Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Nobody Sucks Like Timothy Dwight

I happened upon this charming snippet from one of Yale's founding fathers, via Hitchens' latest (which is very good):
"If God had decreed from all eternity that a certain person should die of smallpox, it would be a frightful sin to avoid and annul that decree by the trick of vaccination." So said Timothy Dwight, President of Yale University. He was President of Yale from 1795 to 1817, and spoke passionately against the new medical invention developed by Edward Jenner called vaccination.


At 1:43 PM, Blogger Colin said...

I saw this quote, and want to let you know it's totally inaccurate. I'm a scholar of Dwight and other early American figures. The quote attributed to Dwight here is actually found in an essay by Robert Ingersoll, written about 50 years after Dwight's death. Though Ingersoll claims (without evidence) that Dwight made this argument, actual documentary evidence says otherwise. On two occasions I know about (IN his "Travels" and in an 1812 Sermon, Dwight actually praised the recent discovery of vaccination, and called it a gift of Providence. Just wanted to set the record straight.

At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

something tells me you're an apologist of sorts

At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Graham said...

Thanks for the correction Colin. I read the quote in Ingersoll's works, and wanted to confirm it. Good to know.

At 6:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan." Christian apologists are quick to claim "success" as God's work and would just as quickly disown past "success" when new information comes to light that taints the same past "success". This claim by Colin smells like one of those disingenuous statements. Soon, someone will washing their hands clean by relegating Dwight's statement as the "works of men". Hence, God can do no wrong. (As far as I know, animals have no religion; therefore without "men" there is no religion. No god. Making the well-used phrase "works of men" pretty empty and devoid of meaning.)


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