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Quoting unreliable sources

April 12, 2013
The Daily Mining Gazette

I was one of the responses to the inaccurate letter that was published Feb. 14, so I figured it only made sense to be sure that the quote another uses in replying to my criticism was accurate. It's not.

Aldous Huxley never wrote any article titled "Confessions of a Professed Atheist." A. Huxley died in 1963. It wasn't until three years later that the alleged "Confession" was published in a journal called Report: Perspective on the News, Vol. 3, June, 1966, p19. The "Confession" was merely one paragraph, printed in the middle of a much longer article by Dennis Helming titled "An Interview with God." That article spanned across pages 16-20. The title "Confessions of a Professed Atheist" is clearly one given by Helming.

The true source of the quote is A. Huxley's book "Ends and Means," which he wrote in 1937. The quote in question is from Chapter 14 of this book.

When reading the rest of the chapter for context, it becomes incredibly clear that A. Huxley was not writing about why people in Darwin's time "leaped at the Origin," but instead was speaking of the rise of a "philosophy of meaningless" and the materialism rising among the masses after the end of WWI, during the 1920s.

In the following chapter of "Ends and Means," A. Huxley goes on to express his abhorrence of "sexual addictions" and using sex as a means to an end. Combined, his chapters "Religious Practices," "Ethics," and "Beliefs" argue not in favor of atheism as the letter writer errantly believes, but instead in favor of the type of a "meaningful cosmos" and a universal spirituality that he stated were expressed in the works of many Eastern mystics as well as some famous Christian mystics.

I would absolutely love if, just once, somebody writing a letter to the editor in favor of a Christian world view would use a non-biblical quote that wasn't either cherry picked, taken out of context, or outright fabricated.

I'd also love to get into how the letter writer has massively misrepresented science and the scientific process, but we all know that the word limit on these letters prevents that. Unfortunately, I will have to leave it there.

In the future, try not quoting directly from the Institute for Creation Research or Answers in Genesis. They are hardly reliable sources.

Bryan J. Sebeck

Canton, Mich.

 
 

 

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