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Darwin’s Bicentennial

Today is the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday, and I just got done reading an article about how terrible Darwin was. Frankly, I’m not sure I agree with what I read.

Let me explain myself. 😉

The article I read was entitled, “What I Teach My Children about Charles Darwin” and it is by a homeschooling father of…a bunch of kids. His main points were that

1. Darwin was bitter (over the death of his daughter)
2. Darwin worshiped a false God
3. Darwin was sloppy and was not a true scientist
4. Darwin trained his children to hate the God of the Bible
5. Darwin trained other men to be hateful toward their fellow man
6. Darwin’s legacy could be the legacy of anyone who worships the creature more than the Creator

Wow. This sounds not a little uncharitable, and since Valentine’s day is coming up, I think we ought to show a little love and take a closer look at this. 😉

This author begins by saying, “Certainly there is much to say about the specifics of his Theory, its pernicious influence on the world, and the shoddy scholarship that produced it. Perhaps there is even more to say about the god-like status attributed to him by his worshipers in the unbelieving world, or the deep faith in man, materialism, and process to which they cling.”

Let’s pause here.
a) A theory itself cannot be pernicious. A theory is an inanimate object: it is as incapable of forcing itself on a society as a basket of fruit might be.  And let’s not speak of it as if it ::thrust:: itself upon a godly society that trying desperately to avoid it. This simply wasn’t the case.
b) The “shoddy scholarship” that produced it was reasonable scholarship. He did his homework: he simply reached the wrong conclusions.  Perhaps his heart was wrong. Perhaps he truly was searching for something to disprove a God he felt had abandoned him. Yet the fault lies not with him, for “foisting” his theory upon an unsuspecting world.

No, I would contend that the fault for the spread of Darwinism as a concrete record for the history of the world lies with us, who have blindly propagated his ideas into less of a theory and more of a religion.  We were not seeking to disprove what he proposed by looking at the facts! We were readily willing to accept anything that would mean we wouldn’t be responsible to a higher authority.  Just because this happened to be that thing (or seemed to explain away the need for a higher power) doesn’t mean that Darwin was a terrible person out to kill Christianity. On an off note, it is abundantly obvious that no force on earth has the power to kill Christianity, but that we can discuss later.

I wish I had more educated information about Darwin’s life and travels, but I didn’t start the week planning on writing up something for the bicentennial of his birthday. 😉 This is the best I have right now, and I’d like to conclude by saying that it’s true that Darwin wasn’t a real scientist. He wasn’t originally a scientist: he wasn’t a pro. But he was fascinated by what he saw in the natural world. He studied it closely! And based on what he saw, his ideas took on a life of their own and his mind wandered even further. He wanted to learn. Perhaps his heart was wrong. It is true that his theory has not helped the Christian faith, but nor has it defeated it. This article I read has such an air of defeat about it, it almost hurts to read. We do not need to act as if Darwin were inferior! He wanted to learn about the world he lived in! The world could do with a lot more Christians with his enthusiasm for learning and his fervor for ideas. Just because we cannot make up our own theories does not mean we simply throw stones! Why do we refuse to learn and think for ourselves? We choose to take the words of condescending others as our own when we look at Darwinism. If we were as excited to learn as he was, we would probably be much more fluent and understanding of his lines of thinking  (as in how he came up with what he did). As it is, we simply condescend and choose not to learn for ourselves. This makes the Christian weaker, not stronger. It is necessary to stretch the mind, to attempt to see things from other perspectives, and not to flatly state that “that is wrong because it is wrong.” If we must be aware of how our faith works, why should we not also be aware of how opposing ideas work, and why they are in error?

So much for a brief conclusion…my apologies. This frustrates me, though, and I struggle to understand why no one seems to think that the alternate view might be worth “trying on.” Not syncrotizing, not getting sucked in or becoming disillusioned with your original beliefs, but simply looking at the way others think. How else will we understand what makes others tick? How will Christians share their faith? How will atheists think clearly and weigh the facts against what they believe? There are strong applications to the Christian world (which is where I’m focusing my frustration…because I happen to think that parts of the Christian church need discipline here as much as any other group), but everyone could probably benefit from actually practicing the unbiased viewpoint they all say they uphold.

😀 And…I digress! Enjoy. 🙂 And leave angry comments as you see fit.


9 Responses to “Darwin’s Bicentennial”

  1. The article is simply one of many written by anti-evolutionists in order to discredit Darwin as much as possible. They simply prey on people who don’t know and/or don’t know better.

    The majority of Christian demoninations do NOT tell their members that they must make a choice … God or Evolution … therefore evolution is NOT a battleground between Christians and Atheists.

    • I specifically attempt not to frame it as a debate between Christians and atheists, because I’m aware there are “compromise points” that Christians have tried to make for evolution.

      I wouldn’t say that authors of articles like this “prey” on anyone. My entire premise is that it’s the individual’s job to do their own research and reach independent conclusions instead of just taking any one viewpoint as their own. People can allow themselves to be “preyed on”, but I don’t believe the article was written to lead people astray. You know?

  2. Bumblebee … thanks for the reply.

    Since I haven’t read the article, it’s probably not best for me to continue down that track … but I was making points based on what you were saying about the article.

    Agree that people need to learn to make a judgment …. but there’s a lot to learn. But on the topic, many Christians say that one doesn’t have to choose as the two do support each other without compromise.

    Since you used the term, what do you mean in the last sentence of your response’s first paragraph (about compromise points)?

  3. “Compromise points” – such as the gap theory or non-involvement on the part of God (I don’t know what this is called, but it’s essentially the theory that God started things up [evolving] and then walked away) are two main points I was thinking of. I’m sure there are others, but those are the two I’m most aware of. I don’t agree that the two support each other “without compromise.”

    There is a lot to learn! Trust me, I know. 🙂 But even that is not an excuse for not learning anything and agreeing blindly. If anything, agreeing thoughtlessly is worse than disagreeing thoughtlessly…both of which everyone is guilty of to some extent.

  4. Your last paragraph says a lot … powerful … well done.

    I wonder how many people really understand what science is, it’s parameters, and its role in our life. Charles Darwin was theologically trained, yet he understand science.

    Being human involves both the natural world and the spiritual world … and the later is not within the natural world. I appreciate his quote: “A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections — a mere heart of stone.” … to which he speaks about not only how science works, but also how people must look at it.

    Since human life is both in the natural world and the spiritual world, no compromise is needed … yet understanding how the two intertwine is important.

    The Pew Research Center has much good stuff. As you will see, most of Christianity officially understands.

    Bumblebee … good discussion … thanks!

  5. This, as usual, Bumblebee, shows a great mind and lots of potential. Your last paragraph does indeed have much to say and much which the Church body at large should take as good medicine. You seem to aim for a balance of the “Modern” (objective) and Post-Modern (relativist) viewpoints. I appreciate that more than you can know. Wise, my friend, wise.

    A few points. In “a)” you said that a theory cannot be pernicious. True, but the writer said its “pernicious influence” which I would argue true. Whether intended or not, something may indeed have a pernicious influence. E.g. mass media.
    In “b)” I agree to a large degree (that rhymes) but I do think, though Darwin’s scholarship presents itself fairly reasonable, it is not, in fact, well rounded nor thorough. We don’t live in a vacuum, nor should we make theories as though we do. Darwin for the most part didn’t do this, but, then again, for a large part he did. A good history of Darwin and his theories is recommended. But you are right, he came to the wrong conclusion. He said himself that if the fossil record doesn’t confirm his theories, they die on the spot. 150 years later, they still don’t fully support his theories.

    I do not contend that Darwin had good points. He did. A lot of what he said really is good science. We certainly should never throw rocks anything, especially what we don’t understand – why I say to study his theories. When you really understand them, AND the surrounding sciences, it is clear however the evidence for evolution comes up lacking. Certainly adaptation over time, (no Creationist would argue with that) but the original “primordial ooze” from which the whole theory rests shows that, at that time, Darwin made fairly terrific leaps and guesses that just don’t hold up. That is why many people say his science is “shoddy.”

    I agree fully, we should explore our world and seek to understand. That was the driving force behind Newton and, in fact, most early scientists. Now, they seek for verification of their own theories (which is both good and bad, depending on how strong any set paradigm has a hold on one, and how objective they can, in fact, be.)

    As a last note, Evolution is in fact a very strong point of contention between Christians and atheists. It doesn’t always show up in the pulpit, but it should show up in school – what I mean is this: For “good science” to be good science, it must, as both Lydia and I said, be fairly objective. Truly studying the facts do not lead one to either the “fact” of Evolution, nor the theory of Intelligent Design (ID). It leads to a point where one must make up their own mind based on other criteria. Scientists (and Theists) who say that science disproves (or proves) the existence of God are not saying scientific things: they are saying Metaphyiscal things, and must therefore back those things up Metaphyically.

    We should therefore, seek with all our heart, the truth, what others think, why and how and understand, to the best of our feeble, finite minds, the world around us. Most people are afraid, or confused (Man will always distrust what he doesn’t understand) of the unknown. What makes “great men” is to explore that, not cower in fear of it. Seek and you shall find, Knock and the door will be opened to you.

  6. I changed my blog address, BTW. Here is the new link:

  7. James,

    I will simply say that you have many misconceptions … so many that I must move on.

  8. One last point, and this may seem fairly irrelevant:
    Many people do not have the capacity to understand the science behind certain theories. (Sometimes even the scientists themselves).
    That is one reason why God doesn’t hold us less accountable for not understanding something, but counts as righteousness faith alone. Anyone can have faith. (In fact, all do; just depending on what it is in, it may be too small to perceive [e.g. many atheists make themselves god, but that makes for a very small god indeed and therefore think they don’t have one….]) And why Gnosticism, etc simply fail.

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