The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

March 8, 2013

Our Readers Speak — Friday, March 8, 2013

Forget Elvis, it’s time to recognize Darwin

— We’ve heard recently of pushes to set aside a day for Elvis, for coal miners, for all kinds of new holy days. But the one I’d like see a national day of celebration set aside for is Darwin’s Day (Feb. 12). Why is the question.

His theory of natural selection in evolution has changed the world, and is probably the most important single concept in human history. That alone puts him head and shoulders above any music superstar, any actor, any sports-great.

Charles Darwin, like it or not, has come the closest to being enthroned as the first secular god of flesh and blood.

He, symbolically thumbed his nose at all the gods and their endless feast days that fill our calendars ad nauseam, ad infinitum.

Man, who studies painstakingly days and nights of limited life away, that lives only to unearth a single piece of truth, deserves our highest honors, our greatest awards.

Such men and women should have monuments built for them for they are nobler than sports-heroes all combined.

And  they ought to be remembered long after presidents and queens are laid to rest, for natural selection is a mimetic idea that stretches to infinity!

Religion is many things. In a nutshell it is an attempt to place the souls and experiences of men beyond the fear of death and hell; of ceasing to exist.

But I say it is not, the worship of truth or love. Not a single fact is contained in the Bible that has not been voiced long before and long after it’s books are alleged to have been written.

We need a non-religious (a scientific) day that lies upon this side of the grave, ideas that have been expanded but that in essence speaks for all those that challenge the unknowns and those that would not give us Chicken Little’s sky falling instead Darwin’s scenario and timeless message: all of life is intimately connected and a world divided against the truths of Nature cannot ever hope to survive for long.

“Stately purposes, valor in battle, glorious annals of army and fleet, Death for the right cause, death for the wrong cause, trumpets of victory, groans of defeat...” (Alfred Tennyson’s poem VASTNESS.

But for me — like agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll — let me at least, before I die, toss a bucket of water on the fires of Hell, and slap the faces of those that call God great.

Lonnie Bailey