Monday, January 04, 2010

Stephen Heersink, 1953-2009

It is with great regret that I report the death on December 29 of my dear Internet colleague Stephen Heersink, who conducted a remarkable website at Gayspecies.blogspot.com. Curiously enough, we had never met in the flesh, since I was living in New York City and he in San Francisco, and we traveled little in recent years,  We were virtually soul mates.  While we had similar interests and views, we were both forthright--unafraid to voice disagreement with the other's opinions. By showing that "we could take it," we honed our own arguments.  Stephen showed incredible energy in producing, sometimes, three or four postings in a single day, most of them festooned with helpful hypertext references (including not a few to my work). I find it hard to imagine getting up in the morning and not looking at the latest post at The Gay Species.  He was also a "top 1000 reviewer" at Amazon, where his insightful comments may still be accessed.

Stephen was a brilliant thinker and writer.  He will be greatly missed.

Stephen Heersink was born in Central California on February 21, 1953 to a family of Dutch Calvinists. Recognizing that this background was somewhat narrow, in his senior year in college he sought instruction in Roman Catholic Scholasticism at a seminary in Berkeley. While resolutely secular in his mature views, Stephen knew a lot about the history of Christianity. In this way he was able to offer useful pointers concerning my ongoing manuscript on the Abrahamic religions.

At UC Berkeley and Mills College Stephen deeply immersed himself in analytic philosophy. While we disagreed on the value of that discipline, we both acknowledged a profound indebtedness to Karl Popper and Friedrich Hayek. A little later Stephen became a successful banker (a position from which he had retired). This background lent his analyses of the current economic crisis particular authority.

He was, of course, an unyielding defender of gay rights. It is appropriate, then, that his last posting was to felicitate the first gay marriages to achieve legal status in Latin America--in southern Argentina.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Burk Braun said...

Hi, Wayne- Thanks for the news. I truly enjoyed hearing Gay Species' flamboyant commentary.

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