D

From Philosopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Daar, Judy (20th Century) Daar, a paralegal, is active in the Secular Humanists of the East Bay in California. She co-authored with Dan Dugan an article, “Are Rudolf Steiner’s Waldorf Schools ‘Non-Sectarian’?” for Free Inquiry (Spring 1994).

Dabholkar, Narendra (20th Century) Dr. Dabholkar of Satara, the eighteenth-century capital of the independent state of Maharashtr in India, founded an anti-superstition movement called Andha Shraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (ANIS), which is related to the international group of skeptics, CSICOP, the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. (See entry for Govind N. Deodhekar.)

DADA As a counterforce to philosophers’ seriousness and people’s general desire to find meaning, some European artists and writers from 1916 to 1923 flouted conventional aesthetic and cultural values, calling themselves dadaists. Dada, a French word for hobbyhorse and an English word of baby-talk origin, inspired creative people to produce works such as “Nude Descending Staircase” that were marked by nonsense, travesty, and incongruity. (See entries for avant-garde and Robert Delford Brown.)

DAEDALUS: See entry for David E. H. Jones.

Dagnall, Leslie J. (20th Century) In 1972, Dagnall was President of the Board of Directors of the Humanist Society of Greater New York.

Dagne, Robert Addison (20th Century) Dagne wrote Is the Bible the Infallible Word of God? (19–?) {GS}

Dahl, Arnold (20th Century) Dahl is on the board of directors of the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

Dahl, Frances (1914-1999) Dahl, a feminist married to Arnold Dahl was on the board of directors of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. An obstetrical nurse, she died of cancer at the age of eighty-four.

Dahlitz, Ray (1926— ) Dahlitz is editor of The Humanist Rationalist Bibliography and author of The Development of the Rationalist Movement in Australia. He is a member of the Melbourne University Freethought Society, the Rationalist Society of Australia, the Humanist Society of Victoria, the Rationalist Association of New South Wales, and the Australian Skeptics. He also heads the Council of Australian Humanist Societies (CAHS). Dahlitz has written for The New Zealand Rationalist and Humanist. In 1994, he edited Secular Who’s Who, A Biographical Directory of Freethinkers, Secularists, Rationalists, Humanists, and Others Involved in Australia’s Secular Movement From 1850 Onwards. E-mail: <rayday@vic.bigpond.net.au>.

DAISY CHAIN, COSMIC: See entry for Allen Ginsberg.

Dakron, Ron (20th Century) A poet and novelist, Dakron in a 1997 interview with Philip Collins told about the rage that in part inspired his first book, Infra. It was not a personal rage, he explained, “not anger at any person or class or belief system, more a rage against existence—against that quality of existence which seems to batter and defeat us. I wasn’t enraged all day or anything; actually, I got involved in this tender affair during the creation of Infra; but I was pretty ticked off about humans versus the cosmos. And me on the losing side. It seemed, and still does, like we’re getting a bum rap.” When asked from whom, he replied, “Well, since I’m an atheist, I don’t think from anyone in particular. But spirit is where you find it. And at twenty-eight I was finding it in honing some kind of weapon from language. Infra is my broadsword attack on language—a lot of poetic grunting and smashing.” {CA}

Dalai Lama [Tenzin Gyatso] (1935— ) Tibet’s supreme temporal and religious head, the Dalai Lama, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. Although a Buddhist and said to be a non-theist, he has followers whose worship includes seeking Nirvana, reciting prayers, intoning hymns, and using various shamanistic elements. To become the grand lama, he was considered to have been born at the exact moment either Dalai or Panchen died. In 1959 he gave up cooperating with the Chinese and fled into exile, traveling widely and pleading the Tibetan cause. In 1997, shown Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Nine Billion Names of God,” the Dalai Lama responded, “Your short story titled ‘The Nine Billion Names of God’ was particularly amusing.” Apparently, the Dalai Lama was unaware of Clarke’s purpose in showing him the story. Christopher Hitchens, columnist in The Nation (27 July-3 August 1998), collected some facts about “The Divine One”:

• After donating 45 million rupees, or about 170 million yen, to the Dalai Lama, Shoko Asahara was rewarded by several high-level meetings with the Dalai Lama. Asahara was leader of the Supreme Truth” cult in Japan and spreader of sarin nerve gas on the Tokyo subway.

• Supporters of the Dorge Shugden deity—a “Dharma protector” and an ancient object of worship and propitiation in Tibet—have been threatened with violence and ostracism and even death following the Dalai Lama’s abrupt prohibition of this once-venerated godhead. A Swiss television documentary graphically intercuts footage of his Holiness, denying all knowledge of menace and intimidation, with scenes of his followers enthusiastically flaunting “Wanted” posters and other paraphernalia of excommunication and persecution.

• While he denies being a Buddhist “pope,” the Dalai Lama is never happier than when brooding in a celibate manner on the sex lives of people he has never met. “Sexual misconduct for men and women consists of oral and anal sex,” he has repeatedly said in promoting his book on these matteers. “Using one’s hand, that is sexual misconduct.” But, as ever with religious stipulations, there is a nutty escape clause. “To have sexual relations with a prostitute paid by you and not a third person does not constitute improper behavior.” {CE; Dalai Lama letter to Arthur C. Clarke, 27 February 1997; E}

Dale, Antonius van (1638—1708) Van Dale, a Dutch writer, wrote The Origin and Progress of Idolatry and Superstition and another work, translated into English by Aphra Behn, under the title of The History of Oracles and the Cheats of Pagan Priests. He applied the historical method to his subject and showed that the belief in demons was as old and as extensive as the human race. {BDF}

Dale, Riepe (20th Century) Dale wrote The Naturalistic Tradition in Indian Thought (1961). The work discusses the early Ajivikas and Carvakas views of the naturalistic elements of Jainism, Hinayana Buddhism, Samkhya, and Vaisesika.

Daleiden, Joseph L. (20th Century) Daleiden’s The Final Superstition: A Critical Evaluation of the Judeo-Christian Legacy (1994) is a dialogue with God. God is asked about various organized religions, which allows Daleiden to highlight the weaknesses of theism. When the subject of the existence of God arises, the format of a dialog weakens, for it becomes illogical to question the existence of an entity that is capable of responding. The work, however, takes up the arguments against theism and religion in a novel way. God, represented as “G” in the dialogue, is shown willing to take up arguments that have been used to defend deism. Daleiden, a former Roman Catholic who never deliberately missed Mass until the age of twenty-six, has been a director of corporate planning for Amertech. The author of Science and Morality—Normal Behavior in the 21st Century, Daleiden at the 1999 convention of Humanists of Florida spoke on the subject of “Raising Children Without Religion.”

d’Alembert, Jean le Rond: See entry for Alembert.

Dali, Salvador (1904-1989) A Catalan who became a leading surrealist artist, Dali is best known for his “Persistence of Memory” (1931). He has been portrayed by Ian Gibson in The Shameful Life of Salvador Dali (1998) as paranoia personified. A timid child fascinated with buttocks and fearful of locusts, Dali confided in his Unspeakable Confessions

For a long time I experienced the misery of believing I was impotent. . . . Naked, and comparing myself to my schoolfriends, I discovered that my penis was small, pitiful and soft. I can recall a pornographic novel whose Don Juan machine-gunned female genitals with ferocious glee, saying that he enjoyed hearing women creak like watermelons. I convinced myself that I would never be able to make a woman creak like a watermelon.

Gibson holds that Dali had an unconsummated love affair with the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, the greatest friend of his youth, but masturbation was his only sexual activity throughout life, despite his love for poet Paul Éluard’s wife Gala (born Helena Diakanoff Devulina in Kazan). Gala, according to John Richardson (Vogue, December 1998) was “one of the nastiest wives a major modern artist ever saddled himself with” and

With her White Russian terror of Communism, Gala also managed to subvert the liberal ideology that Dali had shared with the fellow geniuses of his student days, Lorca and Buñuel. Disdaining the Marxism of the other Surrealists, the former atheist [Dali] and anarchist went over to totalitarianism and its by-product anti-Semitism. Far from showing any sympathy for the proletariat, Dali reportedly announced, apropos of his surreal penchant for the macabre, that he preferred train accidents in which the third-class passengers suffered most. He hailed the swastika as “the fusion of Left and Right, the resolution of antagonistic movements.” On another occasion he described Hitler, childishly, as a nurse, and also talked with relish of biting “into the doting and triumphal sweetness of the plump, atavistic, tender, militarist and territorial back of [this] nurse.”

Dali unconditionally supported Franco’s fascistic regime in Spain and was a Roman Catholic.

Dalin, Olof Von (1708—1763) Dalin, a Swedish poet, was a non-theist. (See entry for Scandinavian Unbelievers.)

Dall, Caroline Wells Healey (1822-1912) Dall, a Unitarian, was a reformer and advocate of women’s rights. {U}

Dalton, Gloster (19th Century) Dalton was a charter member of the Independent Christian Church of Gloucester, Massachusetts, the first Universalist congregation in North America. He was the first African American Universalist, according to David Johnson, minister of First Parish in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Dalvi, G. R. (20th Century) At the Third International Humanist and Ethical Union World Congress held in Oslo (1962), Dalvi from India addressed the group.

Daly, Mary (20th Century) Daly wrote The Church and the Second Sex (1968). Selections from her work are included in A World Religions Reader under Secular Humanism.

Damilaville, Étienne Noël (1721—1768) A French writer, Damilaville was a friend of Voltaire, Diderot, d’Alembert, Grimm, and d’Holbach. He contributed to the Encyclopédie and in 1767 published an atheistic attack on the theologians, entitled Theological Honesty. Voltaire called Damilaville “one of our most learned writers.” Larousse says “he was an ardent enemy of Christianity.” McCabe suggests that some of the encyclopedic entries were actually written by abler individuals who borrowed Damilaville’s name. {BDF; JMRH; RAT}

Damiron, Jean Philibert (1794—1862) 

Damiron was a French philosopher, a pupil of Cousin, from whom he adopted his eclectic system. In 1833 he was made a chevalier of the Legion of Honour and in 1836 a member of the Institut. He wrote harshly of the materialists, professing a philosophic theism and relegating Christianity to “children and weaklings.” {RAT}

Dana, Charles Anderson (1819—1897) Dana was associated as a young man with the Brook Farm, but he left in order to be managing editor under Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune (1849—1862). A liberal, he was dismissed at the outbreak of the Civil War because of his chauvinistic outlook, after which he became assistant secretary of war (1864), then part owner of the New York Sun (1867), which he edited in a lively manner. With George Ripley, Dana edited the American Cyclopaedia (1858—1864). {FUS}

DANCE Christian religionists and theologians are, arguably, not much interested in dance, but those secularists for whom philosophy is of basic importance are devoted to dance in all its forms. Contemporary Bible Belt Christians have been known to frown upon dancing, a social activity which can involve bodily touching. Dance enthusiasts, however, relish the activity. Primitive dances are the basis for many of the folk dances of contemporary times. War dances, dances devoted to the seeking of success in battle or thankfulness for victories, are international in character. Native American medicine men have been associated with dances of exorcism, of invocation, of asking for help in farming or hunting or the fertility of men and animals. Dances of courtship and of ecstasy have been popular in Africa, in Ancient Greece (where the choral dance honored Dionysus), in India, in Japan, in China, everywhere throughout the world. The ballet first appeared in Italian courts in the 16th century and became popular in France during the reign of Louis XIV. Other forms included the minuet (France), the Morris Dance (England), the mazurka (Poland), the czardas (Hungary), the bolero (Spain), the tarantella (Italy), the galop (Germany) the polka (Bohemia) the highland fling (Scotland), the jig (Ireland), and American dance versions called the Virginia reel, the clog dance, the cakewalk, the two-step, the turkey trot, the Charleston, the Lindy Hop, the boogie woogie, the jitterbug, the twist, the frug, and numbers of others. Lincoln Kirstein’s Book of the Dance (1942) and The International Encyclopedia of Dance (1998) make clear the attraction of this humanistic form of rhythmic activity. {CE)

Dandolo, Vincenzo (1758—1819) Count Dandolo was an Italian chemist, author of Principles of Physical Chemistry. The New Men (1799) shows his antagonism to religion, and he wrote other works on vine, timber, and silk culture. {BDF; RAT}

DANDRUFF • History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it to derive considerable pleasure fiddling with it. —Robert A. Heinlein as expressed by a character in Time Enough for Love

Daniel, Stephen Hartley (1950— ) Daniel wrote John Toland (1984) and Myth and Modern Philosophy (1990). {FUK}

Danielsson, Tage (1928—1985) Danielsson, a popular Swedish actor, debater, and producer, is an atheist who has written “Second Thoughts,” a poem in his Tankar från roten (Thoughts From the Root) with overtones of 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13 which includes the following:

I believe in doubt. Doubt is the basis of all knowledge, the engine of all change. Doubt is, to be doubtlessly sure, the prerequisite of faith. He who believes without first doubting is an exulting blockhead and a tinkling cymbal. And he who believes without at the same time doubting is hardly less of an exulting blockhead and hardly less of a tinkling cymbal. Faith can remove mountains but doubt can put them back in place again. . . . And now abides faith, hope, doubt, these three; but the greatest of these is doubt. Or maybe it was love. Now, damn it, I am uncertain again!

The book, written because he thought the Social Democratic government did not listen to the Swedish people, was a humorous collection of satirical poems and anecdotes. {Translation by Fredrik Bendz and Warren Allen Smith, 23 May 1997}

DANISH HUMANISTS In Denmark, the Danish Humanist Debate (IHEU) is at Bjaelkevangen 2c, 2800 Lyngby, Denmark. (See entries for A. B. Drachmann, author of Atheism in Pagan Antiquity and Scandinavian Unbelievers.) {FD}

DANISH UNITARIANS

	In 1900, influenced by Norwegian and British Unitarians, Danes built a church which centered its outlook around the teachings of Jesus, God the Father, the Golden Rule, and “love thy neighbor.” Its aim was to bring religious, philosophical, and scientific views together. Individuals were responsible for their own way of life and religious views, and all have the freedom to disassociate from dogmatic exterior authority in favor of reliance on an inner authority. 

In 1998 one fellowship of thirty-five families and seventy “supporters” is at Dag Hammarskjolds Alle 30, 2100 Kobenhaven, O, Denmark. Lene Lund Shoemaker is a contact. On the Web: <www.uua.org/icuu/icuu-europe.html>.

DANISH-AMERICAN FREETHOUGHT: For a discussion of Danish-American freethinkers, see Freethought in the United States by Gordon Stein.

Dankert, Piet (20th Century) President of the European Parliament, Dankert presided over the International Humanist and Ethical Union’s (IHEU’s) International Peace Conference at Zutphen (1983) in the Netherlands. He is author of Europe Without Frontiers (1989).

D’Annunzio, Gabriele [Prince] (1863—1938) An Italian poet, novelist, dramatist, and soldier, D’Annunzio started as a gossip columnist for Roman society, then became a writer who, Garry Wills has said, had a “largely unhealthy influence on Italian culture and politics.” This is because his novels and plays combined a nostalgic decadence with the technological optimism of the Futurists. Saddled with debts, he moved to Paris, becoming a literary lion and collaborating with Claude Debussy on a play with music, The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian. The saint’s role was taken by D’Annunzio’s lover, the dancer Ida Rubenstein, who rated the Church’s denunciations for her transvestism. The Church, for which he always expressed a profound contempt, put all his work on the Index. The Pope expressly warned Catholics not to read anything by him. In one of his works, the Prince describes himself (in the guise of one of his characters) as “a princely artist of magnificent sensuality.” D’Annunzio, states McCabe, led the Neo-Pagan movement in Italy and was an atheist.

	At the outbreak of World War I, he returned to Italy and was instrumental in persuading Italy to join the Allies, arguing that it was a way of advancing Italian imperialism. John Woodhouse’s Gabriele D’Annunzio: Defiant Archangel (1998) describes D’Annunzio’s winning many Italian medals in the war, but his sea raid on an Austrian base on the Dalmatian coast sank no ships—none were in the Bay of Buccari when his three little torpedo boats infiltrated those waters by night. What the poet did was to leave satirical messages that bobbed in bottles, then wrote of the battle as if it had been an epic encounter. He flew over Austrian lines dropping bombs as well as pamphlets at the enemy and lost sight in one eye when his pilot crash-landed. Claiming that Achilles had shouted Eia alala! to his chariot horses, D’Annunzio convinced the Italian army to adopt the ancient cry as their own. Woodhouse relates many instances of his subject’s bravado, including once photographing as the city of Versailles’ slogan of defiance an obscene expression from the World War trenches, Me ne frego (“I jack off on it”).

At first, D’Annunzio was a Socialist and scorned Mussolini’s alliance with the Papacy, but he was reconciled politically—Mussolini gave him his title—and his life in his later years was marred, states McCabe, “by unhappy political adventures and the loss of his literary brilliance.” He spent his final years at an abandoned villa on Lake Garda, turning the place into a shrine to his activities and works. Much of Fascism’s street theater, wrote Wills,

was taken from the secular liturgies D’Annunzio had invented in his parliamentary campaigns, his war ceremonies, and his reign at Fiume. . . . Mussolini did not want any interference in or criticism of what he was doing with D’Annunzio’s tactics, so he immobilized the poet by wedging him into his shrine with pillows stuffed all around him. He showered him with honors, commissioned a grand edition of all his works, subvented Il Vittoriale with funds and mementos from the World War.

{JM; The New York Review of Books, 4 March 1999; RE; TRI}

Dante Alighieri (1265—1321) Dante, the Italian poet whose description of Hell in The Divine Comedy (begun about 1300) is often treated as gospel by believers, supported Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII and was opposed to the temporal power of Pope Boniface VIII. He died, ironically, a few hours after writing the final lines of Paradiso, the third section of The Divine Comedy. Dante’s Inferno described Hell as containing nine circles: Limbus, Upper Hell with four circles, and Lower Hell with four circles.

• Limbus—humans who arrived here suffered by neverbeing able to attain Heaven. Circle #1— Limbo housed spirits who were not sinful; e.g., Christians who lacked baptism; and pagans if they “did not duly worship God.” • Upper Hell— for individuals guilty of sins less offensive to God Circle #2—The Lust Circle: here were placed carnal sinners. Circle #3—The Violence Circle: here was housed those with sins of gluttony and incontinence. Circle #4—The Avarice and prodigality Circle: here were misers, spendthrifts, abusers of worldly goods, people who were prodigal. Circle #5—The Anger Circle: here were the sullen and wrathful • Lower Hell— for individuals guilty of sins very offensive to God: in this area, called the “City of Dis,” are those whose sins were not due to incontinence or desire or temper but to permanent evil, bestiality, despoiling Circle #6—The Heresy Circle: here were Epicureans and other materialistic freethinkers (presumably rationalists, secular humanists, agnostics, etc.) who denied the immortality of the soul and regarded a comfortable life as the highest good. Circle #7—The Violence Circle: for sodomites, usurers, suicides, people who are violent against nature. Circle #8—The Deceit Circle: here are ten concentric circles which include deceivers, panderers, seducers, flatterers, falsifiers, soothsayers, barrators, hypocrites, evil counselors, creators of strife, counter- feiters, murderers (who are buried head downwards in a hole), thieves, those guilty of simony (using their ecclesiastic office for personal gain), and schismatics (including Mahomet/Muhammad). Circle #9—The Treachery Circle: for individuals guilty of the fraud of treachery; it is called the Giudecca (so named from Judas Iscariot), and sinners

	are wholly and forever imprisoned in ice.  

{CE; Dante, The Inferno; PA}

Danto, Arthur C(oleman) (1924— ) The Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, Danto in 1983 was President of the American Philosophic Association. In 1965, he wrote Nietzsche as Philosopher, one of the authoritative biographies recognized by other philosophers. In 1980, he signed the Secular Humanist Declaration. Danto wrote Mark Tanney: Visions and Revisions (1992) and Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post-Historical Perspective (1993). In Columbia (Spring 1993), he describes how in 1948 he entered the Columbia University graduate program in philosophy as a probation student, not having had any previous undergraduate courses in philosophy. In fact, he “had no great interest in philosophy and certainly no intention of becoming a philosopher. Rather, philosophy seemed a good way for me to draw the benefits of what remained to me from the GI Bill, enabling me to be in New York while I pursued my real ambition, which was to become an artist.” He did, in fact, become an artist and also he became the art editor of Nation. In the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Danto wrote the entry for “Naturalism.” His special expertise, according to Robert Sharpe of the University of Wales in Lampeter, is aesthetics, “where he is largely responsible for bringing the idea of the ‘art world’ into prominence.” Danto is the recipient of the prestigious Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Journalism, given by the College Art Association. In 1994, Danto wrote Embodied Meanings: Critical Essays and Aesthetic Meditations, showing not only his openmindedness about art and artists but also his broad understanding of the international world of art. Evaluating the photographic achievement of the controversial artist, Robert Mapplethorpe, Danto in 1995 wrote Playing With the Edge. In 1997 his After the End of Art is a discussion of contemporary art and the pale of history. Based on his Mellon Lectures, the work of art criticism tells how art has changed, how there no longer is any special way it has to “look,” how art in essence is whatever artists make. It does not, he states controversially, have to have an explicit social or political message. {HM2; OCP; SHD}

Danton, Georges Jacques (1759—1794) A French revolutionist, Danton was one of the chief organizers of the Republic once Louis XVI could no longer be king. Carlyle called him the Tital of the Revolution and certainly its greatest figure after Mirabeau. In the alarm caused by the invasion, he urged a bold and resolute policy. Danton was a member of the Convention and of the Committee of Public Safety. At the crisis of the struggle with Robespierre, who charged him with atheism, Danton declined to strike the first blow and disdained to flee. With all his faults, said Carlyle, “he was a Man; fiery-real, from the great fire-bosom of Nature herself.” Some of his phrases were like pyramids, standing sublime above the drifting sand of human speech. It was he who advised “daring, and still daring, and ever daring.” It was he who cried, “The coalesced kings of Europe threaten us, and as our gage of battle we fling before them the head of a king.” It was he who exclaimed, in a rapture of patriotism, “Let my name be blighted, so that France be free.” “They dare not” arrest him, he said; but he was soon a prisoner in the Luxembourg. “What is your name and abode?” they asked him at the tribunal. “My name is Danton,” he answered, “a name tolerably known in the Revolution: my abode will soon be Annihilation; but I shall live in the Pantheon of History.” Replying to his infamous indictment, his magnificent voice “reverberated with the roar of a lion in the toils.” The President rang his bell, enjoining calmness, said Carlyle, in a vehement manner, “What is it to thee how I defend myself?” cried Danton; “the right of dooming me is thine always. The voice of a man speaking for his honor and life may well drown the jingling of thy bell!”

	Foote describes how, on the way to the guillotine, Danton bore himself proudly. Poor Camille Desmoulins struggled and writhed in the cart, which was surrounded by a howling mob. “Calm, my friend,” said Danton, “heed not that vile canaille.” Herault de Sechelles, whose turn it was to die first, tried to embrace his friend, but the executioners prevented him. “Fools,” said Danton, “you cannot prevent our heads from meeting in the basket.” At the foot of the scaffold the thought of home flashed through his mind. “O my wife,” he exclaimed, “my well-beloved, I shall never see thee more then.” But recovering himself, he said, “Danton, no, weakness!” Looking the executioner in the face, he cried with his great voice, “You will show my head to the crowd; it is worth showing; you don’t see the like in these days.” The next minute that head, the one that might have guided France best, wrote Foote, was severed from his body by the knife of the guillotine. “What a man this Danton was! With his Herculean form, his huge black head, his mighty voice, his passionate nature, his fiery courage, his poignant wit, his geniality, and his freedom from cant, he was a splendid and unique figure.” An atheist, Foote continued, “he perished in trying to arrest bloodshed. Robespierre, the Deist, continued the bloodshed till it drowned him. The two men were as diverse in nature as in creed, and Danton killed by Robespierre, as Courtois said, was Pyrrhus killed by a woman!” {BDF; FO; JM; JMRH} 

Dantone, Gerry (20th Century) Dantone helped found the Long Island, New York, chapter of the Council for Secular Humanism. A commercial real estate broker, he has degrees in chemical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York and in finance from St. John’s University. Dantone has a record label, Infidels Records, and his band called “UniversalDice.com” wrote, recorded, and performed a humanistic rock opera on CD called “My Name is Thomas.” The rock opera is about the loss of faith by a man of the cloth. E-mail: <infidelsre@aol.com>. (See entry for Freethought Music.)

Danz, John (20th Century Danz once was a director of the American Humanist Association. He generously supported the San Francisco Humanist Society in the 1940s and wanted, according to Edwin H. Wilson, “a sharp break between organized humanism and the Unitarian movement.” Ethnically Hebrew, Danz suggested the building of “humanist temples.” {EW}

DAOISM The religion built around the Chinese philosopher Lao-zi (Lao-Tzu), a contemporary of Kongfu-zi (Kung-fu Tzu) uses language which is mystical. McCabe has written, however, that many experts hold that both were atheists, that “the fact that (Lao-Tzu) spoke of Heaven (the word chosen by some translators) is not decisive. Some Chinese scholars hold that he meant only what the Stoics called the Law of Nature. The religion, Daoism (Taoism), which he is commonly said to have founded, has as little relation to his teaching as the Roman Catholic system has to the teaching of Jesus.” Lao-zi, if he existed, lived in the 6th century B.C.E. {CE; JM; New Humanist, October 1998; RE}

Dapper, Olfert (Died 1690) A Dutch physician who occupied himself with history and geography, Dapper had no religion and was suspected of atheism. He traveled through Syria, Babylonia, and other distant places in 1650. A translator of Herodotus (1664), Dapper also wrote a History of the City of Amsterdam (1663). {BDF}

Darabi, Homa (Suicide 1994) Darabi, an Iranian physician, “ended her life as an act of protest against the way the Islamic Republic was treating Iranian women, especially educated ones,” said her sister Parvin. She had been politically active since her student days. In 1960, she was briefly imprisoned for protesting against the Shah’s regime. In 1963, she married a classmate and, after graduating from the University of Tehran Medical School, practiced in a rural village. In 1979 Khomeini decreed that all women must wear the Islamic dress (hijab) at work. Dr. Darabi refused, and for a long time her unique status protected her. In 1990, however, the government transferred her to Iman Hussein Hospital, the director of which, one of Dr. Darabi’s former students, was a strict fundamentalist who insisted that she wear the full Islamic hijab. This she declined to do, saying it was too difficult to examine a patient swathed in so much material. As a result, she was discharged, sued in court, and lost after four years. Darabi’s end as a martyr is described by Martha Shelley’s Rage Against the Veil: Self-Immolation in Tajrish Square, Tehran (1994).

Darabi, Parvin (20th Century) Darabi was a signer of Humanist Manifesto 2000.

Darget, Etienne (Died 1778) Darget was a French freethinker, the private secretary to Frederick the Great (1745—1752). (BDF}

Julia Darling, Recording Artist music

Lyrics in her songs (especially "Bulletproof Belief") point to her skepticism.

In addition, Darling addressed the topic on her bulletin board (posted March 5, 1999):

"I get alot of questions about my beliefs in religion and spirituality because I write about religion and its effect on people's lives, but I'm not a religious person at all. I don't believe in God, but I am curious and open to the reasons behind why so many people do believe in religion. I believe that we, as humans, have control over our destiny and fate."

The bulletin board (and lyrics, sound clips, images, etc.) can be found at her offical website http://www.juliadarling.com. Darling, Julia A recording artist, Darling is a non-believer. “Bulletproof Belief” tells of her skepticism. On the Web (5 March 1999), she went on record:

I get a lot of questions about my beliefs in religion and spirituality because I write about religion and its effect on people's lives, but I'm not a religious person at all. I don't believe in God, but I am curious and open to the reasons behind why so many people do believe in religion. I believe that we, as humans, have control over our destiny and fate.

{http://www.juliadarling.com}


Darlington, C(yril) D(ean) (1903— ) Darlington wrote Story of the Rationalist Press Association (1949). Differing with most humanists, he opposed miscegenation. A biologist and botanist, Darlington wrote Conflict of Science and Society (1948); Facts of Life (1953); and Darwin’s Place in History (1958). {FUK; GS}

Darmesteter, James (1849—1894) Darmesteter, a French orientalist, taught the Iranian languages at the Collège de France and translated the Zend Avesta for The Sacred Books of the East (1880—1883). Darmesteter rejected the Jewish faith in his youth, and “he never, in the heaven of his thought, replaced the Jewish God on his overturned throne,” wrote Gaston Paris in Penseurs et Poètes (1896). Darmesteter taught a vague theism, rejecting the idea of a future life. {RAT}

Darnton, Robert (20th Century) Darnton is author of The Corpus of Clandestine Literature in France, 1769—1789 (1995) and The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France (1995). In the former, he includes a checklist of 720 forbidden books, the first thirty-five of which he arranged in order of popularity:

1. Mercier, The Year 2400 2. Mairobert (authorship is uncertain), Anecdotes of the Countess du Barry 3. D’Holbach, System of Nature 4. Mercier, Tableau of Paris 5. Raynal, History of the Two Indies 6. Mairobert and Moufle d’Angerville, Historical Journal. . . by K. de Maupeou 7. Du Laurens, Arentino 8. Anonymous, Philosophical Letter 9. Coquereau, Memoirs of the Abbé Terray 10. Voltaire, The Maid of Orleans 11. Voltaire, Questions About the Encyclopaedia 12. Anonymous, Memoirs of Louis XV 13. Mairobert, The English Observer 14. Lambert (?), Translation of Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (i.e., Cleland’s “Fanny Hill”) 15. D’Argens (?), Thérèse the Philosopher 16. Anonymous, Collection of Merry Songs 17. Linguet, Philosophical Essay on Monasticism 18. D’Holbach, Critical History of Jesus Christ 19. Bérage (?), Translation of The Secretest Mysteries of Freemasonry 20. Linguet, Petition to the Royal Council 21. Franco (?), The Errant Whore 22. D’Holbach, Christianity Unveiled 23. Rousseau, Works 24. Bretonne, The Peasant Perverted 25. Milot, A School for Girls 26. D’Holbach, Good Sense 27. Linguet, Letter to the Count de Vergennes 28. Helvétius, On Man 29. D’Holbach, Social System 30. Languinais, The Accomplished Monarch 31. Voltaire, Portable Philosophical Dictionary 32. D’Angerville, The Private Life of Louis XV 33. Anonymous, The Merry Lyre 34. Morlière, Ecclesiastical Laurels 35. Latouche (?), History of Dom B., Carthusian Porter

The books were all banned by the authorities and, Darnton reports, were often printed by the Société typographique de Neuchâtel in Switzerland, then shipped down the Rhône or Rhine or across the Jura mountains.

Darrow, Clarence (1857—1938) Darrow, the famed Scopes Trial lawyer, said:

I don’t believe in God, because I don’t believe in Mother Goose. . . . I do not consider it an insult, but rather a compliment to be called an agnostic. I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure—that is all that agnosticism means.

Although called a “most religious man” and “one of the few true Christians” by some, others termed him an atheist and an antichrist. However, he clearly had stated,

I am an agnostic because no man living can form any picture of it (God). You may believe in the force but not in the object.

Darrow was highly influenced by Schopenhauer and, according to Burr, held that the “mistaken belief that men deliberately choose to be sinners and criminals has provided the excuse for inflicting pain and punishing them, and for imagining a God who will torture them in hell forever.” Darrow used his philosophy to replace hatred with compassion, and he fought against capital punishment. In the trial of the so-called “Nietzschean” murderers Loeb and Leopold, he was successful in their not being given the death sentence. To McCabe, he said that he never sought to enable such criminals to escape punishment but only the death sentence, to which he morally objected. Not About Nightingales (1938) by Tennessee Williams commences:

This play is dedicated to the memory of Clarence Darrow, The Great Defender, whose mental frontiers were the four corners of the sky.

The work described a prison atrocity in which convicts on a hunger strike in a Pennsylvania prison were roasted to death in a steam-heated cell. Williams was aware of the Loeb and Leopold executions and their nationally famous lawyer. In the “monkey trial,” in which biology teacher John T. Scopes was charged with teaching Darwinian views, Darrow eloquently spoke out against religion. His works include Resist Not Evil (1904), Crime, Its Cause and Treatment (1925), and The Story of My Life (1932). His law partner at one time was Edgar Lee Masters. Darrow was an honorary associate of the British Rationalist Press Association, which Charles A. Watts founded in 1899. {CE; EU, John R. Burr; FUS; HNS2; JM; PA; TRI; TSV; TYD; U}

Darusmont, Frances (1795—1852) A feminist and daughter of a Scottish freethinker, Darusmont adopted her father’s views and while in her teens wrote a defense of the Epicurean philosophy. A lecturer on freethought, she was described by the Dictionary of National Biography, “Few have made greater sacrifices for conviction’s sake or exhibited a more courageous independence.” {JM; FUS; RAT}

Darwell, Stephen (20th Century) Darwell, of the University of Michigan, is on the Executive Committee of The Hume Society, a group engaged in scholarly activity concerning David Hume.

Darwin, Charles Robert (1809—1882) 

One of the greatest rationalists of all time, Darwin established the theory of organic evolution known as Darwinism. He also is one of the most misunderstood authors. His father, a 350-pound jolly gentleman, once said of his son that he “cared for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat-catching,” and his school records show that as a child Darwin was lazy and a poor student. While studying theology at Cambridge University, he changed his field of interest to something more interesting: beetles. Later, and not divulging his heart palpitations, Darwin was accepted as an unpaid naturalist on H.M.S. Beagle, which was bound for South America and from which he recorded data over a five-year period (1831—1836) that resulted in the formulating of his concept of evolution. His views were defended by Huxley in England, Haeckel in Germany, Vladimir Kovalevski in Russia, and Asa Gray in America. Although accused of believing that man descended from apes, Darwin held, as defined by Webster, “that natural selection favors the survival of some variations over others, that new species have arisen and may continue to arise by these processes, and that widely divergent groups of plants and animals have arisen from the same ancestors.” The Descent of Man (1871) supplemented and elaborated upon the structure of his theory of what he termed The Origin of Species. (For an earlier theorist about evolution, see entry for Anaximandros.) Darwin married his first cousin, Emma Wedgwood, who was descended as he was from the pottery patriarch Josiah Wedgwood. After his five years exploring South America and being seasick during many of his travels, Darwin lived sixteen miles from London at Down House in Kent, where in a wheeled armchair in his study there he wrote Origin of Species. The place also was something of a refuge from London’s dirt and violence, an ideal place for the semi-invalid he became. As to what his physical problem was, physicians even today are unsure. He may have suffered from a blood parasite, or maybe some strong psychosomatic component was his problem. Concerning religion, Darwin wrote, “The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us, and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.” Unitarians have claimed him as one of their group, but upon his death it was Francis Galton, his cousin, who helped arrange Darwin’s burial in Westminster Abbey. The Canon of St. Paul’s, with some “discomfort and misgiving,” allowed the burial, mainly because of pressure from Huxley, the Canon of Westminster, the Dean of Westminster, the president of the Royal Society, journalists, scientists, and any number of preachers who at this point, according to Adrian Desmond and James Moore in Darwin, vied with each other for the honor of praising the “agnostic in the abbey.” They also state that it was Lyell’s newly published Principles of Geology that convinced Darwin of evolutionary naturalism and led him slowly but inexorably away from Christianity. Darwin, according to a Herman Hausheer, a theologian of the 1940s, “proposed to reconcile evolution with traditional ethics through the concept of adaptation. He never could bring himself to regard natural selection as a means in the hands of Providence. First a theist and later an agnostic, Darwin rejected religion when he assumed that religion depended upon a definite scientific view. Those who see in Darwinism the final destruction of religion fail to realize that religion does not rest upon a hypothesis concerning the origin of living beings any more than that it rests upon an Aristotelian-Ptolemaic cosmology. Organized religion undermines its own existence by affiliating itself with and demanding of its members a blind subscription to any scientific system. Living religion has no biology and cosmology. It does not rest upon unexplainable natural events, but upon the experience of the heart.” Numerous other apologists continue to try to explain the profound challenge Darwin’s concepts brought to theism. Darwin’s Autobiography (published 1887) describes his change from having a naive acceptance of Christianity to becoming a reluctant agnostic to the point in which he “gradually came to disbelieve Christianity” and wondered why everyone else had not, also. He adds, “I have steadily endeavored to keep my mind free, so as to give up any hypothesis however much beloved (and I cannot resist forming one on every subject), as soon as facts are shown to be opposed to it.” To a German student in 1879, Darwin wrote, “Science has nothing to do with Christ, except in so far as the habit of scientific research makes a man cautious in admitting evidence. For myself I do not believe that there ever has been any revelation.” In his Life and Letters, he relates that between 1836 and 1842 he had come to see “that the Old Testament was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos.” He rejected design and said, “I for one must be content to remain an agnostic.” The essence of Darwin’s philosophy was that organized complexity has arisen from primeval simplicity, entirely without the help of any designer or pre-existing cause. Others can deny this, and do, but the theory of natural selection remains the major theory for explaining fully the wonders of nature. We humans are a bundle of design compromises, The Economist (29 July 1995) wrote in appreciation of Darwin’s views, “engaged in an endless arms race between parasites and their host. Our bodies—evolved in the African savannah—are poorly adapted to the modern world. We are tyrannised by the side-effects of genes selected for benefits we have yet to discover.” The continued evolution of his theories, as evidenced by numbers of current books on the subject, show Darwinism is a unifying theory that is being used to look at old problems in new ways. Physicians, for example, should be cautious about routinely treating symptoms; they should know that using aspirin will bring down the fever in chickenpox and comfort the sufferer, but that will seriously prolong the infection. Looking at human beings and their illnesses as the products of a long evolutionary history is in itself a salutary exercise. Darwin, the failed doctor, is wisely being consulted by contemporary doctors, among others, who understand the significance of his ideas. Chided by individuals who misunderstood his theory, Darwin fought back: “For my part, I would as soon be descended from a baboon as from a savage who mistreats his enemies, treats his wives like slaves, and is haunted by the grossest superstitions.” “For myself,” he wrote, “I do not believe in any revelation. As for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities.” He professed himself an agnostic, regarding the problem of the universe as beyond our solution. Robert Lewins, M.D., knew Darwin personally, and had discussed this question with him. Darwin was much less reticent to Lewins than he had shown himself in a letter to Haeckel. In answer to a direct question “as to the bearing of his researches on the existence of an anima, or soul in man, he distinctly stated that, in his opinion, a vital or spiritual principle, apart from inherent somatic (bodily) energy, had no more locus standing in the human than in the other races of the animal kingdom.” In reviewing Matt Ridley’s The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation (1998), Frank J. Sulloway in The New York Review of Books, 9 April 1998) commented about ongoing controversies over the Darwinian perspectives which Ridley’s work brings up:

In this often heated debate, it does not really help for adversaries to argue about whether human behavior is genetically or culturally determined (it is both); about whether human consciousness invalidates the effects of natural selection (consciousness is natural selection’s most remarkable product, not its antithesis); about whether Darwinian theory robs us of our free will (it clearly does not); or about whether Darwinians can be usefully divided into narrow-minded “ultras,” who attribute everything to natural selection, and open-minded “pluralists” (they cannot be so divided). Critical empiricism, not debating skills on either side, will ultimately resolve these controversies. As Charles Darwin taught us more than a century ago, openness to diverse lines of evidence and a dogged dedication to hypothesis testing are the enduring Darwinian virtues.

In The Darwin Legend (1995), James Moore wrote that the reports of Darwin’s deathbed conversion, although often repeated, are without substance. Francis Darwin told T. H. Huxley in 1887 that any such allegations were “false and without any kind of foundation,” calling such stories “a work of imagination.” He affirmed that his father died an agnostic. Of his sons, Sir Francis became a leading botanist, Sir George Howard a distinguished astronomer at Cambridge, and two others became successful engineers. All, stated McCabe, were agnostics. His eldest son, Francis, wrote the following concerning his father’s death: “No special change occurred during the beginning of April, but on Saturday 15th he was seized with giddiness while sitting at dinner in the evening, and fainted in an attempt to reach his sofa. On the 17th he was again better, and in my temporary absence recorded for me the progress of an experiment in which I was engaged. During the night of April 18th, about a quarter to twelve, he had a severe attack and passed into a faint, from which he was brought back to consciousness with great difficulty. He seemed to recognize the approach of death, and said, ‘I am not the least afraid to die.’ All the next morning he suffered from terrible nausea and faintness, and hardly rallied before the end came.” Darwin is buried in Westminster Abbey, London. The gravestone is a floor slab with name and vital dates. As recently as 1916, Sir Francis had to refute a lying story about his father’s agonizing deathbed, and the story cropped up again, with embellishments, in The Churchman’s Magazine (1925). (See entry for Erasmus Darwin. A recent work on Darwinism is Daniel C. Dennett’s Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meaning of Life [1995], in which Darwinism is favorably seen as a corrosive acid that is capable of dissolving many of our earlier beliefs in sociology and philosophy—see entry for Daniel C. Dennett. A major biography, reviewed in The New York Review of Books [4 April 1996] by Stephen Jay Gould, is Janet Browne’s Charles Darwin: Voyaging [1996]. Also, see the entry for H. James Birx, one of the leading Darwin scholars.) {BDF; CE; Stephen Jay Gould, Rocks of Ages; HNS2; JM; JMRH; PUT; RAT; TRI; TYD}

Darwin, Erasmus (1731—1802) The paternal grandfather of Charles Darwin wrote Zoonomia: or the Laws of Organic Life (1794), for which he was accused of atheism. He was, however, a philosophic naturalist, physician, and deist. He had a theory about the origin of all life which anticipated the current “primeval soul” hypothesis of many current scientists, including the Russian biochemist, A. I. Oparin. The Vatican prohibited the reading of his works in 1817. In 1879, Ernest Krause in a biography said of Darwin, “He was the first who proposed and consistently carried out a well-rounded theory with regard to the development of the living world—a merit which shines forth more brilliantly when we compare it with the vacillating and confused attempts of Buffon, Linnaeus, and Goethe. It is the idea of a power working from within the organisms to improve their natural position.” This is an idea which, developed by Lamarck, was modified by his grandson into the doctrine of natural selection. The idea of “the descent of man” from a simian species had been broached before him by Buffon and Helvétius in France, and Lords Kames and Monboddo in Scotland. According to A. Benn, Darwin, rather than a deist, was an atheist along with Bentham, Godwin, and Charles Fox. But Darwin did believe in “the Great Architect” of the cosmos, a “Great First Cause” which breathed life into the primal filament, giving it the potentiality to evolve. Even the Unitarians were too orthodox for him, and, in fact, he described Unitarianism as a feather-bed to catch a falling Christian. Often unnoticed is the first sentence of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s preface to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. As Stephen Jay Gould and others have pointed out, “he had, in order to justify Dr. Frankenstein’s experiment, alluded to Erasmus Darwin’s atheistical view on the possibility of quickening matter by electricity.” Darwin’s death was singularly peaceful. “At about seven o’clock,” said his grandson, “he was seized with a violent shivering ill, and went into the kitchen to warm himself. He retired to his study, lay on the sofa, became faint and cold, and was moved into an armchair, where, without pain or emotion of any kind, he expired a little before nine o’clock.” To a friend a few years prior, he had written, “When I think of dying it is always without pain or fear.” {BDF; CE; EU, H. James Birx; FO; HAB; JM; JMR; JMRH; RAT; RSR; TRI; TYD}

Darwin, Francis [Sir] (1848—1925) Darwin, the third son of Charles Darwin, taught botany at Cambridge and was President of the British Association in 1908. Besides the biography of his father, Darwin wrote many papers on botany and in 1919 sent a cordial greeting to the Rationalist Press Association dinner. {RAT}

Darwin, George Howard [Sir] (1845—1912) Darwin, the second son of Charles Darwin, taught astronomy at Cambridge. He wrote the accepted theory of the moon’s origin. {RAT}

Darwin, Leonard [Major] (Born 1850) Darwin, the youngest son of Charles Darwin, was in the Staff Intelligence Department of the War Office from 1885 to 1890. He was President of the Royal Geographical Society, Chairman of the Eugenics Education Society, and Treasurer of the National Committee for Combating Venereal Diseases. {RAT}

DARWINIAN MEDICINE Randolph M. Nesse and George C. Williams, in Why We Get Sick (1995), argue that the human body is adapted to life as hunters and gathers in the Paleolithic communities of 100,000 years ago. Although our way of life has changed since then, they state, our genetics have not. In the Stone Age, humans enjoyed finding the rare sweet and fat foods; today, we find it difficult to suppress that ancient reflex. Their “Darwinian medicine” treats the symptoms differently. Although a physician might try to bring down a fever or counter an allergic reaction, the Darwinian approach is that the fever is a defense mechanism for putting bacteria at a disadvantage, that suppressing it may prolong the disease although admittedly bringing comfort to a sufferer. Deans of medicine point out that the concepts of Darwinian medicine cannot be tested rigorously. As critiqued by journalist Nicholas Wade, “Physicians seek immediate causes (what infectious agent is making this patient sick?), whereas evolutionists seek ultimate causes (what genetic adaptation has made humans vulnerable to this disease?).” {Nicholas Wade, “Ask Dr. Darwin,” The New York Times Magazine, 19 Feb 1995}

Dasgupta, Santanu (20th Century) Originally from India, Dasgupta lives and works in Sweden. He is a scientist at BMC, the Biomedical Center which is Scandinavia’s largest such. Like his fellow Bengali Taslima Nasrin, Dasgupta is a non-theist. {WAS, 1997 interview} Datta, Amlan (20th Century) A leading Indian radical humanist, Datta is the former Vice-Chancellor of Tagore’s Vishwa Bharati University, Tagore’s university. Datta gave the keynote address, “The Finer Spirit of Humanism,” at the 1998 World Humanist Congress in Mumbai. Datta signed Humanist Manifesto 2000. {International Humanist News, December 1998}

Datta, Kiran Nath (20 Century) Datta is a trustee of the Buddhiwadi Foundation. (See entry for Buddhiwadi Foundation.)

Daubermesnil, François Antoine (Died 1802) A French conventionalist who was elected deputy of Tarn in 1792, Daubermesnil became a minister of the Council of Five Hundred. He was one of the founders of Theophilanthropy. {BDF}

Daudet, Alphonse (1840—1897) The author of Letters from My Mill (1869) a collection of inspiring short stories, Daudet was rationalistic and humanistic in his outlook, according to Lamont. McCabe said that although Daudet, who was less outspoken about religion but hardly less hated by the clergy, was an atheist. Daudet’s son, Léon, was editor for the Roman Catholic paper, Action française. The Vatican in 1927 and 1932 prohibited the reading of Leon’s Les Bacchantes and Le Voyage de Shakespeare (1896). Alphonse Daudet died of a venereal disease. {BDF; CE; CL; ILP; JM; JMR; RAT; TRI}

Daunou, Pierre Claude François (1761—1840) Daunou was a French politician and historian. His father entered him in the congregation of the Fathers of the Oratory, which he left at the time of the Revolution. The department of Calais elected him with Carnot and Thomas Paine to the Convention. After the Revolution, Daunon became librarian at the Pantheon. A friend of Garat, Cabanis, Chenier, Destutt Tracy, Ginguen, and Benjamin Constant, he was noted for his benevolence. One of Daunou’s works was Historical Essay on the Temporal Power of the Popes (1810). {BDF; RAT}

DAVENPORT BROTHERS Joe Nickell, in “The Davenport Brothers: Religious Practitioners, Entertainers, or Frauds?” (Skeptical Inquirer, July-August 1999), describes two Buffalo newsboys—thirteen-year-old William Henry Harrison Davenport (1841-1877) and his brother Ira Erastus (1839-1911) Davenport—whose spiritualism and trickery netted a fortune of at least $600,000. Although many believed them, Ira confessed to Harry Houdini (1874-1926) that “Ira Davenport positively disclaimed Spiritualistic power in his talk with me, saying repeatedly that he and his brother never claimed to be mediums or pretended their work to be Spiritualistic.”

Davenport, Allen (1773—1877) A social reformer, Davenport contributed to Carlile’s Republican and wrote an account of the life and works of Thomas Spence, the reformer. Davenport published a volume of verse, The Muses’ Wreath (1827). {BDF}

Davenport, John (1789—1877) Davenport was a deist and a teacher. He wrote An Apology for Mohammed and the Koran (1869) as well as Curiositates Eroticoe Physiologae, or tabooed subjects freely treated. Davenport died in poverty. {BDF}

David: See entry for Allen Windsor.

David of Dinant (c. 1160—1206) David, a scholar accused of promoting pantheistic materialism, was probably born in Belgium. A teacher of philosophy at the University of Paris, he identified Aristotle’s “primary matter” with God and divided reality into three categories: matter (bodies), intellect (souls), and spirit (eternal substance). The Church, however, found such views heretical: God was not embodied in all things but, rather, was a separate creator of all. As a result, David’s work was condemned and his books were burned. Further, it was decreed that anyone who possessed David’s writings after 25 December 1210 was a heretic. {EH; BDF}

David, Francis (1510—1579) Appointed the court preacher to King John Sigismund of Transylvania, David (also known as Ferencz David) is reported to have said,

There is no greater piece of folly than to try to exercise power over conscience and soul, both of which are subject only to their Creator.

David was successively a Roman Catholic, a Lutheran, and an anti-trinitarian, preaching in 1566 against the doctrine of the Trinity. He went further than Socinus and declared there was “as much foundation for praying to the Virgin Mary and other dead saints as to Jesus Christ.” In consequence, he was accused of blasphemy. At the Diet of Torda in 1568, he spoke in favor of tolerance for all religious groups. Under his influence, King John Sigismund proclaimed complete religious toleration in Transylvania—King John is cited as being the first Unitarian king in world history. In 1579, after being condemned as a heretic, David died in a prison in Deva. (See entry for Hungarian Unitarians.) {BDF; EU, Paul H. Beattie; U}

David, Ferenc Francis (1840—1897) The first Unitarian minister in Hungary, David refused to worship Christ as God. As a result, he and his followers were persecuted, and he died in jail. He had converted to Unitarianism before 1567, inspired by the Italian physician, Georgius Blanciatta, and later he advocated that Christ need not be worshiped at all. David’s followers were known as “Nonadorantes,” or individuals who did not accept adoration of the Christ. {UU}

David, Jacques Louis (1748—1825) A French painter, one of the leading painters of his time, David had been painter to the king but, joining the Jacobin Club, became a member of the Convention and voted for the king’s death. On the restoration, David was banished along with other freethinkers, and his family was not allowed to bring his body back to France for burial. One of his most famous paintings is “The Murder of Marat” (1793). {BDF; JM; RAT}

Davidoff, Denise (20th Century) Davidoff is the fifth moderator of the Unitarian Universalist Association. She began presiding in 1993 and is noted for her quest for religious equality and separation of church and state.

Davids, Caroline Augusta Rhys (20th Century) Davids, the daughter of the Reverend J. Foley, Vicar of Wadhurst, was an orientalist. She married Professor Rhys Davids in 1894, and both were rationalists. A Pali scholar, she translated Pali poetry and was an authority on the philosophic aspect of Buddhism. She wrote Buddhist Psychological Ethics (1900), Psalms of the Early Buddhists (1909—1913), and Buddhism (1912). {RAT}

Davids, Thomas William Rhys (1843—1922) An Orientalist, Davids was a professor of Pali and Buddhist literature at London. He was respected as one of the highest authorities on ancient Hindu religion, insisting in his works that the Buddha was an atheist. In an 1879 public lecture (“Is Life Worth Living?”), Davids rejected Christianity and the idea of immortality. McCabe termed him “probably an atheist.”

Davidson, Donald (1930—	)

Davidson has been described as being one of the most important of contemporary secular philosophers. A professor at the University of California in Berkeley, he wrote Essays on Actions and Events (1980) and co-authored (with Patrick Suppes and Sidney Siegal) Decision Making: An Experimental Approach (1957). A major concern of his is the number of interconnected themes in the philosophy of language, the philosophy of action, and the philosophy of mind. {AF}

Davidson, Edward H. (20th Century) Davidson, with William J. Scheick, wrote Paine, Scripture and Authority: The Age of Reason as Religious and Political Idea (1994). The book, according to Gordon Stein, claims “that The Age of Reason was not written so much to express Paine’s views on religion as it was to tell his views on the political system that was dependent upon religion for its survival.” {The American Rationalist, July-August 1994}

Davidson, John (1857—1909) A poet, Davidson despised academic philosophy but wrote many philosophical works. In The Testament of John Davidson (1908), he expounds a rationalist and partly Nietzschean creed. In God and Mammon (1907), he states, “I would have all men come out of Christendom into the universe.” {RAT}

Davidson, Samuel (19th Century) Davidson, who had a doctorate in divinity, wrote a critical work, The Canon of the Bible: Its Formation, History, and Fluctuations, in 1875.

Davidson, Thomas (Died 1826) A bookseller and publisher, Davidson was prosecuted by the Vice Society in 1820 for selling the Republican and a publication of his own, the Deist’s Magazine. Fined £300, Davidson was also sentenced to two years in the Oakham Gaol. {BDF}

Davidson, Thomas (1840—1900) A philosophical writer, Davidson emigrated from Scotland to America. A close student of Catholic philosophy, he was invited by the Pope to cooperate in publishing the works of Thomas Aquinas. Davidson was, however, “agnostic as to the ultimate principle of things” and rejected all creeds. He worked with the American Ethical Societies and founded a New Fellowship at London, out of which the Fabian Society evolved. {RAT}

Davie, William (18th Century) Davie, a co-founder of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill which opened in 1795, was accused of bringing Continental ideas of dancing and polite society as well as religious skepticism to the campus. (See entry for North Carolina Freethinkers.)

Davies, A(rthur) Powell (1902—1957) As the Unitarian minister of All Souls Church in Washington, D.C., Davies was an eloquent speaker, sometimes described as “the greatest preacher of the twentieth century.” Justice William O. Douglas summarized Davies’s outlook:

America . . . must take the leadership in a world which has become a single, vast, reluctant community.

Davies had a part in founding Americans for Democratic Action, and he opposed the witch-hunting of the Joseph McCarthy era. Under his leadership, restaurants in the area of Washington, D.C., were desegregated. He favored the establishment of the Atomic Energy Commission, which put nuclear matters out of military and into civilian hands. “There is no God in the sky,” he preached. “God is in the heart that loves the sky’s blueness.” When a parishioner told him her son had, thanks to God, survived a catastrophe, Davies was shocked and replied, “What sort of God is that, playing favorites in this fantastic fashion!” As for hell, he wrote, “The hell that we must try to avoid is the one that will rain down upon us from the skies if we are not wise enough to win the struggle for freedom, justice, and brotherhood.” {U; U&U}

Davies, Blodwen (20th Century) Davies was a member of the American Humanist Association. He wrote A Study of Amber (1973), about the Mennonites and their religion. {HNS}

Davies, C. Maurice (20th Century) Davies, a freethinker, wrote Unorthodox Religion (1969). {GS}

Davies, Charles Maurice (1828—1910) Davies, a writer, was ordained priest of the Church of England in 1852. He joined the staff of the Daily Telegraph (1870—1875) and published a series of articles on the religious life of London. In 1882 he left the church, and Cecil Rhodes employed him to investigate the sources of Gibbon’s Decline. {RAT}

Davies, J. (19th Century) An English freethinker, Davies wrote A Short Sketch of the Scripturian’s Creed (1822). {GS}

Davies, Jean (20 Century) Davies is the former President of World Federation of Voluntary Euthanasia Societies, former Chair of the British Voluntary Euthanasia Society, and a current European Community member of Voluntary Euthanasia Societies, United Kingdom. Commending the Dutch experience, Davies has said,

It is no wonder that the vast majority of Dutch citizens are pleased to have this possibility of choosing not to have a lingering death, even though the numbers who need this help to a good death are small. Medical advances continually enable us to live longer, which is wonderful as long as we are reasonably sound in mind and body. But we all know how miserable the closing stages of life can be; the right to choose to curtail that suffering seems likely to be increasingly asserted, and achieved, worldwide. {International Humanist, October 1998}

Davies, John C. (18th Century) An English Jacobin, Davies in 1797 published a list of contradictions of the Bible under the title of The Scripturian’s Creed. He was prosecuted and imprisoned. {BDF}

Davies, Joseph E. (1876-1958): See entry for George Orwell, who considered the American ambassador to the USSR “very stupid.”

Davies, Ken (20th Century) Davies is active in England with the Cardiff Humanists.

Davies, Mansel (1913—1995) Davies, an emeritus professor of chemistry and author of a Thinker’s Library volume on the development of science as well as books on molecular science, wrote in New Humanist (May 1994) that scientists eliminate absolute status from their conclusions, whereas the largely Greek-based Christian thought is dogmatic. An alternative and coherent outlook, he suggests, is offered by Theravada Buddhism, which can claim that (a) its over-riding concern is for the truth, which must be empirically sustainable; (b) the supernatural cannot, by its very nature, be found in this world; (c) the whole of our world is one and no distinctions are acceptable on the basis of sex, race, or beliefs, provided no harm is done to other individuals; and (d) there are no absolutes.” A member of the Rationalist Press Association since 1934, he wrote for New Humanist about Buddhism—in 1990, he wrote A Scientist Looks at Buddhism—and about Joseph Needham’s history of Chinese science. A conscientious objector, he participated in the Pugwash talks, believing as he did in international collaboration. Davies was a committed supporter of the Welsh people and Welsh language.

Davies, Owen Thomas (1820—1893) Davies, who was born in South Wales, landed at New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1850 and went into the coal mining business. His invention, which lessens the dangers of mining, is still used. Davies was a freethinker. {PUT}

Davies, Paul (20th Century) A mathematical physicist, Davies won the 1995 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, a prize of one million dollars. The prize’s previous winners have been Mother Teresa, the Rev. Billy Graham, Lord Jakobovits [a former chief rabbi of Britain and the Commonwealth), and Michael Novak, a neo-conservative Roman Catholic scholar. Davies, an Australian and professor of natural philosophy at the University of Adelaide, has written over twenty books, among them The Mind of God (1992), which discusses the nature of human consciousness, order in nature, and ideas about the universe’s origin. “The more we discover about the world,” Davies has said, “the more we find there’s a purpose or design behind it all.” However, he has described himself as not being a conventionally religious person, instead describing himself “as Einstein described himself,” one who holds a deep reverence for nature and is convinced that the universe has a design or purpose.” Many Einstein scholars object to that description.

Davies, Peter Maxwell [Sir] (1934— ) Davies, an eminent English composer and conductor, has written extensively for ballet, orchestra, ensemble, piano, and solo instruments. He became President of the Composer’s Guild of Great Britain in 1986. Critic K. Robert Schwarz has described one of Davies’ works, begun in the early 1960s but not performed until 1987: “Take the orgiastic sexuality, formalist complexity, and delirious excess of a Peter Greenaway film, cross it with the caustic political commentary of a Bertolt Brecht play, and you will have a point of reference from which to approach ‘Resurrection.’” The ninety-minute work, performed on a compact disk by the BBC Philharmonic under his direction, has, Schwarz wrote, “little in the way of conventional narrative. A nameless family mouths ‘traditional’ values but practices only hypocrisy. The son, the opera’s hero, is a dummy who never once sings; he is a nonconformist who must be made to fit into a puritanical society. Three surgeons devise an elaborate series of operations to remedy his supposed defects. The first dissects his brain, seeking to rectify his moral and intellectual faults; the second examines his heart, correcting his emotional and religious failings, and the third adjusts his ‘sexual proclivities’ by removing his testicles. But the surgery goes awry, and the patient is resurrected as the Antichrist, announcing the impending apocalypse. . . . The libretto is witty, often ingenious and viciously anticlerical. (A minister sings: ‘For we can make the Book mean just anything we please,’ And use it as a weapon to bring you to your knees./ With the promise of salvation shining on your steadfast face, / By the word of God, this Book, we can keep you in your place.’). The composer helpfully describes in clinical detail the transformation he has in mind during the metamorphosis of the patient into the Antichrist: ‘Despite the lack of testes, which the Surgeons removed, the Patient’s penis slowly becomes erect—a huge submachine gun, directed over the audience.’ Mr. Davies,” continues Schwarz, “is nearly as scandalous musically. ‘Resurrection’ is a triumph of post-modern eclecticism, filled with gleefully colliding historical styles that are never deployed haphazardly. A chamber orchestra, vocal soloists and a rock band are called on to perform music that ranges from angular atonality to parodies of Bachian chorales, from Edwardian ballads to 1960’s rock. As in his maniacal ‘Eight Songs for a Mad King,’ of 1969, Mr. Davies somehow manages to turn these diverse idioms to the service of compelling theater, and even to give the impression of structural coherence.” Sir Peter, it is evident, enjoyed protesting against the sexual conformity demanded in a Thatcherite England and a Reaganite America. A recurring theme of “Resurrection,” Schwarz notes,” is the homophobia spouted by the hypocritical political and religious establishments. In one particularly memorable scene, three of society’s supposed moral guardians—a Policeman, a Judge, and a Bishop—have an unscheduled meeting in a stall of a public lavatory.” {K. Robert Schwarz, “A Portrait of the Antichrist as a Young Composer?” The New York Times, 14 January 1996}

Davies, Philip (20 Century) Davies, who for several decades had developed in England a reputation for his Biblical scholarship, came out as a “born-again atheist” on a 1999 BBC1 religious magazine program, “Heaven and Earth.”

Davies, Robertson (1913—1995) “Fanaticism is . . . overcompensation for doubt,” wrote the Canadian playwright and novelist in Manticore. (See entry for Ghosts.)

Davies, Stevie (20th Century) Davies is an award-winning novelist and biographer who lives in Cheshire, Great Britain. She is author of Emily Brontë, Heretic.

Davies, Tony (20th Century) Davies is author of Humanism (1997). Nicolas Walter, reviewing the book in New Humanist (March 1997), found the work of interest but lacking in scope. Finngeir Hiorth similarly found the work failed to include material about Paul Kurtz, Corliss Lamont, J. P. van Praag, or M. N. Roy. {The American Rationalist, September-October 1997}

Davies, William H. (1871—1940) Davies was a noted Welsh “tramp” who wrote Autobiography of the Super-Tramp (1917) after spending years with American hobos. The work received George Bernard Shaw’s attention and praise. Davies was a freethinker. {RI}

Da Vinci: See entry for Leonardo.

DA VINCI CODE: The Da Vinci Code is a 2003 novel by Dan Brown, who claims to be a Christian but is anything but orthodox in his views. The best-selling work claims that Christianity is a cover-up, that its leaders over the years have conspired to hide evidence that Jesus was a man, not part of the Trinity. Jesus is said to have had children with Mary Magdalene, adding that their descendants live today in France. Brown claims that Opus Dei, an organization of conservative Catholic priests and laity, is both sadistic and sinister. In order to keep secret the fact that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were known to have had sexual relations and children, one of its members, an albino monk, killed four people to hide the facts. Brown also claims that Constantine, the 4th century Roman emperor, hid earlier gospels for political reasons and at the Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E. deliberately made sure that the doctrine of the divinity of Christ was imposed. The novel’s plot concerns the search for the Holy Grail. When a family finds their grandfather had inherited da Vinci’s mantle as the head of a secret society, they investigate and find that the Holy Grail is not a chalice but contains proof that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were sexual human beings. They also find that the church had suppressed eighty early gospels that depict Jesus as only a human being, not a supernatural one. Mary Magdalene is depicted as being a leader among the apostles, one who inspired the worship of female wisdom and sexuality. The controversial work added further intellectual curiosity about the discovery in the 1940’s and 1950’s of the Dead Sea Scrolls of scriptures that are not included in the New Testamen, works sometimes called the “Gospels” of Mary, Peter, Philip, Thomas, and Q.

Davis, Arthur M. (20 Century) Davis, writing “Good People—Bad People” in Secular Nation (October-December 1998), wonders why Moses walked down from Mt. Sinai with two stone tablets, on which was a commandment: “Thou shalt not kill,” then orders his army to butcher thousands of men, women, and male children (Numbers 31:14,17-18).

Davis, Ben (20th Century) Davis writes the “Gospel according to Benny Joe” in Strange Angel (1991). As described by Walter Hoops, the book “brings out the hypocrisy of fundamentalists while giving us a touching account of growing up Pentecostal.” As to why Pentecostals meet in shabby buildings instead of building churches, the sensible answer is that if the Saviour returns per schedule what is the need for such luxury? “The author,” writes Hoops, “who had his eye fixed on a preaching career turned out to be gay and consequently had a ‘born again’ experience he did not expect. He dedicates the book to all the ducks who refuse to live as chickens.”

Davis, Bradley (20th Century) Davis, while a student at Birmingham-Southern College, was one of the founders of Campus Freethought Alliance. {International Humanist News, December 1996}

Davis, Charles (20th Century) Davis, with Carolynne Simms, is author of Why I Left the Roman Catholic Church. Davis is a British theologian.

Davis, Elmer (1890—1958) A newspaper man, radio commentator, and author of But We Were Born Free (1954), about an attack by Senator Joseph McCarthy, Elmer Davis wrote concerning humanism:

I am afraid I have never attempted to define my philosophic position, even to myself. Naturalistic humanism seems, from your definitions, to be about the nearest of those you mention; but I am skeptical about the ability of mankind to attain the good life at any time soon. This due to something that might be called original sin or original stupidity—whatever it is, there is plenty wrong with the human race.
{CE; WAS, 19 July 1954}

Davis, John M. (20th Century) Davis is author of a two-part article on “The Origin and Establishment of the Christ Myth” in Secular Nation (Fall 1995 and Winter 1995). “The Jesus myth,” he explains in a scholarly work, “may have begun as an Essenic legend, a faction of Mithraism, or a hybrid created by the Roman conquerors of Palestine. When all the elements of older myth are stripped away, very little remains of Jesus Christ.”

Davis, R. C. W. (20th Century) Davis, a retired teacher from Los Angeles inner-city schools, is a freethinker who has written in Truth Seeker of the joy of sex at the age of seventy. “The more intensely one invests love, affection, excitement, and respect,” he has written from his home in Mexico, “the more richly they are rewarded in those post-September years, the doldrum years of life—if you allow them to be so.” He advises, “And of course, Mr. McNoodle, if you can’t rise to the occasion this time around, that doesn’t mean you’re hors de combat for the night,” for as he explains, “five fingers can constitute an effective cavity,” oral sex has its special virtues, and there’s always manaña.

Davis, Robert (20th Century) The Iowa-born Davis, a past president of the Bertrand Russell Society, is a non-theist and a Russell scholar.

Davis, Robert Gorham (1908—1998) An activist and humanist, Davis was a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. In 1957 he became a visiting professor and stayed for nearly twenty years, retiring in 1976. In 1973 he won the Distinguished Teacher Award at the Columbia School of General Studies, at which time it was noted that he had helped reorganize the University Senate to give students a voice in the governance of the university. Like many other intellectuals of his time, Davis was interested in left-wing politics and joined the Communist Party, leaving after becoming disillusioned with Communism following the Hitler-Stalin pact of 1939. Davis wrote influential studies of John Dos Passos, C. P. Snow, and James T. Farrell. A reviewer of fiction for Partisan Review, Commentary, The American Scholar, and The New York Times Book Review, he taught creative writing at Harvard and at Columbia taught a course in comparative religion called “Metaphor, Symbol and Myth.” He was a contributor to Freethought Today and, in a letter to The New York Times (5 July 1992) commented that

The God who “revealed Himself” in the Scriptures knew no more of the world and its future than those He presumably addressed. Jesus warned that the final days of tribulation were near: “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all these things take place.” But they did not take place, and have not yet. On no clear evidence theologians and philosophers declare God to be omniscient and omnicompetent. Plainly if there were such a God who really wished to reveal Himself to mankind, He could do so in a way that left no doubt.

Commenting upon an Op-Ed tribute by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. to Reinhold Niebuhr, Davis wrote, 

As theologians now acknowledge, original sin is an illusion, too, based on the folk tale of Adam and Eve, and some impossible genetics. St. Augustine, one of its originators, conceived it largely in sexual terms. As a direct result of Adam’s sin men’s lusts, he declared, became separated from their wills. These effects, along with weakened will and intelligence, were transmitted through ‘corrupted semen’ to all Adam’s descendants.

Such a transmission of original sin through propagation, he noted, was reformulated at the Council of Trent and repeated as late as 1950 in an encyclical of Pius XII, which “leaves the doctrine of evolution an open question” but still declares in conclusion, “Original sin is the result of a sin committed, in actual historical fact, by an individual named Adam, and it is a quality native to all of us, only because it has been handed down by descent from him.” Despite what Schlesinger says of Niebuhr’s debt to Augustine and Calvin, Davis commented in a Times letter (23 June 1992),

we can certainly rule out original sin as Augustine invented it, a Lamarckist well before Lamarck. As for Calvin and freedom, it was under Calvin, theocratic ruler of Geneve, that Servetus was, for unorthodox writings on the Trinity, burned alive.

In his New York Times obituary, Davis was praised by Schlesinger for his “honorable and honest” character . {Free Inquiry, Fall 1990}

Davis, Singleton Waters (20th Century) In Los Angeles, Davis edited Humanitarian Review (1903—1911). In 1907 he wrote A Future Life? {FUS}

Davis, William B. (20 Century) William B. Davis, Actor ent Internet Movie Database

Davis portrays a major recurring character on the X-Files television series called 'Cancer Man' or 'Cigarette-smoking Guy' because of his chainsmoking of cigarettes. In a May 15, 1997 Rolling Stone, he is interviewed by Anthony Bozza and is asked about whether he has a belief in UFOs. Davis answers "No, I'm a skeptic." He continues, "I think we live in a very barren universe. Our task is essentially existential. If we're going to have any meaning in this universe, we have to make it for ourselves. It's not going to come from outside."

He discussed the X-Files finale of the previous season, which was based on Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. In particular, he points to the similarity between the philosophy of the Church and the philosophy of Cancer Man, that is, "We'll control the world for the sake of the world, because [people] can't look after themselves."

--AHi

---

An article by Allison Cossitt describing a Davis speaking engagement can be found in the March 1998 Skeptical Briefs at http://www.csicop.org/sb/9803/x-files.html.

Davis is an actor who has been seen on the television series “X-Files” and is called “Cancer Man,” because of his chainsmoking of cigarettes. In Rolling Stone (15 May 1997), he told interviewer Anthony Bozza that he did not believe in UFOs, that “I think we live in a very barren universe. Our task is essentially existential. If we’re going to have any meaning in this universe, we have to make it for ourselves. It’s not going to come from outside.” {CA} Davis, William B. (13 Jan 1958 - ) An actor, Davis portrays a major recurring character on the X-Files television series called “Cancer Man” or “Cigarette-smoking Guy” because of his chainsmoking of cigarettes. In a Rolling Stone (May 15, 1997) interviewed by Anthony Bozza, he was asked about whether he has a belief in UFOs. Davis responded, “No, I'm a skeptic. I think we live in a very barren universe. Our task is essentially existential. If we're going to have any meaning in this universe, we have to make it for ourselves. It's not going to come from outside.” He discussed the X-Files finale of the previous season, which was based on Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. In particular, he pointed to the similarity between the philosophy of the Church and the philosophy of Cancer Man, that is, “We’ll control the world for the sake of the world, because [people] can't look after themselves.”


D’Avoine, C. L. (20th Century) In Bombay, D’Avoine edited the Indian journal, Reason, from 1931 to 1946. {FUK}

Dawkins, (Clinton) Richard (1941— )

	Dawkins’s father, who worked in the British colonial service in Nyasaland, now Malawi, moved to Kenya at the outbreak of the Second World War. Richard, his son the zoologist, was born in Nairobi. While an undergraduate, he was taught at Oxford University by Niko Tinbergen, the Dutch-born animal behaviorist (and, later, Nobel Prize winner). His doctorate developed a mathematical model of decision-making in animals.

His works include The Selfish Gene (1976), in which he described his theory of the self-replicating “meme,” as a way of understanding the transmission of human culture and ideas. His The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design (1986) became a best-selling study of Darwinian design. Ian Parker has appropriately called Dawkins “Britain’s village atheist,” as is illustrated by his “case against God” which is entitled, “Lions 10, Christians Nil” (New Humanist, June 1992) and which concludes,

Science offers us an explanation of how complexity (the difficult) arose out of simplicity (the easy). The hypothesis of God offers no worthwhile explanation for anything, for it simply postulates what we are trying to explain. It postulates the difficult to explain, and leaves it at that. We cannot prove that there is no God, but we can safely conclude that He is very, very improbable indeed.

A leading evolutionary theorist, Dawkins is author of Viruses of the Mind, The 1992 Voltaire Lecture (British Humanist Association), which in friendly user fashion describes how computer viruses wreak havoc and how, analogously, children’s minds have long been “shaped by evolution to soak up the culture of her people,” leading to beliefs in the absurdities of religion. He describes in a “medical textbook” a viral infection:

1. The patient typically finds himself impelled by some deep, inner conviction that something is true, or right, or virtuous: a conviction that doesn’t seem to owe anything to evidence or reason, but which, nevertheless he feels as totally compelling and convincing. We doctors refer to such a belief as “faith.”

Matt Cherry, reviewing the Dawkins book, wrote in New Humanist (March, 1993):

Viruses are distinguished from other self-replicators, because they are harmful to their hosts (one reason why some consider the human species to be a virus on the planet Earth). Therefore, Dawkins’s charge that religion is a virus of the mind rests on the argument that religion would not be accepted if judged by the criteria best adapted to selecting true beliefs and beneficial behaviour. The arguments that religion is false and harmful are familiar and accepted by most rationalists, and rejected by religionists. Viruses of the Mind is therefore unlikely to change the mind of any religious believers familiar with rationalist arguments.

In 1993, Dawkins wrote for Free Inquiry (Summer, 1993) about computer viruses as being a model for an informational epidemiology: “It is no wonder that child brains are gullible, open to almost any suggestion, vulnerable to subversion, easy prey to Moonies, scientologists, and nuns. Like immune-deficient patients, children are wide open to mental infections that adults might brush off without effort.” He is not pessimistic about the future, however, adding, “Many children emerge unscathed from the worst that nuns and mullahs can throw at them. Anthony Kenny’s [who was exalted by the “laying on of hands” to celebrate Mass when he was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest] own story has a happy ending. He eventually renounced his orders because he could no longer tolerate the obvious contradictions within Catholic belief, and he is now a highly respected scholar. But one cannot help remarking that it must be a powerful infection indeed that took a man of his wisdom and intelligence—now president of the British Academy, no less—three decades to fight off. Am I unduly alarmist to fear for the soul of my six-year-old innocent?” The article, an abridged version of Dennett and His Critics: Demystifying Mind (1993), is included in Challenges to the Enlightenment, Essays in Defense of Reason and Science (1994). In 1994 in “The Vision Thing” on English Channel Four, Dawkins made powerful arguments for a philosophy devoid of supernaturalism and for an enthusiastic celebration of life without the baggage which religion embraces. “If all the achievements of scientists were wiped out tomorrow,” Dawkins has said, “there would be no doctors but witch doctors, no transport faster than a horse, no computers, no printed books, no agriculture beyond subsistence peasant farming. If all the achievements of theologians were wiped out tomorrow, would anyone notice the smallest difference?” In 1995, Dawkins wrote a book that offered a novel answer to the basic philosophic question, What is the purpose of life? In River Out of Time: A Darwinian View of Life (1995), he paints a new picture of Samuel Butler’s response, that a chicken is an egg’s way of making another egg. From his viewpoint as an evolutionary biologist, Dawkins posits that the central purpose of evolution is the survival of DNA, not of the beings that are the DNA’s temporary expression. Life perhaps began when the first molecule of RNA, DNA’s elder cousin, got itself more or less accurately replicated in some natural stew of chemicals on the primitive earth. The first living cells, the first plants and animals, emerged merely because they were better mechanisms for repeating that first ancient accident of replication.” In short, the purpose of life is for DNA to endure, not for humans to bow to one of the various supernatural divinities. According to Dawkins, DNA is not just a human’s way of making another human: “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” Parker has said that Dawkins is considered by man both arrogant and aggressive, a person who scraps eloquently and energetically with bishops, charlatans, and astrologers (declaring that all the latter should be jailed). “I’m a friendly enough sort of chap,” Dawkins told Parker. “I’m not a hostile person to meet. But I think it’s important to realize that when two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong.” In 1989, Dawkins was elected an honorary associate of the Rationalist Press Association. Also, he is a Humanist Laureate in the Council for Secular Humanism’s International Academy of Humanism as well as an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society. In 1996, Dawkins was named Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association. He is an honorary associate of the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists. Dawkins signed Humanist Manifesto 2000. For the international secular humanist quarterly, Free Inquiry, he is a senior editor. In its pages (Spring 1998), he wrote about “The Emptiness of Theology” that

Science has eradicated smallpox, can immunize against most previously deadly viruses, can kill most previously deadly bacteria. Theology has done nothing but talk of pestilence as the wages of sin. . . . What has theology ever said that is of the smallest use to anybody? When has theology ever said anything that is demonstrably true and is not obvious? . . . The achievements of theologians don’t do anything, don’t affect anything, don’t mean anything. What makes anyone think that “theology” is a subject at all?

His Climbing Mount Improbable (1996), according to Roy Silson,

minimises technical language while providing clear and critical explanations of the concepts, subtle mechanisms, and interactions now associated with natural selection. . . . Apart from its subject, which ought to be part of the education of all caring humans, it exemplifies a model of careful rational thought which others would do well to copy.

“There is no reason for believing that any sort of gods exist and quite good reason for believing that they do not exist and never have,” Dawkins wrote in “The Improbability of God.” In the same article, he wrote that the Argument from Design “has been destroyed as a reason for believing in a God.” Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion, and the Appetite for Wonder (1998) reveals Dawkins’s dismay that most people have muddle-headed views about reality, that they are therefore attracted to superstition, fantasies, and all kinds of pseudoscience. However, organisms have always been indifferent to any putative greater good, he again states, and “natural selection is never aware of the long-term future. It is not aware of anything. Improvements come about not through foresight but by genes coming to outnumber their rivals in gene pools. . . . There is no foresight.”

  On the Web: <www.cs.wisc.edu/~krisna/dawkins.html>.

(See Dawkins’s “Science and Sensibility, Where We Stand at the End of Millennium,” Free Inquiry, Spring 1999.) {CA; E; Free Inquiry, Winter 1993 and Winter 1996-1997; HNS2; ”The Improbability of God,” Free Inquiry, Summer 1998;New Humanist, November 1994; Nicholas Wade, “Double Helixes, Chickens and Eggs,” The New York Times Magazine, 29 January 1995; Jan Parker, “Richard Dawkins’s Evolution,” The New Yorker, 9 September 1996}

Dawn, A(lexander) F(elix) (1900-1997) Dawn was a humanist activist, a member of the Ethical movement and the Rationalist Press Association from around 1922. Donna Dawn, his wife, is also a humanist activist. {New Humanist, March 1998}

Dawson, B. (19th Century) In Spennymoor, England, in 1879, Dawson raised the tricolor flag from his summer house and announced he was ready to receive National Secular Society members. He exemplifies how the initiative for starting freethought groups often rests with a single individual. {RSR}

Dawson, Joseph Martin (20th Century) Dawson, a freethinker, wrote Separate Church and State Now (1948), Baptists and the American Public (1956), and The American Way in Church, State, and Society (1979). {GS}

Dawson, Oswald (19th Century) Dawson was secretary in 1893 of a Leeds, England, Legitimation League. With Wordsworth Donisthorpe and J. Grevz Fisher, the League and official secularism were close in their goals: to secure legal rights for illegitimate children. But when Dawson began to advocate free love, even such lovers of liberty as Frederick Millar and J. H. Levy were alienated. In 1895 the League admitted that its purpose was to register cohabitation without marriage, and by 1897 free love was openly advocated in the Adult. At this point the Freethinker parted company, and Arthur and Hypatia Bonner refused to include the League in their Directory of Reform Societies. For secularists of this period, sexual irregularities were something to be avoided: they were reformers, not revolutionaries, in morals as in politics. {RSR}

Day, Dorothy (1897-1980) Day, a nonbeliever-turned-Catholic, started as a young beauty who was known for drinking and intellectualizing with the radicals in a Greenwich Village bar called the Hell Hole. She became a paramour of Eugene O’Neill, who modeled a character in his “Moon for the Misbegotten” after her. The New York Times described her The Eleventh Virgin (1923) as “one more adolescent novel.” An anarchist and pacifist, she detailed her bohemianism and radical ways in a memoir, The Long Loneliness. Day did not become a Catholic until she was thirty. “Entertaining Angels,” a 1996 movie about her, implies that she embraced Catholicism not from an understanding of its theology but, rather, from her romantic disappointment. Her lover, Lionel Moise, is shown dropping her off at an abortionist’s before skipping town; and her common-law husband, Forster Batterham—an English atheist—is shown refusing to marry her after she gave birth to their daughter in 1927. She called the infant Tamar, Hebrew for “little palm tree.” “I did not want my child to flounder as I had often floundered,” she explained upon deciding to have the infant baptized a Catholic. Although terrified that any of her radical friends would catch her in prayer, she nevertheless attended catechism classes and, upon meeting an itinerant French intellectual—Peter Maurin, who urged her to live “little, simple, and poor” à la St. Francis of Assisi—adopted Catholicism and started publishing. The Catholic Worker, which cost her $57 to found in 1933, sold for one penny. Its circulation grew from 2,500 to 200,000 by the time the U. S. entered World War II. Day’s left-wing religious movement was devoted to humanistic causes, feeding and housing the poor. Her precepts were elementary: Feed the hungry; give drink to the thirsty; clothe the naked; shelter the homeless; care for the sick; visit prisoners; comfort the afflicted; and afflict the comfortable. Leading thinkers—Jacques Maritain, John LaFarge, Hilaire Belloc, Thomas Merton, Cesar Chavez, Daniel and Philip Berrigan—found her an inspiration. Abbie Hoffman, the flower-child of Vietnam war resistance, called her “the first hippie.” A priest called her “a trumpet calling for all of us to find Christ in the breadlines.” Day visited Fidel Castro in Cuba, fasted in St. Peter’s Square for peace, and worked with the poor mainly at St. Joseph House on Manhattan’s East 1 Street. The newspaper she founded has not raised its cost—it still costs one penny. (See entry for Greenwich Village Humanist Club.) {Brian Kates, New York Daily News, 12 April 1999}

Day, Helen Hamilton Gardener (Born 1858) Day was an American writer and rationalist. Her Men, Women, and Gods and Facts and Fictions of Life (1895) indicate her freethinking. {RAT}

Daytre, Carol (20th Century) Daytre in 1972 was Vice President of the Humanist Society of Greater New York.

De Angulo, Jaime (20th Century) De Angulo wrote The “Trial” of Ferrer (1920). {GS}

De Cordova, June E. (20th Century) De Cordova, for a 1942 M.A. thesis at the University of Michigan, wrote a study of Robert G. Ingersoll’s speeches. {FUS}

DEAD SEA SCROLLS: See entry for Essenes.

DEAD WHITE EUROPEAN AUTHORS, DEAD WHITE MALES Collegiates have long been required to read those writers who constitute the so-called “core of Western literature,” writers who are, therefore, the “proper object of serious literary study.” The University of Chicago had its Great Books, promoted in 1946 by the University of Chicago’s Chancellor Robert Maynard Hutchins and listing those books considered most worthy of a student’s attention. Clifton Fadiman had his Lifetime Reading Plan (1959), inspired in part by his visit to a New Canaan, Connecticut, high school and being a participant in the oral examination being given to that school’s honors English class. Harold Bloom in the 1990s has his Western Canon. Bloom’s canon includes the fewer than fifty or so true heavyweights (all covered by Cliff’s Notes, a series of “cram books” which survey authors and their works in the event the collegiate believes there is insufficient time to read the originals). Also, it includes another eight hundred fifty authors. The DWEAs (sometimes called DWMs, although the authors are not always males), or “dead white European authors” included in most such lists are these: Shakespeare, Dante, Chaucer, Cervantes, Montaigne, Molière, Milton, Johnson, Goethe, Wordsworth, Austen, Whitman, Dickinson, Dickens, George Eliot, Tolstoy, Ibsen, Freud, Proust, Joyce, Woolf, Kafka, Borge, Neruda, Pessoa, and Beckett. In addition are the ancient Greeks, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and so forth. However, critic McGrath complains that Bloom includes Kenneth Koch but not Sylvia Plath; Tony Kushner but not John Guare; Nora Neale Hurston but not Alice Walker. McGrath adds, “Especially not Alice Walker, who in the text gets slammed more than once as an example of the kind of writer overvalued by the ‘academic lemmings,’ as Bloom calls them. Almost all of Roth makes the cut but only one novel by Updike (The Witches of Eastwick). Just two books by Nabokov but four by Walter Abish. O’Hara but not Thurber. J. P. Marquand but not V. S. Pritchett. And so on and so on. It’s hard to tell whether the choices are the product of fine discrimination or simply the result of an hour or so of shelf-gazing.” At issue is whether schools are properly preparing students by emphasizing mainly the DWEAs or DWMs. Where, complain the critics, are the African authors, the Asian, and the others representative of the entire human race, not just those who are English-speaking. (See entry for Harold Bloom.)

DEADLINES • Because I was too fucking busy and vice versa! —Dorothy Parker when asked why she had not gotten a story in on deadline

Dean, Paul (1789—1860) An associate of the aged John Murray of the First Universalist Church in Boston, Dean assumed the pastorate of this most influential of the denomination’s churches when Murray died. But he disagreed with Hosea Ballou, who rejected all future punishment and insisted on a limited but real suffering for sinners after death, eventually leaving the Universalists and becoming a Unitarian unhappy that his ”Restorationist” movement in opposition to Ballou had failed. {U&U}

Dear, Russell (20th Century) Dear writes for the New Zealand Rationalist and Humanist. He has noted that although some religionists fear the “theory” of evolution, they might better fear the Quantum Theory and the Theory of Relativity. Meanwhile, they write letters to editors happily proclaiming that the Flat Earth Society still exists.

DEATH • I believe that when I die, I shall rot, and nothing of my ego will survive. I am not young, and I love life. But I should scorn to shiver with terror at the thought of annihilation. Happiness is nonetheless true happiness because it must come to an end, nor do thought and love lose their value because they are not everlasting.

That sentiment, from Bertrand Russell’s What I Believe (1925), is common among philosophic naturalists. Supernaturalists may wish for immortality and survival in some future existence. Most non-believers, however, side with Clarence Darrow’s “The Myth of Immortality,” which recognizes the hopelessness of finding any evidence that the individual will persist beyond the grave. The purpose of life is to live, not to invent fanciful metaphysical schemes about a hereafter. “When we fully understand the brevity of life,” Darrow wrote, “its fleeting joys and unavoidable pains; when we accept the fact that all men and women are approaching an inevitable doom: the consciousness of it should make us more kindly and considerate of each other. This feeling should make men and women use their best efforts to help their fellow travelers on the road, to make the path brighter and easier as we journey on. It should bring a closer kinship, a better understanding, and a deeper sympathy for the wayfarers who must live a common life and die a common death.” Robert Ingersoll wrote that he liked K’ung Fu-tse’s response when asked about the possibility of a hereafter: “How should I know anything about another world when I know so little of this?” Ingersoll, no believer in Heaven or Hell or Immortality or Soul, wrote, “The only thing that makes life endurable in this world is human love, and yet, according to Christianity, that is the very thing that we are not to have in the other world. We are to be so taken up with Jesus and angels that we shall care nothing about our brothers and sisters that have been damned. We shall be so carried away with the music of the harp that we shall not even hear the wail of father or mother. Such a religion is a disgrace to human nature.” Disposing of the dead varies depending upon tribal customs. Eating parts of a corpse (necrophagia) has been an approved practice in some tribes. In ancient Iran the dead were given to the dogs and birds. Medieval Chinese emperors were buried with their horses, soldiers, and food to speed them on their way. Parsis expose the bodies to vultures on “the towers of silence.” In Tibet the flesh might be cut from the bones and fed to dogs and birds, whereupon the bones are buried. The body might be thrown into water or jungle or desert places. The Bishnoi of India, a caste of farmers, cover their dead in salt and place them in an unmarked trench. The most common forms in modern cultures are burial in the earth and cremation. Organized religion has developed varied rituals which range from the simple to the complex. A corpse has three possible fates in India, according to Jonathan Parry’s essay, “The End of the Body”: “It is eaten as carrion and turns to excrement; it is buried and turns to maggots; or it is burnt and turns to ash.” Of these, cremation is not only a more ecology-conscious method but is also a sacrificial offering. Deformed, disfigured, or lame individuals are not deemed worthy of cremation and usually end up in the cleansing stream of the Ganges. Parry tells of a corrupt official in Bihar, one who in life was a bad individual, whose corpse despite being smeared with flammable resins refused to burn, implying that water can cleanse but that fire must not be contaminated by badness. Non-believers often arrange cremations, which are followed some time afterward by memorial services that recall humorous and serious moments in the life of the deceased. It is not uncommon to find, at such memorials, that laughter mixes with plentiful food and drink, music, and perhaps movies showing highlights of their friend’s life. In France the majority of Catholics are buried, cremation’s fire being too closely associated with Hell. In some American states, bodies can be buried legally in the backyard. In Mexico the Cipreses del Bosque graveyard contains bodies buried standing up, rather than lying down. In pre-Islamic times, Egyptian dead faced east to the rising sun. Burial plots sometimes cost considerably more than others do. It is generally agreed that the cemetery with the most cachet is that of Père Lachaise—its opening in 1804 was marked by Abélard’s and Héloïse’s reburial together. They were eventually joined by Chopin, Oscar Wilde, Modigliani, and Jim Morrison. At the Montmartre cemetery are buried Belioz, Degas, and Nijinsky. Some cemetery caretakers have problems when the living protest that the dead have been buried near a former enemy. Frank Lloyd Wright’s third wife’s friends, unhappy that he was buried with his second wife, dug the body up, cremated it, and reburied his cremains with hers. The biggest French graveyard contains 130,000 unidentified soldiers in the ossuary at Douaumont, near Verdun. Electric crematoriums are providing less expensive funerals for many in India. Three thousand Chinese, approving of Deng Xiaoping’s ashes being scattered at sea in 1997, had been “sent off” the same way within two years. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross summarizes the five stages of dying: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Other observations on death:

• It’s not that I’m afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens. . . . . When I’m dead, I’m dead. I’ll worry about it then. —Woody Allen

• Sleep is lovely, death is better still, not to have been born is of course the miracle. 

—Heinrich Heine

• Those who welcome death have only tried it from the ears up. —Wilson Mizner

• I did not attend his funeral, but I wrote a nice letter saying I approved of it. —Mark Twain

• Die, my dear Doctor? That’s the last thing I shall do! —Lord Palmerston

• If you don’t go to other people’s funerals, they won’t go to yours. —Anonymous

• Grave, n. A place in which the dead are laid to await the coming of the medical student. —Ambrose Bierce The Devil’s Dictionary (See entries for A. Alvarez, Burial Practices, Cremation, Memorial Societies, and Jessica Mitford. For an account of the only individual who ever outwitted death, see the entry for Sisyphus.) {CE; The Economist, 14 November 1998; ER}

DEATH AND TOMBSTONES • Here lies an Atheist

 	All dressed up
 	And no place to go

—found in a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery

• Here lies Ezekial Aikle

	Age 102
	The Good Die Young

—found in an East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia

• Here lies Ann Mann

	Who lived an old maid
	But died an old Mann
	Dec. 8, 1767

—tombstone in a London, England, cemetery

• Anna Wallace

The children of Israel wanted bread And the Lord sent them manna. Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife, And the Devil sent him Anna. —tombstone for Anna Wallace, Ribbesford, England

• Sir John Strange Here lies an honest lawyer, And that is Strange. —on an English tombstone

• Under the sod and under the trees Lies the body of Jonathan Pease. He is not here, there’s only the pod: Pease shelled out and went to God. —from an 1880s tomb, Nantucket, Massachusetts

• Harry Edsel Smith Born 1903 – Died 1942 Looked up the elevator shaft to see If the car was on the way down. It was. —on Smith’s tombstone in Albany, New York {Cloudsmith on the Internet}

DEATH WITH DIGNITY NET The Death With Dignity Net is on the Web: <http://www.islandnet.com/~deathnet>.

DEATH, A FREETHINKER’S When he learned he had Kaposi’s sarcoma, Fernando Vargas accepted the fact that he had a limited time to live. A freethinker with a sense of humor about his once having been a Catholic altar boy, Vargas objected to expressions such as “ravaged by cancer,” “an AIDS victim,” and “the battle against AIDS.” He once had had hepatitus, he often had had colds, and he reasoned that the cancer named after Austrian dermatologist Moritz Kaposi (1837-1902) was just another physiological problem to confront his body. When first hospitalized, the electrical engineer—who as a sound engineer had recorded Liza Minnelli’s first demonstration record in a studio he co-owned—read astronomy books and magazines, always with the aim of keeping current. When one day a priest visited his room and in some kind of spiritual act touched the forehead of the sleeping patient who shared the room, Vargas gruffly ordered him out and complained for the rest of the day about having been upset by “a shaman in black.” The priest’s visit, he complained, was worse than his having to suffer such “excruciatingly intensive internal pains.” “Dying is a natural act,” Vargas said. “It is so unnatural to think of it as a ‘battle’ or something that will be followed by a wishful continuation of life.” His primary physician reported he had never before seen such inspiring behavior by a person who lived only six months after being diagnosed with cancer. (See entry for Fernando Vargas.)

DEATHBED VISIONS • No Hindu is on record as having met either the Virgin Mary or Jesus Christ. —Paul Edwards

DEBAPTISM Barbara Smoker has devised a “de-baptism certificate,” one whereby former members of religious groups can “come forward” and have their past baptisms canceled. {The Freethinker, October 1998}

DEBATE: See entry for Elenchus, the method Socrates used to refute the thinking of others.

DEBAUCHEE • Debauchee, n. One who has so earnestly pursued pleasure that he has had the misfortune to overtake it. —Ambrose Bierce The Devil’s Dictionary

De Beauvoir, Simone: See entry for Beauvoir.

De Benneville, George (1703—1793) An itinerant preacher of Universalism, de Benneville was the son of French Huguenot parents who escaped religious persecution by fleeing to England. When he preached his Universalism in France, he was arrested and condemned to death by guillotine. When De Benneville received a reprieve he moved to Germany, Holland, and Philadelphia, where in 1741 he was among the first, if not the first, of Universalist ministers in the country. {FUS; U; U&U}

De Bergerac: See entry for Cyrano.

de Boer, Madzy Rood (20th Century) At the Eighth International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) World Congress in Hannover (1982), Prof. de Boer of the Netherlands addressed the group.

De Bona, Maurice Jr. (20th Century) De Bona, an atheist, wrote God Rejected: A Summary of Atheistic Thought (1976) and Atheist Reality of the Brain (1995). {GS}

De Bosis, Adolfo (20th Century) De Bosis is an Italian poet. With D’Annunzio, he founded Il Convito and is a Cavalliere of the Crown of Italy. His agnosticism is expressed in Amori ac Silentio (1914). He scouts the Christian message and urges us to turn away from “the double mystery of the where and whence.” {RAT}

De Buen, Oden (19th Century) De Buen was a professor at the University of Barcelona, Spain, and one of the active freethinkers of his time. He edited La Republica and El Radical as well as contributed to Las Dominicales del Libre Pensamiento. He was at the International Freethought Congress held in Paris, 1889, and spoke out for peace movements. {PUT}

De Camp, L(yon) Sprague (1907— ) De Camp is author of technical and science fiction titles. A skeptic of UFO sightings, he has written for Free Inquiry. In addition to his “Conan” series, he was technical advisor to the film “Conan the Barbarian.” His numerous works include verse, fiction, television scripts, and non-fiction. {Free Inquiry, Spring 1982; FUS}

De Cleyre, Voltairine (1866—1912) An American freethinker and anarchist, De Cleyre was named by her father, an admirer of Voltaire. When twenty-one, she was seduced, then abandoned, by a former preacher from Scotland who was lecturing on socialism. She married a freethinker, James B. Elliott, a Thomas Paine aficionado like herself. Reichert has written of her friendship with Emma Goldman and her personal life. Goldman is said to have asked to be buried alongside Voltairine’s grave, which was said to have been an indication of her major contributions to American anarchism; however, gay historians Jonathan Katz, Adrien Saks, and Lynne Yamaguchi Fletcher, believe the request was more an emotional one. In 1886, De Cleyre edited a Midwestern publication, Progressive Age. Although she could have earned large sums of money for speaking and writing, De Cleyre lived and worked in slums all her life. In “The Gods and the People,” she wrote,

What have you done, O Skies, That the millions should kneel to you? Why should they lift wet eyes, Grateful with human dew?

Where the swamps of humanity sicken,

Read the answer in dumb, white scars. You, Skies, gave the sore and the stricken The light of your far-off stars. (See article by Gordon Stein in The American Rationalist (Mar-Apr 1995.) {EU, William O. Reichert; WWS}

DECLINE OF HUMAN CREATIVITY Some individuals’ creativity appears to increase exponentially the older they get. Of the exceptions, individuals who reach a peak, then decline to their own and others’ dismay, Edmund Clerihew Bentley noted

There is a great deal to be said For being dead. {Timothy Garton Ash, The New York Review of Books, 22 October 1998}

De Coninck, Lucien (20th Century) When De Coninck signed Humanist Manifesto II, he was a professor at the University of Gand (Ghent), Belgium. In 1966 in Paris, De Coninck addressed the Fourth International Humanist and Ethical Union World Congress. {HM2}

De Coster, Charles (1827—1879) A Belgian writer, De Coster was the son of a high official of the Papal Embassy at Brussels. After teaching literature at Ixelles Military Academy, he wrote Légende de Thyl Ulenspiegel (1868), a story of Flemish life in the days of the Inquisition. {RAT}

De Croo, Herman (20th Century) A Belgian, De Croo addressed the Eleventh International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) World Congress held in Brussels (1990).

De Dominicis, Saverio (Born 1845) De Dominicis was an Italian educationist. He was one of the first Italians to adopt Darwinism, which he defended against the clergy. De Deominicis is a positivist. {RAT}

De Duve, Christian René (1917— ) A Belgian chemist, biologist, and educator, de Duve has been a member of the editorial board of Subcellular Biochemistry (1971—1987), Preparatory Biochemistry (1971—1980), and Molecular Cellular Biochemistry (1973—1980). A holder of numerous international honors, in 1974 he was awarded the 1974 Nobel Prize for his investigation of the structure of cells. In his textbook, A Guided Tour of the Living Cell, de Duve wrote: “If you equate the probability of the birth of a bacterial cell to that of the chance assembly of its component atoms, even eternity will not suffice to produce one for you. So you might as well accept, as do most scientists, that the process was completed in no more than one billion years and that it took place entirely on the surface of our planet.” What was difficult, he added, was getting the simplest chemicals to the first specialized cells, after which “it took no more than 150,000 generations for an ape to develop into the inventor of calculus.” According to science writer Malcolm W. Browne, when de Duve was asked whether “some guiding hand” was needed for the process, he responded,

The answer of modern molecular biology to this much-debated question is categorical: chance, and chance alone, did it all, from primeval soup to man, with only natural selection to sift its effects. This affirmation now rests on overwhelming factual evidence.

But the succession of chances that created life did not operate in a vacuum, he said. “It operated in a universe governed by orderly laws and made of matter endowed with specific properties. These laws and properties are the constraints that shape evolutionary roulette and restrict the numbers that can turn up. Among these numbers are life and all its wonders, including the conscious mind.” In a follow-up of that New York Times article (4 July 1995), De Duve wrote the present author as follows:

I subscribe without reservation to the principle of free inquiry, untrammeled by any dogma, preconceived idea, or ideological bias. My recent efforts have focused on the origin of life, which I try to explain entirely in terms of the laws of physics and chemistry. I see the emergency of life as a highly deterministic process that was bound to occur under the conditions that prevailed on Earth four billion years ago and would likewise occur anywhere and any time similar conditions prevailed, a cosmic imperative. However, I believe it is wrong to identify free inquiry with atheism, which rests on faith no less than does religious belief. This point has been lucidly made by the Hungarian-Swedish virologist and cancer specialist George Klein, who, protesting not to be an agnostic but an atheist, writes (p. 203) in The Atheist and the Holy City (MIT Press 1990): “I am, indeed, an atheist. My attitude is based on faith. . . . The absence of a creator, the nonexistence of God is my childhood faith, my adult belief, unshakable and holy.” I do not share my friend’s faith but rather keep an open mind, faced with—and awed by—the mystery that surrounds the origin of the universe of which we are a part. My own reading of the scientific facts presently available on the nature, origin, and evolution of life has led me to reject the concept of a meaningless universe, advocated by Jacques Monod, Steven Weinberg, and other scientists: If the universe is not meaningless, what is its meaning? For me, this meaning is to be found in the structure of the universe, which happens to be such as to produce thought by way of life and mind. Thought, in turn, is a faculty whereby the universe can reflect upon itself, discover its own structure, and apprehend such immanent entities as truth, beauty, goodness, and love. Such is the meaning of the universe, as I see it. Not all scientists may agree with my reading of the facts. But this does not entitle them to claim scientific legitimacy for their own reading, often misleadingly presented to the lay public as ineluctably enforced by scientific knowledge. I have tremendous faith in modern science and have devoted my life to it. But I feel that science should not be arrogant.

[[De Duve added that his Guided Tour of the Living Cell, published more than ten years ago, does not deal with the origin of life, that [m]ore to the point would have been his Blueprint for a Cell (1991) and, especially, his latest book, Vital Dust, Life as a Cosmic Imperative (1995), out of which are excerpted the passages quoted in [the above] letter. {H. James Birx, Free Inquiry, Winter 1996-1997; WAS, 12 July 1995}

De Felice, Francesco (Born 1821) An Italian writer, De Felice took part in the revolution of 1843, and when Garibaldi landed in Sicily was appointed president of the provisional council of war. A freethinker, he wrote on the reformation of elementary schools. {BDF}

DeFord, Miriam: See entry for Miriam deFord.

De Greef, Guillaume Joseph (Born 1842) De Greef was an advocate at the Brussels Court of Appeal. He wrote Introduction to Sociology (1886). He also wrote for La Liberté (1867—1873) and Le Societé Nouvelle. {BDF}

De Gruson, Eugene Henry (1932— ) De Gruson, curator of the Haldeman-Julius Collection at Pittsburg State University at Pittsburg, Kansas, is author of E. Haldeman-Julius: Freethinker, a work that imitates Haldeman-Julius’s Blue Book size. A librarian and educator, he wrote Kansas Authors of Best Sellers (1970), Goat’s House: Poems (1986); and James Tate: A Descriptive Bibliography (1989). De Grytnäs, Per (17th Century) De Grytnäs was a noted Swedish unbeliever. In 1619 he was hanged as a renegade for denying “pure evangelical doctrine.” (See entry for Scandinavian Unbelievers.)

De Gubernatis, Angelo [Count] (1840—1913) De Gubernatis was an Italian Orientalist and writer. He studied Sanskrit under Bopp and Weber at Berlin. He wrote Zoological Mythology and compiled and in large part wrote a Universal History of Literature (18 volumes, 1882—1885). In addition, Sig. de Gubernatis edited La Revista Europea and the Revue Internationale. The count was a member of the American Philosophical Society. In his Dictionnaire International (1891, 2 volumes), he writes, “Our ideal temple is far vaster than enclosed by any Church . . . and it does more for the luminous peace and happiness of the world.” {BDF; JM; RAT}

De Harven, Emile Jean Alexandre (Born 1837) De Harven was the anonymous author of a work on The Soul: Its Origin and Destiny (1879). {BDF}

De Kay, Sam Hoffman (20th Century) In 1977, De Kay’s Ph. D. dissertation at Columbia University was on Frances Ellingwood Abbot. {FUS}

De la Casas, Bartolom: See entry for Hernan Rodriguez.

Debidour, Élie Louis Marie Marc Antoine (Born 1847) A French historian, Debidour was dean of the faculty of Letters, Nancy (1886—1890). He was an Officer of the Legion of Honour and a member of the French Academy. His L’Église Catholique et l’État sous la troisième République (2 volumes, 1906) is a rationalist chronicle of the relations of church and state. {RAT}

Debierre, Charles (19th Century) Debierre was a French writer, the author of Man Before History (1888). {BDF}

Debrovner, Charles H. (20th Century) Debrovner, a physician, is President of the Board of Governors of The Humanist Institute in New York City.

Debussy, Claude (1862—1918) Debussy, an eminent French composer, a giant among musicians, was an exponent of musical impressionism. He used a whole-tone scale, unusual relationships of harmony, dissonance, and other non-traditional musical ideas. His tone poem, “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun” (1894), was inspired by a Mallarmé poem. His orchestral works include “Nocturne” (1899) and “La Mer” (1905). His best-known piano work is “Clair de lune; Estampes” (1903). According to McCabe and Lamont, Debussy rejected the supernaturalist creeds and insisted upon a purely secular funeral. (CE; CL; JM; RAT; TRI; TYD}

Debussy, Claude (22 Aug 1862 - 25 Mar 1918) Debussy, an eminent French composer, a giant among musicians, was an exponent of musical impressionism. He used a whole-tone scale, unusual relationships of harmony, dissonance, and other non-traditional musical ideas. His tone poem, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (1894), was inspired by a Mallarmé poem. His orchestral works include Nocturne (1899) and La Mer (1905). His best-known piano work is Clair de lune; Estampes (1903). According to McCabe and Lamont, Debussy rejected the supernaturalist creeds and insisted upon a purely secular funeral. (CE; CL; JM; RAT; TRI; TYD}


Decker, Clarence Raymond (20th Century) Decker, who helped Harold Buschman edit The New Humanist in the 1930s, joined him on the faculty of the University of Kansas City. An administrator, he subsequently became president of Farleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. He wrote Victorian Conscience (1977). {EW}

DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS: See Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a major humanistic document.

DECONSTRUCTION Merriam-Webster’s dictionary did not add the word deconstruction until 1993, citing its meaning as “a method of literary criticism that assumes language refers only to itself rather than to an extratextual reality, that asserts multiple conflicting interpretations of a text, and that bases such interpretations of the philosophical, political, or social implications of the use of language in the text rather than on the author’s intention.” A method of textual analysis, the 1960’s brainchild of Jacques Derrida, deconstruction (his coinage) has been applied to literary theory, linguistics, and philosophy. Derrida, who taught philosophy at the Sorbonne and was influenced by Martin Heidegger, emphasized the “indeterminacy” of texts as well as their “unreliability.” He exposed the metaphysical assumptions involved in positive, systematic discussions of knowledge, and his criticism of academic structuralism led to what is called “post-structuralism.” Derrida, according to Columbia Encyclopedia, holds that “all texts are based on hierarchical dualisms, where one element is regarded as essentially true; all systems of thought have an assumed center, or Archimedean point, upon which they are based. In a deconstructionist reading, this unconscious and unarticulated point is revealed, and in this revelation the binary structure upon which the text rests is imploded. Thus what appears stable and logical is revealed to be illogical and paradoxical. To a deconstructionist, meaning includes what is left out of the text or ignored or silenced by it.” Interdisciplinary scholarship in the 1980s and 1990s is regarded as an outgrowth of deconstruction and a partial acceptance of its aims. Basically, deconstruction is a philosophy that challenges the view that language can represent reality. Derrida’s late 1960s antitheory theory has led to much scholarly wordplay. Typically, J. Douglas Kneale of the University of Western Ontario has written, the deconstructionist looks for binary oppositions in a text: (a) he studies how the oppositions are hierarchically structured; (b) he then temporarily postulates the text to say the opposite; and (c) he then reasserts the opposition, declaring a nonhierarchical relationship of “difference.“ The foremost American proponent of literary deconstruction, according to critic Michiko Kakutani, has been Yale University professor Paul de Man. Deconstruction, states Kakutani, “purveys a stylishly nihilistic view of the world, which insists that all meaning is relative, that all truth is elusive, and therefore futile. Such critical approaches irreparably divorce intellectual discourse from morality and ethics, and posit an ahistorical world in which actions have no consequences and language has no real meaning. Together with society’s current eagerness to blur the lines between fact and fantasy, reality and appearance, deconstructionists and like-minded thinkers foster a climate in which idealogues and propagandists, like the Holocaust deniers, can try to assail those two pillars of human civilization: memory and truth.” As for de Man’s wartime writing for a pro-Nazi publication during World War II, Derrida characterized those writings as the work that “a very young man wrote for a newspaper, almost a half century ago, for less than two years, in very singular private and political circumstances many of which remain unclear to us.” Derrida has offered deconstructive readings of de Man’s pro-Nazi articles, which according to Kakutani, “purported to show that the texts subverted their own declared intentions, a tactic not dissimilar to those employed by Holocaust deniers, who routinely take factual evidence of the Holocaust and deconstruct it to support their own assertions.” Admitting the subject is difficult, journalist Mitchell Stephens has tried to explain: “To deconstruct a ‘text’ (a term defined broadly enough to include the Declaration of Independence and a Van Gogh painting) means to pick it apart, in search of ways in which it fails to make the points it seems to be trying to make. Why would someone want to ‘read’ (defined broadly) like that? In order to experience the impossibility of anyone writing or saying (or painting) something that is perfectly clear, the impossibility of constructing a theory or method of inquiry that will answer all questions or the impossibility of fully comprehending weight matters, like death. Deconstruction, in other words, guards against the belief—a belief that has led to much violence—that the world is simple and can be known with certainty. It confronts us with the limits of what it is possible for human thought to accomplish.” Although at one time it was feared by some that deconstruction would destroy the academy by questioning Western values, Kneale says those fears have proved to be unfounded. He holds that “[a]fter nearly three decades of productive theory and practice, deconstruction remains one of the most significant developments in twentieth-century critical thought.” Stephens, meanwhile, concludes that “[m]any otherwise unmalicious people have in fact been guilty of wishing for deconstruction’s demise—if only to relieve themselves of the burden of trying to understand it.” “Unquestionably, the work of the Yale critics and, subsequently, that of a younger generation of critical readers has helped to legitimate and popularize deconstruction as a form of literary criticism,” Kneale has written, “but their efforts have done more than promote a fashionable style of thought and writing. Deconstruction has forced critics to reexamine their philosophical assumptions and to rethink their own language. . . . Deconstruction remains one of the most significant developments in twentieth-century critical thought.” Differing and referring to a 1983 New Criterion article entitled “Destroying Literary Studies,” the noted literary scholar René Wellek warned that deconstruction and other exercises in “extreme skepticism and even nihilism” threatened to undermine “all literary study, interrupt tradition, dismantle an edifice built by the efforts of generations of scholars and students.” That so many in America have become intrigued by Derrida’s works, according to Mark Lilla, “attests to the strength of Americans’ self-confidence and their awesome capacity to think well of anyone and any idea. Not for nothing do the French still call us les grands enfants.” (See entries for Harold Bloom, Post-Modernism, Post-Modernist Criticism of Humanism, and Post-Structuralism.) {CE; Mark Lilla, “The Politics of Jacques Derrida, The New York Review of Books, 25 June 1998}

Dedijer, Vladimir (20th Century) Dedijer is author of The Yugoslav Auschwitz and the Vatican: The Croatian Massacre of the Serbs During World War II (1992). He referred to his outlook as being that of humanism.

DEDUCTION In logic, deduction is the process of reasoning that moves from the general to the specific. If, for example, all humans have two legs, and John is a human, one can deduce that John has two legs. (Teratologists, however, point out that some special people are born with more than two legs.) The opposite is induction, or moving from the specific to the general. When we bite into an onion, we generalize from past experience that the onion will taste a certain unique way that is different from all other tastes. Hume held that it is not necessary that whatever looks like an onion will taste the way we have generalized it will taste. (For a discussion of induction, see “Scepticism and the Problem of Induction” by Paul Edwards, in A Modern Introduction to Philosophy [1973].) {DCL}

DEDUCTIVE-NOMOLOGICAL THEORY: See entry for Carl G. Hempel.

Dee, Jeff (20th Century) Dee, of the Atheist Community of Austin, wrote “The Glorification of Ignorance” in Secular Nation (April-June 1999).

Dee, Michael J. (20th Century) “There are no more metaphysics among the educated Japanese,” wrote Dee in Conclusions (1917). “Why should there be among us?” {TYD}

Dees, Morris (20th Century) In 1994, the American Humanist Association named Dees, a crusader for racial justice, a 1994 Humanist Distinguished Service Awardee. He wrote Hate on Trial (1993) and The Gathering Storm (1996).

Deffand, Marie Anne de Vichy-Chamrond du [Marchioness] (1697—1780) One of the most famous French women of the 18th century, Deffand in her salon entertained the leading freethinkers of France and England. While a girl in convent school, she had become a skeptic and it was a tradition that she routed the celebrated court preacher who was brought to reason with her. A witty marchioness, when a cardinal told her that it was disputed whether St. Denis carried his head twenty or thirty yards after it had been cut off, she replied, “Ah, my lord, it is only the first yard that really matters.” McCabe states that some considered her the purest writer of French after her friend Voltaire. {JM; RAT}

Defoe, Daniel (1660?—1731) 

Author of the first true novel in English, Robinson Crusoe (1719—1722), Defoe was educated in a Dissenters’ academy, a school for Protestants who were not Anglicans, and almost became a Presbyterian minister, choosing instead to go into business, where he went bankrupt by 1692. Crusoe not only rescues his man Friday from the cannibals but also learns how to overcome life’s difficulties, all the while preserving his human integrity. Moll Flanders (1722) is a realistic story of a London prostitute and thief. Journal of the Plague Year (1722) is equally realistic and, in many ways, timely. The Vatican prohibited the reading of his History (Political) of the Devil. Defoe was nearly sixty years old before he started to write novels, and he is noted for being a freethinking individual who was self-reliant, industrious, and filled with a feeling of moral responsibility. “Whores and priests will never want excuse,” he declared in The True-Born Englishman (1701), in which he also included, “Of all the plagues with which mankind are cursed/Ecclesiastic tyranny’s the worst.” In his 1722 account of a plague, Defoe stated by way of anticipation: “N.B.—The Author of this Journal lies buried in that very Ground [Bunhill Fields], being at his own desire, his sister having been buried there three or four years before.” However, Defoe did not die until 1731. His choice of Bunhill Fields points up the fact that burials outside churches had come into practice, because Londoners during the time of Pepys and Wren began complaining about “body-stuffed sanctuaries.” Bunhill, named for the Bone Hill where in the sixteenth century more than a thousand cartloads of bones from charnel houses had been dumped, was known as the Dissenters’ burial ground, a place according to Tom Weil “where free thinkers could escape the fee-grabbing clergy and their costly consecrated terrain in favor of less expensive, secular real estate.” A 1998 biography by Richard West, Daniel Defoe: The Life and Strange, Surprising Adventures, tells of his becoming a political commentator and satirist, a merchant—he traded in woolen goods and wines—and a speculator in marine insurance. By 1692 he had gone bankrupt because of £17,000 in debts. Defoe described his plight in a couplet:

No Man has tasted differing Fortunes more, And Thirteen Times I have been Rich and Poor. {CB; CE; ILP; TYD}

deFord, Miriam Allen (1888—1975) DeFord was a published writer from the time she was twelve, a freethinker since she was thirteen, and a feminist all her life. A writer of mystery and science fiction stories, true-crime accounts, biographies, poems, and other works, she won the 1961 Edgar Award of the Mystery Writers of America. A member of the editorial board of The Humanist, she was an honorary secretary of the Rationalist Press Association. The author of Who Was When: A Dictionary of Contemporaries (1940), deFord was married to the scientist, Maynard Shipley. She wrote the present author concerning humanism:

Since the Latin language has been one of the chief interests of my life, I suppose I might call myself a lexicographical Humanist; or, without being an Existentialist, with my convinced views on religion I might well be called an atheistic Humanist. But all in all, taking your definitions at face value, naturalistic Humanism perhaps comes closest to my beliefs. As Maynard Shipley said, “It is quite enough if one devote oneself to the welfare of humanity.” No other devotion is needed. I am inclined to look on the word Humanism as just another in the series of terms by which we try to describe a philosophy oriented toward man instead of toward a supernatural system—one with Rationalism, Free Thought, Secularism, Agnosticism, Atheism, and all the rest. I consider religion—any religion—to be the greatest curse of humanity, and I confess I am not altogether comfortable with some of the mildly religious-minded people included in the American Humanist Association, even though in general I am in accord with their principles. My ethical views and ideals are completely naturalistic. I come nearer, perhaps, to Lucretius than to any philosopher since, and if any writer has influenced me, it is he. I cannot, however, say that either writers or speakers have done more than reinforce the view I first worked out for myself at the precocious age of thirteen! As for the other Humanisms, that is one of my chief objections to the word—that it connotes so many disparate and contradictory things. Semantically, it is too fuzzy a word for exact definition.

In 1973, deFord signed Humanist Manifesto II. In 1975 she was recognized with the Humanist Pioneer Award of the American Humanist Association. {FUS; HM2; HNS; PK; WAS, 16 March 1956}

Degler, Carl N. (20th Century) Degler is a freethinker and historian. His The Other South: Southern Dissenters in the Nineteenth Century (1974) contains information about Southern abolitionism and the Readjusters in Virginia. He also wrote In Search of Human Nature (1991). {Freethought History #14, 1995}

DEICIDE Deicide, which J. G. Frazer discussed in The Golden Bough (1890), refers to the killing, either real or symbolic, of a god. For example, a 1993 multi-media production about the life of Jesus was postponed at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall because the live show entitled “Jesus Was His Name” included some lines to which the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith objected. To resolve the problem, a statement was read at each performance of the thirty-two-city American tour, one that stressed that “most Christian denominations” reject the view that the Jews killed Jesus Christ. The inference was that some Christians do believe that it was the Jews, not the Romans, who killed their Christ. (See entry for Anti-Semitism.) {CE}

Deicide (20 Century) Members of Deicide, a deathmetal rock band, in a 1996 interview told Rock Out Censorship that they were atheists with satanic views. Not explained was why atheists should have any connection with Satan, a theistic invention. {CA}

Deininger, Whitaker T. (20th Century) Deininger, chairman in the 1950s of the University of Dubuque’s philosophy and religion department in Iowa, wrote reviews for The Humanist.

DEISM Deism was a rationalistic movement that started in the seventeenth and continued into the eighteenth century. Its adherents, who were mainly opposed to revealed religion in general and Christianity in particular, held that nature’s existence is obvious and that no further proof, such as that found in the Bible, is needed of a Creator or Supreme Architect of the Universe. Organized religion was scorned for encouraging superstition, and biblical revelation was considered spurious. Both the Old and New Testament were attacked as being a collection of inauthentic, not revealed, writings. Voltaire, one of the most famous, argued that belief in miracles is, logically, blasphemous, implying as it does that God has somehow bungled His creation and needs to make repairs. The deists emphasized morality, and they denied that the Creator, once his creation was finished, interfered further with the natural laws of the universe. Petitionary prayers could not be expected to be answered, for the Creator has gone and cannot hear them. Using the analogy of the watchmaker, He had created the world, He was now elsewhere, and man’s interest now needs to be in the thoughtful utilization of His creation, not in the Creator who presumably will remain unknown. Basically, deism was a system of thought which advocated natural religion. The light of nature—lumen naturae, or reason—was man’s only reliance. Deist authors and their works included Thomas Morgan (The Moral Philosopher, 1737); Thomas Chubb (Discourse Concerning Reason, 1731; True Gospel of Jesus Christ, 1739; and Posthumous Works, 1748); John Toland (Christianity Not Mysterious, 1696); and Matthew Tindal (Christianity as Old as the Creation, or the Gospel A Republication of the Religion of Nature (1730). Tindal, whose work sometimes is called “the deist’s bible,” was not so restrained in his criticism of Christianity as was Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1583—1648), who is called “the father of deism.” Lord Herbert simply commended natural religion for its reasonableness. In addition to Voltaire, the ranks of the deists included Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. The Founding Fathers of the United States were particularly attracted to deism, for they could no longer accept the Church of England nor the King of England as God’s representative on Earth. Nor did they desire the formation of a national church, choosing instead to write a Constitution that guaranteed religious freedom for believers and non-believers alike. Ethan Allen’s Reason the Only Oracle of Man (1784) and Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason (1794—1795) were deistic works. Many of the deists were Freemasons, and the Masonic ritual is in keeping with deistic thought. Deism differs from theism, although Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary in 1827 defined the two words as synonymous. Both posit God, although deists are more apt to use a term such as Supreme Architect of the Universe. Deism indicates a philosophical, as opposed to a dogmatic, belief in God, and deists emphasized natural theology as contrasted with revealed. Eighteenth-century deism appealed to the liberalism of Unitarianism and Universalism, two churches which were protesting Calvinism and were attempting to reconcile religious belief with scientific thought. But by the first decade of the nineteenth century, deism had lost much of its influence among major writers, who were becoming interested in a new philosophic and literary movement: transcendentalism. However, even in the 20th century, some still choose to label themselves as deists and publish Think! (Box 47016, St. Petersburg, Florida 33743). Deism, according to J. C. A. Gaskin’s Varieties of Unbelief from Epicurus to Sartre (1989), is “[b]elief in a god who ordered the universe and masterminds its general laws but has no concern with such particular effects as individual men and women and has made no special revelation of its (his or her) nature or purposes to the human race.” Gaskin differentiates deism from attenuated deism, the “[a]cknowledgment of the possibility of some inconceivably remote and unknowable creator-god who is neither concerned with nor of concern to the human race, nor thinkably like a human person.” The case for deism as made by E. O. Wilson (The Atlantic Monthly, March 1998) includes the following:

Deistic belief, by persisting in attenuated form to this day, has given scientists a license to search for God. More precisely, it has prompted a small number to make a partial sketch of Him (Her? It? Them?), derived from their professional meditations. Few scientists and philosophers, however, let alone religious thinkers, take scientific theology very seriously. A more coherent and interesting approach, possibly within the reach of theoretical physics, is to try to answer the following question: Is a universe of discrete material particles possible only with one specific set of natural laws and parameter values? In other words, does the human imagination, which can conceive of other laws and values, thereby exceed possible existence? Any act of Creation may be only a subset of the universes we can imagine. On this point Einstein is said to have remarked to his assistant Ernst Straus, in a moment of neo-deistic reflection, “What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world.” That line of reasoning can be extended rather mystically to formulate the “anthropic principle,” which asserts that the laws of nature, in our universe at least, had to be set a certain precise way so as to allow the creation of beings able to ask about the laws of nature. Did Someone decide to do it that way?

Wilson then adds:

The fatal flaw in deism is thus not rational at all but emotional. Pure reason is unappealing because it is bloodless. Ceremonies stripped of sacred mystery lose their emotional force, because celebrants need to defer to a higher power in order to consummate their instinct for tribal loyalty. In times of danger and tragedy especially, unreasoning ceremony is everything. Rationalism provides no substitute for surrender to an infallible and benevolent being, or for the leap of faith called transcendence. Most people, one imagines, would very much like science to prove the existence of God but not to take the measure of his capacity. (See the entry for World Union of Deists. Also see the article by Ernest Campbell Mossner for deism in the Encyclopedia of Religion, Vol. 2. Also see the entries for Clockwork Universe, for Pierre Viret, and for Ethan Allen. For deism (1624—1760) in the United Kingdom, see Gordon Stein’s Freethought in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. In his Freethought in the United States, Gordon Stein also refers to Canadian deism.) {CE; ER; DCL}

DEISTS, WORLD UNION OF The World Union of Deists, Box 47026, St. Petersburg, Florida 33743) publishes information concerning Thomas Paineand other deists.

D’Holbach, Paul Henry Thiry: See Holbach, Paul Henri Thiry.

Dekker, Eduard Douwes [Multatuli] (1820—1887) An eminent Dutch novelist, known by the pseudonym Multatuli, served in Java, where he became an advocate of reform in colonial administration. His Max Havelaar (1860), partly autobiographical, is a satirical account of the vain efforts of an enlightened official to counter exploitation of the native population under colonial rule. D. H. Lawrence admired the work, writing an introduction to Siebenhaar’s translation in 1927. Dekker had desired to free the Javanese from the oppression of their princes, but the government would not help him and he resigned and returned to Holland in 1856. The next four years he spent, in poverty, vainly seeking justice for the Javanese. Writing under the pen name of Multatuli, he made a masterly indictment in Max Havelaar of the Dutch rule in India. The Freethinker (March 1994) contains Dekker’s “Seeker’s Lament,” a poem which describes his farewell to religious faith. His Ideën (7 volumes, 1862—1879) is full of the boldest heresy. Wheeler called Dekker “the greatest Dutch writer and freethinker of [the nineteenth] century.” Dekker’s corpse was burned in the crematory at Gotha. Tim Madigan and Tom Flynn, of the Council for Secular Humanism, were photographed at the Multatuli statue in Amsterdam in a Winter 1992 issue of The Secular Humanist Bulletin. “His trenchant criticisms of religious smugness got him into trouble,” Madigan observed, “but he also helped expose the immorality of the basic premises of colonialism. And while he may not have gotten the recognition he deserved during his lifetime, it is good to know that his works are being kept alive by contemporary Dutch humanists. He is so well-known in the Netherlands today that a brand of coffee was named after him.” {BDF; JMRH; PUT; RAT}

DeKoning, Lucien (20th Century) DeKoning, active in the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), has consistently attacked organized religion.

DeKruif, Paul: See the entry for Theism.

Delacroix, Eugène (1798—1863) Delacroix has been described by Corliss Lamont as a French painter who “participated actively in the secular and democratic tendencies of the age.” An admirer of fellow atheist Diderot and France’s foremost painter of the romantic movement, Delacroix opposed the neoclassical school of Jacques-Louis David (1748—1825), who for a generation had been the virtual art dictator of France. Among the Delacroix masterpieces in the Louvre are “The Bark of Dante,” “Women of Algiers,” and “Tiger Attacking a Horse.” The Copenhagen Museum exhibits his portrait of George Sand. Delacroix, whose full name was Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix, abhorred cemeteries, thinking of them as places of oblivion. He described a cemetery in Dieppe as “less forbidding than that frightful Père-Lachaise, less silly, less limited, less bourgeois. Forgotten graves overgrown with grass, clumps of rosebushes and clematis perfuming the air in this sojourn of death; perfect solitude, moreover, ultimate conformity with the object of the place and with the necessary purpose of what is there, which is to say silence and forgetfulness.” But later he chose to join the Parisian elite, directing in his will that

My tomb will be in the cemetery of Père-Lachaise, on the heights, in a place somewhat removed. There will be neither emblem, bust, nor statue.

 {CB; CE; CL; JM; RAT}

Delage, Marie Yves (Born 1854) Delage, a French zoologist who achieved an international eminence, was an Officer of the Academy and of Public Instruction, Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, Laureate of the Institut, and President of the Zoological Society of France (1900). He edited the Année Beiologique and had a reputation for being an enemy of all obscurantism. As for the theories of the soul of spiritual philosophers like Plato and Augustine, Delage dryly added, “We find an analogous idea among many savages.” {RAT}

Delambre, Jean Baptiste Joseph (1749—1822) Delambre, an eminent French astronomer and mathematician during the Revolution is known for his historical works, including a six-volume Histoire de l’astronomie (1817—1827). A student under Lalande, he became, like his master, an atheist. Along with P. F. A. Méchain, he measured for the French government an arc of the meridian between Barcelona and Dunkirk. His astronomical computations, especially a table of the motions of Uranus, led to his discovering four formulas in spherical trigonometry, and these are known as Delambre’s analogies. He died, after a long and painful illness. In announcing his death, a pious journal (L’Ami de la Religion et du Rio) wrote:

It appears that this savant had the misfortune to be an unbeliever. We Wish we could announce that sickness had brought him back to the faith; but we have been unable to obtain any information to that effect. Like Lalande, the dying astronomer was faithful to the convictions of his life.

	Delambre was buried at Père la Chaise, Cuvier pronouncing a discourse over his grave. {BDF; CE; FO; JM; JMR; JMRH; RAT}

Deland, Margaret(ta) Wade Campbell (1857—1945) Deland’s John Ward, Preacher (1888) contained the unusual plot of a minister who is torn between his own strict Calvinism and his wife’s liberalism. Deland also wrote The Rising Tide (1916), about the Suffrage Movement. If This Be (1935) and Golden Yesterdays (1941) are autobiographical. {FUS}

Delaney, Joe (20th Century) In 1995, Delaney became vice president of the University of Minnesota Atheists and Humanists (UMAH).

De la Ramée, Marie Louise: See entry for Ramée, Marie Louise de la.

Delavigne, Jean François Casimir (1793—1843) Delavigne was a French poet. His drama, Les Vépres Siciliennes, was directed against the royalist-clerical reaction. Delavigne exulted in the 1830 Revolution, composing a hymn, “La Parisienne,” which for a time rivaled the “Marseillaise.” With Béranger, he shared the inspiration of the people against clericalism. {RAT}

DELAWARE HUMANISTS

Roy Torcaso of the Mid Atlantic Region (AHA), 3708 Brightview Street, Wheaton, Maryland 20902, is coordinator for the District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.

Delbanco, Andrew (20th Century) Delbanco, a humanities professor at Columbia University, is author of The Death of Satan: How Americans Have Lost the Sense of Evil (1995). Satan is dead, Delbanco notes, having been replaced in the 1800s, a Me Century, by pride, which became “not just a legitimate emotion but America’s uncontested god.” The new demon included scapegoating by the likes of a crusader “who construes evil as a malignant, external thing—a thing alien to himself—[which] is by far the worst kind of barbarian. Delbanco, wrote critic Tad Friend in New York (8 November 1995), “declares that scapegoating—a habit of demonization he now sees in open anti-Semitism, in victimology on college campuses, and in the predatory Dark Woman of films like “Fatal Attraction”—is a failure of moral imagination. . . . The struggle of the twentieth century was to keep this proficient hater from seizing the world.” Friend continues, stating that Delbanco’s “touchstone of sanity is Saint Augustine, the monist who declared evil not an external enemy but simply the absence of God. Satan is thus not a horned seducer but an internal deficit, a blindness. Delbanco traces the Augustinian line from Jonathan Edwards through Emerson and Lincoln, John Dewey and Reinhold Niebuhr, and more recently Norman Mailer and Thomas Pynchon. All chime variations of Delbanco’s gloss on [Jonathan] Edwards: ‘God, in arranging what seem the accidents of our lives, bears no responsibility for what we become. This is our burden, and ours alone.’ ” Friend then comments, “Mailer and Pynchon’s insistence on moral responsibility is notably secular, but Delbanco resists that wrinkle: ‘Without reverence for something [transcendent],’ he believes, we’ll be powerless against the next Stalin. Delbanco thus exemplifies the modern dilemma he describes: He is an atheist nostalgic for the clarity of theodicy, for the outworn language of sin. It’s not entirely clear why, given Delbanco’s own ambivalence about the puritanical ‘opening mood of American civilization,’ which he characterizes as a ‘peculiarly calm self-loathing—a hatred of the self continuous with an unresentful love of God.” {TYD}

Delboeuf, Joseph Remi Léopold (1831—1896) A Belgian writer, Delboeuf taught at the University of Lièwge. In his Prolegomena to Geometry, he suggests that even mathematical axioms may have an empirical origin. Baldwin classified him as being a positivist. {BDF; RAT}

Delbos, Étienne Marie Justin Victor (1862—1916) Delbos was a French philosopher who taught, successively, at Limoges, Toulouse, and Paris. He was a rationalist of the spiritual school and a great admirer of Spinoza. {RAT}

Delbos, Léon (Born 1849) Delbos, whose father was Spanish, his mother Scottish, spoke many languages, including Arabic and Sanskrit. In addition to many education works, he wrote L’Athée, an atheistic and freethought romance. In 1885 he wrote The Faith in Jesus not a New Faith. Also, he contributed to the Agnostic Annual and called himself an agnostic. {BDF; RAT}

Delcassé, Théophile (Born 1852) A French statesman, Delcassé during 1913—1914 was Ambassador at Petrogad. He was a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour and held the highest orders of Russia, Denmark, Belgium, Japan, and China. A rationalist, Delcassé supported the Government’s action against the Church. {RAT}

Delepierre, Joseph Octave (1802—1879) 

A Belgian bibliophile, Delepierre was secretary of Legation to England for thirty-five years. His daughter married N. Truebner, who published his L’Enfer (Hell, 1876). {BDF}

Delescluze, Louis Charles (1809—1871) A French journalist and revolutionary, Delescluze was arrested in 1834 for sedition. In 1835, implicated in a plot, he took refuge in Belgium. In 1848 Delescluze issued La Revolution Démocratique et Sociale, after which he was imprisoned, then banished to England. In 1868 he published Réveil, for which he again was fined and sentenced to prison for ten years. In 1859 he was amnestied, then imprisoned. Delescluze became head of the Commune Committee of Public Safety and died at the barricade. {BDF}

Deleu, P. (20th Century) Deleu, a Belgian physiologist, addressed the International Humanist and Ethical Union’s (IHEU’s) International Peace Conference in Zutphen (1983).

Deleyre, Alexandre (1726—1797) A French writer, Deleyre at an early age entered the order of Jesuits, then changed his faith and became the friend of Rousseau and Diderot. He contributed to the Encyclopédie. Deleyre embraced the Revolution with ardor, was made deputy to the Convention, and in 1795 was made member of the Institute. {BDF; RAT}

Delgado, José (20th Century) A Humanist Laureate in the Council for Secular Humanism’s International Academy of Humanism, Dr. Delgado is Chairperson of the Department of Neuropsychiatry at the University of Madrid. At the Tenth International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) World Congress held in Buffalo (1988), Delgado addressed the group. In Madrid in 1995, he spoke on the subject, “Bases neuronales del humanismo.” His “Neurobiological Bases of Beliefs” is included in Challenges to the Enlightenment, Essays in Defense of Reason and Science (1994). In 1995, he attended the first International Multidisciplinary Conference on Human Behaviour and the Meaning of Modern Humanism in Delphi, Greece. Also in 1995, Delgado wrote In Search of God. Delgado signed Humanist Manifesto 2000.

Delibert, Joseph (Died 1999) Delibert was a past president and honorary trustee of the New York Society for Ethical Culture.

Delius, Frederick (1862—1934) An English composer of German parentage, Delius was influenced by Grieg. He is known for combining romanticism and impressionism in music that is characterized by free structure and rich chromatic harmony. One of Delius’s works is On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring (1912), and he also wrote operas, including A Village Romeo and Juliet (1907). A Mass of Life is set to Nietzsche’s text Also Sprach Zarathustra and is for two choirs and a double size orchestra. The work celebrates the joys of being alive, of dancing and drinking, of climbing moutains, and looking at girls’ ankles. Terry Sanderson has described Delius’s atheism (The Freethinker, August 1996 and May 1997). He relates the time when Eric Fenby visited Delius and was told,

Eric, I’ve been thinking, the sooner you get rid of all this Christian humbug the better. The whole traditional conception of life is false. Throw those great Christian blinkers away and look around you, stand on your own two feet and be a man. . . . Sex plays a tremendous part in life. It’s terrible to think we come into this world through some despicable act. Don’t believe all the tommyrot the priests tell you; learn and prove everything by your own experience. {TRI; TYD}

Dell, Floyd (1887-1969) Dell edited the monthly New York journal, Arbitrator. Known along with Max Eastman as one of the nation’s prominent intellectual leftists, he was known in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a socialist, a Freudian, a radical, and a bohemian. Dell wrote eleven novels, a number of reviews and essays, at least a dozen plays, and several works of nonfiction. An editor of The Masses, he described the magazine as one which “stood for fun, truth, beauty, realism, freedom, peace, feminism, revolution.”

Dell, John Henry (1832—1888) An artist and poet, Dell contributed to Progress, wrote Nature Pictures (1871), and The Dawning Grey (1885), a volume of verse imbued with the spirit of democracy and freethought. {BDF}

Dell-Bryan, Luree (20th Century) Dell-Bryan and Jeff Lowder are responsible for the secular web site of the Internet Infidels: <http://infidels.org>.

Delon, Michel (20th Century) Delon, writing in the Parisian Les Cahiers Rationalistes, cites the Belgian cultural historian Roland Mortier as also being a rationalist.

DELTA “Delta,” according to David Sterrett (The Freethinker, June 1996), is a noun from the Greek letter D, “the dark triangle,” or pudendum. “The reason for the River Nile exit point to the sea being called the Nile Delta should be obvious, especially as in the spring it is richly red and the spring inundation is responsible for the abundant fertility and revival of the land. Thus one can see the logic behind the fertility rites of the Egyptian Religious System.”

Deluc, Adolphe (Born 1811) Deluc, a professor of chemistry at Brussels, collaborated on La Libre Recherche. {BDF}

De Luca, Anthony J. (20th Century) De Luca, a freethinker, wrote Freud and the Future Religious Experience (1976). {GS}

Delvaux (18th Century) Delvaux, a professor at the University of North Carolina, allegedly was a skeptical French ex-monk. (See entry for North Carolina Freethinkers.)

de Man, Paul (1919—1983) At Yale University, de Man was described as “the deconstructionist guru.” Deconstructionists, in approaching any text, dismantle it—they note, for example, its unchic, élitist, anti-feminist presuppositions. With such criticism, they expose what is considered to be the text’s inherent contradictions. David Lehman’s Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man (1992) pokes fun at the movement. To illustrate, he attempts to obtain an explanation of “clitoral hermeneutics” from a deconstructionist attending a conference of the Modern Language Association, knowing deconstructionists always view words as shifting in meanings and that no one interpretation of words is any more correct than any other. Prof. de Man himself has been deconstructed by Lehman, who points out that the native Belgian wrote nearly 200 articles for Nazi-controlled newspapers before teaching at Bard College from 1949 to 1951. Lehman also details how Artine Artinian, who was depicted as Aristide in Mary McCarthy’s The Groves of Academe, was betrayed by deMan, how deMan married Patricia Kelley although he was still married with three children to Anne de Man, and how one of those children described his father as a Felix Krull, a reference to Thomas Mann’s “confidence man.” Alan Ryan, commenting upon the posthumous publication of Aesthetic Ideology (1996), observed that “Like other famous—or moderately famous—figures whose youthful misdeeds come to light only at their death, Paul de Man is now almost impossible to see clearly.” A number of deconstructionists have been highly critical of secular humanism. (See entries for Deconstruction and Postmodernist criticism of humanism.)

DeMasi, Andrew (1947—1993)

DeMasi, a professional harpsichordist, was a Jesuit-trained father. The Jesuits had taught him to think so logically, he said, that he had left Roman Catholicism for Nestorianism (a heretical group which followed Nestorius in the 5th century), then joined one of Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s atheistic groups which gave him little or no support, and then joined AASH (an agnostic, atheist, secular humanist group for people who were HIV-positive). “Rev. DeMasi, Andrew,” as he was listed in the telephone book, described in American Gay & Lesbian Atheists (July 1993) his treatment by ministers of the Trinity Lower East Side Lutheran Church, East 9th Street in Manhattan, New York. They had dubbed him an “AIDS Victim” and told him in 1993 that his job as church organist was no longer available. “I was the leper among the clean, a sinful faggot among the divine,” he said, whereupon he filed a grievance with the New York Human Resources Commission but correctly guessed that his case would take longer than he had to live. Additionally, DeMasi lamented not having received help from his union, the American Guild of Organists, “although the crushing fact is that the vast majority of those on the board are gay themselves, knowing that a large number of us are employed in churches as entertainers for the divine.” On his last day as organist, a dozen of his supporters from the Agnostics, Atheists, and Secular Humanists (AASH) group seated themselves at the Lutheran service where he played the first prelude, then sat silently as circulars were handed out to explain his predicament, ask for an apology, and plead for payment for past services. The minister, however, with the Lutheran bishop’s wife in attendance, continued the service a cappella, and DeMasi was replaced as the organist. DeMasi suffered greatly during his several hospital stays but gently died of Kaposi’s sarcoma in the arms of his companion, Colin Kenney. Members of Agnostics, Atheists, and Secular Humanists (AASH) in New York City held a secular memorial in his honor.

De Maupassant, Guy: See entry for Maupassant.

Demlinger, Floyd O. (20th Century) Demlinger wrote Free Minds Venturing (1969). {FUS}

DEMOCRACY In Ancient Athens, between 35,000 and 40,000 male citizens participated in “democracy.” Joyce Carol Oates, however, has observed another side of the coin: “Excluded by reason of sex were approximately as many Athenian women, and the city-state contained an unknown number of slaves, male and female, who were (of course) excluded from citizenship.” Secular humanists and atheists cannot subsist in a non-democratic environment. Democracy implies that two sides of an argument can persuade each other or come to a compromise, which is impossible in, for example, an Islamic fundamentalist society. (See entry for Egalitarianism.)

Democritus (c. 460— 370 B.C.E.) Often described as “the so-called laughing philosopher,” Democritus was the father of the atomic theory and a materialist. A wealthy atheistic philosopher, Democritus traveled to Egypt and over a great part of Asia. He may have been acquainted with Leucippus. The philosophy in the sixty works were ascribed to him emphasized consistent mechanistic postulates which required no supernatural intervention, differing from the abstractions of his predecessors, Anaxagoras (who emphasized mind) and Empedocles (who emphasized harmony and discord). He thought everything was composed of atoms, tiny particles which cannot be seen but which have the same matter in different size, shape, and weight, matter that is underived, indivisible, indestructible. A hedonist, he taught that the true end of life is happiness achieved in inner tranquillity. A skeptic, he observed that “truth is sunk in an abyss.” He is said to have laughed at life in general, which Montaigne says is better than to imitate Heraclitus and weep, because mankind is not so unhappy as it is vain. A. T. Cole, in Democritus and the Sources of Greek Anthropology (1967), wrote about the forerunner of current secular thinking. Santayana’s Reason in Science states, “A thorough materialist, one born to the faith and not plunged into it by an unexpected christening in cold water, will be, like the superb Democritus, a laughing philosopher.” {CE; CL}

Demonax (2nd Century) A cynical philosopher, Demonax rejected all religion. Lucian wrote an account about Demonax and his views. {BDF}

De Montalvo, Soledad (20th Century) “I was suddenly inspired to describe the Judeo-Christian god as a penis which has been endowed with cosmic significance,” De Montalvo has written. In Women, Food, and Sex in History (1988), she starts the four-volume work which surveys the world’s history. “Sluts in Huts” describes how women got men out of the Stone Age. Later chapters tell which kings and others died of venereal diseases, how children were used sexually, and how the male penis was worshiped. Madalyn O’Hair wrote the foreword.

Demora, Gianbattista (19th Century) Demora was director of the Libero Pensatore of Milan, and he wrote some dramatic works. {BDF}

De Morgan, Augustus (1806—1871) De Morgan, a mathematician, refused to graduate at Cambridge on account of the theological tests. Calling himself an “unattached Christian,” he remained a theist and declined to join the Unitarians. Although he had a sympathetic interest in spiritualism, he has been wrongly cited as a spiritualist, according to McCabe. {RAT}

Demosthenes (384—322 B.C.E.) “We believe whatever we want to believe,” wrote the Athenian orator and statesman, Demosthenes. {TYD}

Deng Xiaoping [Communist Party Chairman] (1904—1997) Deng (whose old-style name was Teng Hsiao-ping), when a student in Paris, met a fellow student, Zhou Enlai, and adopted the name Xiaoping (little peace). During the 1966-1969 cultural revolution, he was branded a “capitalist roader,” he was twice purged from power (1967, 1976), and he was sent for “re-education” to a tractor factory. He was twice “rehabilitated” (1973, 1977), first by Zhou Enlai, and after Zhou’s death and being forced into hiding, he was finally reinstated and became the controlling force in China. In 1981 he was named at the Communist Party Congress to lead the newly created Central Advisory Commission. In 1993, his youngest daughter, Deng Rong (whom he calls Mao Mao, or Little Kitten) published a biography of her father, relating that in 1930 his first wife, Zhang Xiyuan, died in childbirth, and that his second, Jin Weiyan, a factory worker, divorced Mr. Deng in 1933, when he was deemed politically incorrect and under severe criticism. The third, Zhuo Lin, appears in photos to be about 4 feet 10 inches, and her husband is around 5 feet tall. The book, rather than being negative, is reportedly a work which places her non-theistic father in China’s revolutionary history. An atheist, Deng found that his reputation became tarnished in 1989 when he sanctioned the army’s massacre of more than two thousand unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

Denham, Hector (1842—1913) Denham was a Belgian sociologist who worked with the positivists in his earlier years, collaborating with Littré in his Philosophie Positive. In later years, he was an aggressive agnostic and socialist. “Positive science,” he wrote, “arrays itself against religion, destroying the myths and fables which confine humanity in ignorance and delusion.”

De Niro, Robert (1945-	)

In a 1998 interview with James Lipton, dean of the Actors Studio, actor De Niro was asked what he would say when he arrives at the pearly gates. His response to God: “You’ve got a lot of explaining to do.”

Denis, Hector (Born 1842) Denis was a Belgian advocate and professor of political economy and philosophy at Brussels University. He wrote on social questions and contributed to La Liberté, la Philosophie Positive. Denis was a member of the Council of the International Federation of Freethinkers. {BDF}

Dennett, Daniel Clement (1942— ) Newly added to Academy of Humanism

Daniel Dennett, Author/Philosopher science

This author of the 1991 bestseller Consciousness Explained establishes his atheism in his book Darwin's Dangerous Idea: "The kindly God who lovingly fashioned each and every one of us and sprinkled the sky with shining stars for our delight -- that God is, like Santa Claus, a myth of childhood, not anything a sane, undeluded adult could literally believe in. That God must either be turned into a symbol for something less concrete or abandoned altogether" (p.18).


A philosopher, author, and professor at Tufts University, Dennett in 1995 wrote Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life (1995). He has written about artificial intelligence, supporting the view that mind stuff is explained by brain stuff, that we are in no need of explanations involving spiritual nonsense. He defends the idea that simple organisms are well described as automata and that, as Darwin’s theory states, we all are descended from such simple mechanisms. Our bodies, our actions, and all the ethical and intellectual issues which we face can be accounted for by evolution. In fact, he explicitly identifies this view with the secular humanists. In an interview (Free Inquiry, Fall 1995), Dennett discussed in more detail his vision of the future of artificial intelligence. A director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, he once helped develop a humanoid robot named Cog. John R. Searle, in a profound discussion of Dennett’s views, concludes that consciousness remains a mystery. But he feels that Dennett, along with Francis Crick, Gerald Edman, and Roger Penrose, “in their quite different ways, are at least on the right track. They are all trying to explain how the physical matter in our head could cause subjective states of sentience or awareness.” John Maynard Smith, professor of biology at the University of Sussex, highly approves Dennett’s understanding of Darwinism. If we comprehend Darwin’s dangerous idea, however, we are forced “to reject or modify much of our current intellectual baggage—for example, the ideas of Stephen Jay Gould, Noam Chomsky, Jerry Fodor, John Searle, E. O. Wilson, and Roger Penrose.” Smith continues, quoting Darwin, “He who understands baboon would do more toward metaphysics than Locke.” Central to Dennett’s thesis is “that evolution by natural selection is an algorithmic process.” Before Darwin, philosophers and biologists held that the complex adaptations of living things implied some intelligent designer. Darwin’s dangerous idea, however, is “that adaptations can arise by natural selection, without need of intelligence: that is, they can be the products of an algorithmic process.” Dennett repeatedly uses the analogy of “cranes” and “skyhooks,” devices for lifting things. A crane, explains Smith, “is a structure or process which is itself the product of the natural selection of replicating entities, but which, once it has arisen, makes it possible for still more complex structures to evolve.” Before sex, there was no way in which different replicators could unite to form a new individual. “Once sex did arise,” however, “it greatly accelerated the evolutionary process. Sex is, in Dennett’s terminology, a crane. Sex did not arise because it would accelerate evolution in the future: natural selection does not have foresight. Indeed, there is still controversy among evolutionary biologists about how and why sex did originate, although,” Smith adds, “I think that a plausible account is now possible.” Dennett’s view of evolution, Smith continues, “is one of cranes building cranes building cranes, each new crane arising by an essentially mindless process of selection. I fully agree with this view.” Skyhooks, however, “are a stark contrast. They are mysterious lifting devices, whose origin cannot be explained. It is Dennett’s thesis that we must eschew skyhooks and make do with cranes.” Smith’s The Major Transitions in Evolution (1995) is an account of this succession of cranes, starting with the origin of the first replicators and the genetic code, and ending (so far) with the origin of human language. The problem is to explain how each new crane arose by a process of selection, without miracles, or “skyhooks.” Dennett and Smith agree that the world is free of skyhooks but that we can live happily in such a world. In Smith’s words, “No matter how mindless the processes of evolution may be, they have, in fact, produced a world of astonishing beauty, which we can enjoy, and ought to protect. In 1996, Dennett’s Kinds of Minds, Toward an Understanding of Consciousness continues developing his view that the brain evolved like all other organs and explaining that consciousness has a material basis, like any other mental ability. He is a contributing editor on Philo and a signer of Humanist Manifesto 2000. {CA; E; “The Mystery of Consciousness,” The New York Review of Books, 2 and 16 November 1995; John Maynard Smith, “Genes, Memes, & Minds,” The New York Review of Books, 30 November 1995}

DENOMINATIONS, RELIGIOUS: See entry for Hell.

Denslow, Van Buren (19th Century) Denslow, an American, was author of essays on Modern Thinkers (1880), to which Colonel Ingersoll wrote an introduction. He wrote on the value of irreligion in Truthseeker and other journals. {BDF; PUT}

DENTISTRY “Dentists are humanistic?” a person unacquainted with paradox might ask. But how else explain that the Etruscans in the 7th century B.C.E. made crowns and bridges if not because of their desire to alleviate human pain. The Phoenicians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans developed dentistry, which then became an almost lost art during the Middle Ages. A Spanish Moor, Abulcasis, was one of the few who knew about dental surgery in the 10th century.

	Sir Peter Ustinov, in a serious moment, related that in the 12th century dentists came to work with a drummer to drown the patient’s cries. James Wynbrandt in Toothsome Tales and Oral Oddities from Babylon to Braces (1998) confirmed this, adding that in the past it was commonly believed that toothworms caused decay. Pliny the Elder, before being fatally overcome by Vesuvius’s volcanic fumes, advised eating a mouse twice a month to prevent toothache. Pierre Fauchard, one of the founders of modern dentistry, recommended that tooth-drawers and barber-surgeons use urine as a mouthwash. 

Today, however, many humanistic dentists are said to have chosen their field because “I don’t want to hurt people.” {CE; WAS, Ustinov interview}

Denton, William F. (1823—1883) An English-born poet, geologist, and lecturer, Denton emigrated to the United States and published Poems for Reformers (1856) as well as lectured on freethought and temperance topics. In 1872 he published Radical Discourses on Religious Subjects and in 1879 Radical Rhymes. In Australasia, Denton died of a fever while conducting scientific explorations in New Guinea. {BDF; FUK; PUT; RAT}

D’Entremont, John (20th Century) D’Entremont wrote Moncure Conway, 1832—1907 (1978). {FUK; GS}

Deodhekar, Govind Naratab (Dev) (1919—1997) Deokhekar, formerly a left-wing activist in India, moved to the United Kingdom in 1951 and played an active role in the British humanist movement for over three decades. He was from Bombay and had worked in Maharashtra, India, to combat superstition. In New Humanist (October 1992), he described the variety of superstitions he had found in India. These included the following: magicians, or godmen (who allegedly trace lost relatives or promise to cure AIDS); lucky stones (which are worn to ward off the evil effect of one planet or another); possession of spirits (which really are mental disturbances but some exorcists have been successfully prosecuted for fooling people that they can rid the spirits); ghosts (which have scared entire communities into leaving their village for one day); bhanamati (in which stones fall on roofs or things move around a house, always traceable, however, to human hands; animal sacrifices (in return for expected favors, and an estimated 500,000 goats are sacrificed, along with chickens and even buffaloes); masochistic rituals (in which mini-spears are inserted under the bare skin of the back); devdasis (whereby girls who develop a strand of tangled hair, or dreadlocks, are dedicated to some Deity and serve the carnal needs of visitors); and astrology (which is especially liked by upper and middle-class Hindus). ANIS, which is something like PSICOP in the United States, is an organization devoted to exposing god-men and their tricks in front of large audiences in James Randi style. In 1992, Deodhekar retired as chairman of G. W. Foote & Co., publishers of The Freethinker, and as treasurer of the National Secular Society but remained a director. After his death in Muscat Oman from a heart attack, a memorial meeting was held at Conway Hall, at which many spoke: Bill McIlroy; Jim Herrick; Daniel O’Hara; David J. Williams; Peter Brearey; Keith Porteous Wood; Terry Sanderson; Nicolas Walter; and Denis Cobell. Deodhekar was praised as a freethought stalwart on two continents. {New Humanist, March 1997}

Deogratias, Ssekitooleko (20th Century) Deogratias heads the Uganda Humanist Association (UHASSO), which is at PO Box 4427, Kampala, Uganda.

De Paepe, César (1842—1890) Dr. Paepe, a Belgian socialist, became a printer with Désiré Brismée, the founder of Les Solidaires, a rationalist society. Proudhon confided to him the correction of his works. One of the foremost members of the International, De Paepe attended all its congresses as well as those of the International Federation of Freethinkers. His funeral was the occasion of a great public demonstration, in which university professors, lawyers, doctors, municipal officers, freethought societies, Freemason lodges, and labor unions participated. Over two hundred wreaths were sent from freethought societies in Paris, Madrid, Rome, Berlin, Lyons, Amsterdam, and Marseilles. {BDF; PUT; RAT}

De Pasquale, Rob (20th Century) A New Yorker, De Pasquale is a freethinker who has little interest in organized religion. An eloquent humanist activist, he reads widely and profoundly.

De Posada, Joachim (20th Century) De Posada is a member of the Ibero-American Commission, a group of leaders in Spanish-speaking countries. He is a management consultant who has been known to successfully impersonate a “psychic,” in order to encourage people to think critically.

De Potter, Agathon Louis (Born 1827) A Belgian economist, De Potter wrote many works on social science. He was a collaborator on La Ragione (Reason) and La Philosophie de l’Avenir. {BDF; RAT}

De Potter, Louis Antoine Joseph (1786—1859) De Potter, Agathon’s father, was a Belgian politician and writer. He lived ten years in Rome, writing Spirit of the Church (6 volumes), which were put on the Index. A strong upholder of secular education in Belgium, he was arrested more than once for his radicalism, being imprisoned for eighteen months in 1828. In 1830 he became a member of the provisional government, afterwards lived in exile in Paris, then wrote an anti-clerical History of Christianity (8 volumes, 1836—1837). De Potter also compiled a Rational Catechism (1854) and a Rational Dictionary (1859). {BDF; RAT}

Depasse, Hector (Born 1843) A French writer, Depasse edited La République Francaise and was a member of the Paris Municipal Council. In Clericalism (1877), he urged the separation of church and state. Depasse wrote many little books on Contemporary Celebrities, among them Gambetta, Bert, and Ranc. {BDF}

Depestre, René (20th Century) A Haitian socialist who wrote about Négritude, Depestre referred to his outlook as being that of humanism.

Deraismes, Maria (1835—1894) A French writer and lecturer, Deraismes wrote comedies. Aux Femmes Riches (1865) was an appeal on behalf of her gender. The Masonic Lodge of Le Pecq, near Paris, invited her to become a member, and she was duly installed under the Grand Orient of France. She not only was the first female Freemason but also was president of the Paris Anti-clerical Congress of 1881. Her journal was entitled Le Républicain de Seine et Oise. Deraismes was an active rationalist and president of various Freethought societies. With V. Schoelcher, she presided at the Anti-Clerical Congress at Paris in 1881. {BDF; RAT; WWS}

D’Ercole, Pasquale (19th Century) An Italian professor of philosophy in the University of Turin, D’Ercole wrote a work on “Christian Theism,” in which he held that the principles of philosophic theism are undemonstrated and at variance both with reality and with themselves. {BDF; RAT}

Derek, Bo (20 Nov 1956 - ) Derek has been called an American icon. With beaded cornrows and an attractive swimsuit, she became Dudley Moore’s fantasy girl in 10, a 1979 movie. As a child, Mary Cathleen Collins, her birth name, was photographed for print ads, using boats and athletic equipment her father sold as props. Her mother was a makeup artist. At an Ann-Margret show in Las Vegas, Bo ran into an agent who signed her to a contract on the spot, and she made her debut in Orca (1977), a thriller. She has been in such other films as Change of Seasons (1980); Once Upon a Love (1981); Tarzan the Ape Man (1981); Bolero (1984); Ghosts Can’t Do It (1990); Hot Chocolate (1992); Woman of Desire (1993); Shattered Image (1994); Tommy Boy (1995); and Wind on Water (1998). A strong advocate for animal rights, she has appeared often on television. On a Larry King show, when asked if she was “spiritual,” Derek responded, “No, not in the least.” Derek’s homepage on the Web: <http://www.boderek.com/Bohome.html>. (Dennis Middlebrooks, 8 Sep 2000)


De Renesse, Camille [Count] (20th Century) A freethinker, De Renesse wrote Jesus Christ: His Apostles and Disciples in the Twentieth Century (1904). {GS}

De Rosa, Peter: See entry for Peter de Rosa.

DER FRIEDENKER A humanistic quarterly in German, Der Freidenker is at Postfach 54, 1153 Wien, Austria.

DeRosier, John (20th Century) DeRosier, a political cartoonist, spoke in 1996 on “I Was A Child of God: From Mormon To Freethinker,” at a Lake Hypatia freethinkers’ convention in Alabama. {Freethought Today, May 1996}

Derozio, Henry Louis Vivian (1809-1831): See entry for V. R. Narla.

Derrida, Jacques (1930— ) Derrida, who taught philosophy at the Sorbonne, has written of the “deconstruction” of Western rationalist thought, analyzing the thought of Husserl, Hegel, and other major philosophers. His theories are found in Writing and Difference (1967) and On Grammatology (1967). In his work, he challenges the primacy of the spoken language, which can so easily be altered by the written language, concluding that writing by its ability to alter speech and thought written language creates rather than merely transmits meaning. Derrida was deeply influenced by the work of the philosopher Martin Heidegger. When it was revealed that Heidegger was a dues-paying member of the Nazi Party from 1933 to 1945, Derrida, using deconstruction, tried to mitigate his intellectual mentor’s actions. If Heidegger had broken his postwar silence over revelations about the Nazi death camps, Derrida reasoned, other intellectuals “would then be more likely to feel dismissed from the duty” of re-examining his thought. Critics hold that Derrida’s deconstruction purveys a stylishly nihilistic view of the world. Supporters cite him as “perhaps the world’s most famous philosopher—if not the only famous philosopher.” “If no one understands what you are saying, why do you expect anyone to listen?” he was asked in 1998. He responded frostily, “Why don’t you ask a physicist or a mathematician about difficulty? Deconstruction requires work. If deconstruction is so obscure, why are the audiences in my lectures in the thousands? They feel they understand enough to understand more.” (See entry for Deconstruction and its somewhat illogical appeal to Americans, who “think well of anyone and any idea.”) {CE; The New York Times, 30 May 1998}

Dershowitz, Alan Morton (1938- ) One of the civil liberties lawyers involved in absolving the noted athlete, O. J. Simpson, of the charge that he had murdered his wife and another person, Dershowitz is a member of the Harvard Law School. A passionate supporter of Jewish causes, he makes clear in Vanishing American Jew (1997) that his attachment to Judaism is primarily cultural, not spiritual. He refers to his “borderline agnosticism” and states, “God is not central to my particular brand of Jewishness. Even if a voice came down from wherever secular voices come down from and proved conclusively that God did not exist. Being Jewish, to me, transcends theology or deity.” Further on the subject, he wrote, “I consider myself a committed Jew, but I do not believe that being a Jew requires belief in the supernatural,” to which he added that disbelievers must not accept second-class status in a nation whose traditions and laws forbid tests of faith as a condition of citizenship or office holding. Alan Dershowitz, Lawyer society

Dershowitz is a Harvard law professor and civil liberties lawyer, probably best known as a member of the "Dream Team" for the O.J. Simpson trial. He is a passionate supporter of Jewish causes, but in his recent book, the Vanishing American Jew, he makes it clear that his attachment to Judaism is primarily cultural, not spiritual. He refers to his "borderline agnosticism." He also writes, "God is not central to my particular brand of Jewishness. Even if a voice came down from wherever secular voices come down from and proved conclusively that God did not exist. Being Jewish, to me, transcends theology or deity" (pp. 179-80).

---

"Having called for more openness in the expression of views regarding the existence of God, let me follow my own example. I am a skeptic about everything, including God and atheism. I am not certain about issues of cosmology. Sometimes I believe that our universe is the result of random forces. Other times I believe that there must be some order or purpose, though I do not begin to understand what or who it could be. I do not expect that these cosmic doubts will ever be resolved in my mind. I am more certain that the miraculous stories that form the basis of most religious beliefs are myths. Yet I respect the Bible and enjoy reading and teaching it. Indeed, I find it even more fascinating as a human creation than as a divine revelation. I consider myself a committed Jew, but I do not believe that being a Jew requires belief in the supernatural. When I attend synagogue, as I often do, or conduct Sabbath, Passover, or Chanukah services at home, I recite prayers. I am comfortable with these apparent contradictions. I am part of a long tradition that links to my heritage through the words and melodies of prayer. Indeed, it is while praying that I experience my greatest doubts about God, and it is while looking at the stars that I make the leap of faith. But it is not faith in the empirical truths of religious stories or in the authority of hierarchical religious organizations. If there is a governing force, He (or She or It) is certainly not in touch with those who purport to be speaking on His behalf."

from "Taking Disbelief Out of the Closet" by Alan M. Dershowitz, Free Inquiry, Summer 1999, Vol. 19, No. 3. p. 7.

{CA; Free Inquiry, Summer 1999}

DERVISH A Moslem dervish, like a Catholic monk, is a member of any of various ascetic orders. Some of those orders perform whirling dances during which chanting becomes like an ecstatic devotion. In their “communing with the infinite” through ecstatic dance, the dervishes strike some freethinkers as engaging in exercises of mystical eroticism, exhibiting a kind of wild-man spirituality. Jalaluddin Rumi, who conceived the dance as part of a lifelong quest for religious rapture, was born in Central Asia in 1207. He was the son of a Muslim mystic who had fled to Konya, Turkey, before the advance of Genghis Khan’s horde. A believer, he used religious terminology in the extensive poetry he wrote, but he scorned the rituals and dogma of established faiths, believing that truth is to be found in each human heart. He proclaimed himself “not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen. The door is open to everybody. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” Rumi, known in Turkey as Mevlana, or “our master,” has irritated many political authorities because of his esoteric and pantheistic teachings, along with his belief that “worldly power means nothing.” {Stephen Kinzer, The New York Time, 29 December 1998}

Desa, Guiseppe (Died 1767) Desa was the son of a poor carpenter, was said to have been born in a stable, and became St. Joseph of Copertino, also known as the “Flying Monk” because of his levitations during ecstatic states. At school he was called “open mouth” because of his tendency to sit motionless with mouth agape, staring at the heavens. One hundred years after his death, the Church made him a saint. {LEE}

De Sade: See entry for Sade.

De Sanctis, Francesco (1818—1883) De Sanctis, an Italian literary critic, was twice a Minister of Public Instruction. He became a leading literary critic and was strongly disliked by the positivists as well as the clericals. De Sanctis was a philosophic theist, or pantheist, influenced by Hegel, and far removed from Christian orthodoxy. {RAT}

Desbarreaux, Jacques Vallée (1602—1673) A French poet and skeptic, Desbarreaux was great-nephew of Geoffrey Vallée, who was burned for being a non-believer in 1574. Many stories are told of his impiety. One concerns his feasting on eggs and bacon. When suddenly it thundered, Desbarreaux threw the plate out the window, derisively adding, “What an amount of noise over an omelette!” Some say he recanted and wrote a poem beginning, “Great God, how just are thy chastisements.” But Voltaire assigns this poet to the Abbé Leveau. {BDF}

Descartes, René (1596—1650) No scientist today will defend dualism, a concept associated with Descartes—the French scientist and philosopher. Dualism holds that consciousness has some kind of a different source from the material we have inside our heads. In the words of A. J. Ayer, “Descartes has few contemporary disciples. Not many philosophers of whatever persuasion believe that we are spiritual substances.” However, Descartes has interested religionists and philosophers for four centuries with his views including mind and matter’s being different substances. “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things,” Descartes wrote. Because he was charged with being an atheist and threatened with execution by the church, he failed to finish many works which he had started. Generally described as the founder of modern philosophy, and originator of “I think, therefore I am,” he considered himself a convinced Catholic. Church officials, however, thought he was too critical. Unlike contemporary naturalists, he was a dualist, like Plato. Descartes’ Discourse on Method (1637) is his most widely read book. All his philosophic works were prohibited by the Vatican in 1663. In 1720, the Vatican added his Meditationes de prima philosophia (1641), and Descartes was forced to flee his country “parce qu’il y fait trop chaud pour lui.” He burned his Traite du Monde (Treatise on the World) lest he should incur the fate of Galileo. During the French Revolution, Maréchal cited Descartes as being only a “possible” atheist, one who denied final causes. Robertson offers a possible explanation, that Descartes “all through his life anxiously sought to propitiate the Church; and his scientific as well as his philosophic work was hampered in consequence.” Stephen Gaukroger, in Descartes: An Intellectual Biography (1996), develops the thesis that the Church’s 1633 condemnation of Galileo split Descartes’s thinking in two ways: first, he looked outward when young, with the hope that he could explain how the world functioned, why, for example, rainbows are multi-colored, why meteors fly, why blood moves through the veins; but second, he looked inward when older, trying to ascertain certainty and what it is that constitutes selfhood. Gaukroger discusses why Descartes, the pioneer of modern philosophy and science, did not imitate Galileo and challenge the Church. Why, he speculates, did Descartes not speak out against ecclesiastical doctrine while living in a safe Dutch Protestant environment? Gaukroger makes the point that atheism in 1625 had a negative connotation, that atheists of that day might be accused of holding that God’s existence cannot be demonstrated through reason; that some atheists subscribed to determinism; and that God’s omnipotence by being tied in with the finite world necessarily had to be limited. “Not one among these atheists, and certainly not Descartes,” noted Harvard’s Peter Galison, “pressed for a materialist and godless world.” Galison is favorably impressed by Gaukroger’s thesis, finding that “it is a never-ending source of astonishment that Descartes can still be so absolutely strange and so absolutely familiar. There is the Descartes who argued that magnetism be best understood as tiny screws whirling through space, or who insisted that the lowly pineal gland was the seat of the mind, or who posited a universe of whirlpools set in motion by an unknowable God; and there is the Descartes whose notions of certainty, of mind against matter, and of human subjectivity are as familiar as the face in the mirror.” Paul Edwards, in Immortality (1992), confirms that Descartes believed in God as well as in human survival after death. (See entry for E. O. Wilson.) {CE; CL; ER; EU, Richard H. Popkin and Aram Vartarian; Paul Galison, “Mr. Cogito,” The New Republic, 13 May 1996; ILP; JMR; JMRH; PA; PUT}

Deschamps, Léger Marie (1716—1774) Deschamps, known also as Dom Deschamps, was a French philosopher who had entered the Order of Benedictines, then lost his faith by reading an abridgment of the Old Testament. He became a correspondent of Voltaire, Rousseau, d’Alembert, Helvetius, and other philosophers. “Ce prête athée,” as he was called by Franck, was the author of a treatise entitled La Vérité, ou le Vrai Système, in which he appears to have anticipated all the leading ideas of Hegel. God, he says, as separated from existing things, is pure nothingness. An analysis of his work, which remained in manuscript for three-quarters of a century, was published by Professor Beaussire (1855). {BDF; RAT}

Deschanel, Emile Auguste Étienne Martin (Born 1819) Deschanel was a French senator who wrote in Revue Independante, Revue des Deux Mondes, and Liberté de Penser. For writing against clericalism in the last journal, Deschanel, a professor of modern literature at the College of France, was deprived of his chair. He then moved to Belgium, never recanting his outlook. {BDF; RAT}

Deschanel, Paul Eugène Louis [President] (Born 1856) The son of Emile Deschanel and the President of France from 1898 to 1902, Deschanel published speeches and dates that indicate he shared his father’s anti-clericalism. {RAT}

Dechert, Alan (20 Century) Deschert, an activist supporter of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, favors a “year zero campaign” in light of the Y2K [Year 2000] problem [of some computer programs not being able to handle the four-digit figure]. If we were to reset the calendar, he has jocularly argued on behalf of the Global Era Calendar project, “that’ll give us more time to figure out what to do with the year 10,000.” E-mail: <adechert@aol.com>. On the Web: <http://members.go2zero.com>.

Deschner, Karlheinz (20th Century) Deschner, a writer and church critic from Germany, was given a Humanist Award in 1993 at the European Humanist Congress held in Berlin. He reported that his History of the Criminality of Christianity (1993) has sold widely in Mexico and Spain. {E}

Des Essarts, Jules (Born 1849) A Belgian freethinker, Des Essarts became a printer, edited the Journal de Charleroi, and made a name for his vigorous attacks on kingdom and church. In 1893, after one of his proposals, a Temple of Science was erected in Charleroi, which became the seat of a grand freethought demonstration in which over one hundred and twenty-eight societies were represented. The Catholic clergy were enraged, he happily reported. {PUT}

Deshmukh, Gopal Rao (1823—1892) Deshmukh was the pioneer of rationalism in Maharashira, India. Born of an aristocratic family, he served the government in various capacities and brought periodicals and books, attacking the oppressive customs and propagating rational ideas. Sardar Gopalrao Deshmukh, called “Lokahitawadi,” was the first Maharashtrian to analyze the Hindu society from an economic point of view. His unbiased attitude toward the British led him to blast the myth of their divine origin. He insisted that Indians should not patronize British goods, and he stressed purchasing indigenous items. Many attacked him for his spiritual praise of the Britishers.

Deshumbert, Marius (Born 1856) Deshumbert was a French ethicist, the founder and secretary of the Comité International Pour la Pratique de la Morale fondé sur les lois de la Nature. He wrote concerning French grammar and on his naturalist theory of morals. {RAT}

Deslandes, André François Bourreau (1690—1757) Deslandes became a member of the Berlin Academy and wrote numerous works, mostly under the veil of anonymity, the principal being A Critical History of Philosophy (3 volumes, 1737). His Pygmalion, a philosophical romance, was condemned by the Dijon parliament in 1742. Dying Merrily (1732) and On the Certainty of Human Knowledge (1741) were both directed against religion. {BDF; RAT}

Des Maizeaux, Pierre (1673—1745) Des Maizeaux edited the works of Bayle, Saint Evremond, and Toland, whose lives he wrote as well as those of Hales and Chillingworth. Anthony Collins was his friend, and at his death left him his manuscripts. These he transferred to Collins’s widow and they were burned. Repenting, he returned the money. Des Maizeaux was secretary of the Royal Society of London. In writing Walpole, Des Maizeaux railed at “the blind zeal and stupidity cleaving to superstition.” {BDF; FUK}

Desmond, Adrian J. (1947— ) Desmond has completed biographies of Darwin (1991) and Thomas Henry Huxley (1994). The latter work ends in 1870, when Huxley had twenty more years to live. He also wrote Politics of Evolution (1989) and Huxley, the Devil’s Disciple (1994). In Huxley: Evolution’s High Priest (1997), Desmond shows how Huxley demolished his Christian opponents, demonstrated with his big toe how to make “spirit raps,” and scorned “the religious observance of Positivism.” At the same time Huxley abhorred the “Bradlaugh atheists.” Desmond terms Huxley “the world’s greatest scientific synthesiser.” {Gordon Stein, The American Rationalist, September-October 1995; Colin McCall, The Freethinker, July 1997}

Desmoulins, Lucie Simplice Camille Benôit (1760—1794) A French revolutionary writer, Desmoulins was a fellow student of Robespierre at Paris and became an advocate and an enthusiastic reformer. In July 1989 he incited the people to the siege of the Bastille, and thus began the Revolution. He edited La Vieux Cordelier and Révolutions de France et de Brabant, in which he stated that Mohammedanism is as credible as Christianity. Desmoulins was a deist to some, an atheist to others, and he preferred paganism to Christianity. Both creeds were more or less unreasonable, he said, but folly for folly he preferred Hercules slaying the Erymanthean boar to Jesus of Nazareth drowning two thousand pigs. Carlyle called Desmoulins a man of genius, “a fellow of infinite shrewdness, wit—nay, humor.” During the Terror, when the court asked his age, Desmoulins said, “Thirty-three—same as the sans-culotte Jesus.” (Culotte refers to breeches; sans means without.) Desmoulins was executed with Danton in 1794, and his amiable wife, Lucille Desmoulins, also an atheist, shared his fate a few days later. {BDF; JM; RAT}

Desnoiresterres, Gustave le Brisoys (1817—1892) Desnoiresterres was a Frenchman of letters, author of Epicurines et Lettres, XVII et XVIII Siècles (1881) and Voltaire et la Société au XVIII Siècle, an important book in eight volumes. {BDF}

DeSola, Ralph (20th Century) DeSola was editor of the atheistic Truth Seeker from 1988 to 1989. In 1983, he wrote Great Americans Examine Religion from A to Z. {GS}

Des Périers, Jean Bonaventure (c. 1510—c. 1544) Des Périers was a French poet and skeptic who was brought up in a convent, only to detest the vices of the monks. He may have known Rabelais, whom he mentions as “Francoys Insigne.” The protégé of Marguerite of Valois, he defended Clement Marot when he was persecuted for making a French version of the Psalms. Des Perioers wrote the Cymbalum mundi (1537), a satire upon religion, published under the name of Thomas de Clenier à Pierre Tryocan and suppressed by the printer because of its anti-Christian content. The work consisted of skeptical dialogues in the manner of Lucian, and it led Protestants to accuse him of atheism and libertinage. Frenchmen are said to have considered his name a “hissing and a byword,” although later French scholars considered des Périers in a class with Rabelais and Marot. Des Périers fled and, perhaps by suicide, died in order to escape persecution. {BDF; CE; FUK; JMR}

Desraimes, Maria (Born 1835) Desraimes was a French writer and lecturer. She made her name first as a writer of comedies. Upon behalf of her gender, she wrote Aux Femmes Riches (1865). She became the first female Freemason when invited by the Masonic Lodge of Le Pecq, near Paris, and she was installed under the Grand Orient of France. Desraimes presided over the Paris Anti-Clerical Congress of 1881 and wrote an extensive journal, Le Républicain de Seine et Oise. {BDF; RSR}

Dessaix, Joseph Marie [Count] (1764—1834) Dessaix was a French general under Napoleon. In 1803 he was made Commander of the Legion of Honour, and in 1809 Count. At the restoration, he was imprisoned and was never reconciled with the royalist clericals. In 1830 he commanded the National Guard. {RAT}

De Sterio, Marius Dées (20th Century) De Sterio is the International Humanist and Ethical Union’s (IHEU’s) representative at the Council of Europe. He is President of the NGO Human Rights grouping. E-mail: <alexandre.dees-de-sterioci.educ.lu>.

DESTINY Destiny, n. A tyrant’s authority for crime and a fool’s excuse for failure. —Ambrose Bierce The Devil’s Dictionary

Destriveaux, Pierre Joseph (1780—1853) 

A Belgian lawyer and politician, Destriveaux wrote several works on public rights. He was a freethinker who in 1835 had been deposed by the Catholic ministry. {BDF; RAT}

Destutt de Tracy, Antoine Louis Claude [Comte] (1754—1836) A French philosopher and psychologist, Destutt de Tracy, although active in the Napoleonic government, was important for his leadership of the ideologists, disciples of Condillac. The ideologists contributed to such later psychological developments as the James-Lange theory of emotions. Using Condillac’s reduction of consciousness to the reception and combination of sensations, Destutt de Tracy developed a philosophy of education for post-Revolutionary France. In a letter to Adams, Jefferson described Destutt as “the greatest intellectual writer of the age.” A freethinker, he wrote the four-volume Elémens d’idéologie (1800—1815). Destutt, a member of the French Academy (1808), is said until his dying day to have read Voltaire enthusiastically. {BDF; CE; JM; JMR; JMRH; RAT}

Des Vignes, Pietro (13th Century) Des Vignes was secretary to Frederick II (1245—1249. Mazzuchelli attributes to him the treatise De Tribus Impostoribus. {BDF}

DET NORSKE HEDNINGSAMFUNN The Society of Norwegian Heathens, known as Det Norske Hedningsamfunn, is at St. Edmundsvei 39 C, 0280 Oslo, Norway. Its journal is Oss Hedninger Imellom (Among Us Heathens). (See entry for Norwegian Humanists.) {FD}

DETERMINISM • Free will and determinism are like a game of cards: the hand that is dealt you is determinism; the way you play your hand is free will. —Norman Cousins

Determinism, a view opposed to libertarianism (or belief in freedom of the will), is a philosophical thesis that conditions control the course of events. An extreme form of determinism is the belief in predestination, the doctrine that God in consequence of His foreknowledge of all events infallibly guides those who are destined for salvation. (Early Presbyterian ministers who tried to convert nonbelievers heard complaints such as, “God does not want me to join or contribute money to you for He would already have guided me to do so” or “You say man cannot save himself solely by relying on his own powers? That I can be redeemed only by the initiative of a gracious merciful God? That I am some kind of pawn?”) Determinism also is opposed to the Principle of Emergence, which states that truly novel and unpredictable events may occur out of the composite of forces in a situation. It is often understood as ruling out Free Will. (In the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Vol. 2, are thorough discussions of ethical determinism, logical determinism, theological determinism, physical determinism, and psychological determinism.) {CE; DCL}

Detrosier, Rowland (1796—1834) Detrosier was a social reformer and lecturer, the illegitimate son of a Manchester man named Morris and a Frenchwoman named Detrosier. Self-educated, he gave Sunday scientific lecturers and published several discourses in favor of secular education. He founded the first Mechanics’ Institutes (Manchester and Salford) and the Banksian Society of Manchester. Also, he became secretary to the National Political Union. A deist, Detrosier presided over a theistic chapel at Stockport. Like Bentham, who became his friend, Detrosier bequeathed his body for scientific purposes. (See entry for Gwyn A. Williams.) {BDF; RAT; VI}

Deubler, Konrad (1814—1884) The son of poor Upper Austrian parents, Deubler became the friend of Feuerbach and Strauss and was known as “the peasant philosopher.” Haeckel, in a letter to him, wrote, “If Diogenes, when he went around with his lantern, could have seen you, he would have blown it out.” In 1854 Deubler was indicted for blasphemy, serving two years’ hard labor and imprisonment. In 1870 he was made Burgomaster by his fellow-townsmen in Goisern, near Ischl, which office he resigned. In his will he bequeathed the interest of three thousand gulden for the support of poor children in the school he had erected. {BDF; PUT; RAT}

Deurhoff, Willem (1650—1717) Deurhoff was a Dutch writer who, although educated for the church, gave himself to philosophy and translated the works of Descartes. Accused of being a follower of Spinoza, Deurhoff was forced to leave his country, taking refuge in Brabant. {BDF; RAT}

Deutsch, Emmanuel Oscar Menahem (1829—1873) Deutsch was a German-Jewish orientalist. He was one of the first European scholars of his time in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. He wrote essays on the Talmud (1867) and on Islam (1869) in the Quarterly Review. An agnostic, he wrote a series of scathing articles in the Times on the Vatican Council (1869). {RAT}

David Deutsch, Physicist science

Deutsch is a scientist at the Oxford University Centre for Quantum Computation (http://www.qubit.org/). His papers on quantum computation laid the foundation for the field (similar to Alan Turing's contribution to non-quantum computation.) He is the author of the widely praised book The Fabric Of Reality. He was interviewed for the December/January 2001 issue of Philosophy Now magazine: "First of all, I do not believe in the supernatural, so I take it for granted that consciousness has a material explanation. I also do not believe in insoluble problems, therefore I believe that this explanation is accessible in principle to reason, and that one day we will understand consciousness just as we today understand what life is, whereas once this was a deep mystery." For more background check out his homepage at: http://www.qubit.org/people/david/David.html and an interview at John Brockman's EDGE: http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/deutsch/deutsch_index.html

DEUTSCER FREIDENKER-VERBAND A German group which publishes Diesseits is Deuthcer Freidenker-Verband, Hobrechtstrasse 8, W-1000 Berlin 44, Germany. Another publication, Freidenker, is published by a group based in Dortmund at Postfach 75, 0-1040, Berlin, Germany. (See entry for German Humanists.) {FD}

Dev, Sanjiv (20th Century) Dr. Dev, a rationalist in India, is a landscape painter, author, and philosopher of aesthetics.

Devi, Prativa (20th Century) Devi actively supports atheism in India. With Umesh Patri, Devi wrote “Progress of Atheism in India“ (Secular Nation, Fall 1994).

DEVIL • I spell God with 2 o’s and the devil without the d.” —Anonymous Unitarian Minister prior to 1850

Non-believers find ludicrous the concept of supernatural devils or the Devil, who in later Jewish and early Christian usage is identified with Satan. A theological concept, it rests on the assumption that there is a source of all evil and that the source is bent upon enslaving mankind. Shirley Jackson Case, once a teacher at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School, has written, “As the responsibility for evil in recent times has been saddled more definitely upon man himself, modern theological thought has become somewhat dubious about the actual personality of the Devil.” Some apologists, however, write lengthy treatises as to why God in His omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence would allow a Devil to confront mankind, being always close at hand to tempt and destroy the faithful whenever he might catch them off their guard. Other apologists, however, are quick to emphasize the theological importance of Satan in Christianity, although in pre-exilic Jewish thought the figure of Satan was entirely unknown and the mention of Satan three times in the Old Testament is post-exilic, showing evidence of having been borrowed from the Zoroastrians’ power of evil known as Ahriman. Elaine Pagels, in The Gnostic Gospels (1979), developed the revolutionary viewpoint that early Christianity was not at all a unified movement and faith. Now a professor of religion at Princeton, she shattered many previous views, even winning from Harold Bloom the view that her work displayed “devoted and sound scholarship.” Her The Origin of Satan (1995) develops the view that the Devil in the sacred Judeo-Christian literature and the rise of demonization was a terrifying component of Christianity. Angels are found in the Hebrew Bible, but demons are not. The Essenes and the followers of Jesus had the concept of Satan, or Belial or Beelzebub, and the four Gospel writers show a typology of God and Satan, Us and Them. According to David Remmick, “Although the Gospels tell a story of the moral genius of Jesus—his lessons of charity, redemption, and love—they also tell a parallel story in which the enemies of Jesus threaten tribal unity on earth and are, moreover, incarnations of Satan. This second story, in which the Gospel writers create a psychology of cosmic war,” stated Remmick, “has influenced the course—the tragic course—of Western history.” For example, the Gospel of Mark deviates from Jewish tradition and describes (3:23-27) the ministry of Jesus in constant battle with the “kingdom” of Satan, leading to what Pagels describes as the creation of such a powerful Satan in the orthodox Christian cosmology that it became not only a foundation for anti-Semitism but also a pattern of viewing the world. “Such visions have been incorporated into Christian tradition and have served, among other things, to confirm for Christians their own identification with God and to demonize their opponents—first other Jews, then pagans, and later dissident Christians called heretics.” The viewpoint has been used by fundamentalists, from Pat Robertson to the ayatollahs, Remmick remarked. Pagels, after securing permission to the Gnostic samizdat [suppressed literature which has clandestinely been published], learned that in the Gospel of Philip, the birth of Jesus derives from the unity of the Father of All, a masculine divinity, and the Holy Spirit, a distinctly feminine presence. According to Remmick, Pagels finds that the text mocks the orthodox notion of Mary’s conception of Jesus independent of Joseph: “They do not know what they are saying.“ The early-Christian movement, she states, showed great openness toward women—Jesus himself flouted Jewish tradition by talking freely with women—and, as confirmed by Remmick, “the Gnostics generally affirm that tradition in their texts.” Tertullian, an enemy of Gnostics, was outraged at the idea of women flocking to heretic sects, writing, “These heretical women—how audacious they are. They have no modesty; they are bold enough to teach, to engage in argument, to enact exorcisms, to undertake cures, and, it may be, even to baptize!” By the year 200, Christian feminism was stopped by Paul’s First Epistle to Timothy: “Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent.” Pagels added, “Nearly 2,000 years later, in 1977, Pope Paul VXi, Bishop of Rome, declared that a woman cannot be a priest ‘because our Lord was a man!‘ “ Pagels has concluded, “When I read the Gospels now and I come across the figure of Satan, instead of gliding over it as part of the story, I see it as raising a sort of warning flag, and I think, Ah, what is this writer doing now? What is the clue? What group of people are we speaking about and who is saying this? I become really interested in the structure of who is being demonized and who is doing the demonizing. . . . There was a time, for instance, when very few people who didn’t suffer from it were aware of racism as an idea. Now this question is a part of our culture. It’s not undone, but most people find it impossible to be unaware of racism. The same is true of sexism or homophobia. So that, too, is what the work on Satan and demonization is about. It’s about being aware.” (See ”The Devil Problem,” The New Yorker, 3 April 1995.) {ER}

DEVON (England) HUMANISTS For information, write C. Mountain, “Little Gables,” Burgmanns Hill, Lympstone, Exmouth EX8 5HN; or telephone 01395 265529.

Devore, Anita (20th Century) Devore was the first president of HUMCON and spoke in 1994 at their 14th annual conference of the Alliance of Humanist, Atheist, and Ethical Culture Organizations of Los Angeles County, California.

De Voto, Bernard Augustine (1897—1955) De Voto, an American writer and editor, wrote “The Easy Chair” for Harper’s Magazine (1936—1938) and was editor of the Saturday Review of Literature. In addition to writing many books on history and literature, he was the official editor of the Mark Twain manuscripts and wrote Mark Twain’s America (1932). Asked about humanism, De Voto responded to the present author, “I’m too ignorant to have a philosophy. The only person on your list I’ve ever read is T. S. Eliot. At a guess, I would be instinctively against all positions you name. The words which name them are so hideous that the thinking must be hideous, too.” {CE; WAS, 25 July 1954}

De Vries, Peter (1910—1993) A writer and editor, De Vries was for a time an editor of Poetry and later was on the staff of The New Yorker, where he was known for his humorous, sophisticated work about Connecticut. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In his Blood of the Lamb (1961), he wrote the following:

“You don’t believe in God,” I said to Stein. “God is a word banging around in the human nervous system. He exists about as much as Santa Claus.” “Santa Claus has had a tremendous influence, exist or not.” “For children.” “Lots of saints have died for God with a courage that’s hardly childish” “That’s part of the horror. It’s all a fantasy. It’s all for nothing.”

and later,

“You ought to be ashamed,” a woman in an Easter bonnet told Stein. “Your race gave us our religion. . . . From ancient polytheism, the belief in lots of gods,” the woman continued a little more eruditely, “the Hebrew nation led us on to the idea that there is only one.” “Which is just a step from the truth,” said_Stein. (TYD)

DeVries, Steve - jornalist, author of "Steve De Vries Goes to Fundamentalist Islam Heaven" play was at the Sanford Meisner

DE VRIJE GEDACHTE The official journal of Dutch Free Thinkers is De Vrije Gedachte, POB 1087, 3000 BB Rotterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail: <DVG@netcetera.netcetera.nl>.

DE VRIJZINNIGE LEZER A Belgian monthly in Dutch, De Vrijzinnige Lezer is at Lange Leemstraat 57, B 2018 Antwerpen, Belgium.

DE VRIJZINNIGE MICRO

De Vrijzinnige Micro is at Lange Leemstraat 57, B 2018, Antwerpen, Belgium.

Devuyst, Luc (20th Century) Devuyst, a Belgian, is on the editorial board of International Humanist. He addressed the International Humanist and Ethical Union’s (IHEU’s) Second Moral Education Conference held in Brussels (1985).

De Waal, Frans (20th Century) Why would a secular humanist behave ethically without some divine power to direct and enforce such actions? In Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals (1996), de Waal holds that we inherited our capacity and need for ethics from our simian ancestors. Wolf Roder, reviewing the book, found that de Waal faces a heavy burden of proof inasmuch as animals cannot be interviewed as to their ethical or selfish motives; however, using a wealth of data on chimpanzees, pygmy marmosets, gorillas, bonobos, baboons, and Japanese macaques, de Waal “goes a long way towards proving his case.” (Fig Leaves, August 1996; Free Inquiry, Winter 1996-1997)

Dewey, John (1859—1952) Dewey, philosophic instrumentalist, psychologist, educator at Columbia University, and author of The Quest for Certainty, Freedom and Culture (1929), is one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century. In The Revival of Pragmatism (1998), Richard Rorty is cited as calling Dewey one of the three most important philosophers of the century, along with Heidegger and Wittgenstein. When in 1950 Humanist Clubs were being established at universities, Dewey wrote,

I am much interested in learning of the plans for the formation of a Humanist Group among Harvard and Columbia students. The drift away from religious institutions founded on supernaturalism is marked among the intellectually-minded well-informed persons in every country. Even among those who remain nominally connected with institutions professing doctrines of a supernatural sort, there is a growing spirit of indifference to the kind of devotion to ideals which once marked these institutions. The enduring element in religion is genuine and ardent devotion to the cause of promoting the knowledge and practice of the highest moral aims of which man is possible. It is my firm belief that the Humanist Movement is based upon acknowledgment of the importance of beliefs and movements ardently concerned with this aim. It is particularly important that university men and women, who should influence popular sentiment and ideas in the future, realize the increasing inability of doctrines and institutions that in the past have been the carriers of inspiring ideals to meet the demands of the modern world, and should be active in furtherance of a substitute that possesses the required vitality.

Along with his statement, Dewey also sent a $1 check to Warren Allen Smith for membership in the Humanist Club at Columbia University, which later became a chapter of the American Humanist Association. Also in the 1950s, Dewey was on the advisory board of Charles Francis Potter’s First Humanist Society of New York. In The Influence of Darwinism in Philosophy (1910), Dewey states that he was not interested in “an intelligence that shaped things once for all but the intelligence which things are even now shaping.” McCabe, however, holds that Dewey made a mistake in using any theistic references whatsoever. “In recent years,” McCabe wrote,

[Dewey] has advised a new sort of theistic formula: not that God is an objective reality but the relation of man to the ideal. He seems to have fallen into the common fallacy of philosophic moralists that most men need a God, but most men will not even understand what he means by God.

James Gouinlock makes the point that Dewey had no use for what he called militant atheism, of which Bertrand Russell’s A Free Man’s Worship is typical. Dewey insisted that a valid philosophy had to be evaluative, that one should be neither blind to the goods of nature and life nor adopt a position of wholesale acceptance. To Dewey, this is the religious quality of life. He was the sole philosopher to sign Humanist Manifesto I. In fact, according to Edwin H. Wilson, Dewey signed the draft without change or comment. Dewey later explained in a letter to Corliss Lamont why he had signed the work:

There is a great difference between different kinds of “Humanism” as you know; there is that of Paul Elmer More for example. I signed the humanist manifesto precisely because of the point to which you [Corliss Lamont] seem to object, namely because it had a religious context, and my signature was a sign of sympathy on that score, and not a commitment to every clause in it. “Humanism” as a technical philosophic term is associated with [F.C.S.] Schiller and while I have great regard for his writings, it seems to me that he gave Humanism an unduly subjectivistic turn—he was so interested in bringing out the elements of human desire and purpose neglected in traditional philosophy that he tends it seems to me to a virtual isolation of man from the rest of nature. I have come to think of my own position as cultural or humanistic Naturalism—Naturalism, properly interpreted seems to me a more adequate term than Humanism. Of course I have always limited my use of “instrumentalism” to my theory of thinking and knowledge; the word pragmatism I have used very little, and then with reserves.

Dewey was a member of and financial contributor to the American Humanist Association. Also, he was an honorary associate of the Rationalist Press Association, which in 1899 had been founded by Charles A. Watts. Although attacked by religionists on the right and by some on the left who felt he did not understand the nature of evil, Dewey’s naturalistic approach to religious experience is considered by many today to be precisely that which is of paramount importance if mankind hopes to resolve the problems which organized religion presents. His approach was neither that of the melancholy atheist nor that of the otherworldly supernaturalist. Some of his works are Education: The School and Society (1899); How We Think (1910); Democracy and Education (1916); Reconstruction in Philosophy (1920); A Common Faith (1934); Logic (1938); Experience and Education (1938); and, with Arthur Bentley, Knowing and the Known (1949). These writings show his rejection of authoritarian teaching methods, for he held education in a democracy is a tool to enable different people with different cultures to integrate their lives and vocations in progressive, constructive, democratic ways. For Dewey, truth was not an absolute. To solve problems, individuals searched for truths, not Truth, and these truths changed as their problems changed. His philosophic instrumentalism had no need for transcendental or eternal reality, and his educational philosophy known as “progressive education” made him the foremost educator of his day. His view of a “renascent liberalism” included a three-step strategy: first, it must develop historical perspective; second, it must reconstruct traditional liberal values; and third, it must inform, guide, and actively reconstruct social institutions and their practices. Richard Shusterman of Temple University has called Dewey “probably the greatest of American pragmatist philosophers and certainly the most influential for cultural criticism and aesthetics.” He adds that “Pragmatism has recently been revived in literary theory through the writings of Stanley Fish and Richard Rorty. But neither of them pays attention to Dewey’s aesthetics, and indeed they present theories that are un-Deweyan in their disembodied ‘textualism’ and elitist professionalism. Though some of Dewey’s aesthetic ideas and judgments may be dated, his work still represents the best point of departure for progressive pragmatist literary theory and aesthetics.” For Richard Rorty, Dewey was a philosophic giant, an anti-Communist social democrat who thought of pragmatism as a tool to expand human freedom. Like Sidney Hook, Dewey witnessed what Alan Ryan has described as “the high tide of American liberalism,” and Rorty thinks of both as “hard to match among present-day American philosophers—or, for that matter, American intellectuals. Both men resemble such heroic nineteenth-century figures as John Stuart Mill in the sheer quantity of work they managed to get done, in the range of their curiosity, and in their ability to switch back and forth between abstract philosophy and concrete social issues with no sense of strain, and no diminution in intensity.” John E. Smith of Hamden, Connecticut, is of the opinion that Ryan made a mistake in reviewing Rorty’s book about Dewey, thinking that Dewey urged his philosophical readers to turn away from “the problems of philosophy” to “the problems of men.” Not so, Smith claimed (The New York Times Book Review, 14 June 1998), adding, “Dewey’s advice was to turn away from ‘the problems of philosophers,’ by which he meant the puzzles (such as, How do I know that my neighbor has a mind?) that are so dear to professional philosophers, and deal instead with “questions which actually arise in the vicissitudes of life.” Otherwise, to oppose “the problems of philosophy” to “the problems of men” would have been counter to Dewey’s entire outlook. Roberta Dewey was some forty-five years younger than her husband and upon his death late at 11 P.M. had telephoned Donald Szantho Harrington, minister of the Community (Unitarian) Church in New York City. Although Dewey was not a member of the church, he had once told his wife that if he died she should call Harrington, that he would know what to do. Upon arriving before midnight, Harrington recalled in an article for Religious Humanism (Summer 1994), he found that Mrs. Dewey fainted right after opening the door. The two adopted children, Belgian war orphans John and Adrienne, sensibly found some ammonia to revive her, after which it was decided that cremation should be the following morning at Fresh Pond Crematory in Queens. Dewey’s body was covered with a sheet and blanket, the children were put to bed, and Harrington left by 2 A.M. The following morning, Harrington and Mrs. Dewey watched the coffin go into the tort for cremation. Although David Dubinsky and William Heard Kilpatrick volunteered to speak at a memorial, Mrs. Dewey did not want a long, drawn-out affair, saying Dewey hated those things, and she suggested that Max Otto of the University of Wisconsin in Madison should be the speaker. At Dewey’s memorial service, held 4 June 1952, Harrington spoke of Dewey’s influence on American world life and thought, of his ability as a teacher to get others to speak, and of his personal memories of having driven Dewey from Chicago to Madison and back. “I thought I would get a lot of wisdom. Instead, he . . . kept me talking. All I can remember his saying was ‘Possibly,’ and ‘You may be right!’” Harrington then read passages from the Bible, which surprised many in the audience, along with Matthew Arnold’s “Rugby Chapel,” George Eliot’s “The Choir Invisible,” and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Ode on Dejection.” George Kykhuizen recalls in The Life and Mind of John Dewey (1973) that Harrington referred to Dewey as “one of the intellectual and moral giants” of all time, declaring that “when the full impact of his revolutionary thought reaches the heart of our society, some generations hence, scarcely a single social institution will remain as it is today.” Norman Thomas was present, as was William Heard Kilpatrick, both with their distinctively white hair. Of the several speakers, Max Otto was the one with the most amusing recollection. He had stopped Dr. Dewey on the campus one day and had asked him a question pertaining to philosophy. Dewey had looked down, cogitated, looked up, had looked around, and he had not said anything for minutes and minutes . . . and yet more minutes . . . and more. Just as Dr. Otto was about to interrupt, thinking maybe Dewey was suffering some illness, there ensued a long, complex response which was uttered slowly and distinctively, one so complete Otto could scarcely believe it had not been written down beforehand. A good question deserves a good answer, Dewey was showing. But, said Otto to much laughter, “I was very, very careful after that whenever I questioned Dr. Dewey about anything.” Otto also said that Dewey’s philosophy was like that of a mountain climber who climbs in order to see farther, and who, once he has climbed one mountain, presses on to a higher one simply to see farther yet. It was the continual quest for new vision and new vistas that marked the greatness of Dewey’s mind. And what is man’s purpose if he climbs all the mountains and there are no more to see, Dewey was once asked. Then, he responded, there would be no purpose in living. A soloist sang “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “The Balm of Gilead,” the latter said to have been a favorite of Dewey’s. At the end, Harrington took Mrs. Dewey with one hand and carried what appeared to be a water pitcher with the other, and the two led the audience out of the room. It was only then that some realized the cremains had been present throughout the service, that atop the altar had been a bronze urn, not a water pitcher. Although Columbia University had wanted the ashes, Dewey’s Alma Mater, the University of Vermont, received them as well as, later, Roberta Dewey’s ashes. Harrington recalled that at the ceremony he had met for the first time Dewey’s four children from his first marriage (one of whom was adopted), that they seemed upset and angry that they had not been consulted and involved in the funeral arrangements. Harrington, however, had left all the announcements and notifications to Roberta for completion, and, although it now was too late, Harrington became aware that the children had not approved of their father’s remarriage and were critical of their having adopted the two young children. Currently, The John Dewey Society for the Study of Education and Culture publishes Education and Culture: The Journal of the John Dewey Society (1600 Maple Street, Carrollton, Georgia 30118). The journal, published twice a year by the John Dewey Society and the University of Iowa, is edited by Peter S. Hlebowitsh. Alan Ryan, in John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism (1995), argues that the thought of John Dewey is more relevant today than ever before, that a revival of his ideas is needed. Richard Wightman Fox of Boston University has commended Ryan for his description of Dewey’s teacher-centered viewpoint, one which helped talented instructors to bring children to new levels of understanding by enlisting their innate interest in solving real problems, not only practical problems but intellectual and artistic ones. (See entries American Humanist Association, James Grasso, Alan Ryan, and Leon Trotsky.) {CE; CL; EU, James Gouinlock; EW; Free Inquiry, Winter 1994, devoted an entire issue to Dewey; FUS; HM1; HNS; HNS2; Richard Rorty, “Remembering John Dewey and Sidney Hook,” Free Inquiry, Winter 1995-1996; TRI; TYD; WAS, 11 September 1950}

Dewey, Orville (Born 1794) Dewey, a Unitarian minister, was a well-known orator of his day. {U}

Dewing, Frances R. (20th Century)

Dewing, according to the Morains’ Humanism as the Next Step, is a person who utilizes the scientific method rather than depending on “truth by authority.” {HNS2}

DeWitt, Dale (20th Century) A minister of Community (Unitarian) Church in New York, DeWitt was once a director of the American Humanist Association. {HNS}

De Worms, Henry (1840—1903) De Worms, the first Baron Pirbright, was a politician and the first Jew to be admitted to the Privy Council. In 1895, he was raised to the peerage. In 1886, he severed his connection with Judaism and married against the laws of the synagogue. De Worms wrote The Earth and Its Mechanism (1862). {RAT}

DeWolf, Mary Louise (1931- ) DeWolf, a second generation Floridian, is a Unitarian Universalist ministerial candidate. After careers as an educator and Unitarian Universalist Association field staff person, she is a graduate student in religious studies at the University of South Florida. DeWolf is a frequent Sunday speaker in Florida UU congregations. {WAS, 4 May 99)

Dexter, Caroline (1819—1894) Dexter was an early Australian freethinker and radical feminist. A friend of the novelist George Sand, she moved to Australia and set up a school which taught elocution, literature, writing, and conversation. After a failed marriage, she settled in Melbourne, becoming a champion of women’s rights. She stunned the local community by opening an Institute of Hygiene, advocating dress reform for women, divided skirts, and the abolition of corsets. Upon marrying a prosperous solicitor, William Lynch, she continued her freethought writing and became a patron of the arts. {SWW}

De Young, Mary (20th Century) A freethinker, De Young wrote Call to Reason (1977). {GS}

Dharmalingam, A. M. (20th Century) A freethinker in India, Dharmalingam wrote Freethought in the Ancient World (1977) and Agrarian Structure and Population (1991). {FUK; GS}

DHIMMIS: For information about non-Muslims in Muslim countries, see entry for Bat Yóer.

d’Holbach, Paul Henri Thiry: See entry for Holbach, Paul Henry Thiry de.

Diagoras (c. 415 B.C.E.) According to Robertson, Diagoras of Melos was a poet who declared that the non-punishment of a certain act of iniquity proved that there are no gods. Diagoras had been a student of Democritus, who is said to have freed him from slavery. Allegedly, he became an atheist after being the victim of an unpunished perjury. He was accused of impiety, because he threw a wooden image of a god into a fire, remarking that the deity should perform another miracle and save itself. As a result, he had to flee from Athens to Corinth. He was charged with divulging the Eleusinian and other mysteries, with making firewood of an image of Heracles in order to prepare a dish of lentils, and of telling the god to perform his thirteenth labor by cooking the preparation. As a result, a silver talent was offered to anyone who would kill him, or two talents if he could be captured alive. Somehow, he escaped and died in Corinth. {BDF; HAB; JMR; JMRH; TYD}

DIALOGUE A quarterly newsletter in English, Dialogue is published by the American Ethical Union, 2 West 64th Street, New York, NY 10023.

Diamond, David (1915—	) 

Diamond, an American composer of note, studied with Roger Sessions and Nadia Boulanger. His work in the 1930s has been described as being neoclassical, after which he developed a romantic twelve-tone technique which he has used in a variety of styles. Composer of nine symphonies and various other works, he is best-known for “Rounds” (1944). Asked in 1992 what humanism connoted, Diamond replied to the present author,

To believe in Man’s possibility of self-improvement and the elimination of all superstitious mumbo-jumbo.

In 1995, Diamond elaborated further:

Heine and his agnosticism has been interesting me all over again. The Sammons biography was fine but Ernst Pawel’s (what a loss!) splendid Heine’s Last Paris Days deals with this wonderfully. I think Heine liked the poetic splendour of Biblical times, as Flaubert did. But Heine, being Jewish, was more attuned to the rituals and ethics. Strange what [Arthur] Miller said [in a statement about secular humanism, quoted in his entry in the present work]. I know what he means, but the Wonder and Cruelty of the Universe makes me turn to Jeshua ben David of Nazareth when I am fed up with Man’s viciousness and cruelty and greed. Yaweh, Jehovah, or Adonai, stopped talking directly to his human creation ever since Moses invented him, language and all. The new religious Right has me angry—it’s the same crap fifty years later, and on and on. The majority of irrational humans are dumb-dums, non-thinking simpletons. But Cummings [in his entry, quoted in the present work] said it all much better.

	In a Who’s Who entry, Diamond wrote, “To have felt out of step in one’s first years confirms one’s invalidism in these last years: a sad story at best, with just a glimmer of hope before the next catastrophe.” (See entry for E. E. Cummings.)  {WAS, 16 June 1992 and 18 September 1995}

Diamond, David (9 July 1915 - ) A distinguished composer and member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Diamond was born in Rochester and studied composition at The Eastman School of Music with Bernard Rogers and violin with Effie Knaus. In 1934, winning a scholarship from New Music School and Dalcroze Institute in New York City, he studied with Paul Boepple and Roger Sessions until the spring of 1936. In 1937, at Fontainebleau, he joined the class of Nadia Boulanger, and his Psalm won that year’s Juilliard Publication Award, influencing his being given a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1938. Upon Maurice Ravel’s death in 1937, he wrote an Elegy for brass, percussion, and two harps, dedicated to the composer who had been his ideal. When Germany declared war on France, he returned to the States. Diamond has received numerous awards, including a National Academy of Arts and Letters Grant "in recognition of his outstanding gift among the youngest generation of composers, and for the high quality of his achievement as demonstrated in orchestral works, chamber music, and songs." Works appearing during the 1940s include the Concerto for Two Solo Pianos (1942), String Quartet No. 2 (1943), Symphony No. 3 (1945), String Quartet No. 3 (1946, receiving the 1947 New York Music Critics' Circle Award), Sonata for Piano (1947) and Chaconne for Violin and Piano (1948). The String Quartet No. 4 from 1951 was nominated for a Grammy award in 1965, as recorded on Epic Records by the Beaux Arts Quartet. In 1951 Diamond returned to Europe as Fulbright Professor. Except for brief visits to the United States, such as the occasion of his appointment as Slee Professor at the University of Buffalo in 1961 and again in 1963, he remained in Italy until 1965. On his return to the United States, the New York Philharmonic performed two of his major orchestral works: the Symphony No. 5, with Leonard Bernstein conducting, and the Piano Concerto, conducted by Mr. Diamond himself. From 1965 to 1967 Diamond taught at the Manhattan School of Music. During those two years he was the recipient of the Rheta Sosland Chamber Music prize for his String Quartet No. 8, received the Stravinsky ASCAP award, and was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1971, Diamond was given a National Opera Institute grant to write his opera, The Noblest Game. In 1973, Diamond became professor of composition at The Juilliard School, where he taught for some twenty-five years. The renewed interest in Diamond's music, starting in the 1980s, spurred by conductor Gerard Schwarz, coincided with his being awarded significant honors available to a composer. In 1986, Diamond received the William Schuman Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1991 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Edward MacDowell Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement. On the Web, Diamond is found at <http://www.nycs.org/diamond_bio.htm>. {WAS}

Diamond, John (20th Century; Deceased) Diamond was one of the original incorporators of Atheists of Florida, Inc.

Diamond, Sara (20th Century) Diamond, who writes on civil liberties subjects for The Humanist, is author of Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right (1989, is a columnist for Z, and has a doctorate in sociology.

DIANA: See entry for Great Mother Goddess. The virgin goddess of hunting and childbirth, like the Greek Artemis, Diana is traditionally associated with the moon and is revered by some of the more masculine lesbians.

Dias, E. (20th Century) In 1908, Dias from São Paolo edited the Brazilian freethought journal, Lanterna, which was in Portuguese.

Diaz, Porfirio [President] (1830—1915) Diaz, the President of the Republic of Mexico, was educated for the priesthood but quit the church, took to law and politics, and became the most famous leader of the anti-clericals. Because of his efforts, Mexico became a much safer place for freethinkers and other non-believers, and he drastically checked the corrupt Church in Mexico. In addition, the number of public schools rose from two to six thousand. {JM; PUT}

Dibble, R. T. (20th Century) A freethinker, Dibble wrote “The Devil’s Advocate” in American Mercury (1924). {GS}

Di Cagno Politi, Niccola Annibale (Born 1857) An Italian positivist, Di Cagno Politi studied at Naples under Angiulli, wrote about the culture of his time, and contributed articles on positivism to the Revista Europea. {BDF}

Dick, Kenneth C. (20th Century) 

Dick, a freethinker, wrote Man, Father of the Gods (1971). {GS}

Dickens, Charles (1812—1870) Dickens was an amateur theatrical manager, a novelist, and the father of ten. His childhood, about which he would write, included working for a time in a blacking warehouse (a humiliation he is said never to have forgotten). He started out as a court stenographer and a parliamentary reporter, then wrote humorous sketches and became famous for his Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (1836—1837). In 1836, he married Catherine Hogarth, but after she gave birth to their ten children, the two separated in 1858 in what has been described as an unhappy marriage. Dickens painted rich portraits of all aspects of society in his work, and he dramatized abuses such as bad education, imprisonment for debt, and legal delays. His memorable characters include Ebenezer Scrooge, Uriah Heap, and Mr. Micawber, and among his noted works are A Christmas Carol (1843), David Copperfield (1850), and A Tale of Two Cities (1859). Dickens once wrote, “Missionaries are perfect nuisances and leave every place worse than they found it.” He attended Unitarian services in London at the Little Portland Street chapel, where he was a close friend of the Reverend Edward Tagart. Bleak House, which was published in monthly parts (1852—1853), marked a decline in his reputation for many of his contemporaries, but the work has been considered one of the high points of his achievement by George Bernard Shaw, G. K. Chesterton, Joseph Conrad, and Lionel Trilling. Dickens, perhaps desperate for a title, originally had intended to call the work Tom-All-Alone’s Factory That Got into Chancery and Never Got Out. In 1998 previously downplayed details about his private life appeared in magazines, including Vanity Fair (April 1998). Louise Brooks, a Paramount movie star legend known for epitomizing the Jazz Age and the sexual freedom of the 1920s, was described as having made a rough count of the men she had had sex with. She estimated a modest ten a year from the ages of seventeen to sixty, or 430. She divulged details that shocked many, including a statement that Dickens also was sex-driven and had a passion for young girls. Berkley Books editor-in-chief Tom Dardis quoted Brooks without otherwise documenting where she gained her information:

In 1836 when Dickens married Kate Hogarth (20) he brought sister Mary (16), whom he really loved, to live with them. When Mary died in 1837 he nearly lost his mind. Upon reading The Old Curiosity Shop 1840—1841, old lady Hogarth [Kate and Mary’s mother] made him laugh when she said he didn’t fool her—he was Quilp and Mary was little Nell. (Nabokov used this allusion [Quilty] in Lolita.)

Dickens, at the end of his life, suffered from increased paralysis of the left side. With difficulty he could move about. It was a time when the main joy of living was for him to give public readings. He was still saddened by his children’s unhappiness, by his unamicable separation from his wife, and by the continued social injustices he had written about for so long. On June 8th, according to biographer Edgar Johnson, Dickens was sitting with his sister-in-law, Georgina Hogarth, whereupon he suddenly announced that he had to go to London at once. Rising, he began to topple over while she attempted to hold him up. Unable to carry his weight, she let Dickens down slowly. “On the ground” were his last words as he slipped into a coma and died the following day. He is buried in the Poets’ Corner, London’s Westminster Abbey. The gravestone is a black marble floor slab with name and vital dates. {CB; CE; EG; OEL; PA; TYD; U; UU}

Dickinson, Emily (1830—1886) 

Dickinson shares with Whitman the honor of being the major U.S. poet. Both had an unorthodox outlook concerning religion. Neither was a Bible-thumper nor church-joiner. Both were highly literate readers whose friends were often transcendentalists. Neither married. In her lifetime, Dickinson published fewer than a dozen poems, but today she is revered as a consummate writer. For the last twenty-five years of her life, Dickinson chose to live reclusively in The Homestead built by her grandfather, the founder of Amherst College. There, behind a stand of enormous hemlocks on Amherst’s Main Street, she withdrew, often dressed in white, perhaps savoring an exhaustion brought on by her previous and emotional contact with others. Once when she brought a cousin to her bedroom, she locked the door, waved the key, and exclaimed, “Now this is freedom!” For it was here she could dream, here she could contemplate, and here she could write. Upon her death, her sister Lavinia found some two thousand poems in a camphor-wood chest in the bedroom. One who might have made a difference was the critic Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who seemed not to have recognized her poetic genius. However, Dickinson disliked the fact that he corrected her poems. A married man, he is believed by some not to have had the sexual attraction for her which she possibly had for him. (One explanation: Higginson once wrote of William Henry Hurlbert, “I never loved but one male friend with a passion,” having found him “like some fascinating girl” and modeling the hero of his Malbone (1869) after him. Complained Mrs. Higginson, the letters the two exchanged were “more like those between man and woman than between two men.”) One biographer allegedly reconstructed two love affairs that Dickinson had with women, a century after they occurred. When both were sixteen, Dickinson met Susan Gilbert. In letters to Susan, who became her future sister-in-law, Dickinson had included such lines as “Be my own again, and kiss me as you used to” and “The expectation once more to see your face again makes me feel hot and feverish, and my heart beats so fast.” An 1858 birthday greeting to Susan, who have moved next door with her husband Austin, Emily’s brother, begins:

One Sister have I in our house— And one, a hedge away. There’s only one recorded, But both belong to me.

Martha Dickinson Bianchi, Susan’s daughter and Emily’s niece, deleted many of such lines, which had first been published in 1924. However, Camille Paglia, for one, discounts any such gossip about a lesbian affair. Mabel L. Todd, along with Higginson, a Unitarian, edited the body of Dickinson’s work, bringing her much posthumous fame. Thomas Johnson in 1955 compiled a scholarly collection of her entire body of work. An even more impressive collection, containing 1,789 of her poems and edited by R. W. Franklin, is The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Variorum Edition (1999). Franklin respects her eccentric writing practices, including her erratic spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Higginson may have found her style unconventional, but Dickinson had deliberately chosen unconventionality. When Higginson told her that her work resembled Whitman’s in its unorthodox presentation, she responded, “I never read his Book—but was told that he was disgraceful.” What her letters and poems show is her inability to accept the orthodox religious faith of her day, although she longed for its spiritual comfort. “Home,” she declared, “is the definition of God.” Immortality, she called “the flood subject” and she never gave up her belief in it. For her, “The Bible is an antique Volume—/Written by faded men.” Basically, she was something of a Unitarian, something of a transcendentalist, something of a religious humanist, something of a religious theist, and something of a humanistic aesthete:

“Faith” is a fine invention, when gentlemen can see But microscopes are prudent, in an emergency.

Some keep the Sabbath going to church; I keep it staying at home, With a bobolink for a chorister, And an orchard for a dome. . . .

Elysium is as far as to The very nearest room, If in that room a friend await Felicity or doom. . . .

I never spoke with God, Nor visited in heaven; Yet certain am I of the spot As if the chart were given. . . .

My life closed twice before its close; It remains to see If Immortality unveil A third event to me. . . .

Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me; The carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality. . . .

Her epitaph

CALLED BACK

is ambiguous and may not have been chosen by her. She is buried in West Amherst, Massachusetts. (See entry for Alffred Kazin, who wrote that Dickinson found Whitman’s views about God “disgraceful.” {CE; GL; The New York Review of Books, 8 April 1999; OEL; TYD}

Dickinson, Goldsworthy Lowes (20th Century) Dickinson was an economist who, in the Hibbert Journal (1908), wrote, “I do not think that a religion which ought properly to be called Christian can adequately represent the attitude of an intelligent and candid modern man.” He held to a shadowy theism but was skeptical about personal immortality. {RAT}

Dickstein, Morris (20 Century) Dickstein edited The Revival of Pragmatism, New Essays on Social Thought (1999). Essays are by Richard Rorty, Hilary Putnam, Judge Richard Posner, Stanley Fish, Richard Poirier, and Ross Posnock.

Dictos, Perry (20th Century) Dictos has been President of Humanists of the San Joaquin Valley in California. He is author of An Honest Look at the Bible: Everything You Wanted to Know About the Bible But You Were Afraid to Ask (1997).

DIDDLING: See entry for pickpocketry, which tells the freethinkers’ view that we do not choose between good and evil but, rather, among several options.

Dide, Auguste [Senator] (Born 1839) Dide was a French writer and politician. A graduate in theology, he was criticized for the contents of his thesis and, after editing the Protestant Libéral for six years, joined the Independent Church and ended as a pure humanist. “We must believe not in metaphysical divinities,” he wrote, “but in ourselves.” A Senator, Dide was a member of the Legion of Honour and one of the founders of the Société d’Histoire de la Révolution. {RAT}

Diderot, Denis (1713—1784) A French atheist and Encyclopedist, Diderot was a materialist philosopher. When readers passed by A, B, and C in the new encyclopedia, they found “Dieu,” or God. “Mon Dieu, they exclaimed, “you cannot put an entry for Dieu in an encyclopedia! The very idea is blasphemous!” But Diderot did, and other corresponding entries were included which shocked the populace and theologians of that time. The Encyclopédie ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers par une société de gens de lettres, mis en ordre et publié par M. Diderot et M. D’Alembert (1745—1772) easily made the Vatican’s list of prohibited reading in 1759. Diderot believed that God is an utterly useless idea in science and philosophy and the cause of endless dissension and inhumanity, notes Lester G. Crocker, who edited Diderot’s Selected Writings. In 1746 Diderot published Philosophic Thoughts, which was condemned to be burned but did much to advance freedom of opinion. In 1749 his Letters on the Blind resulted in his imprisonment at Vincennes because of its materialistic atheism. Rousseau, who called him “a transcendent genius,” visited Diderot in prison, where he remained for three years. During the French Revolution, Maréchal considered Diderot one of the most important atheists of all time, finding that his work was a resounding blow against the church’s reactionary ideas. Diderot also was a novelist, satirist, and playwright, producing The Father of the Family (1758), the first “bourgeois drama.” John Morley gave an interesting description of Diderot’s personal appearance: “His conversational powers were great and showed the fertility of his genius.” “When I recall Diderot,” wrote Maister, “the immense variety of his ideas, the amazing multiplicity of his knowledge, the rapid flight, the warmth, the impetuous tumult of his imagination, all the charm and all the disorder of his conversation, I venture to liken his character to Nature herself, exactly as he used to conceive her—rich, fertile, abounding in germs of every sort, gentle and fierce, simple and majestic, worthy and sublime, but without any dominating principle, without a master and without a God.” Among Diderot’s witty observations are the following:

• The Christian religion: the most absurd in its dogmas, the most unintelligible, the most insipid, the most gloomy, the most Gothic, the most puerile.

• The Christian religion teaches us to imitate a God that is cruel, insidious, jealous, and implacable in his wrath.

• Fanaticism is just one step away from barbarism.

• Skepticism is the first step toward truth.

• I have eyes and a heart and I like to look at a pretty woman, like to feel the curve of her breast under my hand, press her lips to mine, drink bliss from her eyes and die of ecstasy in her arms. Sometimes a gay party with my friends, even if it becomes a little rowdy, is not displeasing to me. But I must confess that I find it infinitely sweeter to . . . tell her whom I love something tender and true which brings her arms about my neck.

P. N. Furbank’s critical biography, Diderot, shows that when Diderot could find no experts who dared write for his encyclopedia, he wrote the articles himself. And when a spy reported to the police some of the material he was working on, it was the king who saved him. According to Voltaire, who got the story from one of the king’s servants, Louis had inquired how gunpowder worked, both in killing human enemies and in killing partridges. “Alas, it is the same with everything in the world,” replied Mme. de Pompadour. “I don’t know what the rouge I use is made of, and I should be hard put to it if someone asked me how my silk stockings are made.” At this point, a duke informed Louis it was a shame he had had the encyclopedia confiscated, for it contained the answers. When the king sent footmen to find the volumes, according to Voltaire’s story, Mme. de Pompadour learned the difference between French and Spanish rouge as well as how a stocking-machine worked. Meanwhile, the king learned how gunpowder worked and read all about the rights of the crown. Thereupon, the “dangerous work” was pronounced an “excellent book” and Diderot was protected. Rationalist that he was, Diderot “joined the party of humanity,” illustrating that a philosopher not only lives by reason but also can be virtuous, decent, and regard civil society as his “divinity.” Comte called Diderot “the greatest thinker of the eighteenth century.” Checkered as Diderot’s life had been, his closing years were full of peace and comfort. Superstition was mortally wounded, the Church was terrified, and it was clear that the change the philosophers had worked for was at hand. As Morley observed, “the press literally teemed with pamphlets, treatises, poems, histories, all shouting from the house-tops open destruction to beliefs which fifty years before were actively protected against so much as a whisper in the closet. Every form of literary art was seized and turned into an instrument in the remorseless attack on L’Infame.” In the spring of 1784 Diderot was attacked by what be felt was his last illness. Dropsy set in, and in a few months the end came. A fortnight before his death he was removed from the upper floor in the Rue Taranne, which he had occupied for thirty years, to palatial rooms provided for him by the Czarina in the Rue de Richelieu. Growing weaker every day he was still alert in mind. He did all he could to cheer the people around him, and amused himself and them by arranging his pictures and his books. In the evening, to the last, he found strength to converse on science and philosophy to the friends who were eager as ever for the last gleanings of his prolific intellect. On the evening of 30 July 1784, he sat down to table, and at the end of the meal took an apricot. His wife, with kind solicitude, remonstrated. “Mais quel diable de nial veux-tu que cela me fasse? (How the deuce can that hurt me?),” he said, and ate the apricot. Then he rested his elbow on the table, trifling with some sweetmeats. His wife asked him a question and, on receiving no answer, looked up and saw he was dead. He had died as the Greek poets say that men died in the golden age—they passed away as if mastered by Sleep. In the last conversation that his daughter heard him carry on, his last words were the pregnant aphorism that “the first step towards philosophy is incredulity.” Incredibly, Diderot’s son-in-law arranged for special dispensation to have Diderot buried in consecrated ground at Saint-Roch. (See entry for Ephraim Chambers, originator of the Cyclopaedia of Arts and Sciences [1728].) {BDF; FO; FUS; JM; JMRH; PUT; RAT; TYD}

Dieffenbach, Albert Charles (1876—1963) Dieffenbach was a Unitarian minister who signed Humanist Manifesto I. His considerable efforts in helping formulate and editing the manifesto have been described by Edwin H. Wilson in The Genesis of a Humanist Manifesto (1995). A former editor of The Christian Register (Unitarian), Dieffenbach reviewed Charles Francis Potter’s The Faiths Men Live By for The Humanist. From 1944 to 1949, he was minister of the Church of the Larger Fellowship, a correspondence group for Unitarians who did not live near other Unitarians. From 1944 to 1949, he was editor of the Wayside Pulpit. Dieffenbach wrote Religious Liberty, the Great American Illusion (1927). {FUS; HM1; HNS}

Diercks, Gustav (Born 1852) 

Diercks was the German author of History of the Development of Human Spirit (1881—1882). He also wrote on Arabian culture in Spain (1887) and was a member of the German Freethinkers’ Union. {BDF; RAT}

Dierenfield, Richard (20th Century) Dierenfield wrote Religion in the American Public Schools (1962). {FUS}

DIESSEITS - ZEITSCHRIFT FUR AUFKLARUNG UND HUMANISMUS A humanistic quarterly in German, Diesseits-Zeitschrift fur Aufklarung und Humanismus is at Hobrechtstrasse 8, D-12045, Berlin, Germany. E-mail: <hvdberlin@aol.com>.

Dietrich, Con (1918—1997) Dietrich was a distinguished physicist, a committed humanist, and an early member of Ealing Humanist Association. He wrote Uncertainty, Calibration, and Probability: the Statistics of Scientific and Industrial Measurement (1973).

Dietrich, John Hassler (1878—1976) A minister of the First Unitarian Church in Minneapolis, Dietrich also was on the advisory board of Charles Francis Potter’s First Humanist Society of New York. He was a signer of Humanist Manifesto I. Also, he was the first Unitarian minister to refer to his way in religion as “humanistic,” echoing elements of the Greek enlightenment and of the Renaissance. His friend, Curtis Reese, was another Unitarian clergyman to adopt the label “humanist.” Dietrich liked Paine’s “religion of humanity” and the ideas of thinkers as diverse as Ludwig Feuerbach, George Eliot, Auguste Comte, and Robert G. Ingersoll. As an explanation of his outlook, he wrote, “Humanism simply ignores the idea of God, failing to see any evidence of intelligent purpose in the universe, which surely is the minimum basis of Theism. The attitude taken is one of open-mindedness and inquiry, not of denials. . . . Old religions assume that there is a personal God at the center and source of things, from whom all power and blessings flow. Religion consists in bringing oneself into right relation with this personality. . . . In contrast to this, the Humanist says that it is useless to try to determine just what is the ultimate center and source of all power and blessing. . . . The all-important thing is that we strive to bring ourselves into better relation with that portion of reality with which we come into actual contact. . . . If human life is to have meaning, we must give it that meaning. . . . The world is so saturated with the theism and supernaturalism of the Christian church that any other form of religious aspiration is regarded as impossible, if not unthinkable. . . . We perceive an apparently endless process of constant, related change, which we call evolution—not in the narrow sense that man has sprung from lower animals, but in the broad sense of a changing, developing mode of existence.” He also wrote, “Whereas the Christian church connects the power for goodness with one name in the world’s history, humanism recognizes that goodness springs from many sources, so that its formula of worship would base itself, not upon the name of Jesus or Buddha [Siddhartha] or Mohammed alone, but would express reverence for the divergent forces of the universal good.” To a Western Unitarian Conference in Des Moines, he pointed out: “What you are calling the religion of democracy, I am calling humanism.” Edwin H. Wilson has said that some of the Unitarian clergy who defended the rights of humanists, such as Dietrich and Reese, were “evolutionary theists,” declaring that evolution was God’s way of creation. In contrast, Dietrich and Reese were frankly non-theists, unwilling to use such terminology. In 1956, he elaborated upon changes in his views to the present author:

I was one of the original, if not the original minister, to preach the interpretation of religion which I called Humanism and for twenty-five years I proclaimed this doctrine to large audiences in a Unitarian Church, but I no longer call myself a Humanist except in the sense you attribute to the lexicographer, “a term denoting devotion to humanity and human interests.” I sometimes called my Humanist Religious Humanism and sometimes Naturalistic Humanism. In any case it was the Humanism now represented by the American Humanist Association and its various members, and I think is quite accurately defined by your definition of Naturalistic Humanism. But of late years, due to much reading and mature thought, my philosophy and religion have undergone a complete revision. I now think it a philosophy too narrow in its conception of the great cosmic scheme, about which we know so little, and concerning which we should be less dogmatic and arrogant. It in no wise reflects the humility which becomes the real seeker after truth. I see now how my utter reliance upon science and reason and my contempt for any intuitive insights and intangible values which are the very essence of art and religion was a great mistake. I think the Humanism of that period served a good purpose as a protest movement against orthodox dogmatism, but its day has passed. What I am trying to say is that the positive side of Naturalistic Humanism was and is fine—its insistence upon the enrichment of human life in its every form; but its negative side, cutting itself off from all cosmic relationship and denying or ignoring every influence outside of humanity was and is very short-sighted. In other words, it should not have drawn such a hard and fast line between Humanism and Theism, making them contradictory. That was all right so far as orthodox theology and supernaturalism are concerned, but there is a type of theism—a kind of naturalistic theism—which does not stand in direct opposition to a real Humanism, and I have come to accept that type of theism. Do not ask me to define it, for I still agree with Robert Herrick, when he said

God is above the sphere of our esteem And is best known, not defining him.

Perhaps I am a theistic humanist, but not in the sense you define it, or a humanistic theist. I like to think of myself as both a theist and a humanist.

More than two hundred of Dietrich’s lectures have been published, and he wrote for the Humanist Pulpit (7 volumes, 1926-1933). (See entries for Charles S. Braden, Brian Eslinger, and Dorothy S. Grant.) {CL; EU, Paul H. Beattie; EW; FUS; HM1; HNS2; U; U&U; WAS, 17 August 1956}

Dietrich, Margaret (20th Century) Dietrich, using the pseudonym Carleton Winston, wrote a biography of John Hassler Dietrich, Circle of Earth (1942). {FUS}

Dietrich, Marlene (1901-1992) “If there is a supreme being, he’s crazy,” famed movie actress Dietrich once told a Rave reporter (November 1986). Her dissatisfaction with the explanations of theologians was in keeping with her independence of spirit. Her only child, Maria Riva, shocked not a few with a 1993 biography which listed her mother’s lovers, one of whom—a lesbian identified as “the rhinoceros”—admittedly raped Riva. The other of her mother’s lovers included a who’s who of notables: newscaster Edward R. Murrow; generals James M. Gavin and George S. Patton; actor Jean Gabin; novelist Erich Maria Remarque. There also were others: Edith Piaf, John Gilbert, Gary Cooper, Maurice Chevalier, Yul Brynner, José Iturbi, Hans Jaray, Brian Aherne, Adlai Stevenson, Michael Wilding, Mercedes de Acosta, Frank Sinatra. Also, there was her husband—Rudolf Sieber—to whom she is said to have shown or sent all the letters she received from her various lovers. Molly Haskell has written of Maria’s biography, Marlene Dietrich (1993), “Ms. Riva endorses Kenneth Tynan’s axiom that Dietrich ‘has sex without gender,’ but I would say she is both genders, and she existed at a moment in time in a censored medium—romantic rather than sexual, glorying in a language of innuendo rather than clinical categories—when it was possible (in the von Sternberg-Dietrich masterpiece ‘Morocco’) to kiss a woman on the lips and run off after a man in the desert sand, to be love object and love subject simultaneously. She makes us wonder, safely, without having to lose sleep over it, what is a man and what is a woman, after all, if so much of one can exist harmoniously in the other?” In her autobiography, she wrote of her having deserted Germany, become an American citizen, and joined the United States army as an entertainer. She toured widely and was honored by France with the Legion d’Honneur and the U.S. with a Congressional Medal. Of her battle-front experiences and how they led her to renounce her Calvinist faith, Dietrich wrote,

Back in my early childhood I learned that God doesn’t fight on any army’s side. So there was little point in praying. Nonetheless, before every battle prayers were read, all kinds of incantations were recited, staged by all sorts of preachers. We attended these ceremonies and I saw how the soldiers stood in place, as though they couldn’t believe their ears. I couldn’t believe it either, but I counted for nothing. . . . Since then, I have given up belief in God, in a “light” that leads us, or anything of that sort. Goethe said, “If God created this world, he should review his plan.”

Although most who know about Dietrich know and love only her films, her daughter Maria wasted no time following her mother’s death in detailing the last moments: At the age of ninety-one, Dietrich had spent much of the last decade of her life in bed, using a casserole instead of rising to go to the bathroom, and subsisting on pills and alcohol. As critic Gabriele Annan has pointed out, Maria is an “Electra from Beverly Hills” who, like Euripides’s Electra, is “almost a monomaniac from hate and brooding over her wrongs,” one who “doesn’t actually help anyone to kill Dietrich, but she disembowels and flays her after her death. She tears off her specially engineered corset to reveal the ugly breasts and—in later years—‘the crepe-flesh of her hanging thighs.’ ” Dietrich, who chose to live in France rather than Germany, spent most of World War II in the United States, entertained Allied troops, and refused offers from the Nazi Government to make movies. Despite the ambiguous relationship Dietrich had with her native Germany, she asked to be buried in her native Berlin, where her grave has been occasionally covered with excrement and vandalized with epithets. Her simple gravestone bears a cryptic inscription in German that proclaims, “Here I stand on the marker of my days.” {TYD}

Dietrich, Marlene (27 Dec 1901 - 6 May 1992) “If there is a supreme being, he’s crazy,” famed movie actress Dietrich once told a Rave reporter (November 1986). Her dissatisfaction with the explanations of theologians was in keeping with her independence of spirit. Her only child, Maria Riva, shocked not a few with a 1993 biography that listed her mother’s lovers, one of whom—a lesbian identified as “the rhinoceros”—raped her. The other of her mother’s lovers allegedly included a who’s who of notables: newscaster Edward R. Murrow; generals James M. Gavin and George S. Patton; actor Jean Gabin; novelist Erich Maria Remarque. There also were others: Edith Piaf, John Gilbert, Gary Cooper, Maurice Chevalier, Yul Brynner, José Iturbi, Hans Jaray, Brian Aherne, Adlai Stevenson, Michael Wilding, Mercedes de Acosta, Frank Sinatra. Also, there was her husband—Rudolf Sieber—to whom she is said to have shown or sent all the letters she received from her various lovers. Molly Haskell has written of Maria’s biography, Marlene Dietrich (1993),

Ms. Riva endorses Kenneth Tynan’s axiom that Dietrich "has sex without gender," but I would say she is both genders, and she existed at a moment in time in a censored medium—romantic rather than sexual, glorying in a language of innuendo rather than clinical categories—when it was possible (in the von Sternberg-Dietrich masterpiece Morocco) to kiss a woman on the lips and run off after a man in the desert sand, to be love object and love subject simultaneously. She makes us wonder, safely, without having to lose sleep over it, what is a man and what is a woman, after all, if so much of one can exist harmoniously in the other?

In her autobiography, Dietrich wrote of her having deserted Germany, becoming an American citizen, and joining the United States army as an entertainer. She toured widely and was honored by France with the Legion d’Honneur and by the U.S. with a Congressional Medal. Of her battlefront experiences and how they led her to renounce her Calvinist faith, Dietrich wrote,

Back in my early childhood I learned that God doesn’t fight on any army’s side. So there was little point in praying. Nonetheless, before every battle prayers were read, all kinds of incantations were recited, staged by all sorts of preachers. We attended these ceremonies and I saw how the soldiers stood in place, as though they couldn’t believe their ears. I couldn’t believe it either, but I counted for nothing. . . . Since then, I have given up belief in God, in a “light” that leads us, or anything of that sort. Goethe said, “If God created this world, he should review his plan.”

Although most who know about Dietrich know and love only her films, her daughter Maria wasted no time following her mother’s death in detailing the last moments: At the age of ninety-one, Dietrich had spent much of the last decade of her life in bed, using a casserole instead of rising to go to the bathroom, and subsisting on pills and alcohol. As critic Gabriele Annan has pointed out, Maria is an “Electra from Beverly Hills” who, like Euripides’s Electra, is “almost a monomaniac from hate and brooding over her wrongs,” one who “doesn’t actually help anyone to kill Dietrich, but she disembowels and flays her after her death. She tears off her specially engineered corset to reveal the ugly breasts and—in later years—‘the crepe-flesh of her hanging thighs.’ ” Dietrich, who chose to live in France rather than Germany, spent most of World War II in the United States, entertained Allied troops, and refused offers from the Nazi Government to make movies. Despite the ambiguous relationship Dietrich had with her native Germany, she asked to be buried in her native Berlin, where her grave has been occasionally covered with excrement and vandalized with epithets. Her simple gravestone bears a cryptic inscription in German that proclaims, “Here I stand on the marker of my days.” {TYD}

Dietrick, Ellen Battelle (19th Century) Dietrick served on Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s Woman’s Bible committee, was a vice-president of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association in 1888, and in 1890 became president of the Boston Suffrage League. Her freethought is shown in “Cardinal Gibbon’s Ignorance” (Liberty, 20 April 1895). {WWS}

Dietz, Robert S. (1914— ) Dietz, a member of the Foundation for Freedom from Religion, is a marine geologist who is active as one of the sponsors for the National Center for Science Education and who enjoys having “locked horns with the resurgent creationist movement and especially to the claim of ‘scientific’ creationism. The integrity of science must be defended from the onslaught of pseudo-science.” he has written. “I find it particularly galling for religion to attempt to trade on the prestige of science.” With John C. Holden, Dietz wrote Creation / Evolution Satiricon (1987).

Dietzgen, Joseph (1828—1888) A German philosophical writer, Dietzgen was an exponent of materialism, especially in its application to Marxism. He advocated what he called a “dialectical monism,” or materialism. The universe is one eternally evolving material reality. Thought is a function of the brain, and there is no basis for religion. He wrote Das Wesen der menschlichen Kopfarbeit (1869) and Zur Philosophie des Sozialismus (published 1923). {RAT}

Ani DiFranco, Recording Artist music

Ani DiFranco is a popular folk and rock artist who also runs her own record label, Righteous Babes Records. In the March 13, 2000 issue of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, columnist Jim Walsh interviewed Difranco. Here is an excerpt:

Q: What song proves to you that there is a God?

Ani: "I'm an atheist, for Chrissake!"

The full interview may be found at http://www.pioneerplanet.com/justgo/music/0313walsh.htm

--BZ and CM


"I'm an atheist ... how unfortunate it is to assign responsibility to the higher up for justice amongst people." -- from an interview with Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive, May 2000)

Digby, Forster (20th Century) Digby, professor of philosophy at New England College in New Hampshire, is author of “Abortion Is the Issue From Hell” (Free Inquiry, Summer 1996).

Dijkstra, Jaap (20th Century) Dijkstra is director of the Dutch Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation (HIVOS), which is a Third World aid agency supported by the Government. HIVOS is like a religious aid organization, but it operates on an entirely humanistic line. He spoke at the 1992 IHEU Congress in the Netherlands.

Dilke, Ashton Wentworth (1850—1883) Dilke, who was educated at Cambridge, traveled to Russia and Central Asia, then published a translation of Turgenev’s Virgin Soil. He purchased and edited the Weekly Dispatch. Although he returned as a Member of Parliament for Newcastle in 1880, he resigned owing to ill health, in favor of John Morley, and died at Algiers. {BDF; RAT}

Dilke, Charles Wentworth [Sir] (1843—1911) Dilke succeeded his father as baronet and owner of the Athenaeum and Notes and Queries. In 1874 he published an anti-clerical novel, The Fall of Prince Florestan. A friend of Gambetta and the French rationalists, whose views he shared, Dilke led the Radicals in the House of Commons. {RAT}

Dillard, Annie (1945— ) Dillard, an author who won the Pulitzer prize for general non-fiction in 1974, has written for Harper’s and for various newspapers. A member of the Thoreau Society, she has written poetry such as Tickets for a Prayer Wheel (1974) and Mornings Like This (1995). Her nonfiction books include Holy the Firm (1978), The Writing Life (1989), and For the Time Being (1999). In the latter work, she poses the old question as to why, if God exists, wickedness is permitted. She also notes that of eighty billion galaxies, each harbors at least one hundred billion suns andthat every 110 hours a million more humans arrive on the planet than die into the planet. Dillard has written a memoir, An American Childhood (1987) and a novel, The Living (1992). In Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (1974), she included the following:

I read about an Eskimo hunter who asked the local missionary priest, “If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?” “No,” said the priest, “not if you did not know.” “Then why,” asked the Eskimo earnestly, “did you tell me?”

In An American Childhood (1987), Dillard declares, “By dipping us children in the Bible so often, they hoped, I think, to give our lives a serious tint, and to provide us with quaintly magnificent snatches of prayer to produce as charms while, say, being mugged for our cash or jewels.” Dillard is a writer-in-residence at Wesleyan University, where she also teaches. In 1999 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Some critics have noted that, as to why she thinks God permits suffering, she leans on Augustine and Aquinas. Asked specifically if any religious or philosophic label fits into her outlook, Dillard touched all bases:

I haven’t the foggiest idea. Is there such a thing as a freethinking Catholic? Of course I’m also an existentialist and to some extent a Unitarian, ditto Hasid, though the Hasids would deny it. Strongly! Also, I’m a neo-Platonist. And, of course, a fervent admirer of the sciences. {TYD; WAS 10 March 1999}

Dille, R. (20th Century) Dille was on the first Board of Directors in 1952 of the International Humanist and Ethical Union.

Diller, Phyllis (1917- ) An actress and an author, Diller in 1965 received the Best TV Comedienne Award from the TV Radio Mirror. She accompanied Bob Hope and his group to South Vietnam, Christmas 1966; appeared in numbers of plays and movies, wrote several books, and was a producer-writer of the “Phyllis Diller Shows” (1963-1964). In David Kristof’s and Todd Nickerson’s Predictions for the Next Millennium, Diller is quoted as predicting the following for the year 3000:

The constants all through the centuries will be the same: wine, women and song. Other than that, life will be very different technologically. In the year 3000 the universe will be expanding as it will forever, infinitely. We will probe outer space but never find life as evolutionized as ours. We were not created by a deity. We created the deity in our image. Life began on this planet when the first amoeba split. Mankind will still be seeking God, not accepting that God is a spirit; can’t see it, touch it, only feel it. It’s called Love.

In The Globe Tabloid, Summer 2003, she told a reporter

I believe in nature. I’m a thinker, a scientist. I can’t buy all the religious stuff, so I’m an atheist. Plus, I’m also disturbed that most wars are about religion – including the current on. I don’t want to have anything to do with that. When you die, it’s over. {CA, Freethought Today, September 2003 }

Diller, Phyllis (17 Jul 1917 - ) An actress and an author, Diller in 1965 received the Best TV Comedienne Award from the TV Radio Mirror. She accompanied Bob Hope and his group to South Vietnam during Christmas 1966; appeared in numbers of plays and movies, wrote several books, and was a producer-writer of the Phyllis Diller Shows (1963-1964). In David Kristof’s and Todd Nickerson’s Predictions for the Next Millennium, Diller is quoted as predicting the following for the year 3000:

The constants all through the centuries will be the same: wine, women and song. Other than that, life will be very different technologically. In the year 3000 the universe will be expanding as it will forever, infinitely. We will probe outer space but never find life as evolutionized as ours. We were not created by a deity. We created the deity in our image. Life began on this planet when the first amoeba split. Mankind will still be seeking God, not accepting that God is a spirit; can’t see it, touch it, only feel it. It’s called Love. {CA}


Dilloway, A. James (20th Century) A representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) at the United Nations, Dilloway has helped build the group’s status as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) within the UN, both in Geneva and in New York City. In 1978 at the Seventh IHEU World Congress held in London, Dilloway addressed the group. He finds humankind’s ten most pressing concerns as being the following:

• rapid population growth and urbanism • the absence of overall global overseeing • environmental decay • authoritarian religious intolerance • health standards, both physical and public • systemic economic-financial defects and extreme poverty • natural disasters • arms exporting • crime, terrorism, and the drug trade • human rights dereliction and the treatment of women {New Humanist, Dec 1995}

Dimick, Howard T. (20th Century) Dimick, with other freethinkers, wrote The Truth About American Evangelists (1928). {GS}

Dimock, Marshall E. (20th Century) Dimock in 1961 was the first moderator of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Dinesen, Isak: See entry for Karen Blixen.

DINOSAURS Fossils show that dinosaurs had “fingers” which corresponded to the first three digits of a human’s hand. The two outer digits were found in older fossils. Scientists in 1997 were still disputing whether or not birds descended from dinosaurs. The wings of birds, according to New York Times science reporter John Noble Wilford (24 October 1997), “developed from the forelimbs of their reptilian ancestors and still bear skeletal traces of former fingers, which also had been reduced to three from five. The question is, Which three digits remain in bird wings? The answer could be a clue to whether dinosaurs or some earlier reptiles were direct ancestors of today’s ducks and geese, pelicans, and cardinals.” But the identity of the three major digits in bird wings remains an issue that has puzzled scientists for at least one hundred and fifty years. Until the end of the 20 century, no evidence existed that birds evolved from dinosaurs, not until fossils of two turkey-sized, feathered animals—protarchaeopteryx and caudipteryx—were discovered beneath an ancient lake bed in the Liaoning Province in northeastern China.

Dinter, Gustav Friedrich (1760—1831) Dinter was a German educationalist. Bible for Schoolmasters was his best-known work, and it sought to give rational notes for teachers. Its explanations of “Jew books” excited much controversy. {BDF; RAT}

Dio Chrysostom (c. 50—117) A Greek Sophist and orator, Dio lived in Rome at the time of Emperor Domitian, who subsequently banished him. Returning to Rome in the favor of emperors Nerva and Trajan, he leaned toward the philosophy of the Cynics and Stoics. With Plutarch, he shared in the revival of Greek literature of the first century. Some eighty orations on various subjects have been saved, some of which roundly denounce slavery more than a thousand years before any Christian leader did. According to McCabe, “He was not a Stoic, as is often said, but an atheist of the Epicurean-Stoic school which most Roman moralists followed. {CE; JM}

Diodorus Siculus (Died after 21 B.C.E.) A Sicilian historian who in Greek wrote a world history in forty books, Diodorus Siculus is regarded by other historians as uncritical, repetitive, and unreliable. His work is valuable, however, as a source for the lost works of earlier authors, from whom he borrowed freely. One of his statements was that “It is to the interest of states to be deceived in religion.” {TYD}

Diogenes (412—323 B.C.E.?) When Diogenes pleaded with Antisthenes to teach him, the older man took a disliking to him and tried to beat him with his stick. But Diogenes refused to move, saying he wanted the wisdom which Antisthenes had to give. He wanted to do as his jailed father had done, deface the coinage because stamps were false and the men stamped upon them were, as Bertrand Russell described, “base metal with lying superscription.” Diogenes believed virtue could be found in living the simple life, so he discarded eating utensils, drank from his hands, and lived like a dog—“cynic” means “canine.” Like fakirs, he begged. Unlike most, he considered animals as well as humans his brotherhood. Worldly goods were of no account to him, for virtue and moral freedom came when one learned to free himself from desire. Prometheus, he proclaimed, was justly punished, for he erred by bringing man the arts and what has led to modernity. His home, for example, consisted of a tub-like burial pitcher. When Alexander the Great inquired what he could do for him, Diogenes retorted, “Only step out of my sunlight.” His refusal to accept ordinary conventions led to many stories about his eccentricities. For example, to show contempt for his generation and times, he carried a lantern during daylight hours, explaining he was looking “for an honest man.” He was known to embrace statues during the winter. Upon cracking a louse on a temple’s altar rail, he said, “Thus does Diogenes sacrifice to all the gods at once.” When chastized for masturbating in public, he replied, “Would that hunger could be alleviated by rubbing one’s belly.” Passing by a tree from which female prisoners had been hanged, he observed, “Would that all trees bore such sweet fruit.” He lived in a wine barrel, tried to eat his meat raw, advocated public masturbation, and reportedly urinated on individuals he disliked. Like the academic skeptics, he held that nothing can be known solely by our senses or our reason, and his views led to people’s illustrating how easy it is to do without material wealth, how happy one can be eating simple food, how warm one can keep without expensive clothing, how silly it is to love one’s native country, how futile to cry when friends or even one’s own children die. Diogenes held that nothing is produced from nothing or reduced to nothing, that the earth is round and received its shape from whirling, and he made no distinction between mind and matter. As Russell in his History of Western Philosophy remarks, one wonders who appreciated such views; “Was it the rich, who wished to think the sufferings of the poor imaginary? Or was it the new poor, who were trying to despise the successful businessman? Or was it sycophants who persuaded themselves that the charity they accepted was unimportant?. . . Popular Cynicism did not teach abstinence from the good things of this world, but only a certain indifference to them. In the case of a borrower, this might take the form of minimizing the obligation to the lender. One can easily understand,” adds Russell, “how the word ‘cynic’ has acquired its present meaning.” {CE; EU; TYD}

DIONYSUS Dionysus (Bacchus), in Greek and Roman mythology, was the god of wine and of an orgiastic religion which celebrated the power and fertility of nature. Those who revered Dionysus were called Dionysians. In art a dionysian spirit is instinctual, irrational, and a festival observance held in seasonal cycles in honor of Dionysus was called Dionysia. Theologians once mistook Dionysius the Areopagite for Dionysus. Dionysius (430?—367 B.C.E.) was a tyrant of Syracuse, known for fighting the Carthaginians in Sicily. His son Dionysius (395?—343?) succeeded him and was exiled in 343 for his despotic rule. Dionysius of Halicarnassus (1st century B.C.E.) was a Greek historian whose history of Rome is a source for early Roman history. Dionysius Exiguus (500?—560?) was a Scythian monk responsible for introducing the method of reckoning the Christian era from the birth of Christ. Termed “Little Dennis” or “Dennis the Runt,” he began his system, not with a Year Zero but with a Year One. At that time Western arithmetic had not yet developed the concept of zero. In the philosophy of Nietzsche, individuals who were dionysian displayed creative-intuitive power as opposed to critical-rational power. (See entry for Bacchus.) {CE; Stephen Jay Gould, USA Weekend, 19-21 September 1997}

Diop, Cheikh Anta (1923—1986) Born of a Muslim peasant family in western Senegal, Diop attended Koranic schools. His doctoral thesis has been summarized by Sertima: “That Egypt was the node and center of a vast web linking the strands of Africa’s main cultures and languages; that the light that crystallized at the center of this early world had been energized by the cultural electricity streaming from the heartland of Africa; that the creators of classical Egyptian civilization, therefore, were not the brown Mediterranean Caucasoids invented by Sergi, nor the equally mythical Hamites, nor Asiatic nomads and invaders, but indigenous, black-skinned, woolly-haired Africans; that Greece, mother of the best in European civilization, was once a child suckled at the breast of Egypt even as Egypt had been suckled at the breast of Ethiopia, which itself evolved from the complex interior womb of the African motherland.” His thesis was labeled “unfounded” by the jury of the University of Paris, and it took Diop ten years and two more doctoral dissertations before he was granted his degree. Diop translated a major portion of Einstein’s relativity theory into Wolof, the language of his people. In 1976 he became President of the World Black Researchers Association. A nominal Muslim, one who was highly critical of Islam, Diop according to Norm Allen “believed that Islam encouraged African Muslims to deny their historical roots. He bemoaned the fact that some Africans—especially chiefs—would rewrite history in a shameless attempt to trace their roots back to the prophet Mahomet.” Although he is included in Allen’s African American Humanism, Diop’s philosophic or religious ideas are not specifically outlined. The direction of his thought, however, is scientific and naturalistic. Mary Lefkowitz, a professor of classics at Wellesley College and author of Women in Greek Myth, is concerned that “Afrocentrists” overlook historical facts. For example, some state

• that Greek civilization dates from only 1000 B.C. (In fact, Greek-speaking peoples occupied the Greek mainland for at least half a millennium before that.) • that Socrates was a figment of Plato’s imagination. (In fact, the great philosopher is mentioned by several other contemporary writ ers, such as the comic poet Aristophanes and the historian Xenophon.) • that Plato “studied for 11 years in Egypt.” (It is very unlikely that he even went there.) • that “Plato learned from Egyptian sages in Masonic Grand Lodges an Egyptian ‘mystery’ system.” (In reality, there was no such system, and a literature about Greco-Egyptian philosophy did not come into existence until 500 years after Plato’s death.).

	Academics, Lefkowitz holds, must “come out of the closets of their specializations and complain, not only about biased interpretation but about deliberate misrepresentation and manipulation of facts, whether in their own subject areas or in someone else’s. Unless they do, generations of students will come to believe that Aristotle put his own name and titles to nonexistent Egyptian treatises that he stole from a library that had not yet been built in a country that he never visited! Subjects like history and philosophy will be replaced by indoctrination, and each of us will believe the brand of ‘truth’ that best serves his or her own selfish purposes.” (See entry for Mary Lefkowitz.)

Dippel, Johann K. (1672—1734) Dippel was a German alchemist and physician. His Papismus vopulans Protestantium (1698) drew the wrath of the theologians of Geissen, and Dippel fled for his life. In 1705 he published his satires against the Protestant Church, Hirt und eine Heerde, under the name of Christianus Democritos. Dippel denied the inspiration of the Bible. {BDF; RAT}

DISBELIEF • A thing that nobody believes cannot be proved too often. —George Bernard Shaw

Disch, Thomas M. (20th Century) Disch is author of The Priest (1995), in which the Rev. Patrick Bryce is a hard-drinking hypocrite who likes to perform oral sex on pubescent boys. Two of his colleagues are ex-lovers. His parishioners are guilty of a number of crimes ranging from multiple murder to anti-Semitism to siring illegitimate twins (one of whom, it transpires, is Father Pat). Disch subtitles the work A Gothic Romance and in mid-novel has the priest swap bodies with Silvanus de Roquefort, Bishop of Rodez and Montpellier-le-Vieux, whose expertise included delivering fire-and-brimstone homilies as well as performing amateur mastectomies on female heretics. One of the gay priests remarks about why the church continues its dogma about homosexuality: “In a way, that may be its problem—that it’s in the nature of the church that it can’t change. What’s changed is the world around us.”

DISCRIMINATION In matters of differentiating quality, a gourmet carefully chooses what is eaten (savoring each bite) whereas a gourmand does not (cleaning up the plate even if it does not taste good). Such is generally considered an example of a gourmet’s positive discrimination. In matters of categorical rather than individual choosing, however, the person who prejudges discriminates by speaking or acting against an entire group because of its religion, race, or some other category. As an example, some discriminate against all short human beings, holding that anyone who is only five foot four inches tall is not really equal to those individuals who are taller. Shorter people, however, accuse tall people of eating more food, wearing larger garments, requiring higher ceilings, and needing more fuel to move about, therefore using up more of the planet’s resources. Some individuals discriminate against “thin-lipped” people, whereas others discriminate against the “big-lipped.” Some blonds claim to have more fun than brunets, whereas brunets are known to claim that the opposite is the case. Some adherents of religions are disgraced if someone in their family marries outside the religion. Other individuals or groups who are inhumanistically discriminated against include gays, lesbians, the left-handed, the red-haired, the green-eyed, the fat, females, and exceptional people (who are called derisive names, such as “freaks”). The Council for Secular Humanism includes in its statement of principles that its members attempt

. . . to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, and strive to work together for the common good of humanity.

DISHONESTY • I looked within the soul of the boy sitting next to me. —Woody Allen as a standup comedian in the 1960s, explaining why he was expelled from college

for cheating on a philosophy examination

Disraeli, Benjamin [1st Earl of Beaconsfield] (1804—1881) Disraeli, the British statesman and author, was born of Jewish parents but was baptized a Christian in 1817. As pointed out by Northwestern University English professor Lawrence Lipkind, although Disraeli was the most distinguished English Jew in history, Queen Victoria’s favorite, technically he was not a Jew “for before his bar mitzvah he was baptized instead; without this conversion he could never have served in Parliament, according to law. His enemies portrayed him as a crypto-Jew, a sort of belated marrano. But in fact he was proud of the Sephardic ancestry epitomized by his name; and he was anything but secretive about it.” “Man is made to adore and obey,” he wrote in Coningsby (1844), “but if you will not command him, if you give him nothing to worship, he will fashion his own divinities.” {TYD}

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HUMANISTS

• The American Humanist Associations coordinator for the District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia is Roy Torcaso of the Mid Atlantic Region (AHA), 3708 Brightview Street, Wheaton, Maryland 20902. • The American Humanist Association’s contact member for the National Capital Area is Karen Stewart, 2130 P St Northwest (#1005), Washington, DC 20037; (301) 656-5621.

• The Maryland-DC Chapter has as its contact Mary Porter at (202) 546-7430.

• The Washington Area Secular Humanists are at Box 15319, Washington, DC 20003. On the Web: <http://www.wam.umd.edu/~kaugust/asatext/ wash.html>. Telephone (202) 298-0921. E-mail: <wash@poboxes.com>. Contact: Bahram Azad. • The Washington Ethical Action Office, 6214 Crathie Lane, Bethesda, MD 10816 (301) 229-3759 welcomes cooperation concerning legislative action in Washington.

DITHEISM Ditheism is a theological invention referring to a belief in or a theory about the existence of two gods or of two original principles. For example, one god could be good, the other evil, as in Manichaeism.

DIVINE • Divination, n. The art of nosing out the occult. Divination is of as many kinds as there are fruit-bearing varieties of the flowering dunce and the early fool. —Ambrose Bierce The Devil’s Dictionary

Devinen, divinen came from the Middle English, Middle French, and Latin. Devinus was a soothsayer. In French, deviner means “to guess.” A divine, or minister of the gospel, is one skilled in guessing, or discovering by making known through divination. Divinity is the quality or state of being divine. God is said to be Divine. A forked rod believed to indicate the presence of water or minerals is called a divining rod. The Divine Right of Kings was a view, as expounded by James I and later Stuart adherents, that the king possesses a personal right to rule by virtue of his birth and the divine authority inherent in his person and not in his office. One of the most colorful divines was Father Divine who, in the 1930s became a “lion” in Harlem. A cult leader primarily of fellow blacks, he allegedly healed people, performed miracles, and explained his possession of large sums of money by saying, “I have money without limit, because my money comes from God.” His followers greeted him with the salutation “Peace,” and he claimed millions of adherents. They surrounded him with signs: “Father Divine is God,” “Father Divine is the Messiah,” and “Father Divine is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” Allegedly, he was George Baker Jr., born around 1880 of Gullah slave parents near Savannah, Georgia, a state in which he once was sentenced to the chain gang and later was tried for insanity because of his messianic claims and disorders incident thereto. He opened his first New York church in 1915 and moved to Harlem in 1933, where he converted hotels into “kingdoms” for his followers, provided an employment service, and distributed low-cost meals to the poor. “He has the world in a jug and the stopper in his hand,” his followers chanted. Father Divine preached self-reliance and abstinence, encouraged them to shun sex, marriage, alcohol, tobacco, and profanity, and insisted that they refuse all public assistance. The 21-year-old white woman who had been an angel since childhood and who married the octagenarian in 1946 reportedly said she did not realize that marriage would require having sex with God. In disgust at all the lawsuits being brought against him, particularly by Faithful Mary—his most emphatic public champion, who for years ran the Harlem kitchens—Father Divine said he was going to leave his body and depart the earth for 1,900 years. Actually, he departed to Philadelphia. Through the 1950s and early 1960s, his church ignored the civil rights movement altogether. Upon his death at the age of 85, or perhaps 100, thousands of pilgrims gathered to watch the 5’ 2” God arise out of his white coffin from the dead, but he failed to do so. His body is enshrined on the grounds of a mansion outside Philadelphia where Mother Divine—née Edna Rose Ritchings, who was seventy-three in 1998—lives and oversees church business. As can be divined, contemporary secular humanists and freethinkers find meaningless the supernaturalistic overtones of the concept of divinity. {ER}

DIVISION OF HUMANIST COUNSELLING The Division of Humanist Counselling (AHA) is at 7 Harwood Drive, Box 146, Amherst, New York 14226.

DIVORCE Among the oldest divorce regulations to be found are those in the Assyrian code of Hammurabi, about 2300 to 2500 B.C.E. These provided that a man might divorce his wife at will without stating a reason. The Veddas of Ceylon did not permit divorce. A Zuni wife who no longer wished to keep her husband was allowed to place his personal belongings at the entrance of the house, at which time he was required to return to his parent’s home. In the United States the first divorce was granted in Massachusetts in 1639. The marriage custom sanctified by the Christian religion is the monogamous marriage involving a union between one man and one woman who agree to be dedicated to a total communion of life between the two partners and meant to persist for the entire duration of their joint lives. The implication is that if they do not stay together, they have failed. If they quit their job, however, and move on to something better, have they failed? This is not accepted as being analogous. The struggle between Church and State over the control of marriage laws, and consequently divorce, has been won mostly by the Church. Many individuals, however, touted divorce without much effect on the status quo; for example, Plato, Aristotle, Pericles, Francis Bacon, Lord Nelson, Robert Burns, Lord Byron, and Benjamin Franklin. Henry VIII obtained a most difficult and highly publicized divorce when he succeeded in ridding himself of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, in order to marry Anne Boleyn. In some Arab countries, divorce for men is easy. All an Arab need do to divorce his wife is say three times, “I divorce thee.” The Romans set divorce-and-remarriage records only recently broken. Julius Caesar, called the “Queen of Bithynia” in his youth because of his homosexual activities, was married three times. Caligula had four wives; moreover, he committed incest with his sister, then forced her into marriage with his lover, Marcus Lapidus. Mark Antony divorced his pregnant wife, Octavia, by mail in order to marry Cleopatra. Other Roman serial monogamists: Augustus (3 wives), his daughter Julia (3 husbands), Claudius I (4 wives), Nero (3 wives). Charlemagne, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, was married four times and repudiated his first wife a year after their wedding. Thomas F. “Tommy” Manville, who died in 1967, set the record for millionaire divorces—thirteen of them. His marriage to the seventh wife lasted only 7 1/2 hours. None of the various groups of non-believers has taken a specific stand concerning the merits or shortcomings of divorce, which is the dissolution of the marriage contract (which ordinarily contains the words “until death do us part”). No statistics have been compiled as to whether non-believers divorce less, or more, often than believers. Members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) are known to dislike civil marriages, preferring “common law” cohabitation even though such is not recognized by the state. In the 1970s, the divorce rate in the United States was estimated to be around 50% and is believed to remain at that level. In China, the 1990 rate was 12%. By 1994, because of social changes and a receding interference in people’s personal lives by the government, the figure increased to over 24%. A number of eminent freethinkers have been married many times. Some argue that people of the same sex should be allowed to marry as well as divorce. And some have described monogamy as unnecessary monotony. Most agree that it is beneficial for the state to solemnize a marriage as well as provide the necessary conditions for any legal dissolution, spelling out property rights and rights of a separated couple’s children. Changes in the United States divorce laws during the last century have replaced the old concept that viewed husband and wife as one legal personality, that of the husband, and replacing it with allowing married women to own property, enter into contracts, bring legal suits, and otherwise act independently of their husbands. A humanistic approach to dividing property and valuables has been devised by Steven Brams, a professor of politics at New York University, and Alan Taylor, a professor of mathematics at Union College. In The Win-Win Solution: Guaranteeing Fair Shares to Everybody (1999), they spell out a method that could also be used to settle disputes involving corporate mergers or peace negotiations in the Middle East. As described by Larissa MacFarquhar (The New Yorker, 16 August 1999):

Each party gets a hundred points to divide among the goods in question. Suppose Brittany and Brandon own a house, a dog, tools, and a truck. Brittany never much liked the dog, or the home theatre Brandon installed in the house, but she loves the tools and her sense of self is all bound up in the truck. She values the truck at fifty, the tools at twenty-five, the house at twenty, and the dog at five. Brandon never learned to use the tools and always felt a little self-conscious driving the truck, but he considers the dog to be a close friend and hates the thought of moving the home theatre to a strange place. He values the dog at fifty, the house at forty, and the truck and the tools at five apiece. Each person is initially given the items he or she values most: Brittany gets the truck and the tools; Brandon gets the house and the dog. But that gives Brittany seventy-five points and Brandon ninety. In order to even things out, the house is sold, and Brandon gets three-quarters of the price (worth thirty points to him, leaving him with a total of eighty), while Brittany gets one-quarter (worth five points to her, leaving her also with eighty).

The Brams-Taylor method is not perfect and guarantees only that a sincere participant will receive at least fifty per cent “of the pie as he or she values it.” Comments MacFarquhar, after noting that sparring partners might rank preferences dishonestly in order to deprive the other person with what the individual wants, comments, “Perhaps, though, the algorithm’s inventors are wrong not to take spite seriously. They don’t seem to believe that, for some, making a former loved one miserable may be genuinely more rewarding than the ownership of a household appliance.” (See entry for Marriage, Forms of.) {CE}

Dix, Dorothea Lynde (1802—1887) Dix was an American educator and reformer who campaigned to improve the treatment of prisoners, the mentally retarded, and the mentally ill. This was because she once had volunteered to conduct Sunday services for women inmates at an East Cambridge jail, and she was puzzled as to why so many of those who were confined were mentally ill, not criminals. When she inquired of the jailer why insane people had no heat in their part of the jail, she was told, “Lunatics don’t feel cold like other people.” Dix, of whom it is said that 123 hospitals were built because of her work and influence, was a Unitarian who attended William Ellery Channing’s church and tutored his children. {CE; EG; U}

Dixie, Florence Caroline (Douglas) [Lady] (1857—1905) Dixie, a freethinker, wrote Toward Freedom: An Appeal to Thoughtfulness and Women (1904?) In 1879 she was correspondent of the Morning Post in the Zulu War. {GS; RAT}

Dixon, Charles and M. J. Dixon (20th Century) The Dixons have been active in the American Humanist Association chapter of the Mid-South. (See entry for Arkansas Humanists.)

Dixit, Dharmalingam (20th Century) An Indian freethinker, Dixit wrote A Critique on Major Religions (1980). {GS}

Djilas, Milovan [Vice-President] (1911—1995)

	An author and the former vice-president of Yugoslavia, Djilas (pronounced GEE-lahss) was born in a poor Serb village in Montenegro, the son of an out-of-work army officer and an illiterate peasant woman. 

When he went to Belgrade, he soon joined with Communist students in the struggle against the royalist dictatorship and its secret police. Although originally Tito’s friend and a successful politician, he was jailed in 1956 upon publication of his The New Class, a critique of the Communist oligarchy which had to be published in non-Communist countries. He was released in 1961, re-jailed in 1962, and freed in 1966. Other of his works include Conversations with Stalin (1962), Memoir of a Revolutionary (1973), and Tito (1980). Interviewed 26 December 1993 by New York Times reporter David Binder, Djilas told how imprisonment affects politically minded inmates: “It often hardens their will to power. Stalin was sent to prison five times, Hitler for five years.” He went on to Yugoslav leaders who had spent time in prison: Tito: Franjo Tudgjman, the President of Croatia; Alija Izetbegovic, the President of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and others. “They wanted power,” said Mr. Djilas. “I didn’t want power. But prison transformed me, too. It transformed me from an ideologist into a humanist.” A revolutionary, soldier, political leader, and writer, Djilas in his own description, “traveled the entire road of Communism,” from Partisan guerrilla fighter against Nazi occupiers of Yugoslavia and ardent believer in Stalinism, through disillusionment and revulsion at the “all-powerful exploiters and masters” in had brought to power—Stalin first among them. Djilas, whose The New Class (written in 1955 and 1956) was a devastating early critique of communism, correctly predicted that Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms would result eventually in the fall of Soviet communism. Although at first he had been a dogmatic Marxist, after breaking with Tito he became an anti-Marxist liberal. Upon writing the book, he and his wife Stefica took the finished manuscript abroad and survived on his foreign royalties. “He was the first dissident since Trotsky to challenge the Party-controlled state from the very summit of Communist power, the historian Michael Ignatieff has observed, “the first to apply Marxist categories to the sociology of his own autocracy; the first to risk political death by publishing abroad.” To the end of his life, according to The Economist, Djilas—the best-known dissident in Communist Yugoslavia—kept a rifle on his desk. In 1996, according to reporter Chris Hedges, “The books of Milovan Djilas, searing critiques of Communism that made the writer one of the best-known dissident intellectuals of the century, are nearly impossible to find in the city where he lived and wrote.” In addition to being ignored in anthologies and biographies of Serbian writers, he is referred to as the one who oversaw the murder of Serbian Chetnik irregulars. “Morally, of course, he won,” Miladin Zivotic who founded a dissident group, the Belgrade Circle with Djilas. “He is the greatest figure in our political history, but in the current climate he has no influence. Many of his books are not even translated.” At his death, he was buried in his native Montenegro. The death of communism was now an old story, and Djilas was remembered as one who openly insisted that a person cannot be both a Communist and a free man. Djilas was a Humanist Laureate in the Council for Secular Humanism’s International Academy of Humanism and a signer in 1980 of the Secular Humanist Declaration. {CE; The New York Review of Books, 4 March 1999; The New York Times, 19 January 1997}

DNA D[eoxyribo]N[ucleic]A[cid] is a nucleic acid that carries the genetic information in the cell. It is capable of self-replication and synthesis of RNA. Testing a person’s DNA can lead to proving guilt of a murder as well as innocence of that murder, in the event someone else’s DNA is found on the murdered person. According to the Associated Press (27 May 1998), the blood on a “weeping blood” Virgin Mary plaque attracting thousands of pilgrims since 1996 turned out to have DNA matching the blood of its owner, Margarita Holguin Cazares of Dodge City, Kansas. Immediately, some claimed the identical DNA could be part of the miracle. (See entry for RNA) {Freethought Today, March 1999}

“DO SCIENTISTS BELIEVE IN GOD?” In May 1998 at the annual Hay Literary Festival in Hay-on-Wye in Wales, two of the world’s leading scientists were present. Richard Dawkins was asked, “Are you still as godless as you were?” and “Is the human race still evolving?” Observed biographer Brenda Maddox, “Dawkins’s eyes rolled to the heaven he doesn’t believe in, as for the zillionth time he heard the familiar questions. The answer to both was “Yes.” Maddox continued: “Stephen Hawking, the author of A Brief History of Time, got the same treatment. Did he recognize the importance of the spiritual side of people? The audience clearly expected that a man in Hawking’s predicament might need the consolations of religion. He doesn’t. Slumped like a folded bat in his motorized wheelchair, he croaked out his reply on his voice synthesizer: ‘When the physical universe is fully explained by a Theory of Everything, we will not need “nonphysical entities.” I hate mysticism. I like things crystal clear.’ ” {The New York Times Book Review, 5 July 1998}

Doan, Frank Carlton (20th Century)

Doan was a Unitarian minister who wrote Religion and the Modern Mind (1909), in which work he defended “humanism” and “modernism.” {HNS2}

Doane, T. W. (19th Century) Doane wrote Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions (1882), a comparison of the Old and New Testament myths and miracles with those of heathen nations of antiquity.

Dobell, Bertram (1842—1914) A poet and publisher, Dobell wrote a life of James Thomson and published much of his prose and verse. Dobell’s rationalism finds expression in Rosemary and Pansies (1904) and A Century of Sonnets (1910). {RAT}

Döbereiner, Johann Wolfgang (1780—1849) A German chemist, Döbereiner taught at Jena. His works record a number of original discoveries, and he greatly advanced the science of his day. Goethe mentions him in his letters, and Döbereiner shared his philosophy. {BDF; RAT}

Dobrin, Arthur (1943— ) Dobrin, a history major from City College, came into Ethical leadership training after having served in the Peace Corps in Kenya (1965—1967). He is Leader of the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island. The author of Spelling God With Two O’s (1993) and Ethical People and How They Get to Be That Way, Dobrin was a participant in the 1996 Humanist World Congress held in Mexico City as well as in the 1999 convention of Humanists of Florida. (See entry for Ethical Culture.) {EU, Howard B. Radest}

Dobrolyubov, Nikolai Aleksandrovich (1836—1861) A Russian author whose father was a priest, Dobrolyubov became a radical journalist. The freethinker’s works were edited in four volumes by Chernuishevsky. New Code of Practical Wisdom expresses his rationalism. {RAT}

Dobson, Charles Emil (Died 1999) Dobson was an active member of the Montreal Humanist Fellowship from the 1960s onward. When he retired to Sidney, British Columbia, he became a member of the Victoria Humanists. Dobson was a defender of world peace through law. His wife Yvonne Dobson is an active member of the Victoria Humanists.

Docterman, Chad (20th Century) Docterman, a student at Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia, was one of the founders of Campus Freethought Alliance. At Marshall, he is president of Rationalists United for Secular Humanism, which he founded. {International Humanist News, December 1996}

DOCUMENTA Q In 1996 the Beglian firm Peeters published Documenta Q, supposedly a first-century work composed mostly of the alleged sayings of Jesus. (See entry for Q.)

Dodd, Carl W. (20th Century) Dodd, a freethinker, wrote Dodd’s Revelations (1968). {GS}

Dodd, Stuart C. (1900—1975) A pollster who outguessed other forecasters on President Truman’s election, Dodd wrote Techniques for World Polls and taught at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is a secular humanist. He is author of Social Relations in the Near East (1975).

Dodel-Port, Arnold (1843—1908) A Swiss scientist, Dodel-Port published The New History of Creation in 1875, then issued his world-famous Botanical Atlas in 1878. He also wrote Biological Fragments (1885) and The Life and Letters of Konrad Deubler (1885), a work concerning “the peasant philosopher.” Prof. Dodel-Port was an honorary member of the London Royal Society and vice-president of the German Freethinkers’ Union. {BDF; RAT}

Dodwell, Henry (c. 1700—1784) Dodwell, the eldest son of the theologian of that name, published a pamphlet entitled “Christianity Not Founded On Argument,” which in a tone of grave irony contends that Christianity can only be accepted by faith. Dodwell was a deist. {BDF; RAT}

Dodworth, James (Died 1876) Dodworth, a Sheffield, England, palette knife manufacturer, was a leading secularist. He was chairman of the National Reformer Company (1860—1862). {VI}

Doerr, Edd (20th Century) Doerr, a signer of Humanist Manifesto II, was elected in 1995 as President of the American Humanist Association (AHA). For The Humanist, he writes on matters concerning church and state and is on the editorial board. Doerr was executive director of Americans for Religious Liberty, has been an editor of The American Rationalist, and is on the editorial board not only of The Humanist but also of The Truth Seeker, a magazine for freethinkers. From 1970—1982 he served as editor of Church and State. One of his ten books is Religious Liberty in Crisis (1988). Doerr addressed the Tenth International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) World Congress held in Buffalo (1988). Since 1981, he has been editor of Voice of Reason. In Catholic Schools: The Facts (1993). In The Case Against School Vouchers (1996), he wrote against educational voucher plans, saying Catholic schools are sectarian institutions with discriminatory hiring and admissions policies. Speaking in a fluent Spanish, Doerr participated in the 1996 Humanist World Congress in Mexico City. E-mail: <arlinc@erols.com>. {EU, Eldon Scholl; HM2; HNS2}

Dogberry, Obediah (19th Century) Dogberry likely is someone’s pseudonym, but from 1832 to 1834 he edited a publication from Rochester, New York, called Liberal Advocate. {FUS}

DOGMATISM • The death of dogma is the birth of morality. —Immanuel Kant

Dogmatism is a positiveness in one’s assertion of opinion, particularly when that viewpoint or system of ideas is based upon insufficiently examined premises. A religious tenet which is accepted as dogma results in an individual’s arrogantly expressing the view as if it is fact, for by definition dogma is a set of teachings laid down by the group and becomes a part of the essential beliefs of the group. In Fact and Fiction (1969), Bertrand Russell comments that

It is the nature of the human animal to believe not only things for which there is evidence, but also very many things for which there is no evidence whatever. And it is the things for which there is no evidence that are believed with passion. Nobody feels any passion about the multiplication table or about the existence of Cape Horn, because these matters are not doubtful. But in matters of theology or political theory, where a rational man will hold that at best there is a slight balance of probability on one side or the other, people argue with passion and support their opinions by physical slavery imposed by armies and mental slavery imposed by schools. So accustomed do people become to feeling certain where they ought to feel doubtful that they become incapable of acting on a probability.

Russell laments that those who have always lived in a dogmatic atmosphere will stay still in hopeless bewilderment, convinced that it is those who disagree who are wrong. {DCL}

Doherty, Earl (20th Century) Doherty, a member of the Humanist Association of Ottawa, has written “The Jesus Puzzle.” He has been an editor of Humanist in Canada. {Humanist in Canada, Summer 1996 and Spring 1997}

Dokulis, Milos (20th Century) Dokulis is a Czech humanist who writes concerning perspectives for a humanist strategy in his nation’s post-communist state, according to International Humanist News (December 1993).

Dolan, Chester (20th Century) Dolan is past president of the New York Society for General Semantics. Also, he is a former senior technical writer for Union Carbide Corp. and former instructor of English for the extension division of City College of New York. He is author of Holy Daze (1992). In Blind Faith: Confronting Contemporary Religion (1995), he recounts the hate and insecurity that religion poses to the human community. The world, he urges, would be a far better place if we could exorcise our presumptuous gods, reject the religion of the mystics, live a life free of superstition, and realize that our destiny rests with us. “For Dolan,” wrote Tony Akkermans in The Freethinker, “the religion of non-religionists is a call for nonconformity, for reason and for true love of one’s fellow man. Any sermon or religious precept that has nothing to offer in the way of social welfare or peace for mankind deals with mysticism, not religion. The only religion that will serve mankind operates in nursing homes, prisons, mental institutions, and in the streets of ghettos, not in magnificent cathedrals. It demands study and reflection, not worship. It is a total and unrestricted development of ethics, not pageantry.” {The Freethinker, January 1996}

Dolci, Danilo (1924— ) Dolci is a secular freethinker whose work on behalf of cremation has helped break down superstition on that subject, particularly in arguing against the idea that one’s body and soul go on into a hereafter. {TRI}

Micky Dolenz, Producer music

In the September 6, 2000 edition of The Onion A.V. Club titled "Is There A God?", celebrities were asked the question. Dolenz was among those asked.

Micky Dolenz is a producer and founding member of The Monkees.

The Onion: Is there a God?

Micky Dolenz: No. God is a verb, not a noun.

See the feature at http://avclub.theonion.com/avclub3631/avfeature_3631.html.

Dolet, Étienne (1509—1546) Dolet’s name is inseparably connected with the Revival of Learning. His first taste of persecution was in 1533, when he was thrown into prison for denouncing in a Latin oration the burning alive of Jean de Cartuce at Toulouse. During the remaining thirteen years of his life he was five times imprisoned, and nearly half his days were spent in confinement. Dolet was acquainted with Rabelais, Des Periers, and other advanced men of his time. In 1538 he wrote Commentarii linguae Latinae, which had greatly influenced the French Renaissance. But when he published Protestant books of devotion and French translations of the Bible, he was indicted in 1542 as a heretic. He had been in prison a number of times and had numerous enemies, had even killed a man, had been pardoned, and had been forced to flee several cities. In 1546, however, Catholic France found Dolet guilty of heresy and atheism. Sentence of death for blasphemy was pronounced on Dolet in the Chambre Ardents at Paris on August 2, 1546. He was condemned to be hanged, and then burned with his books on the Place Maubert. His widow and children were beggared by the confiscation of his goods to the king. It was also ordered that he should be put to the torture before his execution, and questioned about his companions; and “if the said Dolet shall cause any scandal or utter any blasphemy, his tongue shall be cut out, and he shall be burnt alive.” The next day he met his doom. He was hanged first, and then (for they were not very particular), probably while he still breathed, the faggots were lighted, and Dolet and his books were consumed in the flames. It is said that instead of a prayer he uttered a pun in Latin: Non dolet ipse Dolet, sed pia turba doiet (“Dolet himself does not grieve, but the pious crowd grieves)” Yet the confessor who attended him at the stake invented the falsehood that the martyr had acknowledged his errors. “I do not believe a word of it,” wrote Erasmus. “It is the usual story which these people invent after the death of their victims.” Dolet’s real sentiments are expressed in the cantique, full of resignation and courage, which he composed in prison when death was imminent. A rough translation by R. C. Christie is, “A good heart, sustained with patience, never bends under evil, bewails or moans, but is always victor. Courage, my soul, and show such a heart; let your confidence be seen in trial; every noble heart, every constant warrior, maintains his fortitude even unto death.” Robertson, describing the scene, wrote, “The utter wickedness of the whole process at least serves to relieve by neighbourhood the darkness of the stains cast on Protestantism by the crimes of Calvin.” But his death was “but a drop in the sea of blood then being shed in France by the Church,” for mobs accompanied by the papal vice-legate of Avignon headed in 1545 for the land of Vaudois, “where three towns were destroyed, 3,000 persons massacred, 256 executed, six or seven hundred more sent to the galleys, and many children sold as slaves.” Robertson added, “Thus was the faith vindicated and safeguarded.” McCabe calls Dolet more a Protestant than an atheist. {BDF; CE; FO; JM; JMR; JMRH}

Dollison, John (20 Century) Dollison in 1994 wrote Pope-Pourri, Little Known Facts You May Not Remember from Sunday School, Including Why the Pope Wears a Pointy Hat, the Strange Fate of the Spring Nun, What the Baltimore Catechism Says, and Why St. Lucy Carries Her Eyeballs On a Platter. Bill Cooke, in a New Zealand Rationalist and Humanist (Winter 1998) review, noted, “Here are the stories of the naughty popes, the lunatic saints, the extravagant mortifications undergone to avoid thoughts about sex, the pagan origins of many Catholic doctrines and words, and the real story behind County Dracula.” He found Dollison’s work “an intelligent, rational dig at the Catholic Church, which also manages to be entertaining and amusing.”

Doloff, Steven (20 Century) Doloff, a professor of English and Humanities at Pratt Institute in New York City, wrote an article for African Americans for Humanism’s Examiner, “How Many Prejudices Does It Take to Screw in a Lightbulb?”

Dominicis, Saverio Fausto de (Born 1846) Dominicis was an Italian positivist philosopher who taught at Bari. He wrote Education and Darwinism. {BDF}

Dominiczak, Andrzej (20th Century) Dominiczak, of the Federation of Polish Humanist Associations, spoke at a Berlin conference in 1995 which was organized by the Secretariat for Central and Eastern Europe of the IHEU and handled by the Humanistischer Verband Deutschland. He described the two campaigns which Polish humanists are undertaking: first, their support of democracy; and second, their insistence upon the need for ethical teaching. He also was a participant in the 1996 Polish Humanist Conference on European Integration held in Utrecht. {International Humanist News, December 1995; “Open Letter to the Polish Intelligentsia,” International Humanist News, November 1996}

Dommanget, Jean (20th Century) In 1995 Dommanget, of the Belgian Royal Observatory, was elected a Humanist Laureate in the Council for Secular Humanism’s International Academy of Humanism. Dommanget signed Humanist Manifesto 2000.

Domville, William Henry (19th Century) Domville, a freethinker, wrote The Rights and Duties of Parents in Regards to Their Children’s Religious Education and Beliefs (1876). {GS}

DONATION OF CONSTANTINE: See entry for Hoaxes, Religious.

Don, Warwick (20 Century) A retired senior lecture in zoology at the University of Otago, Don is a skeptic, humanist, and critic of creationism. He is an honorary associate of the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists.

Donisthorpe, Wordsworth (19th Century) Donisthorpe in 1893 formed the Legitimation League, which was closely associated with the Adult. When the League in 1897 openly advocated free love, it lost its support from the secularists of the period. The Freethinker parted company, and Arthur and Hypatia Bonner refused to include the Legitimation League in their Directory of Reform Societies. (See entry for Oswald Dawson) {RSR}

Donius, Augustinus (16th Century) Donius was a materialist who wrote De Natura Dominis (1581), a two-volume work referred to by Francis Bacon. In his book, Donius makes reference to the power of the spirit as being related to motion. {BDF}

Donkin, Horatio Bryan [Sir] (Born 1845)

Donkin, a physician, was a member of the Rationalist Press Association and a keen opponent of all obscurantism. He was a Commissioner of Prisons, sat on the Royal Commission for the Control of the Feeble-Minded, and in 1910 delivered the Harveian Oration on “The Inheritance of Mental Characters.” {RAT}

Donne, John (1572—1631) Donne, who was related on his mother’s side to Sir Thomas More, was born into a devout Catholic family, his uncle being the leader of the Jesuit mission in England. After his father died when Donne was four, his mother married a Catholic physician, Dr. John Syminges, and Donne was educated at home by Catholic tutors. In 1615 James I urged him to enter the church, which he did, and James made him a chaplain-in-ordinary and forced Cambridge to grant him a doctorate of divinity. In the church Donne became a pluralist. His Pseudo-Martyr was an attack on Catholics who had died for their faith, and he encouraged surviving Catholics to take the oath of allegiance to James. In 1611 his Ignatius His Conclave was a scurrilous attack on the Jesuits. His wife died in 1617 at the age of thirty-three, after giving birth to their twelfth child. Richard Rambuss of Tulane University has studied the following sonnet

Batter My Heart Batter my heart, three-personed God; for, you As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend; That I may rise, and stand o’erthrow me, and bend Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new. I, like an usurped town, to another due, Labour to admit you, but oh, to no end, Reason your viceroy in me, me should defend, But is captived, and proves weak or untrue, Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain, But am betrothed unto your enemy, Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again, Take me to you, imprison me, for I Except you enthral me, never shall be free, Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

and concludes,

Expressing sheer impatience with divine measures to date, Donne metaphorically aligns the extremity of his longing for redemption and spiritual satisfaction with the desire to be taken and ravished by God in what amounts to a kind of trinitarian gang-bang. It isn’t enough for him to be ravished, raped by Jesus alone, that is; Donne aggressively demands that the whole Godhead be enlisted in the task: “Batter my heart, three-personed God.”

Rambuss is impressed that, despite the frequency of sex with his wife, Donne desires yet more. {Richard Rambuss, “Pleasure and Devotion,” in Queering the Renaissance (1994)}

Donohoe, Amanda (20 Century) An actor, Donohoe has been cast as a bisexual lawyer on the television drama “L.A. Law,” and in a horror film, “Lair of the White Worm,” she played a reincarnated pagan priestess who belonged to a snake-worshipping cult that was stamped out by the early Christians. In one scene her character was required to spit venom on a crucifix. Asked by Interview about the scene, Donohoe responded, “I’m an atheist, so it was actually a joy. Spitting on Christ was a great deal of fun. I can’t embrace a male god who has persecuted female sexuality throughout the ages. And that persecution still goes on today all over the world. {CA}

Donohoe, Amanda (29 June 1962 - ) An actor, Donohoe has been cast as a bisexual lawyer on the television drama L.A. Law. In a horror film, Lair of the White Worm, she played a reincarnated pagan priestess who belonged to a snake-worshipping cult that was stamped out by the early Christians. In one scene her character was required to spit venom on a crucifix. Asked by Interview about the scene, Donohoe responded, “I’m an atheist, so it was actually a joy. Spitting on Christ was a great deal of fun. I can’t embrace a male god who has persecuted female sexuality throughout the ages. And that persecution still goes on today all over the world." {CA}



Doolittle, Hilda (H. D.) (1886-1961) Doolittle spent her childhood in a Moravian community. Her mother was a leader of the semi-mystical Moravian church and traced her German-Polish family back to the Unitas Fratrum, a Bohemian brotherhood that left Germany in the 1840s and founded Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where Doolittle was born. Her father, Charles Leander Doolittle, was a professor of astronomy at Lehigh University. When her father obtained a position at the University of Pennsylvania, the Doolittles attended the Quaker meeting house in Philadelphia. While a student at Bryn Mawr, Doolittle became engaged to the upstart poet Ezra Pound (he suggested that if she found her name “quaint” she should change it to H. D.), whom she had first met in 1901, but she withdrew because of her parents’ disapproval. According to Jennifer S. Wilson in The Gay and Lesbian Literary Heritage (1995), Doolittle’s first lesbian lover was Frances Josepha Gregg. After their meeting in 1910 what ensued “was a painful romantic triangle between Hilda, Frances, and Ezra, the emotional intensity of which H. D. never fully left behind. In its aftermath, H. D. sailed for Europe with Gregg and Gregg’s mother where she soon began in earnest her literary career.” Pound introduced her to the literary avant-garde as “H. D., Imagiste,” for her style was sparse, concrete, precise, and direct in its imagery. She met (and Wilson speculates possibly had an affair with) Brigit Patmore, who in 1912 introduced her to her future husband, Richard Aldington. Their relationship ended after six years and included adultery as well as the stillbirth of their child in 1915. In 1919 she gave birth (the father was a musicologist, Cecil Gray) to a daughter, Frances Perdita. H. D. also befriended Annie Winifred Ellerman (who called herself Bryher), and the two commenced a lifelong love and partnership, Bryher marrying twice for appearances and H. D. having intermittent affairs. Although her poetry explored an often-tormented heterosexual life, she chose not to be “out” to the public because that would have been uncomfortable and risky. As a result, H. D. and Bryher introduced themselves as “cousins.” When Aldington enlisted into the army, H.D. took over his position as literary editor of the Egoist, remaining until 1917, being replaced by T. S. Eliot. Her work, from Sea Garden (1916) to Hymen (1921) to Helen in Egypt (1961), showed not only a deep involvement with classical mythology and Hellenism but also a spare use of natural imagery, an experiment with vers libre, and mysticism. Bid Me to Live (1960) was a roman-à-clef, a stream-of-consciousness novel about her Bloomsbury years. In the late 1920s, when Bryher married one of H. D.’s lovers, Kenneth Macpherson, giving him financial backing, H. D. became connected with German film directors G. W. Pabst and Fritz Lang. In Macpherson’s “Borderline,” she acted opposite actor-singer Paul Robeson “and momentarily fell in love with him,” Alika Barnstone found. Barnstone, in an introduction to Trilogy (1998), three works of H. D.’s poetry from the 1940s, notes that in her work about Freud H. D. had asked, “Do I wish myself, in the deepest unconscious or subconscious layers of my being, to be the founder of a new religion?” H. D., she notes, may not establish a new religion but “she certainly ‘makes it new’ while creating an eclectic scripture that derives from Egyptian, Greek, and biblical traditions.” She synthesizes the Judeo-Christian tradition (including Gnosticism) with the Egyptian and Greek pagan traditions and “brings together the old and the new, the scientific and pragmatic, and the esoteric and mystical.” H. D. lived with Bryher in London during the war. When Pound supported fascism and favored Mussolini, she cut all relations, declining his request after some correspondence to see her in Kusnacht. Tribute to Freud (1965) described her analysis by seventy-seven-year-old Freud in 1933. She owed much to Freud, whose reading of the unconscious she felt “would save mankind.” He was like another Jesus to her, Jesus being only one of many prophets and visionaries. However, “there was an argument implicit in our very bones,” and “I was a student, working under the direction of the greatest mind of this and perhaps many succeeding generations. But the Professor was not always right.” Bryher helped her rescue and finance Jewish emigration to Switzerland, and when the Nazis invaded Austria, they helped members of the Vienna Psychoanalytical Society emigrate to London. Freud lived in a small apartment on Sloane Street where H. D. visited him. Upon his death in Hamstead in 1939, she was outspokenly touched by the loss. In 1946 she moved to Lausanne, recovering from depression and electric shock treatment. In 1953 she suffered an abdominal occlusion, was honored by Yale when she returned in 1956, and in 1960 received the Gold Medal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, their highest honor. On this occasion the present writer spoke to her about the state of poetry, and she was very appreciative of the many volumes of “exciting” work by new poets which New Directions Books was sending her. Asked if she knew anything about “religious humanism” or the kind of humanism found in the work of William Carlos Williams, a Unitarian, H. D. said,

No, not really. Jesus was just a man, of course. The ancient Greeks have always been an inspiration, but I have not delved into philosophy that much. It’s bad enough fighting off the label of “imagist.”

H. D. had a stroke in 1961 and is buried on Nisky Hill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. (See entries for John Hus and Moravian Church.) {GL; OEL; conversation with WAS mid-May 1960}

DOOMSDAY: See entry for Norman Cohn.

Doray de Longrais, Jean Paul (1736—1800) 

A French man of letters, Doray de Longrais wrote a freethought romance, Faustin, or the Philosophical Age. {BDF}

Dority, Barbara (20th Century) Dority, Joseph McCabe, and George Smith have been called three of the better known writers of freethought works. For The Humanist, she writes a regular column, “Civil Liberties Watch.” Dority is president of Humanists of Washington, executive director of the Washington Coalition Against Censorship, and co-chairperson of the Northwest Feminist Anti-Censorship Task Force. {HNS2}

[[Dormand, John [Baron Dormand of Easington]]] (1919—2003) In 1989, Dormand was elected an honorary associate of the Rationalist Press Association. Lord Dormand, who studied government at Harvard, entered the House of Commons in 1970 and the House of Lords in 1987, after having been chairman of the Labour Party. Because of his complete inability to accept the non-rational basis of religion, he has stated, he became an atheist. He disliked the mumbo-jumbo of religious services and the dressing-up of priests and bishops. In his view, there is need for a much wider expression of the rationalist and humanist viewpoints, particularly in broadcasting.

Dorsey, J. M. (19th Century) Dorsey wrote The True History of Moses (1855), an attack on the Bible. {BDF}

Doryphorus Doryphorus of Polyclitus was said to have had one of the most beautiful human bodies ever conceived, the kind which contemporary iron pumpers dream about. He is said to have been chosen by Nero to be his husband. (See entry for Alexander Pope.)

Dos Passos, John Roderigo (1896—1970) Dos Passos was an American novelist whose first success, Three Soldiers (1921), was followed by another, Manhattan Transfer (1925). In a trilogy, U.S.A. (1937), he developed a kaleidoscopic technique to portray life, one which combined narration, stream of consciousness, biographies, and quotations from newspapers and magazines. His early left-wing views gave way to a conservatism evident in his less power later novels, such as his second trilogy, District of Columbia (1952). In 1949 on the subject of humanism, Dos Passos wrote the present author,

Lord, I’m afraid I don’t know how to answer. I’ve spent my life trying to escape these classifications and am entirely ignorant of the philosophical vocabulary. What kind of humanists were Erasmus and Rabelais and Montaigne and Sir Thomas More? They lived in a period of violent ideological warfare that bears some relation to our own unhappy age. I don’t pretend to have attained that lofty eminence, but some such attitude as theirs is the attitude I think a man of letters should strive for.

In 1951, he added,

I don’t see that classical humanism was incompatible with science. The scientific approach grew out of it. Frankly, it’s rank nonsense to attribute anti-scientific views to Erasmus, etc., which may be alleged by some—there’s evidently more confusion in the use of this term. When I speak of humanism I use the word in the standard historical sense as applying to the general Renaissance, scholarly outlook. I can’t see that that was anti-scientific. The general “platonic” attitude could, I imagine, be spoken of as anti-scientific, in distinction with the Aristotelian, but the Aristotelian was also a priori.

In 1956, he elaborated on his earlier views:

A definition of humanism is certainly in order, but I find it hard to find any single phrase sharp enough to give outline to a bedraggled word. Having spent my whole life trying to avoid classifications of this sort, I’m certainly not going to submit to one of the seven categories at this late date. I can find no valid objection to be included [as being in agreement with] the categories of ancient humanism and classical humanism. The names of the classical philosophers set all my sympathetic strings to humming. They taught us how to examine our world. Theistic humanism doesn’t seem quite as limiting as atheistic humanism. Communistic humanism would seem to me to mean exactly the opposite of any of the various conceivable brands. Naturalistic humanism would seem to have as many varied meanings as a political platform; who will remember them after election? This leaves us exactly where we started. Humanism, though the word is as banal as a coin worn smooth of date and inscription, still connotes something. To me it connotes a frame of mind I would call vaguely good. It suggests freedom rather than slavery, fertility rather than sterility. the development of varied individualities in men rather than regimentation, the stimulation of charity and fellow feeling rather than of envy, hatred, and malice. Let’s have more of it.

Dos Passos wanted and received a Protestant burial service, complete with church language, which was held in Baltimore at Trinity Church. {WAS, 1 April 1949, 15 February 1951, 27 October 1956}

Dos Santos, Emanuel (19th Century) In Trinidad, Dos Santos in the 1890s edited a freethought publication, Progress. {FUK}

Dosamantes, Jesus Ceballos (19th Century) Dosamantes was a Mexican philosopher, author of works on Absolute Perfection (1888) and Modern Pharisees and Sadducees (1889), the latter about mystics and materialists. {BDF}

Dostoyevsky, Fëodor (Mikhailovich ) (1821—1881) Dostoyevsky wrote about atheism but was a believer, stating that atheism sprang from our hatred of the world as it is. “To recognize that there’s no God without recognizing at the same time that you yourself have become God makes no sense,” he wrote. In 1849, he was arrested for membership in a secret political group, was exiled to Siberia where he was allowed to read only the Bible, and served for four years at hard labor. As a prisoner, he was forced to take part in a ceremony just prior to being executed, and at the last minute a pre-arranged reprieve was tendered, while he was standing in front of a scaffold. The incident so traumatized him that he is said to have been transformed from a youthful liberal into a fervently religious and orthodox believer. Notes from the Underground (1864) was an existentialistic work which was followed by many literary successes, a major one of which was Prestuplenie i Nakazanie (Crime and Punishment) (1866). That consummate portrait of sin, remorse, and redemption was followed by The Idiot (1868), about a failed Christ figure. In 1872, he wrote The Devils, a portrayal of modern Nihilism in which he defines its ultimate consequences: “Starting from unlimited freedom, I arrive at unlimited despotism,” leading Soviet critics to attack it decades later and resulting in its being made unavailable to Soviet readers. Another of his major works, and likely his most important, was The Brothers Karamazov (1880), in which he plumbs the depths and complexities of the human “soul.” As for Smerdyakov’s dictum in The Brothers Karamazov, “If God doesn’t exist, all things are permissible,” Adolf Grünbaum and others have denied that theism is logically necessary as one of the premises of a systematic moral code. “Indeed,” writes Grünbaum, “Smerdyakov’s epigram boomerangs: Since atheism and theism are alike ethically barren, neither doctrine itself imposes any concrete moral prohibitions on human conduct.” Biographers Aimée Dostoyevsky and David Magarshack report that for spiritual guidance Dostoyevsky would open the Bible to the New Testament and, by random choice, would read whatever lines he came upon. When on January 25, 1881, he had a sudden hemorrhage and the physician was rushed to his bedside, Dostoyevsky asked his wife to open the Bible and read whatever she first saw. “And Jesus answering said unto himHold me not back for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” Apparently, Dostoyevsky felt this was a spiritual sign, and he said, “Did you hear? Hold me not back. My hour has come. I must die.” Whereupon he bade farewell to his children and to his wife, slowly lost consciousness, and died that evening. From any vantage point, Dostoyevsky stands out as one of the towering figures of world literature. (See entry for V. Belinski.) {CE; CL; ER; EU, Hugh McLean; Free Inquiry, Fall 1992; PA; TDY}

DOSTOYEVSKY’S EPILEPSY Physicians today talk about a left-temporal-lobe seizure called “Dostoyevsky’s epilepsy,” a rare condition. Freud thought Dostoyevsky was a hysterical epileptic, a condition which he believed was psychogenic in origin. Thom Jones noted that such an epileptic, in the split second before a fit, experiences an “ecstatic well-being unlike anything an ordinary mortal could hope to imagine. . . . Dostoyevsky was nervous and depressed, a tormented hypochondriac, a compulsive writer obsessed with religious and philosophic themes. He was hyperloquacious, raving, etc. & etc. His gambling addiction is well known. By most accounts he was a sick soul.” Jones, who writes that he personally has had such a seizure, added, “It is thought that St. Paul had a temporal-lobe fit on the road to Damascus. Paul warns us in First Corinthians that God will confound the intellectuals. It is known that Muhammad composed the Qur’an after attacks of epilepsy. Black Elk [A Sioux holy man and Christian] experienced fits before his grand ‘buffalo’ vision. Joan of Arc is thought to have been a left-temporal-lobe epileptic. Each of these in a terrible flash of brain lightning was able to pierce the murky veil of illusion which is spread over all things. Just so did the scales fall from my eyes. It is called the ‘sacred disease.’ ” Jones added, “Even Dostoyevsky, the fervent Christian, makes an almost airtight case against the possibility of the existence of God in the Grand Inquisitor digression in The Brothers Karamazov. It is probably the greatest passage in all of world literature, and it tilts you to the court of the atheist. This is what happens when you approach Him with the intellect.” {The New Yorker, December 2, 1991; Eve LaPlante, Seized (1993)}

Douai, Adolf (19th Century) A freethinker, Douai wrote Autobiography, which was translated by Richard H. Douai Boerker. {Freethought History #15, 1995}

DOUBT Doubt involves withholding assent from a proposition as well as from its contradictory. It is common to doubt without having any reasonable reason, but to doubt because of rational reasons or facts is more in the spirit of free inquiry. Whereas the former may doubt that a mystical force does not run the universe, the latter may doubt that such a force can ever be verified.

DOUBTERS • The believer is happy; the doubter is wise. —Hungarian Proverb

• Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt. —H. L. Mencken

• To believe is very dull. To doubt is intensely engrossing. To be on the alert is to live. To be lulled into security is to die. —Oscar Wilde

• To knock a thing down, especially if it is cocked at an arrogant angle, is a deep delight of the blood. —George Santayana

Doughty, LeGarde S. (20th Century) Doughty, a writer of science fiction, is a naturalistic humanist who wrote The Music Is Gone. {HNS}

Douglas, George (c. 1830—1910?) In 1886, Douglas was the original president of the Australasian Freethought Union. {SWW}

Douglas, John Sholto [Sir] (1844—1900) Douglas, the eighth Marquis of Queensberry, sat as elected representative peer for Scotland from 1872 to 1880, having succeeded to the marquisate in 1858. He was a strong supporter of Bradlaugh and of secularism, and in 1880 the Scottish peers refused on account of his opinions to re-elect him as one of their representatives in the House of Lords. In 1882 he protested publicly in the theatre against what he regarded as a caricature of a freethinker in Tennyson’s Promise of May. His own book, The Spirit of the Matterhorn (1881), was written in blank verse. “I particularly request,” he ordered, “that no Christian mummeries or tomfooleries be performed at my grave, but that I be buried as an agnostic.” {RAT; RE; TYD}

Douglas, Marjory Stoneman (1890-1998) Douglas wrote The Everglades: River of Grass (1947), which helped change the way Americans look at wetlands and which led to the restoration of South Florida’s fragile wetlands. Without her advocacy and efforts, the wetlands would have been drained. She grew up in a religious household yet proclaimed herself an agnostic. For a short time, she was married to a ne’er-do-well who went to prison for passing bad checks. He introduced her to sex, and, she told Stephen W. Byers of Outdoor Life, she “enjoyed it while it lasted,” then denied herself the pleasure for the rest of her life. During World War I she served in Europe with the American Red Cross. In 1916 she joined Mrs. William Jennings Bryan to argue for the women’s suffrage amendment before Florida state legislators but found that “talking to them was like talking to graven images. They never paid attention to us at all.” Before her death she stipulated that there be no religious ceremony and said she did not believe in an immortal soul. {The New York Times Magazine, 3 January 1999}

Douglas, Norman (1868—1952) “Pagan to the core” and “an unashamed connoisseur of pleasure” were epithets associated with Douglas, an Austrian-born son of a Scottish father and a Scottish-German mother. A member of the British Foreign Office (1893—1901), he purchased property on Capri, where he wrote eight books on subjects ranging from child labor abolition to travel to the fictional island of Nepenthe. In South Wind (1917), he describes Thomas Heard, Bishop of Bambopo, and his reaction to the islanders’ unorthodox views on moral and sexual questions. In what David Leon Higdon has described as “a series of Rabelaisian conversation pieces,” Douglas made “murder palatable to a bishop.” D. H. Lawrence depicted Douglas as James Argyle in Aaron’s Rod (1922). Although married to his cousin and the father of two sons, Douglas and his companion Guiseppe Orioli lived variously in Paris, St. Malo, Menton, Florence, Lisbon, London, and Capri. {GL}

Douglas, Stephen Arnold [Judge] (1813—1861) Douglas was a statesman, a lawyer, the Secretary of State for Illinois, and Judge of the United States Supreme Court. He also was an unsuccessful candidate for the presidency, known particularly for being the “Little Giant” who was pitted against Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln-Douglas debates, during which Lincoln first gained a national reputation. According to his obituary, Douglas “never identified himself with any Church.” McCabe states that Douglas was a theist and an advocate of religious liberty. {JM; RAT}

Douglass, Frederick (1817—1895) An American abolitionist and freethinker, Douglass escaped from slavery in 1838. In 1847 when English friends purchased his freedom he established North Star, a Rochester, NY, publication which advocated abolitionism through political activism. According to Howard-Pitney, author of The Afro-American Jeremiah: Appeals for Justice in America, Douglas “moved from a God-centered, humanly passive religion toward a human-centered creed stressing the efficacy of human will, good works, faith in human progress, and the perfectibility of humankind. By the 1850s, Douglass was a thorough-going religious liberal, or humanist. His liberal Protestantism coexisted comfortably with Enlightenment ideals of natural law and reason. Douglass’s humanistic worldview was anchored in both Christian theology and natural rights philosophy, and his experience with religion helped form and support his humanistic faith.” Robertson describes Douglass’s views as being as heterodox as Lincoln’s, adding that he knows this from personal information. “I can see no reason,” he wrote in 1845, “but the most deceitful one, for calling the religion of this land Christianity. I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels.” In a Fourth of July lecture, he said, “I would say, welcome infidelity! welcome atheism! welcome anything . . . in preference to the gospel as preached [by those who] connect the very name of religion into an engine of tyranny and barbarous cruelty.” [AAH, David Howard-Pitney; CE; JMR; TYD}

Douthit, Jasper Lewis (1834—1927)  

Douthit was a frontier circuit-riding preacher and church builder, a pattern of career and life usually found among the evangelical Protestant denominations. He was early attracted to Unitarianism by its creedal freedom and the antislavery reputation of James Freeman Clarke as well as of Theodore Parker. He preached a Christ-centered brand of Unitarianism and his differences with other Unitarians became so pronounced he founded a periodical, Our Best Words to compete with Jenkin Lloyd Jones’s Unity. Today, he might better be known as a Protestant and a Congregationalist. The churches he commenced in Illinois were in the Shelbyville area. {U&U}

Dove, C. Clayton (20th Century) Dove, a freethinker, wrote The Miracles of St. Martin (1924). {GS}

Dover, Cedric (20th Century) A freethinker, Dover wrote The Kingdom of Earth (1931). {GS}

Dowden, Edward (1843—1913) Dowden was an Irishman who rose to the first rank in the academic literary world in England. His Life of Shelley (1886, 2 volumes) contains candid appreciations of great skeptics, and Dowden was an agnostic. In his Studies in Literature (1878), Dowden rejects Christian doctrines, is skeptical about a future life, and recognizes a God only as “an inscrutable power.” {JM; RAT}

Dowling, Alan: See the entry for Theism.

Dowman, Constance (20th Century) Dowman was a devoted secretary and a director of the Rationalist Press Association. She worked full-time for forty-two years.

Downie, Colin (20th Century) Downie is President of the Humanist Association of Canada.

Downey, Margaret (1950— ) Downey is president of the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia, which in 1994 successfully secured an official resolution in that city to designate June 8th as Thomas Paine Day. In 1996, the third such day was observed. Also in 1994, she appeared in a commemoration of Robert G. Ingersoll’s work on behalf of women’s equality, “Elizabeth Cady Stanton Meets Susan B. Anthony,” playing the role of Anthony, at a Rochester, New York, meeting of the Ingersoll Memorial Committee. Downey is director of the Anti-Discrimination Support Network and edits the Freethought Society’s newsletter, The Greater Philadelphia Story (PO Box 242, Pocopson, Pennsylvania 19366). In 1996 at the 2nd Annual Atheist Alliance Convention, held in Minneapolis, she spoke on the subject “An Atheist Activist and Proud of It.” At the 3rd such annual event, she spoke on “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” Downey is on the Board of Directors of the American Humanist Association, of The Humanist Institute, and of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. In addition, she is a contributing editor of the Secular Humanist Bulletin and a regional director of the Council for Secular Humanism. Her e-mail: <downey1@cris.com>.

Doyle, Arthur Conan [Sir] (1859—1930) The English author and creator of Sherlock Holmes, Doyle, appeared not to believe in Biblical miracles: “It isn’t true that the laws of nature have been capriciously disturbed; that snakes have talked; that women have been turned into salt; that rods have brought water out of rocks.” Similarly, a freethinking sentiment was expressed when he wrote, “Dogmas of every kind put assertion in the place of reason and give rise to more contention, bitterness, and want of charity than any other influence in human affairs.” At first buried on the Windlesham estate in Crowborough, Sussex, England, the Doyle’s remains later were removed to the Village Cemetery, Minstead, Hampshire, England. {PA; TYD}

Doyle, Doris (20th Century) Doyle is an editorial associate for Free Inquiry, an editor at Prometheus Books, and the managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer.

Roddy Doyle, Irish Author art NEW Doyle is author of A Star Called Henry, The Barrytown Trilogy, The Woman Who Walked into Doors and the Booker Prize winning Paddy Clarke, Ha ha ha. From an Irish Times article: "In an essay entitled 'Republic is a Beautiful Word', Roddy Doyle describes himself as an atheist who dislikes the Pope intensely."


Doyno, Victor (20th Century) Doyno, a professor of English at the University of Buffalo, edited Mark Twain, American Skeptic (1995), in which he argues that, although Clemens was not a systematic philosopher, he was a skeptic for most of his life.

Draco (or Dracon) (Flourished 621 B.C.E.) Draco, an Athenian chief magistrate and law codifier, prescribed death for the most trivial of offenses, believing that murder must be punished by the state and not by vendetta. Aristotle and Plutarch described Draco as explaining the lack of gradations in his punishments. Try as he could, Draco said he could not think of any more severe measure. Such extremism, now called Draconian, was approved by the American Puritans, as evidenced by Connecticut’s severe blue laws which called for Draconian measures to punish, for example, children who talked back to their parents. Athenians presumably loved Draco. In 590 B.C.E., there was a testimonial in his honor at the theater of Athena. As Draco entered the open-air arena, the partisan crowd rose, cheered, and threw their hats and cloaks clothing upon him—which custom today is analogous to throwing confetti or ticker-tape today. Unfortunately for him, the volume of garments was so great that Draco was smothered to death. {PA}

Drachmann, A. B. (20th Century) Drachmann, a professor of classical philology in the University of Copenhagen, Atheism in Pagan Antiquity (1922), a work which is considered a classic in its subject area.

DRACULA: See entry for Bram Stoker.

Draghicesco, Dimitrie (20th Century) A Rumanian humanist, Draghicesco defines “God” as “the more or less complete omnipotence, omniscience, and benevolence to which man as a race can approximate in the long run.” {CL}

Dragut, Eugene-Alexandru (20th Century) Dragut is the vice-president of the Humanist Movement of Romania. He is active in the Humanist Party of Romania, a political group not interested in governing at the present time but working to become a factor of social equilibrium, able to influence political decisions.

Drake, Durant (20th Century) A philosopher, Drake defines “God” as “the universal self in each of us, our good will and idealism and intelligence which binds us together and drives us on by inner compulsion toward that ideal life for which in our better moments we strive.” {CL}

Drake, W. Gordon (20th Century) Drake wrote In the Cool of the Day (1956). {GS}

Drange, Theodore M. (20th Century) Drange, a professor of philosophy at West Virginia University, wrote “Biblical Contradictions Regarding Salvation” (Free Inquiry, Summer 1994), in which he finds that “the entire foundation of soteriology, or the doctrine of salvation, is undermined by the given biblical contradictions, for there is no other basis for that doctrine than the Bible.” Drange, a supporter of Internet Infidels, is a contributing editor on Philo, for which he wrote “Nonbelief vs. Lack of Evidence: Two Atheological Arguments” (Spring-Summer 1998); and “Incompatible-Properties Arguments: A Survey” (Fall-Winter 1998). His Nonbelief and Evil (1998) contains two arguments for the nonexistence of God. “Why does God permit evil?” theologians ask. The question he poses, however, is “Does the evil in the world provide good reason to deny the existence of God?” He then discusses the Argument from Evil and also the Argument from Nonbelief, concluding that the latter is an important issue in the philosophy of religion.

Draparnaud, Jacques Philippe Raymond (1772—1805) Draparnaud, a French physician, taught natural history at Montpelier. His discourses on life and vital functions show his skepticism, as does his Philosophy of the Sciences and Christianity (1801). {BDF; RAT}

Draper, George O. (20th Century) 

Draper was a freethinker who wrote Searching for the Truth (1902). {GS}

Draper, John William (1811—1882) An English-American scientist, historian, and philosopher, Draper emigrated to America, teaching chemistry and natural history at New York University. He is said to be the first in New York to use Daguerre’s process, and the picture which he took of his sister in 1840 is the oldest surviving photographic portrait. A chemist and physiologist, he wrote a rationalistic classic, History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science (1874), which aroused great controversy. He also wrote History of the Intellectual Development of Europe. McCabe called him an anti-Christian but a theist. “There is no limit to understanding the world in natural rather than supernatural terms,” he declared. “The history of science is not a mere record of isolated discoveries; it is a narrative of the conflict of two contending powers, the expansive force of the human intellect on one side, and the compression arising from traditionary faith and human interest on the other.” {BDF, CE; Stephen Jay Gould, Rocks of Ages; JM; RSR; TYD}

Paul Draper, Recording Artist music NEW

Draper is the lead singer of the UK alternative rock band Mansun. From an interview with The Times newspaper (http://mansun.net/features/875332800,95277,.html): The death of Diana, the Princess of Wales, and the subsequent mass hysteria must have given him something to think about? "I think people are looking for something to replace God. I don't think anyone believes in things like that anymore," he says contemptuously. "The world is too small now for people to be scared into believing in deities. Before they were terrified into giving their money to the Church. It's all about aura, but people are deluding themselves." From an interview with the New Musical Express magazine (http://mansun.net/features/918882000,92353,.html): "Why do you still wear a cross and chain in view of your negative opinion on religion and the hypocrisy you see therein? I've got an upside-down cross which I wear quite a bit, the anti-Catholic inverted one. This one here, the big one, is my nan's, I wear it for family reasons." "To which authority do you cower? (God, Heaven) Chad: That can't be from God, it's not written in Hebrew. Paul: I suppose you end up cowering to fucking everything life throws at you. Or you can protest all the time. You can pretend you're a non-conformist by wearing a T-shirt that says, 'I Don't Conform' but I suppose everyone buckles under. You can hide behind the excuse that you're fighting within the system but..." For more info, see http://www.mansun.co.uk - Mansun have had 14 singles in the UK Top 40 and one of their three albums made No. 1 in the UK album chart). --DNat

Draper, Paul Edward (26 Sep 1972 - ) Draper, the lead singer of the United Kingdom alternative rock band called Mansun, is a rhythm guitarist, lead vocalist, songwriter, and pianist. Born in Wavertree, Liverpool, into a working-class family he lived on Garmoyle Road, the same road where John Lennon had lived many years before. Lee Fay has described Draper as being shy (backstage) but flamboyant (onstage). He attended a Catholic grade school, was thrown out of Wrexham Art College (the faculty felt his idea of art didn’t quite conform to its teaching, allegedly because he created paintings with a ruler). According to Fay,

The Paul the audience sees onstage is flamboyant, glammy, campy, confident, forgetful (lyrics usually spontaneously take on new forms) and almost brash. This is a stark contrast to the Paul fans meet backstage—a shy, quiet, humble young man who is often mistaken for being standoffish or aloof. He often seems troubled - shown both in his demeanor and his lyrics—and has been described on several occasions as a future rockstar-suicide victim. A group of fans in Thailand actually held an all-night vigil for Paul outside his hotel—praying that he not meet the same demise of heroes like Kurt Cobain (from Nirvana) or Richey Edwards (of Manic Street Preachers).

Paul describes himself as anti-political but does have very strong philosophical beliefs in both Marxism in its purest sense (the theory and practice of working class self-emancipation) and Taoism (the belief that one must follow the process of nature by which all things change for a life of harmony).

In New Musical Express, Draper was asked why he wrote a cross and chain in view of his negative opinion of religion and the resultant hypocrisy:

I’ve got an upside-down cross which I wear quite a bit, the anti-Catholic inverted one. This one here, the big one, is my nan’s; I wear it for family reasons.

Asked to which authority he cowers,

I suppose you end up cowering to fucking everything life throws at you. Or you can protest all the time. You can pretend you’re a non-conformist by wearing a T-shirt that says, “I Don't Conform” but I suppose everyone buckles under. You can hide behind the excuse that you're fighting within the system but . . . .

When Diana, the Princess of Wales, died, the London Times quoted Draper as saying,

I think people are looking for something to replace god. I don’t think anyone believes in things like that anymore. The world is too small now for people to be scared into believing in deities. Before, they were terrified into giving their money to the Church. It’s all about aura, but people are deluding themselves.


Draper, Peter (20th Century) When he signed Humanist Manifesto II, Dr. Draper was on the staff of Guy’s Hospital Medical School in London. In 1978 he addressed the Seventh International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) World Congress held in London. Draper is editor of Health Through Public Policy (1991).

DRAVIDIAN ASSOCIATION The Dravidian Association is at 50 EVK, Sampath Road, Madras 7, India. The Dravidar Kazhagarn, or “Self-Respect Movement,” was founded by Periyar. It is militantly anti-religious and strongly opposed to the Brahmin caste. The group is strong in the south of India.

Drayton, Michael (20th Century) Drayton is chairperson of Interweave, which publishes Interweave World, journal of Unitarian Universalists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns.

DREAMERS • A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world. —Oscar Wilde

Dreier, Frederik (1827—1853) Dreier, a Dane, wrote Spiritual Belief and Freethinking. (See entry for Scandinavian Unbelievers.)

Driesch, Hans Adolf Eduard (Born 1867) A German philosopher, Driesch is a neo-vitalist who rejects the idea of “soul” but speaks of God as an “Absolute Reality” of unknown features. He wrote The Problem of Individually (1914). {RAT}

Dreikurs, Rudolf (1897—1972) In 1952, Dr. Dreikurs, whose interests included psychiatry, marriage, and parenthood, was Vice President of the American Humanist Association. In 1953, he was on the first Board of Directors of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). {HNS; HNS2}

Dreiser, Theodore (1871—1945) When Sister Carrie (1900) was published, readers were shocked by Dreiser’s descriptions of the characters’ irreligion and illicit sexual behavior, this despite the fact that his publisher had already expunged 40,000 words from the original manuscript. An American Tragedy (1925) similarly describes false piety, questions matters of free will, and shows greedy capitalists perverting Christian ideals. As described by William F. Ryan, “Dreiser’s attitudes metamorphosed within American socialism, and he joined the Communist party late in life. But there is no evidence that he was an atheist. He scorned Catholicism and the Protestant churches, claiming in his autobiographical writings—among them, Dawn (1931)—that those orthodox churches had perverted Christianity with political concerns and the pursuit of material wealth. Dreiser called for a ‘pure religion and undefiled,’ one grounded in good works and human compassion.” His atheism and hostility to organized religion is evident in his statements, “All forms of dogmatic religion should go. The world did without them in the past and can do so again” and “Assure a man that he has a soul and then frighten him with old wives’ tales as to what is to become of him afterwards, and you have hooked a fish, a mental slave.” {CE; CL; EU, William F. Ryan; JM; TRI; TYD}

Dresden, Edmond (Died 1903) Dresden (or Dresdon) was a British philanthropist about whom not much is known. However, at his death he left his entire fortune, apart from bequests to servants, of almost two million dollars to hospitals and the National Lifeboat Institution. He directed that this inscription should be cut on his tombstone: “Here lie the remains of Edmond Dresden, who believed in no religion but that of being charitable to his fellow man and woman, both in word and deed.” {JM}

Drews, Arthur (Born 1865) Drews was a German freethinker who wrote The Christ Myth (1910; 1998) and The Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus (1912), in which he denies the historicity of Christ. In his work, Drews expounds a pantheistic monism. {GS; RAT}

Dreyfus, Ferdinand Camille (19th Century) Dreyfus is author of Evolution of Worlds and Societies (1888). {BDF}

Drohan, Francis Burke (20th Century) Drohan, a freethinker, wrote Jesus Who? The Greatest Mystery Never Told (1985). {GS}

DROIT DU SEIGNEUR The “right” of a lord to deflower, on her marriage night, any bride of any of his vassals came to be known as droit du seigneur. An inhumanistic custom, it is cited by Wole Soyinka as being similar to gbese le, the placing by a Yoruban monarch of his royal slipper, symbolically, on any woman who catches his fancy, after which she is assigned to his harem. {The New York Times, 18 April 1999}

Droysen, Johann Gustav (1806—1882) Droysen, a German historian, edited Frederick the Great’s correspondence and wrote other important works, some in conjunction with his friend Max Duncker. {BDF}

Drucker, Catherine (20th Century) Drucker in New Humanist (May 1995) wrote about how Lee Kuan Yew has fought against free speech in Singapore. As Campaigns Coordinator of Article 19, she examined the process he used and concluded that an independent judiciary cannot exist in the absence of free institutions, including a free press.

DRUGS: See entry for Australian and New Zealand Humanists.

DRUIDS • Druids, n. Priests and ministers of an ancient Celtic religion which did not disdain to employ the humble allurement of human sacrifice. Very little is now known about the Druids and their faith. Pliny says their religion, originating in Britain, spread eastward as far as Persia. Caesar says those who desired to study its mysteries went to Britain. Caesar himself went to Britain, but does not appear to have obtained any high preferment in the Druidical Church, although his talent for human sacrifice was considerable. Druids performed their religious rites in groves, and knew nothing of church mortgages and the season-ticket system of pew rents. They were, in short, heathens and—as they were once complacently catalogued by a distinguished prelate of the Church of England—Dissenters. —Ambrose Bierce The Devil’s Dictionary

Drummond, William [Sir] (c. 1770—1828) 

Drummond entered Parliament as a member for St. Mawes, Cornwall, in 1795. In 1796 he became envoy to the court of Naples, and in 1801 was the ambassador to Constantinople. His principal work is Origines (4 volumes, 1824—1829), or remarks on the origin of several empires, states, and cities. His Oedipus Judaicus (1811) boldly questions many legends of the Old Testament, to which it gave an astronomical significance. {BDF; RAT}

Druskowitz, Helene (Born 1858) Druskowitz, who was awarded the doctorate of philosophy at Dresden, wrote a life of Shelley in 1884 and a book on freewill and the new doctrines in 1883. {BDF; RAT}

Druten, Van (20 Century) Druten told a 1998 Minneapolis symposium on “The Role of Religion in Public Life” that from his humanistic viewpoint religion is a “spurious aid to morality” and that violence often has its roots in religion. {Secular Nation, July-September 1998}

Druyan, Ann (20th Century) Druyan, third wife of the late Carl Sagan, is a novelist and the secretary of the Federation of American Scientists. At Sagan’s memorial service, she told of his and her exuberance at their having included an interstellar message along with the music of Bach, Beethoven, and others in two NASA Voyager spacecraft now beyond the outer solar system. At a speed of 40,000 miles per hour, the recordings are traveling in space and have a projected “shelf life” of a billion years, she stated. Commenting about Sagan’s movie, “Contact,” which opened after his death, Druyan, who co-wrote the picture, said,

This is really painful. But also, in a way, when you love somebody with all of your heart and they die, part of you is walking around thinking, “I want the whole world to remember this person and feel what I feel.” . . . Because I don’t believe in an actual afterlife, it means a lot to me that Carl’s ideas and what we stood for are given a kind of dramatic expression in this movie.

Druyan in 1997 was named “Freethought Heroine” by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which cited her having been vocal in protecting her late husband’s memory from the slur of “deathbed conversion” stories since he died of pneumonia. {“Sagan’s Movie’s One in a Billion,” New York Post, 9 July 1997}

Dryden, John (Born 1850) Dryden, who was a director of the Rationalist Press Association from its inception, was a merchant. He was London correspondent of the New York Truthseeker. {RAT}

Drysdale, C. V. (1874—1961) Drysdale, a freethinker and son of Charles R. Drysdale, chaired in 1881 the first Medical Congress on family planning. (TRI}

Drysdale, Charles Robert (1829—1907) Drysdale founded the Neo-Malthusian league, which Margaret Sanger credited with having inspired her in her birth control efforts. His uncle, George R. Drysdale, was the courageous publisher cited by Margaret Sanger as having edited, revised, and widely circulated Charles Knowlton’s Fruits of Philosophy. Drysdale wrote Predicaments of Love (republished in 1991). {RAT; RSR}

Drysdale, George (1825—1904) In his Elements of Social Science (1854, originally titled Physical, Sexual and Natural Religion), Drysdale in a chapter on the “Evils of Abstinence” argued that young people of both sexes would be helped to better health and happiness by “moderate indulgence in sexual intercourse.” He held that “complete sexual abstinence is in every case an evil, and more especially so in the years immediately after puberty.” In 1861 secularists quarreled vigorously over such views. George and Charles R. Drysdale were brothers. {RSR; TRI}

D’Souza, Frances (20th Century) D’Souza spoke to humanists in 1995 at Conway Hall concerning Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” What, she mused, happens if we can establish that speech can lead to violence. “What,” she illustrated, “will result, if I stand on a table and say ‘Let’s kill Salman Rushdie’?” Freedom of expression, she reasoned, is especially important because, without it, it is impossible to secure other human rights. To maintain an independent press is the only way to preserve democracy. “We need,” she stated, “to be extremely vigilant of all our sources of free speech. We should support plurality, diversity, and a multiplicity of outlets.” D’Souza is author of The Refugee Dilemma (1980). {New Humanist, May 1995}

DUALISM Dualism, in philosophy and theology, is any system that explains phenomena by two opposing principles. In philosophy, the dualism may be of mind and matter, or mind and body. In theology, the two principles may be of good and evil. No serious contemporary scientist will defend dualism, the concept identified with Descartes that somehow there is a different source of our consciousness than the matter which we have in our heads. A philosopher at the University of Santa Cruz, California, David Chalmers, has made a recent attempt to revive dualism. In The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory (1996), Chalmers rejects materialism of all kinds. He attacks Francis Crick and Christopher Koch for their suggestion that consciousness is linked with patches of brain electro-activity in the 35-75 hertz range. Chalmers claims they are only guessing about the brain’s workings. The Economist (20 July 1996), however, found his various arguments interesting but unconvincing. (See entry for Descartes, and see the Encyclopedia of Philosophy.) {DCL}

Dubcek, Alexander A. (1921—1992) Dubcek, when speaker of the Czechoslovakian Parliament, was awarded the 1990 International Humanism Prize by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). He said that that group’s aims, “which [have] in mind the values of the very greatest for mankind,” were in line “on the whole with my feelings and convictions. Humanity and morality! The values that have always been standing in front of the values mankind strives for. Values which give shape to human characters and give life a human dimension. . . . In the combination of these values, I see a symbol of the endeavours of the whole of mankind without barriers or frontiers.” A Slovakian, he had as one of the national minority been active after World War II in the Communist underground. Becoming head of the Slovakian Communist Party’s central committee, then its first secretary, Dubcek relaxed censorship and worked toward a gradual democratization of Czech political life. His bold attempt in 1968 to give his country “socialism with a human face” was crushed when Soviet-led Warsaw Pact troops invaded. He was arrested and taken to Moscow, following which he served briefly as ambassador to Turkey (1969-1970), then maliciously demoted to a job as a forester in the region of Slovakia, then fell into official disgrace. At the time of his death, he was the leader of Slovakia’s Social Democrats. A Kremlin press aide in 1988 allegedly joked that the difference between Dubcek and Mikhail Gorbachev was twenty years, for Dubcek had decried the moral rot and profligate incompetence of Brezhnev’s empire at a time when few others dared. His autobiography, Hope Dies Last (1993), published posthumously, contains an afterword by its editor and translator, Jiri Hochman: “He tried to see the good side of everything. . . . He always assumed that everyone had good intentions. He was often let down, but that never changed his basic nature.” {CE; Free Inquiry, Winter 1990-1991}

Duberman, Martin (1930— ) A historian who has taught at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Lehman College, Duberman founded in 1991 the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies of the City of New York University’s Graduate School. Among his many works are Charles Francis Adams (1961), In White America (1963), James Russell Lowell (1967), Visions of Kerouac (1977), and About Time: Exploring the Gay Past (1986). A non-believer, Duberman has inspired a number of gays and lesbians during a period in which homosexuality was coming, in their description, “out of the closet.” He wrote Stonewall (1996), one of the better volumes describing the 1969 riots on behalf of human rights by homosexuals in New York City’s Greenwich Village. {WAS, 5 December 1996}

Dubko, Elena (20th Century) Dubko, a philosophy lecturer at Moscow University, is Vice-President of Ethical Dialogues. That group aims to unite ethicists, sociologists, enthusiasts, and humanists. She spoke at a 1995 Berlin conference arranged by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), at which time she was somewhat pessimistic about the political situation and the state of humanism in Russia. {See Elana Dubko, “Ethical Dialogues in Moscow,” New Humanist, December 1995.}

Duboc, Julius (Born 1829) Duboc was a German writer and journalist. He translated the History of the English Press and wrote in 1875 an atheistic work, Das Lieben Ohne Gott (Life Without God), with the motto from Feuerbach, “No religion is my religion, no philosophy my philosophy.” {BDF; RAT}

Dubois, Paul François (1795—1874) Dubois was a French educationist who accepted the philosophy of Cousin, his teacher, and taught, successively, at Falaise, Limoges, Besaçon, and Paris. In 1824 he took up Saint-Simonianism and was imprisoned for his bold utterances. The Revolution of 1830 freed him, and he was appointed General Inspector of Public Instruction. In 1831 he entered the Chambre and in 1840 succeeded M. Cousin as Director of the Normal School. {RAT}

Dubois, Pierre (19th Century) A French skeptic, Dubois in 1835 published The True Catechism of Believers, a work ordered by the Court of Assizes to be suppressed and for which the author was condemned to six months’ imprisonment and a fine of one thousand francs. He also wrote The Believer Undeceived, a work on the evident proofs of the falsity and absurdity of Christianity that was put on the Index in 1836. In 1979, Dubois’s Bidochet le petit ogre was republished. {BDF}

Du Bois, W(illiam) E(dward) B(urghardt) (1868—1963) DuBois, the American civil rights leader and author, ranks with Frederick Douglas and Martin Luther King Jr. as being among the greatest champions of African American rights and liberty. He co-founded (1909) the National Negro Committee which became (1910) the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In addition he edited the NAACP magazine, The Crisis, until 1932. In 1961, he joined the Communist party, moving to Ghana, where he directed production of a multivolume Encyclopedia Africana and adopted Ghanian citizenship. When seventeen and in a missionary college where religious orthodoxy was stressed, Du Bois found he was quite capable of meeting the orthodoxy

with argument, which I did. My “morals” were sound, even a bit puritanic, but when a hide-bound old deacon inveighed against dancing I rebelled. By the time of graduation I was still a “believer” in orthodox religion, but had strong questions which were encouraged at Harvard. In Germany I became a Freethinker.

According to Howard-Pitney, Du Bois’s “basic philosophical and ethical position was internally consistent, even though he combined a scientific intellect with an idealistic, poetic soul. On the one hand, he was an empiricist-materialist who turned reflexively to naturalistic understandings and explanations of human behavior. He was thus attracted to ‘scientific socialism’ and the Marxist idea that history is determined by economic forces. Du Bois was not religious in any traditional sense; indeed he was something of an anticleric. At the same time, he believed in a creative force directing the universe and in the immortality of the soul, and there was an undeniably spiritual dimension to Du Bois’ imagination and expression. . . . ‘Love is God and Work is His prophet,’ he declared. ‘We make the world better by the gift of our service and our selves. So in some mystic way does God bring realization [of a better world] through sacrifice.” Howard-Pitney states that Du Bois relied heavily upon biblical language, finding religious symbols and nomenclature “deeply expressive of his own highest hopes and longings.” Although he recognized the black church’s role, according to Howard-Pitney, Du Bois “was a humanist and a rationalist, not a theist or a supernaturalist. Antirational dogma repelled him, and he ceased participating in organized worship as a young adult.” Among his witty observations are the following:

• The kind of sermon which is preached in most colored churches is not today attractive to even fairly intelligent men.

• The theology of the average colored church is basing itself far too much upon “hell and damnation.” . . . We are still trained to believe a good deal that is simply childish in theology. . . . Our present method of periodic revival [involves] the hiring of professional and loud-mouthed evangelists and reducing people to a state of frenzy or unconsciousness.

• Half the Christian churches of New York are trying to ruin the free public schools in order to replace them by religious dogma. {AAH, David Howard-Pitney; CE; TYD}

Dubois-Reymond, Emil (1819—1896) A German physiologist of French and Swiss descent, Dubois-Reymond demonstrated that electrical changes accompany muscle action. An atheist, according to Paul Edwards, Dubois-Reymond argued against the existence of God on the ground that no cosmic brain can be discovered that would serve as the physiological foundation of a divine mind. He wrote, “Before he can allow a psychical principle to the universe, [the student of nature] will demand to be shown somewhere within it, embedded in neurine and fed with warm arterial blood under proper pressure, a convolution of ganglionic globules and nerve-tubes proportioned in size to the faculties of such a mind.” Logical positivists used Dubois-Reymond’s views in their discussions as to whether or not God operates without a body. {BDF; CE; EU, Paul Edwards; RAT} Dubuisson, Gabriel (20th Century) In Montreal, Canada, Dubuisson has been editing a French publication, Raison, since 1979.

Dubuisson, Paul (19th Century) Dubuisson, a French positivist, wrote Grand Types of Humanity. {BDF; FUK}

Dubuisson, Paul Ulrich (1746—1794) Dubuisson was a French dramatist and revolutionary, a close friend of Cloots, with whom he suffered on the scaffold, 24 March 1794. {BDF; RAT}

Du Cann, C. G. L. (20th Century) Du Cann, a freethinker, wrote How the Churches Betray Their Christ (c. 1920?) and Will You Rise from the Dead? (1940s?). {GS}

Ducasse, C. J. (1881—1969) Ducasse, according to “Survival as Transmigration” in Paul Edwards’s Immortality; believed in reincarnation but did not believe in God. He was a former head of the Association for Symbolic Logic (1936—1938), which he had helped found. Edwards humorously and thoroughly attacks Ducasse’s views in Reincarnation: A Critical Examination. {PE}

Duckhorn, Paul J. (20th Century) Duckhorn is an activist member of the Campus Freethought Alliance. She is a student at the Lake Villa Community College near Chicago, Illinois. In 1998 she signed the Alliance’s “Bill of Rights for Unbelievers.”

Duclaux, Agnes Mary Frances (Born 1857) Duclaux was a writer who translated Euripides. At Paris her salon was thronged with scholars and literary men. She wrote the life of Renan. In 1888 she married J. Darmesteter and, upon his death, married the Director of the Pasteur Institute, Duclaux. {RAT}

Duclos, Charles Pinot (1704—1772) Duclos was a witty French writer who was admitted into the French Academy in 1747 and became its secretary in 1755. A friend of Diderot and d’Alembert, he wrote Considerations sur les Moeurs. {BDF; RAT}

Ducos, Jean François (1765—1793) Ducos was a French Girondist. Elected to the Legislative Assembly, he demanded on 26 October 1791 the complete separation of the state from religion. He shared the fate of the Girondins, crying with his last breath, “Vive la Republique!” {BDF; RAT}

Ducros, Louis (1921— ) Ducros is author of Les Encyclopedistes (1967). He also wrote works on Diderot, d’Alembert, Rousseau, Heine, and Schopenhauer.

Du Deffand, Marie (1697—1780) A Marchioness, Du Deffand was a witty literary French woman. Chamfort related that when young and in a convent she preached irreligion to her young comrades. The abbess called in Massillon, to whom the little skeptic gave her reasons. He departed, saying, “She is charming.” For half a century, her house in Paris was the resort of eminent authors and statesmen. For years she corresponded with Horace Walpole, D’Alembert, and Voltaire. One anecdote is that to the Cardinal de Polignac, who spoke of the miracle of St. Denis walking when beheaded, she said, “Il n’y a que le premier pas qui coûte.” And to the curé of Saint Sulpice, who came to her death-bed, she said, “Ni questions, ni raisons, ni sermons.” {BDF} Dudgeon, William (Flourished 1775) Dudgeon was a Berwickshire deist, whose works were published privately in Edinburgh in 1765. In 1994, Dudgeon’s The Philosophical Marks was republished. {BDF; RAT}

Dudley, Christopher [Senator] (19th Century) Dudley, an avowed deist, served seven times as State Senator for Onslow County. (See entry for North Carolina Freethinkers.)

Dudley, Dean (20th Century) A freethinker, Dudley wrote History of the First Council of Nice (1901). {GS}

DUELLING: See entry for Christopher Marlowe.

Dufay, Henri (19th Century) Dufay is the author of La Legende du Christ (1880). {BDF}

Duffy, David Evan (1941— ) Duffy is a humanist activist who arrived in Australia in 1952 from London. He has been the convenor of the Sydney Humanist Society’s “Open Forum” and served as President of the Humanist Society of New South Wales during the period of 1988 to 1991. {SWW}

Duffy, Maureen Patricia (20th Century) Duffy is President of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) (34 Spring Lane, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2HB, England). She has published plays, poetry, and non-fiction (including a life of Afra Behn, The Passionate Shepherdess, 1977). She is best known, however, for her novels: That’s Who It Was; The Paradox Players (1967), Wounds (1969), Capital (1975), and Londoners(1983), the latter a sardonic view of the writer’s lot. Homosexuality appears in many of her works, including Restitution (1999), about three individuals in London and Berlin who are searching for something in their past. {Gay and Lesbian Humanist, Summer 1999; OCE}

Patrick Duffy, Actor ent Internet Movie Database

He appeared on the July 19th, 1999 installment of Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect on ABC where the producers were trying to build a religiously diverse panel to discuss the meaning of life.

The planned discussion of the meaning of life was overtaken by the untimely death of JFK Jr., his wife and her sister. Here's an excerpt:

Bill: [...] you're a practicing Buddhist.

Patrick: Mm-hmm.

Bill: For how long?

Patrick: 30 years.

Bill: 30 years.

Patrick: Yeah.

Bill: Now, what would they say about something like this [tragic death of JFK Jr]? How do they deal with life?

Patrick: Well, it's a completely different concept, because it deals solely with individual karma.

Bill: Right.

Patrick: And it deals with the fact, in essence, you know, come right out and say it, that there is no God, that the individual is God.

Bill: Right.

Patrick: And that's as far as it goes. I mean, literally, you are the sole person responsible for all causes in your life.

Bill: Right. Buddha is not a God.

Patrick: No, Buddha is a teacher.

Bill: Right.

Patrick: Which was what Christ was, in my opinion, in terms of historical relevance.

Bill: Right. But, Buddha made a point in his life to say, "Don't make me a God."

Patrick: Yeah, he said there is there is no distinctions between any person -- myself, you or the universe.


Dugan, Dan (20th Century) Dugan, an inventor and audio engineer in San Francisco, co-authored with Judy Daar an article, “Are Rudolf Steiner’s Waldorf Schools ‘Non-Sectarian’?” in Free Inquiry (Spring 1994).

Dugdale, Henrietta (1826—1918) Dugdale was an early Australian secularist, freethinker, suffragist, and dress reformer. She blamed religion for most of society’s gross abuses, saying, “Christianity was another despotism formed by man to humble women.” She recommended castration for persistent rapists, and she was an outspoken opponent of male dominance. A vegetarian who grew and cooked most of her own food, she designed her own “rational” costume with a divided skirt. A member of the Eclectic Association and the Australasian Secular Association, she helped form the Victorian Women’s Suffrage Society, some of whose members complained about her iconoclastic secularism. {SWW}

Duhamel, Georges (1884—1966) Duhumel, Goncourt Prize winner, member of the French Academy, founder of the Utopian Group (1906—1908), and a critic of unchecked industrialization in America: The Menace, wrote the present author concerning humanism:

Je réponds sans retard à votre lettre, reçue hier soir et qui a dû me rejoindre ici. Félix Tallemand n’exprime en rien ma position morale personnelle, vous pouvez vous en douter. C’est un affreux bonhomme qui ne croit qu’à une chose, à son intérêt temporal. Si, parvenu au seuil de la mort, il lance un cri d’angoisse, c’est parce que la maladie éveille en lui le sentiment qu’il y a peut-être dans le monde autre chose que des affaires à traiter, c’est parce que la maladie fait naître en lui, pour la première fois, le remords. Je ne suit ni naturaliste, ni unanimiste, ni purement déterministe. Médecin d’origine, je me suis composé, à force de vivre parmi des savants remarquables, une philosophie biologique faite évolutionnisme, de mutationnisme et d’une sort de finalisme, c’est-à-dire de la reconnaissance dans certains phénomenes d’un ordre préétabli (Lucien Cuenot. Invention et Finalité en Biologie. Flammarion, editeur). Depuis ma seizième année, j’ai quitté, au point de vue métaphysique, la foi religieuse dans laquelle j’avais été élevé. J’ai longtemps dit que j’étais un agnostique désespéré. Je dis maintenant que je suit an agnostique chrétien. Cela signifie que j’observe de mon mieux la morale chrétienne. Quant à la métaphysique chrétienne il ne dépend pas de moi de l’accepter sans ce que l’on appelle la grâce. Je suis en bonne intelligence avec les agnostiques purs et avec les croyants. Eventuellement, vous trouveriez tout cela expliqué dans les cinq volumes de mémoires que j’ai publiés au Mercure de France sous le titre général de Lumieres de l’Abîme, Biographie de mes fantômes. Le temps de la recherche. La Pesée des âmes. Les espoirs et les épreuves. Les deux premiers de ces volumes ont paru en anglais, chez Dent, sous le titre: Light on My Days.

Duhamel, in the above letter, calls himself a physician who is neither just a naturalist nor purely a determinist. He states that when he was sixteen years old he was a “hopeless agnostic” but that now he is a Christian agnostic on good terms with agnostics as well as with believers. Félix Tallemand does not at all express his personal moral position, and he hopes to make all this clear in the five volumes of a memoir he published under the general title of Lumieres de l’Abîme, which in English is called Light on My Days. (See entry for Charles Mayer, who, although Duhamel stated he was a Christian agnostic, describes Duhamel as being a naturalistic humanist who is unacquainted with that phrase.) {WAS, 14 August 1954}

Duhecquet, H. M.: See entry for H. D. Robinson.

Duhig, James Vincent (1889—1963) Duhig, who had been brought up and educated as a Catholic by his Irish parents, was the nephew of, and was sometimes confused with, the Australian Roman Catholic Bishop in Brisbane, James Duhig. As an outspoken critic of all hypocrisy, Duhig delighted in baiting his distinguished relative, announcing that religious belief frustrated honest thinking. Duhig was a medical practitioner in Australia. {TRI}

Dühring, Eugen Karl (Born 1833) Dühring was a German writer who, though blind, wrote many works on science. He wrote a Critical History of Philosophy (1869—1878) and Science Revolutionized (1878). In 1879, his death was maliciously reported. {BDF}

Dujardin, Édouard (1861—1949) Dujardin, a freethinker, wrote The Source of the Christian Religion, A Critical History of Ancient Judaism (1910). {GS; RAT}

DUKE UNIVERSITY HUMANISTS The humanist group at Duke University in North Carolina os pm tje Web: <http://www.secularhumanism.org/cfa/orgs.html>.

Duke, Barry (20th Century) Duke in 1996 was elected the treasurer of the National Secular Society. He was one of the seven original subscribers in 1978 to the National Secular Society Limited’s Articles of Association. Duke’s partner, Brian Parry, died in 1996 and received a secular humanist funeral conducted by Denis Cobell. In 1998 upon the death of Peter Brearey, he became acting editor of The Freethinker. E-mail: <iduke@compuserve.com>.

Dulaure, Jacques Antoine (1755—1835) A French archeologist and historian, Dulaure in 1788—1790 published six volumes of a description of France. Elected to the Convention in 1792, he voted for the death of the King. Proscribed as a Girondist, Dulaure then fled to Switzerland. He was one of the Council of Five Hundred, 1796—1798. Although he wrote a learned Treatise on Superstitions, he is best known for his History of Paris and Short History of Different Worships (1825), in which he deals with ancient fetishism and phallic worship. {BDF; RAT}

Dulaurens, Henri Joseph (1719—1797) A French satirist, Dulaurens was brought up in a convent, became a priest, then published a satire against the Jesuits, who forced him to flee for his life to Holland, where he lived in poverty. He edited L’Evangile de la Raison, a collection of anti-Christian tracts by Voltaire and others and wrote L’Anti-papisme révelé (1797). Dulaurens was caustic, cynical, and vivacious. {BDF; RAT}

Dulk, Albert Freidrich Benno (1819—1884) Dulk was a German poet who became a physician but was expelled for aiding in the Revolution of 1848. He traveled in Italy and Egypt. In 1865 he published Jesus der Christ, embodying rationalism in prose and verse. {BDF; RAT}

Duller, Eduard (1809—1853) Duller, a poet and historian born in Vienna, wrote History of the Jesuits (1840) and The Men of the People (1847—1850). {BDF}

Dulley, David (20th Century) An English Unitarian, Dulley is author of Conversations With Mona (1993), in which he examines important religious, societal, and economic questions with a humanistic eye in imagined debates with his tortoiseshell cat, Mona.

Du Marsais, César Chesneau (19th Century) A French grammarian and philosopher, Dumarsais wrote against the pretensions of Rome and contributed to the Encyclopédie. He is credited with An Analysis of the Christian Religion and with Essai sur les Préjugés by Mr. D. M., although the latter may have been written by Holbach with notes by Naigeon. Du Marsais edited Mirabaud’s anonymous work on The World and Its Antiquity and The Soul and Its Immortality (1751). {BDF}

Dumas, Alexandre fils (1824—1895) The chief creator of the 19th century comedy of manners, Dumas wrote La Dame aux camélias (Camille, 1848), which became a sensation. Verdi adapted it. Dumas was the bastard son of a bi-racial father, Dumas père, who died a Catholic. Dumas fils may or may not have been a philosophic naturalist, but he earned the enmity of the Vatican, which included in its Index of Prohibited Books all his novels as well as, in 1880, La question du divorce. He thought there should be a revolt against romantic morality, he exposed excesses of the wealthy, he smiled at bourgeois Puritanism, and he propounded psychological as well as social questions. “If God were suddenly condemned to live the life which He has inflicted on men,” Dumas once wrote, “He would kill Himself.” Dumas’s Parisian tomb relates that “death interests me much more than life, for life belongs to time while death forms part of eternity.” McCabe called Dumas a deist who was inclined to mysticism. {CB; CE; ILP; JM; RAT; TRI; TYD}

Du Maurier, George Louis Palmella Busson (1834—1896) Du Maurier, an English novelist and artist, was a noted illustrator for Punch. He wrote such novels as Peter Ibbetson (1892) and Trilby (1894). The former was largely based on his early childhood in Paris and turned on two supernaturally related dreams. Du Maurier was the freethinking grandfather of Daphne Du Maurier (1907-1989), the author of Rebecca. {RAT; TRI}

Dumont, Léon (1837—1877) A French writer and Darwinist, Dumont wrote on Haeckel and the Theory of Evolution (1873). Dumont wrote in La Revue Philosophique. {BDF; RAT}

Dumont, Pierre Étienne Louis (1759—1829) Dumont was a Swiss writer who, as a Protestant minister, was held to be a brilliant preacher. But his faith decayed, and he came to England as tutor to Lord Shelburne’s children. In 1814 upon returning to Switzerland, Dumont rejected his clerical status and, as member of the Grand Council, worked for prison reform on Bentham’s principles. {RAT}

Dunant, Jean-Henri (1828—1910) A Swiss philanthropist who founded the International Red Cross, Dunant shared with Frédéric Passy the first Nobel Peace Prize (1901). A humanitarian, Dunant was a freethinker. {CE; TRI}

Dunayevskaya, Raya (1910—1987) Dunayevskaya, the noted Marxist scholar and former secretary to Leon Trotsky, wrote specifically that “Marxism is Humanism” in The Humanist Alternative (1973). She held that despite a hundred-year burial of Marx’s Humanist essays, Marx’s Humanism has made history, revolutionary history. No other philosophic writing can compare with it. In our era, it was the Hungarian revolution of 1956 that brought Marx’s Humanism onto the historic stage. By unfurling the Humanist banner and laying down their lives in the struggle for freedom from communism, the Hungarian freedom fighters gave new life to Marx’s original definition of his unique world view as a new Humanism or thoroughgoing naturalism, as against “communism [which] is not itself the goal of human development—the form of human society.” Similarly, the battle of the Czechs for “socialism with a human face” was Marxist Humanism at its best. Her viewpoint was not that of James T. Farrell, Sidney Hook, and many other humanists who may have shared with Marx a disbelief in supernaturalism but did not share his political or collectivist outlook. {PK}

Dunbar, Anthony P. (20th Century) A freethinker, Dunbar wrote Against the Grain: Southern Radicals and Prophets 1929—1959, in which he tells about Southern ministers who formed a loose-knit but militant wing of the “Social Gospel” movement. {Freethought History #14, 1995}

Duncan, Colin (1915—1989) Duncan was an Australian humanist, engineer, and lobbyist. A committed activist in the humanist movement for more than twenty years, he worked with the Gun Control Lobby and the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of Victoria, of which he was president in 1983. His efforts contributed to the passing of favorable “Dying With Dignity” legislation. On his death, the eulogy was delivered by Nigel Sinnott. {SWW}

Duncan, David (Born 1839) An educationist, Duncan from 1867 to 1870 was Herbert Spencer’s private secretary. He compiled the four volumes of the Description Sociology. In 1870 he was appointed professor of logic and moral philosophy at the Presidency College in Madras, and in 1899 he became Vice-Chancellor of Madras University. His Life and Letters of Herbert Spencer (1908) shows his adherence to the rationalist philosophy. {RAT}

Duncan, Isadora (1878-1927)

Duncan, a noted dancer, first created works based on Greek classical art. Inspired by ancient Greek drama, she pioneered an expressive movement that differentiated itself from other such movements, often dancing barefoot to music that had not been expressly written for dance. She wore a Greek tunic and flowing scarves, gaining fame in Berlin, Paris, Moscow, and London. Her various biographers cite Duncan’s freethinking and describe her dramatic death: in Nice, her scarf was caught in the wheel of an open car in which she was motoring, and she was choked to death. {CE}


Duncan, Isadora [originally Angela] (27 May 1878 - 14 Sep 1927) Duncan, an internationally known master of dance and choreography, was born in San Francisco. She performed throughout Europe, founded schools in Berlin, Salzburg, and Vienna, and was one of the pioneers of modern dance. Inspired by ancient Greek drama, she performed an expressive movement that differentiated itself from other such movements, often dancing barefoot to music that had not been expressly written for dance. She wore a Greek tunic and flowing scarves, gaining fame in Berlin, Paris, Moscow, and London. Her various biographers cite Duncan’s freethought, for she had unconventional views on marriage and women’s liberation, giving rise to numbers of scandalous stories. In Nice, her scarf, while she was riding in an open car, caught in one of the wheels, and she was choked to death. On the Web: <http://www.sfmuseum.org/bio/isadora.html>. {CE} Duncker, Maximilian Wolfgang (1811—1886) Duncker was a German historian, author of History of Antiquity (1852—1857). He abolished the old distinction of sacred and profane history and freely criticized Jewish records. Duncker took an active part in the events of 1848 and 1850, and he was appointed Director-General of the State Archives. {BDF; RAT}


Dunham, Barrows (1905—1995) A professor of philosophy at Temple University, Dr. Dunham in his Giant in Chains (1953) negatively criticizes for an entire chapter the present author’s seven categories of humanism. Mainly he objects both to “labeling” and to the terminology. In 1956, he wrote concerning humanism:

All the great shibboleths of middle-class philosophy are there: “eclectic,” “modern scientific age,” “faith,” “human personality,” “freedom and significance of the individual.” These terms have two sets of opposites. If you take “systematic” instead of “eclectic,” “medieval religious age” instead of “faith,” “human soul” instead of “human personality,” and “subordination” instead of “freedom and significance of the individual,” you have the characteristic concepts of feudal ideology which the middle class overthrew during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Now, if you take as a second list “systematic,” “age of human control over both physical nature and society,” “science,” “human organism,” and “fulfillment of man’s needs by co-operative social life,” you get the characteristic socialist concepts which, it appears, are in turn to replace middle-class philosophy. There is a nice dialectic in these relations, for the last set of concepts has obviously drawn upon the other two and has succeeded in unifying the material thus gathered. But the concepts expressive of Naturalistic Humanism, couched as they are in terms so honorific as to be commonplaces of advertising and public relations, show a resolute wish to be neither feudal nor socialist. The last part of Mr. Smith’s definition rejects “Communistic Naturalism” not only because of immediate political pressures but because the two theories represent different historical epochs and antagonistic social systems. . . . As may be imagined, Mr. Smith got no candidates for that.

At the time the book came out, Dunham was dismissed by Temple University for being a “left-winger,” a suspected Marxist. In 1956, not long after Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist witch-hunts had become commonplace, Dunham added to his thoughts concerning humanism:

There is a theory and practice of the right relation between theory and practice. This discipline develops the larger generalizations about our place in nature; it refines our ways of choosing and of doing; it seeks to make us, or at any rate our descendants, secure in life and abundant in talent. Such a discipline is at once humanistic and philosophical. Its theme is salvation: human salvation, that is to say, not the salvation of apes or angels. For the first of these do not philosophize, and the second do not exist. For myself, I think philosophy assures us that the universe is a process of change, all of it knowable and some of it controllable. Part of the knowable and controllable is the happy place man can make for himself in nature. He will do it, I fancy, economically by social ownership of the land and the means of production, politically by the universal extension of personal liberties and of participation in public affairs. It may even be that government, which is violence made licit, will one day shrink to mere administration. I leave to others the labelling of these notions, asking only that I be spared the timid classifications, and at the same time that I be not exposed unfairly to comment by the police. (See entry for Albert C. Barnes.) {CE; Freethought History #20, 1996; WAS, 9 October 1956}

Dunlap, Andrew (19th Century) A freethinker, Dunlap wrote “A Speech Delivered Before the Municipal Court of the City of Boston in Defence of Abner Kneeland on an Indictment for Blasphemy” (1834). {GS}

Dunlap, Lewis H. (20th Century) Dunlap, who operates a humanist bookstore, is on the Board of Directors of the American Humanist Association and chairs their Chapter Assembly. At their 1993 Philadelphia annual conference, he was named a Humanist Pioneer. (See entry for Colorado Humanists.) {FD}

Dunn, Ellis (20th Century) Dunn in 1996 succeeded Don Baham as President of the Humanists of the Portland-Vancouver Metro Area (HPVMA) in Oregon.

Dunn, Ian (1944-1998) Once described as “the best known Scottish gay person,” Dunn was active in Scottish politics and was a long-standing member of GALHA, the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association. An early pioneer of gay activism, he was one of the founders of Gay News in the 1970s and also the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA).

Dunn, John Thomas (1919—1986) Dunn was an Australian rationalist, humanist, and engineer. In the 1950s he was a committee member of the Rationalist Society of Australia, and he was president of the Humanist Society of Victoria in 1969 and again in 1980. Dunn was a protagonist for cooperation or amalgamation of rationalists and humanists in Australia. {FUK; SWW}

Dunn, Russell (20 Century) Dunn, in “The Kite That Brought Down Religion” (Humanist Monthly, Scotia, New York), credited Benjamin Franklin with showing how a lightning rod is more than just a practical device for sparing tall buildings from a strike. When churches installed the rods, despite their concern that this would be tantamount to admitting a lack of faith in God’s divine judgment, science came out victorious.

Duns Scotus: See entry for Aureol.

Dupont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel (1739—1817) A French economist, Dupont de Nemours became President of the Constituent Assembly. He was a Theophilantrophist to some, but in Philosophie de l’univers (1796) he avowed that he was a deist. {BDF; JM; RAT}

Dupuis, Charles François (1742—1809) Origine de tous les Cultes by Dupuis was scientifically rational and is said to have been popular among the more intelligent of French freethinking proletariats. Robertson holds that Renan’s Vie de Jesus is comparable. During the Reign of Terror, Dupuis saved many lives at his own risk. Afterwards, he was one of the Council of Five Hundred and president of the legislative body. His Origine traced solar worship in various faiths, including Christianity, and it was described as “a monument of the erudition of unbelief.” McCabe described Dupuis’ views as holding that religious myths can be traced to astronomical truths. {BDF; JM; JMR; JMRH; RAT}

Duran de Huerta, Martha (20th Century) Duran, at the 1996 Humanist World Conference in Mexico City, spoke about the Zapatistas, a group of Indians out of favor with the Mexican government. When surrounded, and when they cannot even send messages by Satellite (the name of a mule they use), they transmit by internet, she jocularly reported in her comments about how modernity is to be found even in an indigenous society. But she lamented that women less than eighteen years of age are serving in the army and looked forward to cessation of the battles. Zapatistas, she holds, are humanists in that they put the will of the community above vested interests.

Durang, Christopher (1949— ) Durang is a dramatist who wrote the humorous “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You.” For Free Inquiry (Spring 1996), he wrote a humorous article, “The Lost Encyclical Against Penicillin,” in which the Pope utters a long dictum which bans anti-biotics, explaining that “God created bacteria and viruses for the purpose of infecting organisms sometimes seriously, sometimes less seriously—and we must never presume to interfere with the right order of God’s creation.” God created syphilis, the Pope continues, “to infect sexually immoral people, and cause them suffering and eventual death. In no way should a man-made anti-biotic interfere with this God-given process. Also, the fear of syphilis is a natural encouragement toward marital fidelity, which could not otherwise hold its own in a free market.” He continues his tongue-in-cheek reasoning, “It is especially sinful to use anti-biotics to block the natural path of syphilis as intended by God.” Durang is author of Baby With the Bath Water (1984) and Marriage of Bittle and Boo (1987). In an off-Broadway production of “Laughing Wild,” he appeared as the Infant of Prague. He sang and tried to dance with Julie Andrews in the Sondheim revue “Putting It Together.” “Betty’s Summer Vacation,” a 1999 work that was an exercise in absurdism, led Village Voice (23 March 1999) critic Michael Feingold to observe,

Guaranteed to offend almost everyone with some aspect of its bright-cheeked, amoral bluntness, the play gives no quarter even to what seems to be Durang’s own wistful desire, expressed through Betty, for some guiding principle that can govern human relations in a world where everything is trafficked in so openly that all modes of decency have broken down. . . . [The play shows] we’ve gone from the Freudian into the Sadeian Age.

Durant, Ariel (1898—1981) The freethinking wife of philosopher Will Durant, Ariel Durant wrote volumes seven to eleven of the eleven-volume Story of Civilization. {CE}

Durant, James 4th (20th Century) When he signed Humanist Manifesto II, Durant was a professor at Polk Community College in Winter Haven, Florida. {HM2}

Durant, Will(iam) (James) (1885—1981) An eminent philosopher who wrote The Story of Philosophy (1926) and numerous other volumes, Durant in the 1950s was on the advisory board of Charles Francis Potter’s First Humanist Society of New York. His comprehensive Story of Civilization (1933—1975), written partly with his wife Ariel, has led some to refer to Durant as being a contemporary Renaissance humanist. Invited to speak on “The Origins of Religion” at a New York assembly of the Francisco Ferrer Association, Durant told the group that sex is a sub-current in religion and “the phallus had in many places and forms been worshiped as a symbol of divine power.” The New Jersey bishop immediately excommunicated Durant and when the press reported the incident Durant’s mother collapses in shock and his father ordered him to move out of their home. Of religion, he (with Ariel) wrote the following:

• Does history support a belief in God? If by God we mean not the creative vitality of nature but a supreme being intelligent and benevolent, the answer must be a reluctant negative.

• Is Christianity dying? Is the religion that gave morals, courage, and art to Western civilization suffering slow decay through the spread of knowledge, the widening of astronomic, geographical, and historical horizons, the realization of evil in history and the soul, the decline of faith in an afterlife and of trust in the benevolent guidance of the world? If this is so, it is the basic event of modern times, for the soul of a civilization is its religion, and it dies with its faith.

• Sapere aude—“to dare to know”—became the motto of this éclairissement, or enlightenment, this Age of Reason triumphant and fulfilled. . . . Man could at last liberate himself from medieval dogmas and Oriental myths; he could shrug off that bewildering, terrifying theology, and stand up free, free to doubt, to inquire, to think, to gather knowledge and spread it, free to build a new religion around the altar of reason and the service of mankind. {CE; FUS}

Duranty, Walter (1884-1957): See entry for George Orwell.

During, Zoë (20 Century) During is president of the Auckland branch of ALRANZ, a trustee of the Pacific Foundation of Health, and a longtime campainger on moral, social, and health issues. During is an honorary associate of the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists.

Durkheim, Émile (1858—1917) A French sociologist, Durkheim taught philosophy at, in succession, Sens, Saint Quentin, and Troyes. He held that the collective mind of society was the source of religion and morality and that the common values developed in society, particularly in primitive societies, are the cohesive bonds of social order. The creeds, which he rejects, will eventually die, he held. Durkheim wrote The Rules of Sociological Method (1895), Le Suicide (1897), and The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912). {CE; RAT}

Duruy, Jean Victor (1730—1796) Duroy was a French historian who in 1863 became Minister of Education, rousing the wrath of the clergy by his reforms, particularly in improving the education of girls. He was compelled to resign in 1869, then entered the Senate. In 1875 he was admitted to the Institut. He wrote Histoire des Romains (2 volumes, 1843—1844), Histoire des Romains jusqu’à la mort de Théodore (7 volumes, 1876—1885), and Histoire des Grecs (2 volumes, 1886—1888). {RAT}

Dushman, Saul (20th Century) Dushman, a scientist, was a member of the American Humanist Association. {HNS}

DUTCH ATHEISM D. Noordenbos wrote Het Atheisme in Nederland in De Negentiende Eeuw (1931).

DUTCH FREETHINKERS, HUMANISTS Dutch refers to people in the Netherlands, a word connoting lands that are below sea level. The country is also called by the name of one of the its provinces, Holland. Dutch freethought and humanist groups and publications include the following: • De Vrije Gedachte, POB 1087, 3000 BB Rotterdam, The Netherlands, is the official journal of Dutch Free Thinkers. On the Web: <dvg@netcetera.netcetera.nl>. • De Vrije Gedachte (Free Thought), PO Box 1087, 3000 BB Rotterdam, The Netherlands • Dutch Humanist Home Front (Dutch ˜Humanist Homes for Soldiers), G. Reinoldweg 5A, 8084 JH, ’t Harde, The Netherlands • Dutch Humanist Study Centre, PO Box 797, 3500 AT Utrecht, Netherlands • Ego, a monthly humanist magazine for soldiers, is at Oranje Nassaulaan 71, 1708 BC Zeist, The Netherlands • European Humanist Professionals, a yearly in English, is at P.O. Box 797, 3500 AT Utrecht, The Netherlands; tel: +31-30-1390189; fax: +31-30-2390170; <hsn@uvh.nl>. • Het Humanistisch Archief, Dutch Humanist Archives and Documentation Centre, Van Asch van Wijckskade 28, 3512 VS Utrecht, The Netherlands; tel: +31-30-2390164; fax: +31-30-2390170; <humarc@uvh.nl>. • HIVOS Magazine, a Dutch quarterly of Humanist Development Cooperation, is at Raamweg 16, 2596 HL Den Haag, The Netherlands • HOM-Nieuwabrief, a Dutch quarterly, Humanist Human Rights, is at PO Box 114, 3500 AC Utrecht, The Netherlands • Humanist, a Dutch monthly of the Humanistisch Verbond Nederland, is at Postbus 75490, 1070 AL Amsterdam, The Netherlands <hv@euronet.nl>. • Human Broadcasting Foundation (HOS), Borneolaan 17, Postbus 135, 1200 AC Hilversum, The Netherlands • Humanist Committee on Human Rights (HOM), PO Box 114, 3500 AC Utrecht, The Netherlands. • Humanist Foundation for Housing the Aged (HSHB), Postbus 70510, 1007 KM Amsterdam, The Netherlands • Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries (HIVOS), Raamweg 16, 2596 HL Den Haag, The Netherlands. <http://www.dds.nl/~hivos/> • Humanistisch Verbond Nederland (IHEU) has moved to Postbus 75490, 1070 AL Amsterdam, The Netherlands • Humanistas Organisation for Social Work, Postbox 71, 1000 AB Amsterdam, The Netherlands

• Humus, a magazine of Humanistisch Verbond for Activists in the Organization, is at PO Box 114, 3500 AC Utrecht, The Netherlands

• International Association for Intercultural Education, c/o APBO ‘Pieter Batelaan,’ Sumatralaan 37, 1217 GP Hilversum, The Netherlands • JH-Nieuwsbrief has moved to Postbus 75490, 1070 AL Amsterdam, The Netherlands • Kader Kringloop Krant, a magazine of Humanitas for its activists, is at Postbus 71, 1000 AB, The Netherlands • Praktische Humanistiek, a Dutch quarterly for humanist counselors, is at Postbus 470, 3500 AL Utrecht, The Netherlands <swp@pi.net>. • Rekenschap, a cultural/scientific quarterly magazine in Dutch and English, is at Postbus 75490, 1070 AL Amsterdam, The Netherlands <hv@euronet.nl>. • Socrates, a foundation for professorships in humanist studies, is at Nieuwegracht 69A, 3512 LG Utrecht, The Netherlands • University for Humanist Studies (UvH), PO Box 797, 3500 AT Utrecht, The Netherlands • Van Mens tot Mens, a monthly of Humanitas, is at Postbus 71, 1000 AB Amsterdam, The Netherlands <info@lb.humanitas.nl>.

• WisselKrant, a Dutch quarterly, is at Postbus 75490, 1070-AL Amsterdam, The Netherlands <hv@euronet.nl>.

Commenting upon the progress made by the Dutch Humanist Association, Tony Akkermans has written that the group now has considerable status. “The prime minister and half the cabinet attended its 40th anniversary celebrations. There are Humanist counsellors in prisons, hospitals, and the armed forces. Voluntary euthanasia is widely available. There is no unnecessary censorship. Schoolgirl pregnancies are the lowest in Europe. Sixty percent of the population now say that they have no religion. All this momentous change in just four decades!”

DUTCH HUMANIST HOME FRONT (Humanist Homes for Soldiers) The Dutch Humanist Home Front is at G. Reinoldweg 5A, 8084 JH, ‘t Harde, Netherlands.

DUTCH HUMANIST INSTITUTE FOR DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION (HIVOS): See entry for Jaap Dijkstra. On the Web: <http://wwwdds.nl/~hivos/>.

DUTCH HUMANIST LEAGUE: See entry for Humanistisch Verbond.

DUTCH HUMANIST MOVEMENT, WEBSITES Websites of the Dutch Humanist Movement include the following:

• Humanist E-Zine, Dutch and international news and articles about the humanist movement: <www.human.nl/index.htm> • The Column, written by Yvonne Breuk, President of Humanistisch Verbond, about the 24-hour economy: <http://www.human.nl/Actualiteiten/Column/index.htm> • Media, with information about radio, television, new media, and printed media: <www.human.nl/Actualiteiten/Media/index.htm> • Organisations, with Dutch and international links: <www.human.nl/organisaties/index.htm> • Calendar: summary of activities, meetings, workshops, exhibitions, etc.: <www.human.nl/Agenda/1998/index.htm> {Piet Brinkman, the Internet, 5 Aug 1998}

DUTCH HUMANIST STUDY CENTRE The Dutch Humanist Study Centre is at PO Box 797, 3500 AT Utrecht, Netherlands.

DUTCH PHILOSOPHY: See Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Vol. 2.

DUTCH SCIENTIFIC HUMANITARIAN COMMITTEE The Scientific Humanitarian Committee was founded in The Hague in 1911 by the liberal Dutch lawyer and nobleman Jacob Schorer. He was convinced that it is not necessary to prove the biological origins of homosexuality and held that homosexuals like other humans have the right to give meaning and shape to their own lives so long as they do not damage the right to self-determination of others. His humanistic approach was attacked by the churches and by the Nazis. {Rob A. Tielman, Free Inquiry, Fall 1997}

DUTCH UNITARIANS Unitarians in The Netherlands can be contacted by telephoning (31) 71-14-09 88.

Dutrieux, Pierre Joseph (1848—1889) Dutrieux was a Belgian physician who, traveling to Cairo, was named with the courtesy title of bey. He was a freethinker.

Dutton, Denis (20 Century) Dutton, a senior lecturer in the philosophy of art at the School of Fine Arts, Canterbury University, is an honorary associate of the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists. Dutton, Thomas (1767—1815) A theatre critic, Dutton published a Vindication of the Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795). He edited the Dramatic Censor (1800) and the Monthly Theatrical Reporter (1815). {BDF}

Duvernet, Théophile Imarigeon (c. 1730—1796) A French writer, Duvernet was tutor to the Comte de Saint-Simon, then abbé and head of the Collège de Clermont. He was sent to the Bastille in 1781 for his Disputes de M. Guillaume, but he continued writing deistic works despite the jailing. In 1786 he published a eulogistic Vie de Voltaire, and other strongly worded rationalist writings followed. {RAT}

Dworkin, Andrea (20th Century) An opinionated left-of-center activist, Dworkin has been called a Nazi both by Rush Limbaugh and The Nation. When asked by journalist Norah Vincent about her political views, she admitted to being “basically a Jacobin” and definitely not a communist. “But I do believe that it’s one thing to talk about the redistribution of wealth. It’s quite another thing to talk about the redistribution of power. That’s more what interests me.” Asked if she believed in God, Dworkin responded, “Sometimes. . . .I really don’t. I’m really an agnostic. I really don’t know. . . . On the other hand, in my daily life, I constantly believe that God is chasing me. I feel we know each other very well. I had a very strong [Jewish] religious upbringing and I know I still use a lot of what I learned in it. I’m agnostic, but I have a mental engagement with, at least, my idea of God.” She continued,

When I was a kid I used to be really fascinated with Catholicism. It had my attention because I thought that confession was this totally brilliant thing. I think, I’m not the only one to have observed that, in a way, Freud made confession Jewish. However, very early on I began to think about abortion, and I began to see the Catholic Church as an enemy. And that’s pretty much how I see it now, although that’s not the only reason. For people who aren’t raised Christian, Christianity is very bewildering [b]ecause you have these people who eat the body of their lord and drink his blood and they think other people are crazy. {New York Press 4-10 February 1998}

Dyas, Richard H. (19th Century) An Army captain, Dyas wrote The Upas (1877). A freethinker, he resided for a long time in Italy and translated several of the works of C. Voysey. {BDF}

DYSLEXIA Dyslexia is a learning disorder, one in which letters in a word are mistakenly inverted: e.g.,

Workers of the world, untie! Fido is my god’s name. I don’t believe in Almighty Dog.

Dyson, A. E. (20th Century) In 1958 Dyson, then an agnostic, and the Rev. Andrew Hallidie Smith established the Homosexual Law Reform Society in England. Dyson is author of Yeats, Eliot, and R. S. Thomas (1981) and Liberty in Britain 1934—1994, a Diamond Jubilee History of the National Council for Civil Liberties (1994). He cites the prominent role of eminent freethinkers such as the NCCL’s first President, E. M. Forster. {GS}


Freeman Dyson, Physicist science

In March 2000 it was announced that Dyson would be awarded the Templeton prize for Progress of Religion.

Dyson was interviewed on NPR about the prize and confirmed that though he goes to church, it is more a "way of life" than a set of beliefs. On the latter he confirmed he is agnostic.

Dziamka, Kaz (20th Century) Dziamka, in Freethought Today (January-February 1996), described being raised a Polish Catholic who, moving to the United States, became a freethinker. Among other courses at Technical Vocational Institute (TVI), where he was an instructor in the Arts and Sciences Department, he taught “The American Humanist Tradition: Why Our Gods Have Failed.” “If human beings don’t solve their problems, then nobody—no god or gods—will,” he declared. When his contract was not renewed, however, the course did not continue being taught. Dziamka’s doctoral thesis at the University of New Mexico was “Utopia and Freedom in American Culture.” In 1996 upon the death of Gordon Stein, Dziamka became editor of The American Rationalist, and in 1999 he was named a Humanist Pioneer by the American Humanist Association. Barbara Dziamka, his wife, is also a non-theist. On the Web: <freethought.org/org/ar/> and <http://www.infidels.org/org/ffrf/fttoday/june_july96/dziamka.html>. {Freethought Today, June-July 1996}

Dzielska, Maria (20th Century) Dzielska’s Hypatia of Alexandria (1996) tells of the rivalry between Cyril (later St. Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria, Egypt) and Orestes, the recently arrived civil authority. Siding with the Christian Orestes, Hypatia was termed a “witch” devoted to the occult and she was killed by an Alexandrian mob of parabolans, strong-arm enforcers for the church. {Gordon Stein, “Hypatia as a Freethought Heroine,” Free Inquiry Fall 1996}

Dziemidok, Bohdan (20th Century) Dziemidok, a professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the University of Gdansk, Poland, is the humanist author of Contemporary American Philosophy of Art. In Free Inquiry (Winter 1992-1993), he wrote on “John Dewey’s Contribution to the Theory of Valuation.” Dziemidok is author of On the Aesthetics of Roman Ingarden (1989) and The Comical (1993).