Monday, March 23, 2009

The Name of This Blog Traced to Its Source

Marsh along the NileImage via Wikipedia

Which, to be honest, I was not familiar with until John McChesney-Young, friend of the blog and papa of one of USF's smartest and nicest grads, dug it up and gave me the link.

But fear not, Dear Reader. One need not have traveled to the headwaters of the Nile to splash in the streams of its delta.

And here is an excerpt from Darwin's letter to Asa Gray. Surprising how much it reflects my own notions.

Down, May 22nd 1860.

My dear Gray,

-- snip --

With respect to the theological view of the question. This is always
painful to me. I am bewildered. I had no intention to write
atheistically. But I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as
I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us.
There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself
that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the
Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living
bodies of Caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice. Not believing
this, I see no necessity in the belief that the eye was expressly designed.
On the other hand, I cannot anyhow be contented to view this wonderful
universe, and especially the nature of man, and to conclude that everything
is the result of brute force. I am inclined to look at everything as
resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left
to the working out of what we may call chance. Not that this notion AT ALL
satisfies me. I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound
for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of
Newton. Let each man hope and believe what he can. Certainly I agree with
you that my views are not at all necessarily atheistical. The lightning
kills a man, whether a good one or bad one, owing to the excessively
complex action of natural laws. A child (who may turn out an idiot) is
born by the action of even more complex laws, and I can see no reason why a
man, or other animal, may not have been aboriginally produced by other
laws, and that all these laws may have been expressly designed by an
omniscient Creator, who foresaw every future event and consequence. But
the more I think the more bewildered I become; as indeed I probably have
shown by this letter.

Most deeply do I feel your generous kindness and interest.

Yours sincerely and cordially,

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Amber said...

My dad is excellent at finding obscure references.

....J.Michael Robertson said...

It's the beginning of wisdom, and -- I think -- more productive than most blogging, which is to true wisdom as to .... Well, as the wag said of a particular aberrant example of modern dance: That's not dancing. That's twitching.

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