Farewell to Dietrich Kessler

Evolution: Controversial in the U.S. in 2013, still controversial in 2014.

Editor’s note: This website is fortunate enough to have had a number of individuals and supporters contribute their testimonies, letters and guest posts, but none of them thus far has been as prolific as a friend of ours out in Texas. Because of his conservative church affiliations, he had been reluctant to “come out” publicly as a theistic evolutionist and so has, until now, written under the pseudonym Dietrich Kessler. We’re pleased to announce that will no longer be necessary.

In the United States, few topics can create a stir equal to or greater than the “E” word — particularly where religion or science education are concerned. The rest of the developed Western world looks on in disbelief about how a subject so crucial, so rudimentary to the understanding of nature and how our world works, can still be so controversial here, more than 130 years after Charles Darwin’s death.

Over the course of 2013, the origins debate has had a considerable amount of fuel thrown into its fire. The controversy involving the Texas State Board Of Education, belief in evolution declining among Republicans, and now — before the New Year even takes its first step or says its first word — the announcement that Bill Nye will debate Ken Ham at the Creation “museum” is already the talk of the town.

One of the eager newcomers to the origins debate, defending the compatibility of science and faith, is this very site, God of Evolution. Over the course of the same year, I have seen GOE grow from only a handful of fans, to now being referenced by websites like The Daily Kos and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, along with being attacked by Answers In Genesis.

Of course, the bulk of this success must be attributed to GOE’s readers and supporters, but I feel credit is also due its editor and lead contributor, Tyler Francke, and Facebook page co-manager Luke Simpson. They have not only helped make God of Evolution what it is today, but have also lifted me up as a writer, intellectually and spiritually, and for that I am grateful.

In the past I have written under the pseudonym “Dietrich Kessler.” This desire for anonymity was due to my not being sure exactly what to say about myself, how to say it, or when. In reading stories of individuals who have come out of fundamentalism, it appears to me that most of them endured abusive pasts and/or damaging relationships, often with parents. Nothing could be further from the truth in my case. My parents were, and still are, very loving.

My journey away from religious conservatism, my escape from fundamentalism, was entirely an intellectual one. I read and reasoned and studied my way out. No horror stories from childhood, no “marred past,” no abuse. In that sense, I suppose, my story is more unique from the stories of most who also were lucky enough to escape fundamentalism for different, more terrifying reasons.

I have been thrilled to write for God of Evolution under the name “Dietrich,” but now feel like it is finally time to have the privilege of contributing as my real self, and also, to let you know about a little project I’m currently working on. You may have noticed that it has been quite awhile since I last wrote for God of Evolution. This is because I am writing a book about the Religious Right.

My book will cover the origins of this radical movement, its way of thinking, as well as what its vision and agenda are. Such an undertaking requires a lot of research, and the book includes a lot of history, a lot of statistics, and unfortunately — a lot of tragic testimonies. While many books about the Religious Right normally cover just one aspect of it — their revisionist history, their sensationalist attitudes, their indoctrinating of children — my book is intended to be a comprehensive exposé of the entire movement — their methods, their ideas, their claims and their actions.

Within the book, the debate between creationism and evolution is extensively covered, and Tyler has been gracious enough to write the foreword, while Luke has agreed to help with aspects of research. Both of these gentlemen have set an example not just for me, but for other Christians, in challenging pseudoscience that hides under the banner of “God’s word.” I eagerly look forward to the book’s release (within the next few months) and look forward also, to further contributing my “theology with attitude” to this amazing website. It’s going to be a hell of a ride. Grace and peace.

Race Hochdorf

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  • soanso

    How can we be sure this is not just another pseudonym. JK It’s really too bad, and frankly quite silly, that many Christians feel like they have to hide their acceptance of science. It’s a topic I can be reluctant to be candid about. I’ve seen friends distance themselves at merely the mention of the e-word. I know because I was taught that theistic evolutionists are the most evil of all possible evils – literally. But all it took was the mention of that e-word by some very respected Christian professors, and I was hooked. Science could be enjoyed and accepted, and the Bible and my faith would not fall away. And sorry, but you just can’t have science and leave out the biggies like gravity and evolution. Thank you GOE and contributors like DK/RH for bringing exciting, fun, and interesting news to my Facebook page!

    • Thanks! It is unfortunate, but I do hope and feel that the climate is changing. People are learning that there is an alternative to the ugliness of fundamentalism that does not require you to abandon your faith or reason. So glad to hear your story! Thanks for sharing!

  • Quincy Hansen

    I know Race Hochdorf hasn’t posted on this site since 2014, but I’m curious as to whether or not the blog linked to when you click the author’s name is the same Race Hochdorf as the one who was posting here. I’m thinking that perhaps a domain was changed somewhere along the line, and that’s causing the link to the wrong blog. The blog linked to is an atheist blog, and I know Race has identified himself as a Christian in posts written for God of Evolution. I looked through the blog that’s currently linked to, and the author there has stated he was an atheist in posts from before Race was posting here… It’s kind of strange, would someone help me look into it?

    Also, the book written about in this post, was it ever published? If so, where can I find information on it. (Though, I understand circumstances may have changed as this post was written in 2014…)