting them to especially harsh scrutiny - and also in a willingness to revise or abandon your theories when the tests fail (as they usually do)." - Stephen Jay Gould, paleontologist.

The Big Bang is Creation. Yet its existence infuriates Creationists, who prove too lazy to apprise themselves of the basic physics precepts that systematizes human understanding of the universe's origin. (Much easier to grasp "Let there be light.") Astronomers and physicists arrived at the Big Bang concept not through mindless assumption, rhetoric or prayer, but by observing that every visible galaxy is speeding away from the earth at an exponential rate (known as the Hubble Constant) and by monitoring the decay rate of the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation (with which the universe is aglow, a remnant of some vastly energetic epoch). In assessing the speeds and decay rates of these two aspects, and working backwards from these calculations, it is inevitable to arrive at a point in space and time when all matter was compressed into a "singularity," and all radiation/energy was latent. That point - the Big Bang - was approximately 13 to 15 billion years ago. It was not an "explosion," but an "expansion" - which is still expanding, at an incomprehensible rate - creating the Universe which we perceive around us.

Though there are obvious gaps in the logic (such as where the "singularity" came from in the first place) the Scientific Method gives us a bedrock upon which to base further discoveries - to either extend on the theory or discard it. Most humans - not just Religionists - have a problem with this more reasonable version of a "creation theory" due to the fact that finite minds (existing on a time-scale of decades) cannot comprehend a time before there was "measurable" time, or a space where "space" itself did not exist. In sooth, we ultimately end up placing "faith" in science to psychologically gain a handle on unimaginable concepts - but that "faith" was arrived at by applying a methodology that is unquestionably objective and responsive to improvement. Social critic, H.L. Mencken (1880-1956), waxing Sagan-esque, noted that "To argue that gaps in knowledge which will confront the seeker must be filled, not by patient inquiry, but by intuition or revelation, is simply to give ignorance a gratuitous and preposterous dignity."

Long before Big Bang theory, Creationist maven Bishop James Ussher, of Ireland, working backwards through ancient calendars and the Bible, and calculating solar and lunar cycles, as well as ages of biblical characters and their "begatting," popularized what was believed to be a credible age of the earth - in essence, he arrived at the date of Creation (Sunday 23 October, 4004 BC) by the amount of Big Banging that a considerable amount of biblical verses are occupied with. We applaud him for utilizing Scientific Method - even if his "facts" were obtained from a great deal of "surmising" or originated with a human-penned tome with no verification and outrageously long life-spans (Adam lived to 900, Noah to 950!). His ultimate failing was not that his conclusions were wrong, but that he then reneged on further objective methodology and closed his mind to any testing of his conclusions - as did the people of his day - thenceforward basing his postulations on "faith" for eternity.

I cite the above examples of arriving at differing answers to the same question, to illustrate that there is nothing wrong whatsoever in arriving at inexplicable "facts" or false answers; the key to understanding is to be unafraid to pose more questions. And to have the fortitude to follow where the answers lead…

To simply stop inquiring is to atrophy that super-computer in our heads that has attained a level of consciousness supposedly greater than that of other contemporary species extant today - and the last thing anyone wants is to be compared to an ape











Edwin Hubble, astronomer

(1889-1953)
- doing his Richard Burton.



Arno Penzias (1933- ) and Robert Wilson (1936- ),

discoverers of the CMB, Reservoir Dogging it.





















Bishop James Ussher
(1581-1656)
Putting the Sex back in the Bible.









The First Confrontation, The Final Word
"The World is my Fatherland, Science is my Religion" - Christiaan Huygens, mathematician, physicist.

In the above article, we've scuttled back and forth through time, from 1925's kangaroo monkey court, to 1960's sincere-yet-imperfect film; from Bishop Ussher's 1600s backward-thinking to Kansas's 2004 backpedaling; from modern heroes (Carl Sagan) to modern deities (the Flying Spaghetti Monster); from the origins of our Universe (the Big Bang), to the very mouth of madness (George Bush)…

We end our journey (stop that cheering in back!) at the exact point when Evolution was loosed out the gate to smash headlong into Creationist dogma: the 1860 meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, in Oxford. The Origin Of Species had been published just a few months prior… the funk of insurrection fogging the genteel air…

Demoted to merely one branch on a hairy-backed tree, London intelligentsia and Victorian high-society railed zealously against Darwin's humbling implications. It was unthinkable that a "gentleman's" genealogy be sullied by linkage to "lower" animals. (Queen Victoria's England was instrumental in imbuing Evolution with a fallacious facility: that of "conscious" molder of destiny. Evolution is amoral and non-directional, yet, in order to abide the theory at all, British nobility ultimately placed Mankind in the proprietary position on the Tree Of Life - as an organism that Evolution was somehow striving towards producing. This was to become yet another bane to Evolutionists who not only had to contend with Creationists and their ilk, but were required to deny their own supporters their anthropocentric views.)

It was in this stiff-collared, stuffed-shirt mise-en-scène of raised pinkies and appropriate luncheon aperitifs that a young Thomas Henry Huxley (who would later become known as "Darwin's Bulldog") would take to task the imposing Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, who broadcast disdainfully his intentions to "smash Darwin's theories" at that meeting.

At this first public airing of Evolution's laundry, Bishop Wilberforce did indeed savagely lambaste Darwin, Huxley and the theories espoused in Origin, concluding his diatribe (so the Legend goes) by turning to Huxley and inquiring as to whether it was through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed descent from an ape.

Now, as innocently amusing as this may sound in the year of our Intelligent Lord 2005, one must remember that these were truly "Victorian" times (the actual Queen Victoria had been enthroned for 23 years at that juncture) and public etiquette was a notion more dear to an Englishman's heart than public flaunting of her pornographic, wastrel life could ever be to Paris Hilton. Variants of the tale and the quote abound, another version hitting closer to the heart of Wilberforce's gaffe: "If anyone were to be willing to trace his descent through an ape to his grandfather, would he be willing to trace his descent similarly on the side of his grandmother?" It was the 1800's version of, "Your mama!"

Wilberforce had unwittingly overstepped protocol and impugned not only his good standing as a "gentleman," but degraded women and stooped to "unscientific" barbs, which removed him from the pedestal of intellectualism he had set himself upon.

And even though Huxley's respondent speech, from reputable accounts, was nothing spectacular, he goes down in history as "winning the day," for with a stoic rebuttal of Wilberforce's points and a simple rejoinder, it was his manner in making the Bishop realize his faux pas, more than a Hollywood music-swell and crowd-goes-wild scene, that launched Huxley into history. The power of his closing statement is Legend, not merely for its adroitness, but more so because it hammered home the fact that his opponent had forgotten to behave like a gentleman! And it echoes judiciously the Evolutionist's stance to this day:

Compositing the numerous variants of the tale, we cautiously paraphrase Huxley's alleged reply, "I would rather have for my grandfather an honest ape low in the scale of being, than a man of exalted intellect and high attainments who used his power to pervert the truth."

As we machete through the tangle of Bush and Creationist obfuscation (men of high attainments who have used their power to pervert truth and impede higher learning), as we brace the yoke of Ignorance and stumble through the minefield of Irrationality, we marvel at the fact that 150 years after Huxley made his portentous remark, it retains the caustic bite of razor-wire on flesh - for its unequivocal intelligent design.


END


Christiaan Huygens

(1629-1695)
Golden Boy of Carl Sagan's Cosmos.














Darwin-as-ape: for its time, more sordid than a Heidi Fleiss scandal.





Thomas Henry Huxley

(1825-1895)
Kickin' it OLD Old School.


Samuel Wilberforce

(1805-1873)
His freestylin' got him dissed.



















Copy Editor:
Damon Pipitone




Word Count: 5,000
Added: Oct 2005