On one of my many bookshelves rests a copy of The Genesis Flood, by Henry Morris. It's the original edition, which my wife read in college. I've never read the book myself, having entered the origins debate a couple of decades after its publication. And I've always been more interested in biology than geology. Nonetheless, his book changed the course of my life.
Thanks to that book, and Morris' many other efforts, the question of origins entered once again into public awareness, sparking a resurgence of creationism in North America. The growing movement drew thinkers of many persuasions into the arena, which brought a richness and vitality to the debate. It was a mix that I found irresistible when I was first exposed to the debate in late 1984. I was soon devouring whatever I could get my hands on, and what began as an avocation eventually became my vocation.
I didn't share many of Morris' views, but I do owe him a debt of gratitude for his work. If it weren't for his work, I wouldn't have had mine.
I think something similar goes for many of Darwin's most prominent defenders. Thanks to Morris, many Darwinists have attained professional acclaim who would otherwise have spent their entire careers in obscurity. Of course, that's not exactly something any of them would care to acknowledge. Who'd want to admit that they owe their paycheck and visibility to the very "rabble" they're fighting.
Still, the Darwinists could show a modicum of decency in the wake of Morris' passing. Following the passing of Stephen Jay Gould, I wrote a largely sympathetic obit. But I was roundly chastised by Darwinists for a remark, made in passing, that his sometimes contradictory comments occasionally exasperated friends and foes alike: How dare I speak so disrespectfully of the dead!
Yet apparently, the same standard does not apply to creationists. When I visited talk.origins today I was appalled at the thread discussing Morris' death. I won't repeat the disgraceful things that were said. But the words and the celebratory tone spoke volumes about the writers' lack of character and humanity.
What have we come to when people can't put aside their arguments in the face of a human being's suffering and death? When they, in fact, vindictively celebrate that suffering? When their own petty grievances triumph over matters of life and death?
To put it another way, where's the profit in winning the debate if, in the process, you lose your very soul? That is indeed a loss to be mourned.
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