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* DACEY, Austin

* DARWIN, Charles

* Darwin's Dangerous Idea ; DENNETT, Daniel Clement

* DAWKINS, Richard

* deism

* DENNETT, Daniel Clement


* The Descent of Man ; DARWIN, Charles

* DIAMOND, Jared

* Doubt, a History ; HECHT, Jennifer Michael

* DACEY, Austin


The Secular Conscience

* DARWIN, Charles, 1809-1882


The Descent of Man

The Origin of Species

Darwin the Anti-racist

Darwin is probably the most important anti-racist thinker of all time, because his theory of common descent destroyed the idea—widespread during his lifetime—that different human races were created highly separate and distinct. See the following articles:

* Darwin's Dangerous Idea
Evolution and the Meanings of Life
DENNETT, Daniel Clement
Keywords: evolution philosophy religion
Touchstone, Simon and Schuster, New York
ISBN: 0-684-80290-2, 0-684-82471-X (Pbk)

A few excerpts:

"Almost no one is indifferent to Darwin, and no one should be. The Darwinian theory is a scientific theory, and a great one, but that is not all it is. The creationists who oppose it so bitterly are right about one thing: Darwin's dangerous idea cuts much deeper into the fabric of our most fundamental beliefs than many of its sophisticated apologists have yet admitted, even to themselves."

p. 18

"The fundamental core of contemporary Darwinism, the theory of DNA-based reproduction and evolution, is now beyond dispute among scientists. It demonstrates its power every day, contributing crucially to the explanation of planet-sized facts of geology and meteorology, through middle-sized facts of ecology and agronomy, down to the latest microscopic facts of genetic engineering. It unifies all of biology and the history of our planet into a single grand story. Like Gulliver tied down in Lilliput, it is unbudgeable, not because of some one or two huge chains of argument that might—hope against hope—have weak links in them, but because it is securely tied by hundreds of thousands of threads of evidence anchoring it to virtually every other area of human knowledge. New discoveries may conceivably lead to dramatic, even 'revolutionary' shifts in the Darwinian theory, but the hope that it will be 'refuted' by some shattering breakthrough is about as reasonable as the hope that we will return to a geocentric vision and discard Copernicus."

p. 20

"But there is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination.
The Darwinian Revolution is both a scientific and a philosophical revolution, and neither revolution could have occurred without the other. As we shall see, it was the philosophical prejudices of the scientists, more than their lack of scientific evidence, that prevented them from seeing how the theory could actually work,..."

p. 21

"To put it bluntly but fairly, anyone today who doubts that the variety of life on this planet was produced by a process of evolution is simply ignorant—inexcusably ignorant, in a world where three out of four people have learned to read and write."

p. 46

"it eats through just about every traditional concept, and leaves in its wake a revolutionized world-view, with most of the old landmarks still recognizable, but transformed in fundamental ways."

p. 63

"Now let us...consider...the attempt by the Jesuit paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin to reconcile his religion with his belief in evolution. He proposed a version of evolution that put humanity at the center of the universe, and discovered Christianity to by an expression of the goal—'the Omega-point'—towards which all evolution is striving....
The problem with Teilhard's vision is simple. He emphatically denied the fundamental idea: that evolution is a mindless, purposeless, algorithmic process. This was no constructive compromise; this was a betrayal of the central insight that had permitted Darwin to overthrow Locke's Mind-first vision. Alfred Russel Wallace had been tempted by the same abandonment, as we saw in chapter 3, but Teilhard embraced it wholeheartedly and made it the centerpiece of this alternative vision. The esteem in which Teilhard's book is still held by nonscientists, the respectful tone in which his ideas are alluded to, is testimony to the depth of loathing of Darwin's dangerous idea, a loathing so great that it will excuse any illogicality and tolerate any opacity in what purports to be an argument, if its bottom line promises relief from the oppressions of Darwinism."

p. 320

"...culture must have a Darwinian origin. It, too, must grow out of something less, something quasi-, something merely as if rather than intrinsic, and at every step along the way the results have to be...evolutionarily enforceable. For culture we need language, for instance, but language has to evolve on its own hook first; we can't just notice how good it would be once it was all in place. We can't presuppose cooperation; we can't presuppose human intelligence; we can't presuppose tradition—this all has to be built up from scratch, just the way the original replicators were. Settling for anything less in the way of an explanation would be just giving up."

p. 341

" not just a matter of making mistakes, but of making mistakes in public. Making mistakes for all to see, in the hopes of getting the others to help with the corrections."

p. 380

* DAWKINS, Richard


The God Delusion

The Greatest Show on Earth

* deism (n.)

Deists, like theists, believe that moral principles originate in the divinity. Indeed, deism was born of the desire to abandon revealed theism without adopting atheism, because the deists believed that a system of divine rewards and punishments was necessary for civilisation. Thus, the deists retained the very cornerstone of the theism which they pretended to reject.

In the 18th century, deism was progressive, an integral part of the intellectual movement of the Enlightenment, towards religious tolerance. But today, it is retrograde.

* DENNETT, Daniel Clement


Breaking The Spell

Darwin's Dangerous Idea

Freedom Evolves


Serge Deruette was a speaker at the Atheists Without Borders convention in Montreal in October 2010, where he presented a talk entitled No Heaven, no possessions Priest Jean Meslier (1664-1729), Theoretician of Atheism Serving the People

* The Descent of Man
and Selection in Relation to Sex
DARWIN, Charles
Keywords: evolution

On-line Editions

* DIAMOND, Jared


Guns, Germs, and Steel

* Doubt, a History
The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson
HECHT, Jennifer Michael
Keywords: history religion scepticism

"Theistic religions all have in them an amazing human ability: belief. Belief is one of the best human muscles; it can be very good. The religions are all beautiful and horrible, filled with feasts, sacrifices, miracles, wars, songs, lamentations, stained glass, onion matzos, and intense communal joy: everyone kneeling, everyone rocking, everyone silent, everyone nose to the floor. The religions have also been the energy behind much generosity, compassion and bravery. The story of doubt, however, has all this too. It also has a relationship to truth that is rigorous, sober, and, when necessary, resigned—and it prizes this rigorous approach to truth above the delights of belief. Doubt has its own version of comforts and challenges. From doubt's beginnings, it has advised that if you create your own desires and model them after what you actually experience, you can be happy. Accept that we are animals, but ones with special problems, and that the world is natural, but natural is just an idea that we animals have in our heads. Devote yourself to wisdom, self-knowledge, friends, family, and give some attention to community, money, politics and pleasure. Know that none of it brings happiness all that consistently. It's best to stay agile, to keep an open mind....
...Doubters in the modern world have all sorts of philosophies and communal experiences in which to engage and participate, and it is not uncommon for doubters to compose a sacred-but-secular world for themselves out of reading philosophy of some sort, taking part in psychotherapy, art and poetry, meditation, dance, secular solemnities, and festivals. The only thing such doubters really need, that believers have, is a sense that people like themselves have always been around, that they are part of a grand history. I hope it is clear now that doubt has such a history of its own, and that to be a doubter is a great old allegiance, deserving quiet respect and open pride. For its longevity, its productivity, its pluck, its warmth, its service to friend and foe, and its sometimes ruthless commitment to demonstrative truth, I give the palm to the story of doubt."

From the conclusion, pp. 493-494