Skip to comments.On the Myths about Charles Darwin
Posted on 10/31/2009 3:25:50 PM PDT by Natural Law
Much has been made of the piety, or rather the lack thereof, of Charles Darwin. He has repeatedly been characterized on FR as an atheist, a fool, a demon, an agent of devil, and one on a vendetta to drive believers away from God. Some go so far as to declare him a false God and the science he suggested to be a false religion. Those that profess this are either grossly ignorant or intentionally deceiving so as to reinforce their personal beliefs and conclusions. Diminishing the messenger is often easier than diminishing the message.
The Myth that Darwin was an atheist. Charles Darwin was a religious man, educated in Anglican schools and taught by Catholics priests at the university level. He was active in his parish and shared long term friendships with members of the clergy. After many years of abuse at the hands of clergy and religious institutions for offering his treatise on the origin of species he turned away from organized religion, but not from God. In a letter to the skeptic John Fordyce, Darwin wrote (7 May 1879):
"In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God
In his Autobiography, Darwin put forward plenty of other reasons for abandoning his belief in conventional Christianity and on several occasions stated that he saw no incompatibility between evolution and religion.
The Myth that Darwin believed in spontaneous generation or that life emerged from nothing. Darwin never addressed initial creation or suggested any answers to the origin of life. His work dealt with the variations of life and the adaptations to specific environments. In his autobiography Darwin stated; the conclusion was strong in my mind [that] I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist. He further stated; I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems. The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble to us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.
Here Agnostic does not mean doubtful of the existence of God. Darwin chose his words carefully. It simply means is the philosophical view that the truth value of certain claims are unknown or, unknowable. It is not a religious declaration as an agnostic may also be a theist or an atheist.
The Myth that Darwin blamed God and lost his Christian faith because of the death of his daughter Annie. There is no direct documentary evidence for this in anything Darwin or his contemporaries wrote. Darwin certainly never said anything about it. It is a hypothesis formulated by Darwin biographer Jim Moore. However, anyone who has ever suffered the loss of a child can justifiably question the mercy of God.
A great scientist who actually understood the difference between theory, fact, and faith.
And, almost as important, he understood the difference between hypothesis and theory; a distinction lost an many even here on FR.
Poster child for the religion of humanism.
Good point. I seldom make that distinction myself.
Ideas have consequences. For a theist, what one believes about evolution says something about what you believe about the character and nature of God. Sure, evolution is compatible with 'religion' because it is _foundational_ to most of the world's (man-made) religions. But that doesn't make it nice, or true. That's why its defenders are so, hmm, emotional - because it is their foundational religious beliefs that are threatened by science.
Excellent article, but unless you can do it five times a day, every day, quality be damned, you’ll never match the Professor of Ignorance.
Like Newton, I figure it was the followers of Darwin responsible for this bad rap.
"Survival of the fittest" was a snappy way of encapsulating the observed phenomenon pioneered by such naturalists as Wallace and Darwin of animals adapting to environmental changes through natural selection in offspring resulting in overall survival of the lifeform.
Pride-blinded brick-wall people whose faith in God and Jesus is weak have stupidly and willfully misinterpreted it to mean "Ruthlessness is the key to survival," which of course goes against Judeo-Christian teachings.
Adapt or perish -- it holds true on both our worldly plane and our spiritual plane. The natural world is dog-eat-dog -- animals that adapt survive and those that don't, perish. Our spiritual world, even as revealed in the Bible, is equally dog-eat-dog; God in His Wisdom has given us a handbook and instruction manual of how we humans, made in His image, can adapt in our behaviors to survive both spiritually and physically under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Civilizations that defy God's laws perish. Those that adapt to them, survive. The bible lays down laws that will ensure human survival and thriving anyplace, anytime.
God is everywhere, and His love is key. Civilizations perish when they become ruthless; those who equate "adapt or perish" with "you must be ruthless to survive" are dunderheaded idiots of weak insight and weaker confidence in God's wisdom.
As a theist, I am perfectly comfortable with the Theory of Evolution. I am not much of a science person—I won’t pretend to be an expert on evolution, or that the theory as it stands is infallible, but I find the slow, intricate, never-ending development of species a much more impressive statement about the scope of God’s power, the vastness of His plans, and His constant involvement in Creation than some split-second hocus-pocus. The Creator is ever creating.
“The Myth that Darwin believed in spontaneous generation or that life emerged from nothing. Darwin never addressed initial creation or suggested any answers to the origin of life.”
Charles Darwin Really Did Have Advanced Ideas About The Origin Of Life
ScienceDaily (Oct. 27, 2009)
A comment in a notebook dating back to 1837, in which Darwin explains that “the intimate relationship between the vital phenomena with chemistry and its laws makes the idea of spontaneous generation conceivable,” gave the researchers their clue...........
In another famous letter sent in 1871 to his friend, the English botanist and explorer Joseph D. Hooker, Charles Darwin imagines a small, warm pool where the inanimate matter would arrange itself into evolutionary matter, aided by chemical components and sufficient sources of energy.”
Darwin was little more than a second rate “scientist”, not a god, not a devil.
Famous? So famous no one has heard of it, except those who sift through his waste basket looking for incriminations. Exploring a line of thought in a private letter in a rhetorical posing and expecting a thoughtful response hardly professing the musing as fact.
“Darwin never addressed initial creation or suggested any answers to the origin of life.”
It seems you are wrong. Just do a bit research before posting and it will help reduce such obvious mistakes. As for the inability to recognize your error, I don’t know what you can do about that, it’s not my concern.
A definite read for those who are open to exploring both sides of the evolution vs creation debate. I'm not completely comfortable with either the science or theology in the book, but I can relate.
"Seems"? I included my sources to substantiate my positions. If you want to refute them cite your material or remain at the kiddie table while the grown-ups speak.
I guess my choice of words could have been better; You are definitely and obviously wrong. And attacking the messenger with ridicule won't diminish either.