The Dissent Of Man

By JF Derry

Exploring the influence of Darwin on everyone: atheists, Christians, biologists and entrepreneurs

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Epoch-making pledges

Dear "Pledger", 

or should I address you as "Partner", because you are helping to make this book happen, and we all want it to happen (otherwise we wouldn't be here): dear Partner, welcome to OUR Shed. 

Firstly, a HUGE thank you for supporting this book project. It has literally been a decade in the making, and I would like to tell you more about that journey in future posts. Meanwhile, suffice to say, it means a lot. That is an understatement which barely touches on how important this book is to me. All I can do is resort to the medium I know best, writing, in offering some explanation for the ideas behind the book and the events that have led to it being here.

I have started this story in a series of posts on my blog, each termed "epoch" (links below). I did this not really knowing why. It's a lovely word, I'm informed by my dictionary originating in the early 17th century in the Latin form "epocha", and was originally used in the general sense of a date from which succeeding years are numbered. Latin and Greek share some similarities, so it also pops up there, as "epoke", meaning "stoppage, fixed point of time". Thinking about it, I guess subconciously I was playing upon a "dawn of man" riff in my mind; human origins are certainly central to the book.

Thinking about it further, I also see two other epochs taking place: a point reached in my own life and writing - as I said, the realisation of this project is hugely important to me - and, less modestly, an epochal time for the science-religion debate. I'll expound on the motivations for the book another time, and in the book itself of course, but I do see an impasse reached, an epoke or "stoppage". The debate cannot move on in it's current entrenched condition. Something must change the way in which people are approaching the divide, and perhaps this book could make a contribution towards a new shared language, a mutual understanding of "where you're coming from", that will be needed to proceed.

If that all sounds a bit fluffy and hippy, ask yourself this: why do we have a science-religion debate at all? If people were not prepared to engage with eath other over the issues, even if only to prove the other wrong, then there would be no motivation to communicate. And yet, communicate we do, at length and with great passion. But, what has been the net result? A standoff. An attempted war of attrition, a needling wearing down of the opposition, but in reality the sacrifice of fact in preference for insult.

As far back as 2,500 years ago, they knew deadlocks weren't worth pursuing: a waste of resources, risky exposure and an unsatisfactory engagement,

In a stalemated situation, do not be enticed into going forth "The Art of War" Sun Tzu (500 BC)

So, if this book and others' attempts do indeed foster a new mode of satisfactory engagement, then it really will have contributed to a new epoch.


Links to blog posts:

The Dissent of Man – 1st epoch

The Dissent of Man – 2nd epoch

The Dissent of Man – 3rd epoch

The Dissent of Man – 4th epoch

The Dissent of Man – Final epoch



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