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Denigration of Charles Darwin
Scott Anderson

It is one thing to attack a person's ideas on logical grounds. This is perfectly noble, perfectly honorable, and perfectly right.

It is another thing to attack a person's ideas when one's attack has no basis in fact. This is mere foolishness.

It is quite another thing to attack a person so as to try to subvert the person's ideas, and without doing the real work of refuting their arguments. This is not only foolishness, but is also ignoble, dishonorable, and wrong.

This downward spiral I have drawn, going from the height of reason and sense toward a center of illogic, does not continue downward in a predictable fashion. The spiral has a hole in the center, and at the bottom of the central pit is something which I consider to be an exquisite example of the evils of irrationality and, in this particular example, abject faith.

What am I referring to? I refer to the slander of Charles Darwin, a noble man, a man of honor, courage and damn-fine good sense, by those who cannot attack his reason or its inexorable conclusion. Without the ability to defeat his theory, they seek to defile his name and his memory. They wish to mix ad hominem and straw man, thinking that this will, in some way, refute the eminently logical arguments of our honored dead.

Opponents of reason, most notably the creationists, have a long and inglorious record of animosity toward those who have been in the forefront of evolutionary and other rational thought.  In the name and spirit of fundamentalist Christianity, many great and noble men have had their names sullied, so that their thought and reason could be ignored or suppressed. So many of our greatest thinkers have suffered this fate, if they have in any way insulted Christian sensibilities. The names Julian, Voltaire, Hume, Paine, Robert G. Ingersoll, and even Abraham Lincoln, the last two gentlemen being perhaps the greatest Americans who have ever lived, have been attacked after their death by scoundrels and cowards who would not have dared utter such lies and falsehoods when these men lived. They are vultures, gliding overhead enjoying the scent of death, waiting to tear at the flesh when the life is gone.

Since they could not burn them while they still lived, they want to dig them up and burn their coffins. Like some twisted Rumplestiltskin tale, they hope to call the dead names and thus make them go away. Are they so uncertain of the fires of Hell that they feel this necessary? Is faith so unstable as to require lies and falsehoods to buttress it? Apparently so.

I can think of nothing I would rather be able to do than to punish such cowards in some way, but I cannot, for the life of me, figure out any way that such loathsome individuals could be punished. Existing as a person so despicable as to do such things must be punishment enough.

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