Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Medieval Matters for Richard Dawkins

Dawkins made a challenge, on knowing the past.
On Reading The Greatest Show by Dawkins - Parts of it!
Overlooked in Previous, about Dawkins' The Greatest Show on Earth
Medieval Matters for Richard Dawkins
Do evolutionists ever make unfalsifiable claims?
Two bishop Richards in dialogue (tongue in cheek)
Dawkins said Edgar Andrews had his book "well written" and that is one true word from him
Assortedretorts : ... on "Science Works" quote c/o Dawkins
... on Side issue to "Science Works"

Two branches of the Dawin family

Some time in the Middle Ages - I reconstruct this applying strictly the evolutionary principles of Ch. Darwin and R. Dawkins themselves - there must have been a family hailing to Dawin. I might not find it likely in absence of evidence myself (I have not come across them yet), but on evolutionary principles that does not deter me. Didn't Dawkins himself say that fossils are just a plus? I am content that Darwin, with an extra R, and Dawkins, with an extra K and an extra S, can be reconstructed as coming from a name without those extras: Dawin.

I even found Dawin:
Welcome to Dawin Standard Poodles

Once upon a time, a Dawin had a cough, and when he presented himself it sounded like Daw-cough-in, and it stuck as Dawkin. And another Dawin snarled pretty often so someone once misheard his name as Da-rr-win. And since Darwin and Dawkin each sounded better than just Dawin, the new names had an advantage in sexual selection.

Of course, nobody seriously belives this. Dawin need really not have been there before Dawkins or Darwin after all and is most probably not their common ancestor. Who would deny that?

Not even Dawkins, I presume. And that is because he belives men are capable of quite arbitrarily inventing names some of which sound pretty alike. And if he must invent an evolutionary pedigree for DNA for apes such now as live and for men, it might simply be because he does not believe there is a God capable of arbitrarily making chimps like unto men, especially as babies.

I have not read the last two chapter of The Greatest Show on Earth, but as he alluded to them in previous chapters as including variety and geographical distribution of species as arguments for common ancestors, I think I have just spoofed his argumentation, or an essential aspect thereof. His arguments do work - within an atheist methodology.

In reality, I do not know whence comes the name Darwin.* I do know that Dawin probably and Dawkin certainly come from Dawe - basically Dave. Now Dawe and Dave do not sound very like each other in Modern English but did that back then: Dower and Dahver would be modern spelling of what it sounded like (in r-less dialects). The Flemish ending -kin means little, we also have Jankin/Jackin for Little John, so Dawkin means Little Dawe, and Dawkin's boys (sons) were obviously known as the Dawkins.

Edit: The Ring of Words : Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary refers on p. 32 to "his observation that, in addition for the Middle English diminutive -kin, the suffix -kins should be included because of its modern colloquial use 'in endearing forms of address' (an entry along these lines did indeed appear in the 1933 Supplement)."


Dawkins alluded to them in the chapter where he spoke of DNA as a recipe rather than a building plan. And A Room With A View alludes to them in the "dialogue":

Tourist Guide:
The Cathedrals were built by faith.
Atheist Cynic (under his breath, heard by those nearest):
That means the workers were not paid.

It would seem he somewhat confounded Cathedrals with Pyramids - unless that is doing the Pharaos an unjustice. Hebrews were forced to work and whipped, but it does not say they had no pay. Egyptians were paid when it was them building. But in Medieval Europe, authorities did not command work forces by bureaucratic omnipotence.

Workers were paid, as long as the city of bishop or king or duke or whatever could afford it - and when they could no longer, and the Cathedral was not ready yet, off they went to the next man who could pay them. They were known as free masons, as francs maçons. Not to be counfounded with the sect Freemasons, which were founded in 1717 and a bit later got Anderson's Statutes. Masons because they were building. Free because they were free to leave and roam as soon as no longer paid (including Cathedral being ready) - or for other reasons.

There was another factor that delayed Church buildings too: buying the land for the building. No man was, as far as we know, forced to leave his estates for the building of Church, unlike modern times, when farmers have been required to abandon an entire village at Jaca in Spain for an electricity dam and probably many times over in Soviet Russia.

So, Cathedrals were being built, abandoned, resumed, sometimes 100 years later. The Cathedral of Cologne was not finished until the 19th C. Before the school of historical accuracy arose, this meant that team n (2, 3, whatever) would continue with their own stylistic ideals, with regards for the space the previous builders had given them, for structural purposes, you cannot build a central aisle twenty feet broad when previous builders left a space for the central aisle only sixteen feet broad, since its walls or pillars are built on top of pillars of inside the immediate side aisles: but with no regard at all for previous stylistic ideal.

This has given some the impression that there was no overall plan, when in reality each team of builders had its plan, not necessarily copied from previous team, but adapted to it.

In each team of builders there was a distribution of work so that say such and such pillars were constructed at such and such a distance, but each construction of a pillar going on till desired height more or less on its own, without the architect interfering. When pillars of any given aisle were ready, roof vaults would be built on top of it, with new orders from architect.

Each team had its routine, hence no necessity to interfere with subordinates all the time.

But the fact that one was often enough starting a Cathedral without knowing when it would be finished is both behind the tourist guide's comment on Cathedrals being built by faith and behind the lack of stylistic unity within single cathedrals.

Back to Modern:

In the book, Richard Dawkins refers to his dialogue with a Wendy. She asks why he is so upset about having everyone believe his theory. And he admits having been clumsy, but he should have tried to bring through that evolution is no theory but a fact.

Now, a history professor may well believe it is a fact and no mere theory that Richard III plotted the killing of his nephews. Or that the Upsala of Ynglingatal is the Upsala near Stockholm and not in Westrogothia near Gothenburg. But Wendy does point out to a strange kind of dogmatism.

A history professor would admit that those inculpating Richard III were serving the next dynasty. Or that there are minor Upsals in Westrogothia. He would not wnat to sack every history professor all over the world for defending the innocence of Richard III or the original closeness between Swedes and Geats.

But Richard Dawkins seriously wants to have dissent classed as treason to the profession of science teacher.

Just as house owners were not being forced to cede their property to Cathedral building, parents in the middle ages were not being forced to cede their children to a central authority claiming to know better than everyone else how they should be raised. But modernity has a knack of increasing state sanctioned pressures on individuals - and Dawkins seems to be defending that. Why?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Sts Solène and
Marguerite-Marie Alacoque**
17th of October 2012

*Now I do: "surname attested from 12c., from O.E. deorwine, lit. "dear friend," probably used as a given name and also the source of the masc. proper name Derwin." (naming the sceptic Trumpkin "dear little friend" may on CSL's behalf well be an allusion at this etymology)

**Neither of today's saints would have believed such intrusiveness against parents on part of the state. Hardly even St Solène of Chartres, who was killed before Christianity was legal in the Roman Empire.