Soapy Sam redivivus

I really ought to post here occasionally, but I don't. Getting addicted to putting up comments elsewhere. I think I'll cross-post one I did today.

First off, know that William Wilberforce, a major hero of the anti-slavery movement, had a son named Samuel, known to contemporaries as Soapy Sam, who became Bishop of Oxford, based at Christ Church [not College], Oxford, where he ordained as a deacon a shy don named Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. But none of this compares in fame with the time when he went to a scientific meeting and asked one speaker, Thomas H. Huxley, whether he claimed descent from an ape on his grandmother's or his grandfather's side. (Which grandmother? Which grandfather? Why not mother and father? Don't ask me, I'm not a Victorian.)

The news, reported by Tristero at Hullabaloo, is that the eminent Mr. Huckabee has cleverly remarked "If you want to believe that you and your family came from apes, that's fine. I'll accept that. I just don't happen to think that I did." (Isn't he just your typical American yahoo? He just happens to believe things. Explains a lot.) So I was obliged to comment:

All I can say is, I'd rather claim descent from the meanest ape in the jungle than from a man with all the advantages of a 20th-century education and access to the best scientists, and holding a powerful political office and vying for the chance to direct the greatest nation on Earth, who brings the discussion of a scientific question down to the level of a piece of personal ridicule that was stale a hundred years ago.

I lied. It's not all I can say.

AND who claims to be an American, born in the country whose patriots bled 200 years ago to get rid of Kings and Dukes and stuff, who thinks it matters who your great-grandfather was instead of who YOU are and what you've done.

By the way, Mr. Huckabee, where was your great-great-great grandfather on the day the Revolution started? Resting on the reputation of theirhis great ancestors? Mine was *improving* on the achievements of his simian ancestors by fighting at Concord.

[Sorry for the patriotic snobbery, but there you are, you try to argue with a pig and preserve your personal daintiness.]


Gary Farber said...

Missing a convenient email address for you at the moment:
a) do you ever do Facebook? Perfectly understandable if "no."

b) I've moved to the border of Berkeley/Oakland. Just mentioning as a point of information.

John L said...

Sorry if this is in the wrong place. I just wanted to thank you for your reply to the Xtian proposing the cowardly Pascal's Wager. Saved me from having to do it. What kind of "God" wants a bunch of cowards around him for eternity? Surely if there is a God he would know the difference between true faith and cowardice. You can "say" you believe in anything but you can't "make" yourself believe what you don't. Anyway; thanks again.

JL in Texas (unfortunately)

Porlock Junior said...

Not sure whether it's the right place or even whether I'm the right person, as I can't remember where I've commented on Pascal recently. But thanks, it's good if my comment was useful.

(Don't forget, this God not only can't tell whether you really believe -- or doesn't care so long as you go through the motions, and how's that for a God? -- he also doesn't happen to be a god who doesn't really mind atheists but just HATES Catholics -- or hypocrites -- and tortures them eternally. Making Pascal's side quite the wrong one to take.)