Wednesday, February 25, 2009

C. Orthodoxy has moved to WordPress. This Blogger version will remain available, but new content will only be posted to the WordPress site, here:

Please update your bookmarks, RSS feeders and blogrolls, and come visit the new C. Orthodoxy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Goodbye Blogger

When I started my experiment with WordPress I was motivated by two things especially: the need to do simple back-ups of the blog and the desire for cleaner and more professional look. Along the way I discovered all sorts of other advantages and disadvantages to the switch, but most of those balance each other out, and it is these two that remain the most important.

I was wrong about one of them, however. It turns out Blogger now can do simple backups. I think this is a relatively new feature (or I'm just an idiot), but I don't think many people are aware of it yet. For those of you who are still on Blogger, then, I strongly encourage you to make regular use of this feature, which can be found on your Dashboard under Settings. I've tested it (here) and it does work as intended. Unlike with WordPress, you can still only import posts from other Blogger accounts (no transfers from other platforms), and there is not yet any way to automate the process, but the ability to manually export and import your posts and comments is a major improvement and effectively eliminates one of my big reasons for switching.

If that is a wash, however, the other reason for switching remains. As the poll shows, most people prefer the look and feel of WordPress (by a margin of 3 to 1), and I certainly do. Blogger, admittedly, allows greater freedom to customize your template, but WordPress needs less customization--many of their templates look great unmodified. Alex suggested that I try some third-party templates to find a better look for Blogger, but after spending much of the last week trying, I've finally given up.

There are literally hundreds of custom templates available for free online, but Blogger's system is so buggy that you are lucky if you can get one to upload, and will have to delete all your widgets to do it. I tried dozens of them and almost every time, Blogger would run into some error (bX-pwned) and the upload would fail. Judging by the fact that the Help boards are flooded with unanswered complaints about these errors, it's clear that this is an ongoing problem. For someone like me, with only minimal knowledge of html (let alone xml), it's just not worth the effort, nor the risk, to mess with that.

So I'm moving to WordPress for good. I will not be deleting this blog here, but from now on all new posts will appear exclusively on WordPress. Please remember to update your blogrolls, RSS feeders and/or bookmarks (unless, of course, you've been looking for an excuse to delete me), the new address is:

Thanks everyone for a great 18 months!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Lord of the Rings-The Steward and the King

Inspired by this post (and ready to take a break from my thesis), my wife and I watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy again this weekend and I was once more impressed by Peter Jackson’s films. He didn’t get everything right (it kills me that he left out the scouring of the Shire, though Return of the King was certainly long enough without it!), but he really captured the beauty and grandeur of Tolkien’s epic.

Still, one aspect of the storyline especially really doesn't get the full treatment Tolkien intended. Flipping back through the books again, I can’t shake the brilliance of Tolkien's presentation of Aragorn's rise to kingship. Unlike Narnia, The Lord of the Rings is no allegory (Gandalf, Frodo—even Boromir in his own way—are each as much Christ figures as Aragorn is), but Tolkien’s depiction of Aragorn’s rise to kingship gives a masterful retelling of the incarnation, and actually fits with my reading of John even better than I had recalled.

In Tolkien’s vision, the Stewards are charged with the governance of the kingdom until the true king might reclaim his throne. Thus their duty, from the beginning, was intended to be temporary and provisional. But as the return of the king was long delayed, this perception changed. Arnor, the northern half of the kingdom, from which Aragorn derives, has long lost its grandeur and been reduced to humility. The Dúnedain (Elvish for “Men of the West”) are indeed the descendents of the kings from across the sea, but now most only know them as “rangers,” and see them as little more than vagrants. Few know of their long efforts to protect the free peoples of the North, and fewer still looked to their numbers for the return of the king.

Thus when the hobbits first meet Aragorn they have no idea of his true identity. He calls himself “Strider” and willingly risks his life to save them from the Nazgûl, without ever demanding their allegiance or even hinting at his lineage. But Tolkien himself hints at it. In fact, the quote on my sidebar is actually from Bilbo’s description of Aragorn, first seen in a letter Gandalf left for the hobbits:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
So it is throughout the trilogy, as Aragorn repeatedly puts aside his kingly rights to serve others. He is humble and weather-worn, hardly the picture of a king and lord of old. Thus when he does finally turn towards Minus Tirith, the very "city of the king," we find that not all welcome, or even recognize, his coming. For the Stewards of Gondor (the southern half of the kingdom) are failing in their charge. Denethor has long overreached his authority as Steward, insisting: "the rule of Gondor… is mine and no other man’s, unless the king should come again." Yet when the armies of Mordor close in and Denethor’s only remaining son and heir, Faramir, lays poisoned and dying, Denethor chooses rather to burn on a pyre with his son than take up his duty as Steward:

"I say to thee, Gandalf Mithrandir, I will not be thy tool! I am Steward of the House of Anárion. I will not step down to be the dotard chamberlain of an upstart. Even were his claim proved to me, still he comes but of the line of Isildur. I will not bow to such a one, last of a ragged house long bereft of lordship and dignity."

"What then would you have," said Gandalf, "if your will could have its way?"

"I would have things as they were in all the days of my life," answered Denethor, "and in the days of my long-fathers before me: to be the Lord of this city in peace, and leave my chair to a son after me, who would be his own master and no wizard’s pupil. But if doom denies this to me, then I will have naught: neither life diminished, nor love halved, nor honour abated."

"To me it would not seem that a Steward who faithfully surrenders his charge is diminished in love or in honour," said Gandalf. "And at the least, you shall not rob your son of his choice while his death is still in doubt.”
In the end, however, Denethor takes his own life, a traitor and an upstart, but his abuse of the Stewardship is by no means Tolkien’s last word on the matter. For after defeating the army that Denethor so feared, Aragorn does enter Minus Tirith, not (at first) as its king, but in secret. Thus he goes to the houses of healing and takes up the care of Faramir himself (along with that of Éowyn and Merry, stricken after killing the king of the Nazgûl). And when Faramir is healed by his king, he does take his father’s place as Steward, and at the climax of The Return of the King (a role sadly cut from the film) it is Faramir who oversees Aragorn’s coronation. In a chapter titled “The Steward and the King,” Faramir meets Aragorn at the gate of Minus Tirith, kneels before him and says:

"The last Steward of Gondor begs leave to surrender his office." And he held out a white rod; but Aragorn took the rod and gave it back, saying: "That office is not ended, and it shall be thine and thy heirs’ as long as my line shall last. Do now thy office!"

Then Faramir stood up and spoke in a clear voice: "Men of Gondor, hear now the Steward of this Realm! Behold! One has come to claim the kingship at last. Here is Aragorn son of Arathorn, chieftain of the Dúnedain of Arnor, Captain of the Host of the West, bearer of the Star of the North, wielder of the Sword Reforged, victorious in battle, whose hands bring healing, the Elfstone, Elessar of the line of Valandil, Isildur’s son, Elendil’s son of Númenor. Shall he be king and enter into the City and dwell there?"

And all the host and all the people cried yea with one voice.
Faramir remained Steward even after the return of his king, and as such, he became the primary witness to Aragorn's true identity. Yet far from a reduction in his role, Faramir was given yet greater honor, and made Prince of Ithilien (the land on the other side of the river, where he first met Frodo and Sam and “proved his quality” by overcoming the temptation of the Ring), and so he lived there with Lady Éowyn, always within sight of the city he loved and the king who had healed them.

And this, I think, is how John also understood the institutions of Judaism. His well-known vitriol against the leaders of “the Jews,” is not to be understood as a rejection of Judaism at all. It is rather to be explained by his deep sense of betrayal. As John understands them, Moses and his Torah, the Temple and its festivals and priesthood, these were all meant to be “witnesses” to Jesus, "stewards" if you will, who prepared the way for Israel’s true king. But Like Denethor, many of who currently held Jewish leadership rejected Jesus and so, from John’s perspective, failed their charge. Nevertheless, their status as witnesses was not undone either by Jesus’ coming or by their faithlessness. Indeed, John insists that even when the high priest himself conspires to kill Jesus, he cannot help but fulfill his duty as witness:
Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, "You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish."

He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. (11:49-52)
And so when we get to the crucifixion narrative, John (even more than the other Gospel writers), emphasizes that Jesus died as King of the Jews (19:18-22). In a Gospel that uses that phrase fully 25 times, mostly to refer to the Jewish institutions whose significance John has repeatedly claimed point to Jesus, the expression could not help but carry deep significance: In taking his rightful kingship, Jesus fulfills the "witness" of these figures and institutions, whose “stewardship” had prepared for his coming. Yet “stewards” they remain (like all the rest of us), and in that role they are not “replaced” by the king but “re-placed”--given a new and fuller role. The return of Israel's king is thus not the end of her stewardship but its culmination.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Switching from Blogger to WordPress--Advantages and Disadvantages

After a few days of experimenting with WordPress, I wanted to make some initial observations on the process of importing from Blogger and the advantages and disadvantages I've found so far.

I had already set up a WordPress account before, so I could leave comments on WordPress blogs, so setting up my own blog required only a few clicks. I was annoyed, however, that they only allow letters and numbers in your URL, so I had to go with rather than c-orthodoxy (as on Blogger). Setting up the blog and choosing a theme was simple, and unlike with Blogger, many of the WordPress themes actually look good unmodified (for a point of contrast, see what my current Blogger theme looked like before I modified it, here). It's a good thing, too, because they let you change precious little about the theme you choose--but more on that in a bit.

Importing from Blogger was also pretty easy. There is a page in the Dashboard specially devoted to importing and exporting, and it took only a few clicks and a bit of waiting for them to transfer all 350+ posts and 990 comments from Blogger. I did have a couple of hiccups: the process seemed to hang up about two-thirds of the way through. So I ran it again and this time it seemed to hang up almost immediately. But when I checked the blog itself I found that all the posts had imported just fine.

The only real problem I had with the import, and it was a minor one, was with the tags. I use a lot of labels on my posts, and I was very pleased to see that WordPress imported them as well. However, for some reason about a dozen posts had one or more tags replaced by a long number. Further, when I had thought the first import failed and tried it again, it was these posts which WordPress re-imported (since it skips those it has already done), leaving me with two copies of each of those posts, one with the correct tags (but no comments) and the other with comments but incorrect tags. I have no idea what would cause such a glitch, but it took a good hour to sort it out. All in all, however, I was very impressed with the importing process and, even if I decide to stick with Blogger, at the least it has given me a backup if I ever need it.

So on to the advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages of WordPress over Blogger:

  • The first and most important is the one that led me to try WordPress in the first place--the need to create a usable backup of my content. Blogger makes this both "dangerous and unpredictable" (to quote Ben Linus), but WordPress makes it remarkably easy. Not only was I able to transfer everything from Blogger to WordPress (and this itself is a form of backup), it only took moments to download the entire contents of the blog (posts, comments, tags, pages, etc.) into a nice and small xml file (mine was 3.1mb). To make sure the file is actually usable, I set up a test blog ( and uploaded it, and it seemed to work fine, or should I say: and there was much rejoicing!
  • Of less importance but still high on the list of advantages is WordPress' generally more aesthetically pleasing look and feel. I think the WordPress version looks far better and more professional than the Blogger version, and judging by the poll, most of you agree (if you don't let me know). While for long term readers (especially those using RSS feed) the look of the blog is not the most important thing, for first time visitors it can make a big difference to whether they stick around, and I am willing to put up with a few functional limitations for the sake of a cleaner and more professional look.
  • While Blogger strips out all the formatting (except hyperlinks) when you copy text into its post editor, WordPress preserves it. Since I often compose my posts in Word and copy them into the editor, this is a huge plus, as it saves me the hassle of either: 1. Manually adding html to the post as I compose it, or 2. Manually restoring italics and other formatting after copying into the editor. WordPress also allows me to add a fold so that longer posts need not take up so much space on the main page (as I've done with this post on the WordPress version), and allows you make posts "sticky" (always at the top of the page).
  • WordPress version seems to load faster and more smoothly than the Blogger version.
  • WordPress allows much better control over categories and tags. Blogger has only one kind of label system, while WordPress has two, allowing you to put posts in broad categories which are listed at the bottom of page, and provide more specific tags which can be displayed or not (I've got it set to show just the most common tags in a cloud). Since I had collected nearly 600 labels here on Blogger, the ability to organize them in this way was a big advantage for WordPress. Perhaps even better, WordPress allows global editing of tags and categories. I can change the name of a tag once and apply it to every post I've ever used the tag on. I can also convert tags to categories and categories to tags, either individually or all at once, none of which Blogger allows.
  • WordPress allows pages (e.g. this one), while Blogger does not.
  • WordPress offers much better comment management on the back end, and just added comment threading as an option.
  • WordPress only shows real trackbacks, not those annoying fake ones that show up on practically every Blogger post ever since they added their new blogroll widget.
Disadvantages of WordPress Compared to Blogger:
  • On the other hand, WordPress places severe limitations on your ability to modify themes, and each theme determines a vast range of settings on your blog. For instance, the theme I am currently using only allows you to change the masthead image--that's it--you cannot adjust the color scheme, fonts, text size, layout, etc. In Blogger this is true to a limited extend. For instance, the template I am currently using allows me to change some aspects of the color scheme but not others, and I have no control over things like column width. But WordPress goes further, tying all sorts of other settings to the theme, like whether archives show full posts or only excerpts, or which widgets you can use. You have to pay $15 a year if you want to be able to modify the CSS, and even then you are quite limited in what you can change.
  • Related to this, WordPress offers a much more limited range of widgets than Blogger, and gives you much less control over the widgets themselves. For instance, the only option you have for the blogroll is to add categories. You cannot even control what order the links appear in--it is alphabetical whether you like it or not. If you want to make a separate list of links (as I have for "featured posts") you have to code it manually using the text editor, because there is no option to add a second link list besides the blogroll (at least not in this theme). Similarly, you can add a tag cloud or a categories cloud, but you have no control at all over how many search terms it will include or how to display them.
  • Unlike Blogger, with WordPress you are also limited to 3 GB of media; it's $20 a year if you want 5 GB more. I'm not sure how big of a deal this is yet, since it doesn't seem to count the pictures that I had already uploaded on the posts I imported from Blogger (even though it kept them), and even the YouTube video I posted this week is not being counted against my total. But I'm not sure if that is just an error--I coded it in manually rather than using the built in "add video" button, since I didn't notice that button until after I'd done it myself. In fact, the only "media" it is counting right now is the masthead image, using up a miniscule 32kb.
  • WordPress (or is it just the theme I chose?) doesn't allow comment previews, which may not matter to some people but to a perfectionist like me, that's kind of a big deal. In fact, you have no choice but to include the comment field on the same page as the post (Blogger lets you choose between several options).
  • Finally, WordPress does not allow Java. They have a work-around for YouTube and a few other things, but not for others. For instance, you cannot use GoogleAnalytics with WordPress, which is a bummer, though not a huge deal.
Finally, some things that don't really fall into the advantages or disadvantages categories, but annoyed me just the same. Take them with a grain of salt as I'm certain I've run across at least as many with Blogger over the last 18 months, I've just gotten used to them and so forgotten what they were:

The Dashboard is a bit counter-intuitive, to me at least. The comment emails WordPress sends are much harder to read than those Blogger sends (but on the plus side, they only send emails for other people's comments, not your own). The built-in statistics are very limited, and for some reason they divide days based on GMT, rather than local time (I can't call this a disadvantage because Blogger does not include built-in statistics at all). You can't import WordPress back into Blogger (again, I can't call this a disadvantage because the problem is with Blogger, not with WordPress, but still--it does mean that if you switch to WordPress, there's no easy way to go back).

All in all then, I'm still pretty divided on whether I should switch. I really like the look of WordPress (at least with this particular theme), and the ability to do simple back-ups is a big deal. On the other hand, while individually none of the disadvantages are all that bad, they are not trivial. The limitations on modifying themes and widgets are probably the most annoying, though much less important to me than they would be if Blogger (with its very bland templates) imposed the same limitations. The 3GB media limit may turn out to be a bigger deal, but I don't post that many pictures anyway, and I'm not sure what all will actually be included in that total, so I'm not sure. The biggest thing is just the hassle of making people update their RSS feeds and blogrolls, but that's only temporary. Thus I am leaning towards WordPress, but I'm gonna wait a few more days before deciding and am still eager to hear your feedback.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Replacement Theology and The Return of the King

I've mentioned that I'm working on a thesis on the Temple in the Gospel of John, and one of my major interests is with the "replacement" theology that pervades much of the literature on the subject.* Most previous studies and commentaries view Jesus as the replacement of the Temple, the Torah, Moses and a variety of other Jewish figures and institutions. In older studies especially, this is often part of a broad supersessionist approach that emphasizes contrast and polemic in comparing Judaism and Christianity.

A growing number of scholars, especially since the Second World War, have come to question this supersessionist approach, and now emphasize Jesus' continuity with and "fulfillment" of his Jewish predecessors, but replacement remains the default view, and polemical overtones often crop up even in those studies that emphasize fulfillment. For a variety of reasons, I think this paradigm distorts our understanding of John's--very Jewish--Gospel and distracts from his more central Christological and Theological purposes. I'll be exploring those reasons in my thesis and don't want to detail them just yet, but yesterday I was struck by an analogy that, I think, captures very well John's point as I understand it, and may be of wider interest [Updated, see Hugh's comment]:

Imagine a king went away on a journey and left an emissary a regent to govern in his stead. The regent is charged with reminding his people of the king's wishes and keeping them expectant of his eventual return. The regent does his job well, but when the king finally does return, it is in a manner that no one expects, and most do not recognize him as the king at all. At that point, the king's regent is, technically speaking, no longer necessary--no one needs to ask the regent about the king's wishes because they can now ask the king directly--but since the regent is one of the few who knows the king's true identity, he does continue to serve as a "witness" to that fact, valuable to those who have come to trust the regent but are not yet convinced that this late-comer is truly their king.

Now as far as the regent continues to do his job well, he becomes in a sense "obsolete," for those who do listen to him and recognize their king no longer "need" the regent, but he is not thereby "replaced" by the king, for he is and always was the king's agent. Thus, it is not a case of supersession, as when one king replaces another, for the king and his regent have always been in different categories. The regent always was a mere "witness" to the king's identity and purposes, so this is not some new change in his role after the king returns; it is rather the fulfillment of the role he was charged with from the beginning.

Such is how, I believe, John views Moses, the Torah and the Temple. As the incarnation of the one God of Israel, Jesus does not replace those "predecessors" (after all, he thinks Jesus, as the logos, predates them), nor is their status as "witnesses" (John 5) a demotion from their previous roles. Instead, John seems to be saying that this is the purpose they have always served. Jesus is not a new Moses, a new Torah or a new Temple, but the divine king to whom all three have always pointed.

*So please don't steal what I'm about to say! ;)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


One of the unexpected bonuses of trying WordPress this week is that it gave me a global comments total, and it just so happens that today I passed 1000. Ironically, the lucky comment was Jim's, which bluntly stated: "told ya- blogger sucks." But I'll have to disagree. Whatever my annoyances with Blogger, I can't help but be thankful for the technology (free no less!) that has enabled the numerous conversations that make up those thousand comments. Without Blogger, I would have never met the vast majority of the many people who have taken the time to stop by and leave a comment.

So of all the stats that we bloggers tend to obsess over, I have to say that this is the one I care about most. Whatever passing interest my own thoughts may warrant, and however many people read them, to my mind the main point of blogging has always been the discussions it fosters. So to all those who have commented--friend or foe--thank you very much for joining the conversation!

Bill Bailey on "Acts of God"

What the...?

Has anyone else had problems viewing my blog today?* It shows up fine in Internet Explorer, but on Firefox the main page only show the masthead and sidebar, no posts. I tried reloading, including in a new tab, several times with no luck.... But wait, now suddenly it's back and works fine... very weird.

Strange timing, too. I've been using Blogger for a year and a half and have never had any stability problems, but the same week I'm experimenting with WordPress, Blogger acts up? Is it just a coincidence, or did the import process cause some issue? Maybe it's a sign.

*Which I suppose is rather like saying: "If you're not here, raise your hand!" Oh well.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The WordPress Experiment

I've decided to go ahead with a trial run on WordPress. I haven't yet decided whether I'm going to switch yet--I'm finding both unexpected bonuses, and frustrating annoyances in the new platform, so I want to live with it for a couple weeks before I commit to switching. I'll post my initial thoughts on the process and the pluses and minuses I've discovered later this week.

In any case, take a gander and tell me what you think of the WordPress version of C. Orthodoxy!

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Land of the Free, Home of the Brave

I might need to rethink that point about fascism. Disgusting:

Army Private Brandon Neely served as a prison guard at Guantánamo in the first years the facility was in operation. With the Bush Administration, and thus the threat of retaliation against him, now gone, Neely decided to step forward and tell his story. “The stuff I did and the stuff I saw was just wrong,” he told the Associated Press. Neely describes the arrival of detainees in full sensory-deprivation garb, he details their sexual abuse by medical personnel, torture by other medical personnel, brutal beatings out of frustration, fear, and retribution, the first hunger strike and its causes, torturous shackling, positional torture, interference with religious practices and beliefs, verbal abuse, restriction of recreation, the behavior of mentally ill detainees, an isolation regime that was put in place for child-detainees, and his conversations with prisoners David Hicks and Rhuhel Ahmed.
I hope it turns out that he is exaggerating, but even if so, I doubt the truth is all sunshine and roses. What kind of political system makes us choose between abortion and this?

HT Catholic and Enjoying It

Second Life Article Now Available

I just noticed that my article on Second Life, World of Warcraft and other "Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games" from Salvo 3, is finally available online. They currently have it up as the featured article of the week. You can read it here.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Worst Kind of Fascism... the kind that claims it's "for your own good."

Have you heard about the new law (which went into effect February 10) that criminalizes the selling or distribution of all childrens' books printed before 1985, unless each one is tested for lead. You know, to protect "the children" from lead-containing ink, which no doubt kills millions every year--wait, what?

If you're a lover of literature, read this, it'll break your heart. Apparently the American Library Association is already engaging in civil disobedience, claiming it will assume the law does not apply to them unless they hear otherwise, but many private booksellers have already destroyed their stocks in fear of the $100,000 fines mandated by the law.

Then again, Congress is looking for a way to cover that budget deficit...

*HT for the image: The Leaky Cauldron

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Suddenly Christian

I just recently discovered a great blog called Suddenly Christian, by author John Shore. He's thoughtful, funny and interesting, and he has a lively comments section. I've added him to the blogroll; I've also added Scotteriology and James' Thoughts and Musings, who I've been reading for a while.

In any case, John wrote a good post questioning the way many Christians adamantly insist on a "literal" reading of Paul's rejections of homosexuality, while explaining away Jesus' condemnations of wealth. He sparked a spirited debate, near the end of which one of his commenters quipped:

I have tried to find the passage of scripture that says, “Blessed are the ones who think they are smart enough to tell everyone else what’s right or wrong about themselves or what they believe,” but I have struck out thus far. I think it’s in 2nd Hesitations.

Friday, February 13, 2009

So That's How It Works!

What does it say about me that this makes perfect sense (HT Sporadic Maunderings):

*Actually, computers (and all other mechanical devices) are inhabited by tiny little elves and gremlins who control all the machines functions.*

I envision it as a tiny monkey (maybe like one of those golden lion tamarind that look like little bearded old men) inside my hard drive furiously switching wires like a 1940's-era phone operator. Sometimes he gets tangled up. Other times, you tell him to unplug something but he can't get the plug out and he's in there with his little feet planted against the wall of the drive, yanking for all he's worth.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Darwin Day...

So, as I'm sure the whole world knows, today is Charles Darwin's 200th birthday. No doubt, the 'net is crowded with tributes to his genius and attacks on those who continue to doubt his theory, all of which is understandable. But I find it all rather bemusing. No one celebrates "Einstein Day" or "Newton Day" or even "Plato Day," despite the fact that all of those men have surely had at least as great an impact on our understanding of how the world works as Darwin has.

I'm sure part of the difference is that there is no concerted effort to deny the insights of those others (well, except maybe Plato!), whereas evolution remains under constant attack. Still, the excessive devotion paid to Darwin the man, and even to his theory, seems quite out of keeping with repeated claims to only be interested in Science™. For a great many people, evolution is clearly perceived as much more than a scientific explanation, however well supported--it forms the foundation for their whole worldview.

So I can't help but laugh at the fuss over Darwin Day, but in the end, I do think his theory is both largely correct and fascinating, so despite my bemusement here's my favorite quote from the man himself. It's only a shame this observation gets obscured by so many of the debates over evolution:

There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.