The Raving Theist

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Special God Squad Review (Gellman’s Newsweek Attack on Atheists)

May 1, 2006 | 29 Comments

Chickening out of a debate a few weeks back, the God Squad apologized to atheists for any misimpressions their writings might have created about their attitude to the godless. But the experience apparently left a bitter taste in Rabbi Gellman’s mouth, as evidenced by how he’s now repeating all of the same old canards over at Newsweek:

I think I need to understand atheists better. I bear them no ill will. I don’t think they need to be religious to be good, kind and charitable people, and I have no desire to debate or convert them. I do think they are wrong about the biggest question, “Are we alone?” and I will admit to occasionally viewing atheists with the kind of patient sympathy often shown to me by Christians who can’t quite understand why the Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection has not reached me or my people. However, there is something I am missing about atheists: what I simply do not understand is why they are often so angry.

The attack is all so out of nowhere. We, of course, know that he’s pissed that the Long Island Center for Inquiry challenged him to a debate after he suggested that all atheists are immoral, but the average reader wouldn’t have a clue. If you’re going to use a generalization like “so often so angry,” you should provide at least one concrete example of the people you’re talking about. For example, “Rabbi Gellman concealed the fact that he was recently humiliated by an athesit group — why are Jews so sneaky and dishonest?”

One would think that “the biggest” question would be worthy of debate. Especially in America, where a variety of rights and privileges are awarded depending on how one answers it. After all, even little questions get debated — Should we talk to the sky to cure disease or do medical research? Is there a bomb in that abandoned briefcase? Is that clump on the x-ray malignant or benign? If someone just said, “you have your opinion, I have mine” in response to those sort of questions, and then suggested we were immoral for asking them, we’ve have a right to be angry.

Especially when the person effectively admits that his position is irrational. Note that Rabbi Gelman thinks that Christians are clueless for patronizing him with “patient sympathy” for rejecting Christ’s divinity. Plainly, he believes it should be obvious to Christians that Jews consider the resurrection story a lot of hogwash. Why shouldn’t atheists regard his story, taken from the first half of the same book, as just as crazy?

So we disagree about God. I’m sometimes at odds with Yankee fans, people who like rap music and people who don’t like animals, but I try to be civil. I don’t know many religious folk who wake up thinking of new ways to aggravate atheists, but many people who do not believe in God seem to find the religion of their neighbors terribly offensive or oppressive, particularly if the folks next door are evangelical Christians. I just don’t get it.

Once again, there’s no context for the suggestion that atheists are uncivil and aggravating. Example needed, like, “Rabbi Gellman published his attack on atheists in Newsweek — why do Jews control the media?”

What’s aggravating is dealing with someone who claims he’s dealing with the “biggest” question in one paragraph, and then compares it to disputes over sports teams in the next. It’s also incivil to make sweeping generalizations like “atheists are immoral,” and then declare that the matter is not a fit subject of debate. The God Squad devotes a weekly column to settling debates which arise within various religions, religions which have given rise to a vast literature debating their internal doctrines. Jews debate over how God wants food prepared, sometimes forcing taxpayers to finance litigation if the state’s Kosher Law Enforcement division doesn’t side with their Jehovah. That sounds pretty angry and uncivil to me. Not to mention idiotic.

As to whether many religious folk think of ways to aggravate atheists, didn’t you just mention evangelical Christians, Rabbi? They do exactly what you find so offensive — they try to covert people to their point of view. But it’s not the mere effort to do so that’s aggravating — people try to persuade us to do all sorts of things — it’s that their arguments are breathtakingly stupid and rest on the dictates of some old book rather than intellectual debate. The debate you so studiously avoid.

This must sound condescending and a large generalization, and I don’t mean it that way, but I am tempted to believe that behind atheist anger there are oftentimes uncomfortable personal histories. Perhaps their atheism was the result of the tragic death of a loved one, or an angry degrading sermon, or an insensitive eulogy, or an unfeeling castigation of lifestyle choices or perhaps something even worse. I would ask for forgiveness from the angry atheists who write to me if I thought it would help. Religion must remain an audacious, daring and, yes, uncomfortable assault on our desires to do what we want when we want to do it. All religions must teach a way to discipline our animal urges, to overcome racism and materialism, selfishness and arrogance and the sinful oppression of the most vulnerable and the most innocent among us.

You don’t mean it when you imply that atheists are selfish, arrogant, racist, sinful, materialistic animals who prey on the most vulnerable? Examples, examples: like “Rabbi Gellman charges $12,500 for an appearance — why are Jews so greedy, materialistic and selfish?”

I’m much too angry to point out that that (1) religions disagree with each other on every debated moral question, (2) plenty of religions promote the vices the Rabbi has identified, and (3) it might be a better idea to focus the debate about morality on human needs in this life rather than the desires of conflicting deities and their plans for the afterlife. Instead, I’ll just suggest that somebody dropped Rabbi Gellman on his head as a baby and scrambled his brains. Or scrambled them with religion.

Some religious leaders obviously betray the teachings of the faith they claim to represent, but their sacred scriptures remain a critique of them and also of every thing we do to betray the better angels of our nature. But our world is better and kinder and more hopeful because of the daily sacrifice and witness of millions of pious people over thousands of years.

No, it’s the leaders who obey the teachings of their faith who are the dangerous ones. As the Rabbi has himself admitted, the “sacred scriptures” are chock full of violently insane suggestions for behavior. It’s the people who critique them — and more specifically critique the very notion that books should be obeyed unquestioningly — who make the world better and kinder.

To be called to a level of goodness and sacrifice so constantly and so patiently by a loving but demanding God may seem like a naive demand to achieve what is only a remote human possibility. However, such a vision need not be seen as a red flag to those who believe nothing. I can humbly ask whether my atheist brothers and sisters really believe that their lives are better, richer and more hopeful by clinging to Camus’s existential despair: “The purpose of life is that it ends.” I can agree to make peace with atheists whom I believe ask too little of life here on planet earth if they will agree to make peace with me and with other religious folk who perhaps have asked too much. I believe that the philosopher-rabbi Mordecai Kaplan was right when he said, “It is hell to live without hope, and religion saves people from hell.” I urge my atheist brothers and sisters to see things as Spinoza urged, sub specie aeternitatis — “under the perspective of eternity.”

I don’t believe “nothing” — but I do believe that life is short and we die, which is all the more reason to enjoy it while we can rather than making “sacrifices” for the 72 virgins.

And to try a little positivity. Last Sunday I took two high-school girls to Cold Spring Labs to meet Dr. James Watson. One of the girls wants to be a research scientist, and the other has no idea yet, but I think she will be a great writer. I think they also both want boyfriends. I want them to stay smart and not dumb down to get a boy. Watson spoke and listened to the girls, and they left, I hope, proud about being smart. I know that Jim believes way more in Darwin than in Deuteronomy, but he also believes that at Cold Spring Labs the most important thing is not whether you are a man or a woman, not whether you believe in God. The most important thing, as he says, is “to get something done.” Now there’s an atheist I can believe in.

Interesting choice of an atheist friend, Rabbi. Did Watson tell you that he thinks “[o]ne of the greatest gifts science has brought to the world is continuing elimination of the supernatural”? And as to your respect for the most vulnerable and most innocent, did he tell you he would have aborted his own son if he knew he’d have epilepsy? With friends like that . . .

Comments

29 Responses to “Special God Squad Review (Gellman’s Newsweek Attack on Atheists)”

  1. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    May 1st, 2006 @ 9:30 am

    Thank RA for critiquing the article … I had just about fallen out of my chair when I saw/read it last week.

    And, guess what, it made me rather angry! Go figure.

    I for one do get angry at a bunch of people who self rightiously tell me that I am wrong and evil and am destined to spend an eternity in hell for being a rational person who doesn’t agree with all their zany ideas.

  2. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    May 1st, 2006 @ 9:43 am

    Oh and to add on your coments about James Watson — apparently Watson and Crick had been secretely given critical x-ray diffraction research done by Rosalind Franklin (a brilliant scientist of jewish heritage) which was apparently essential to their eventual discovery of the structure of DNA.

    Apparenlty – she really deserved a piece of that Nobel prize.

    I certainly lost a bit of respect for those two guys after having heard (as Paul Harvey would say) “the rest of the story”.

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/franklin.html

  3. sdanielmorgan
    May 1st, 2006 @ 10:46 am

    Franklin died in ’58. The Prize was awarded in ’62, and explicitly states that dead persons may not be nominated.

    There is no doubt that she was a 1st-rate scientist and contributed significantly to the understanding of DNA, but her not receiving the Prize is no one’s fault, neither hers nor those of her peers in Stockholm.

  4. sdanielmorgan
    May 1st, 2006 @ 11:03 am
  5. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    May 1st, 2006 @ 12:05 pm

    Gellman quotes Watson: ‘The most important thing, as he says, is “to get something done.” Now there’s an atheist I can believe in.’

    WOW – Gellman found an atheist he could actually admire!?!

    My point (as RA seemed to indicate) is that maybe James Watson isn’t all he’s cracked up to be as far as representing “admirable atheists”.

  6. Mookie
    May 1st, 2006 @ 12:55 pm

    I get angry when people tell me to give up my reasoning skills. I am perturbed when people make decisions based on myth and legend, especially when these decisions affect me. I become upset when these people get to come together, charge each other for their “services”, and then don’t have to pay taxes, whilst I, a hardworking American, have to pay taxes because what I do does not involve talking to the sky. Oh yeah, and then they have the nerve to tell me I’m sinful, imperfect, loathsome and vile, simply because I don’t believe the snot they drip in my ears.

    You would be angry too if you had a brain and others expected you to not use it.

  7. davesgonechina
    May 1st, 2006 @ 1:17 pm

    I decided to rewrite the Rabbi’s article by swapping the roles of Jew and atheist. I think it makes it pretty clear how he grossly stereotypes others. Even more amazing is his reference to Spinoza, a man persecuted by the Jewish community for rejecting a personal God, the immortality of the soul and the idea that Jews are a chosen people.

    Rabbi Gellman is clearly functionally illiterate, at least in English, based on his writings and his poor knowledge of theology.

  8. Jody Tresidder
    May 1st, 2006 @ 2:56 pm

    Just Another Primate attempted to correct himself by saying:

    “My point (as RA seemed to indicate) is that maybe James Watson isn’t all he’s cracked up to be as far as representing “admirable atheists”.”

    But that wasn’t your original point at all, was it JAP?

    You were actually making a pretty sniffy, supposedly informed judgement about how science is done with the air of someone with a clue about the subject.

    The info you describe as “secretly given” to Watson and Crick by Franklin? (Quite apart from the Nobel Prize silliness in your first comment).

    That would be the “unpublished experimental results and ideas” for which the brilliant Franklin (by name) and her colleagues were totally openly acknowledged by Watson and Crick in their orginal paper about their discovery, would it?

    Not just their “results” but Franklin and co’s “ideas” were specifically cited.

    Nothing half hearted about it.

    Not so secret after all!!

  9. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    May 1st, 2006 @ 6:59 pm

    I haven’t read Watson and Crick’s original paper. All I know is the info I saw on a reputable science program (Nova) and many articles that clearly indicate that Franklin’s unpublished research/photographs were given to them without her knowledge.

    Whatever …

  10. Cindi
    May 1st, 2006 @ 8:56 pm

    Atheism
    (A personal journey)

    I am an atheist. I am an American. I hurt no one. I don

  11. Michelle Rhea
    May 1st, 2006 @ 10:45 pm

    I wrote a poem a few years back to try to address the most commonplace stereotypes regarding atheists, such as Rabbi Gellman’s angry atheist:

    I Am An Atheist

    It is not for a lack of desire,
    for who would not want an Omnipotent Being
    looking out for one’s welfare,
    protecting one’s loves?

    It is not for a streak of rebellion,
    for I live my life no differently
    than most who believe in God.

    It is not for disappointment
    in prayers unanswered,
    for my life is good.
    Some call it “blessed”.

    It is not due to misunderstanding,
    for once I believed as they do,
    bible at my bed, read through
    dark nights of doubt,
    praises to God in the morning.

    It is not due to anger at clergy,
    nor encountering the wrong church
    or hypocrite laity,
    for I’ve known many wonderful believers.

    It is not hatred, fear, pride,
    selfishness, or lack of education;
    It is not bigotry, persecution, or immorality
    that prevents me from believing.

    I am an atheist,
    not believing in the gods of today
    for the same reason believers
    disbelieve
    in the gods of yesterday.

  12. bernarda
    May 2nd, 2006 @ 6:25 am

    Mr. Gellman is a superstitious intellectual thug. It is hard to believe that he can be so intellectually dishonest. He dares to cite Spinoza!

    Spinoza rejected the Judaic god and was expelled from the Jewish community by people exactly like Mr. Gellman. He has a lot of chutzpah to use Spinoza as a reference.

    If atheists are angry about religious totalitarianism, it is because of what people like Gellman do to people like Spinoza. We have every right to be angry at people like him and especially there is no reason whatsoever to trust people like him.

  13. bernarda
    May 2nd, 2006 @ 7:19 am

    I decided to refresh my memory about Spinoza and Wikipedia seems to have a pretty good summary. An extract.

    “Spinoza was a thoroughgoing determinist who held that absolutely everything that happens occurs through the operation of necessity. For him, even human behaviour is fully determined, freedom being our capacity to know we are determined and to understand why we act as we do. So freedom is not the possibility to say “no” to what happens to us but the possibility to say “yes” and fully understand why things should necessarily happen that way. By forming more “adequate” ideas about what we do and our emotions or affections, we become the adequate cause of our effects (internal or external), which entails an increase in activity (versus passivity). This means that we become both more free and more like God, as Spinoza argues in the Scholium to Prop. 49, Part II.”

    This formulation is surprisingly like the discoveries of the behaviorist psychologists like B.F. Skinner. See “Beyond Freedom and Dignity” and “About Behaviorism”.

  14. Michelle Rhea
    May 2nd, 2006 @ 11:20 am

    If anyone wants to try to contact Rabbi Gellman, Yahoo Answers has this to say about his email address:

    Rabbi Marc Gellman is the senior rabbi of Temple Beth Torah in Melville, New York. You can probably contact him through their email address, info@tbtny.com or going to the following page.

    http://www.tbtny.org/contact/contact.htm

    Source(s):
    http://www.tbtny.org/spiritual/spiritual

    from: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/?qid=1006031609709

  15. Thorngod
    May 2nd, 2006 @ 2:05 pm

    Cindi– Why is so much fear associated with atheism?
    It’s because “believers” are by and large as rational as you or I in every area except religion. Consequently, most of them understand full well that their religious beliefs are irrational, but they can no more shed them than the racial bigot can shed his prejudice, and the disbelief of atheists, and their insistance on applying reason to religion, is an intolerable threat.

  16. bernarda
    May 2nd, 2006 @ 4:05 pm

    Thorngod, your comparison of religious belief to racial bigotry is very well taken. That might even get to a few who are not racist.

  17. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    May 3rd, 2006 @ 9:15 am

    Jody Tresidder said: ‘Just Another Primate attempted to correct himself by saying:’ …

    I never attempted to “corrected” myself — I was merely adding to (and clarifying) my first post on Watson.

    Jody Tresidder said:
    …blah, blah, blah … “You were actually making a pretty sniffy, supposedly informed judgement about how science is done with the air of someone with a clue about the subject.”

    And after checking some more – I stand by my original statements.

    I suppose you feel that it is perfectly acceptable to use someones ‘UNPUBLISHED’ research without their knowledge ???
    —– her x-ray photographs were not given by her but rather by her collegue Wilkins (who apparently thought of her as a lab assistant rather than the research scientist she actually was) without her permission. PERIOD.

    And this is how she was cited in the original article:
    “We have also been stimulated by the knowledge of the general nature of the unpublished experimental results and ideas of Dr. M. H.H Wilkins and Dr.R.E. Franklin and their co workers at King’s College” ….

    “stimulated by the knowledge” …. whoopie

    And as far as my “silliness” concerning the Nobel prize — it is not an uncommon opinion that her contribution could have justified her sharing in the prize.

    So there were “secrets and half hearted” acknowledgments of here work.

    And — who the hell are YOU anyways ?

  18. butt slut 4 jesus
    May 3rd, 2006 @ 9:19 am

    This Jew is full of rage. The only thing meaningful he says is the cliche about atheists. Woo hoo. Don’t you just love cliches of “Atheists are angry”? Well, I’m angry, and raging, and narcissistic, but of course, it’s for meaningful purposes, such as, that one post by the RA about how Atheists are the most untrusted individuals in the United States – even ranked below Muslims (no offense to Muslims).

  19. Jody Tresidder
    May 3rd, 2006 @ 11:16 am

    Just Another Primate graciously enquired:
    “And — who the hell are YOU anyways ?”.

    Someone who knows a bit more about how science is done than you do, apparently.

    You wrote: “Apparenlty – she really deserved a piece of that Nobel prize.”
    As sdanielmorgan pointed out, you can’t deserve something for which you aren’t even eligible for nomination on account of already being dead.

    I think you needed a conditional clause there, sweetie?

    You wrote: “I suppose you feel that it is perfectly acceptable to use someones ‘UNPUBLISHED’ research without their knowledge ???”

    How to untangle your assumptions here, Primate?

    Try mulling over these questions:
    Why hadn’t Franklin published her own research?
    Why was Watson responsible for the breach of etiquette you assume Wilkins guilty of in voluntarily showing Watson his colleague Franklin’s photograph? If Wilkins had no “intellectual right” in showing Watson the photograph, how come Wilkins also shared the Nobel prize with Crick and Watson? What “use” are you claiming that Watson and Crick made of the “B” structure photograph? What was Franklin’s attitude towards the double helix structure at the time of the photograph? What was Franklin’s contemporaneous reaction to Crick and Watson’s discovery AND their acknowledgement of her contribution when the first – and second – benchmark 1953 papers were published?
    What do you make of “feminist” author Brenda Maddox’s biography of Franklin? (I put quotes around “feminist” not remotely to sneer. But as a kind of tribute – because Maddox took a much tougher line even than the sycophantically pro-Franklin Anne Sayre biography with regard to retrieving Franklin for posterity and if anyone was going to dump on arguably shabby behaviour by the white male science hegemony, Maddox was).

    I happen to think Franklin was absolutely incredible.

    I also happen to think it does no one any favors to seize on a superficially “juicy” line about one of the biggest 20th century scientific achievments as if it were gospel and based on your own vague notions about peer etiquette and the ownership of knowledge and enquiry.

    (Have to grudgingly say, though. I am impressed you followed up. That’s a better response than “whatever,” sweetie!)

  20. atheologist
    May 3rd, 2006 @ 11:22 am

    Thorngod said:
    “Why is so much fear associated with atheism?
    It’s because “believers” are by and large as rational as you or I in every area except religion. Consequently, most of them understand full well that their religious beliefs are irrational, but they can no more shed them than the racial bigot can shed his prejudice, and the disbelief of atheists, and their insistance on applying reason to religion, is an intolerable threat.”

    I agree 100% and that’s why Gellman refuses to debate atheists.

  21. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    May 3rd, 2006 @ 12:23 pm

    Jody Tresidder said:

    (Have to grudgingly say, though. I am impressed you followed up. That’s a better response than “whatever,” sweetie!)

    “Sweetie” – is that meant to belittle and embarrass me?
    ———————————————————————————

    Look —– I suspect that Watson knew exactly what he was doing when he accepted that photo from Wilkin’s — unfairly using Franklin’s work to his advantage. (He didn’t think much of her)

    And that was the whole point of my original posts. I merely followed up on Raving Atheit’s obsevation on how Rabbi Gellman seemed to have such reverence for that wonderful (and rare) atheist. This seemed like a weak (and risky) point in Gellman’s article. (Gellman shouldn’t be putting all in eggs in one basket.)
    ———————————————————————————

    Geez – glad I don’t know you in real life – you seem like a tough “cookie” — sweetie.

  22. Jody Tresidder
    May 3rd, 2006 @ 1:13 pm

    Just Another Primate,
    “Sweetie”was just a mild tease. Nothing more.

    You write: “Look —– I suspect that Watson knew exactly what he was doing when he accepted that photo from Wilkin’s — unfairly using Franklin’s work to his advantage. (He didn’t think much of her..”.

    Frankly, you can “suspect” all you like, and you may well continue to chip into any conversation in which the DNA structure discovery is mentioned – or Watson as an atheist beacon, for that matter -and toss in your opinion about “unfairness” , without having learnt anything at all. That is your privilege.
    My annotated copy of “The Double Helix” is over a quarter century old. It carries extensive reviews – some hostile – and commentary – often critical – about Watson’s book and about different versions of the discovery. In addition, as mentioned above, there is the Maddox biography of Franklin, and the earlier Sayre. Wilkins published his own account not too long before he died recently. Watson has also written extensively about ethics, in case you are interested.
    None of this seems, though, really to grab you.
    You have your narrow, hedgehog-like Big Thought – “there was unfairness” – and that’s it!

    Perhaps there is another way to make you see how you are distorting things.

    What would have to be different for the structure to have been Franklin’s prize?
    She would have needed to take Watson and Crick seriously as chemists.
    She would have needed a different relationship with Wilkins.
    She would have needed to be fixed on a different pursuit.
    She would have still needed Linus Pauling not to have been thinking straight.
    She would have needed Crick and Watson to be thinking about something else.

    How many conditionals do YOU need?

  23. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    May 3rd, 2006 @ 1:42 pm

    In the very article that sdanielmorgan cites above to explain why Franklin didn’t recieve the prize it says this:

    “Most scientists today believe that she deserved it”

    ——————————————————————————–
    You obviously know more about this than I do — yet you spout out tons of questions for which you provide no answers …. and frankly – I don’t even know what your point is anymore.

    You’ve completely distorted my posts into something bigger (and badder) that they were.

    UGH – you are unbelievable !

  24. Jody Tresidder
    May 3rd, 2006 @ 2:17 pm

    Just Another Primate,
    You wrote: “You’ve completely distorted my posts into something bigger (and badder) that they were.

    UGH – you are unbelievable.”

    And your argument PRECISELY illustrates the dangers of googling in a temper when you should be calmly thinking.

  25. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    May 3rd, 2006 @ 3:02 pm

    HA HA – you are just too much. You list this book and that book. Yet you’ve barely mentioned anything ‘tangible’ besides a litany of references.

    YAH – she didn’t win the Nobel prize – and the conditions for it weren’t right.

    But did her work contribute sufficiently for her maybe having shared in the prize —– many people think so. Oh – but regardless if the scientific community feels that way – you are going to obstinately disagree just to win a fucking argument.

    But since you have all the information at hand – why don’t you enlighten us on how James Watson valliantley gave Franklin the credit she deserved? Or how Watson’s use of her research can be used as a role model for scientists around the world? Go ahead – raher than just listing this book or that book why don’t you actually say something of substance.

    (Geez – maybe you should try googling a bit rather than relying on your voluminous library.)

    I’m not commenting on this any more – it really has become irrelevant to the topic at hand — Rabbi Gellman’s article.

  26. bernarda
    May 3rd, 2006 @ 3:10 pm

    Why not ask your questions directly to godsquader Hellman.

    Marc Gellman is Rabbi of Temple Beth Torah in Dix Hills, New York.

    If you live in NY of course.

  27. Jody Tresidder
    May 4th, 2006 @ 10:03 am

    Primate,
    Your thesis – such as it is – argued that Watson was not a great atheist role model, as cited by RA’s rabbi, because of questions about his past scientific integrity.

    My answering argument is that you haven’t proved your supporting point.

    Because you have BOUNCED yourself into this topic, grabbing handfuls of long dried mud along the way in an inarguably angry attempt at catch-up, you have lost sight of your judgement.

    NOW you claim that somehow my argument has become:”how Watson’s use of her research can be used as a role model for scientists around the world”?

    Talk about stuffing words in my mouth!

    So in order to prove he’s not a dastardly villain – I have to show he is, in fact, a shining hero?

    You know what this feels like, Primate?

    Like arguing with someone about “Hamlet” who refuses to see the play.

    I SHOWED you back at comment #8 that Crick and Watson rightly acknowledged Franklin’s private contribution to their work. You promptly quibbled about the wording! Suddenly you’re an expert on peer-to-peer science academic publishing etiquette in 1953?

    I can’t HELP that you haven’t read the source material for this debate.
    It’s not my FAULT that I have.

    I am not trying to “obstinately disagree just to win a fucking argument,” as you so memorably put it.
    You are losing it all by yourself.

  28. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    May 4th, 2006 @ 11:23 am

    And you said:

    I SHOWED you back at comment #8 that Crick and Watson rightly acknowledged Franklin’s private contribution to their work. You promptly quibbled about the wording! Suddenly you’re an expert on peer-to-peer science academic publishing etiquette in 1953?

    ———————————————————————————
    The FACT is that Franklin is not cited in the “reference” at the end of the original article published in Nature. (of course she couldn’t be as her work was unpublished).

    Your claim in #8 that …. ‘unpublished experimental results and ideas for which the brilliant Franklin (by name) and her colleagues were totally openly acknowledged” ……… by Watson and Crick in their orginal paper about their discovery, would it?’ ——– is being quite generous towards Watson and Crick. My promptly “quibling” about that wording (her name mentioned in passing) is actually something that has been hotly debated in the scientific community. It’s just not me that has this opinion.

    http://www.exploratorium.edu/origins/coldspring/ideas/printit.html

    A few notes from this annotated article (sorry I don’t have your 25 year old copy).

    (12) Here, Watson and Crick say that they “were not aware of the details” of the work of King’s College scientist Rosalind Franklin—a statement that marks what many consider an inexcusable failure to give Franklin proper credit.

    Then, in perhaps the most pivotal moment in the search for DNA’s structure, Wilkins, a longtime friend of Crick, showed Watson one of Franklin’s photographs without Franklin’s permission. Watson recalled, “The instant I saw the picture my mouth fell open and my pulse began to race.” To Watson, the cross-shaped pattern of spots in the photo meant that DNA had to have a helical structure. Franklin’s photograph was critical in solving the problem, as Watson admitted in his 1968 book, The Double Helix.

    Crick later said the data in the report enabled him to reach the significant conclusion that DNA has two chains running in opposite directions. Although Franklin was listed in the acknowledgements section with other scientists, there was no specific mention of her contributions.

    ———————————————————————————
    Interpret it the way you want to. In my (and many other’s) opinion she was not given adequate recognition by Watson and Crick for her contribution to “their” discovery.

    I am done.

  29. Brooks
    May 6th, 2006 @ 12:42 am

    Listening to you two reminds me of my parents when I was young. The only problem is that now I have kids sleeping and I can’t lock myself in my room and crank Ted Nugent.

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