For decades a story has circulated that Charles Darwin became a true believer (Christian) near the end of his life. By all sound research that appears to be nothing more than a myth or “urban legend.” Although Darwin eased up on his antipathy toward Christianity, it seems certain he didn’t convert-at least as far as anyone knows. It does no good in a creation v evolution debate for creationist to think that Darwin renounced evolution. He did not.
That Darwin was an ill and troubled man is beyond dispute. His own diaries attest to that fact. In addition to severe depression and anxiety Darwin suffered from various stomach problems, headaches, hallucinations, muscle twitches, uncontrollable weeping, and fits of hysteria. It doesn’t seem unusual for “great” men to suffer mentally and physically. The causes of his maladies aren’t fully known but it is know that they began in his teens.
The fact that Darwin suffered a great deal should not be used to impugn his sincerity or detract from his genius. If one disagrees with his theories it’s those that should be called into question and not Darwin himself. Christians do a great disservice when they attack anyone’s character. (Let he who is without sin cast the first stone).
What about his theories? The so-called Classical Darwinian evolution is all but dead. It’s only in general society that Darwin’s form of evolution persists in the psyche of Americans and other people around the world. The mass of people get their information from college professors who hold 30 year old views or from popular publications whose writers have probably never read even a sampling of books on the topic or perhaps even a single book. Nearly 50% of Americans never read another book after high school
Most, if not all mainstream scientists and researchers of all faiths (atheism included) know that the popular concept of evolution is no longer a viable theory. Within the evolutionary ranks debates continue as to how to salvage the theories. In a recent issue of New Scientist magazine the author states that Classical Darwinism “lies in tatters, torn to pieces by an onslaught of negative evidence.” That’s not saying evolution is “dead” but the concept that most people have of it is dead.
To his credit, Darwin recognized the problems with his own theories. He wrote…
Why, if species have descended from other species by fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms?
In recent years some researchers and authors claim that transitional forms do exist but to date there are no undisputed transitional forms (they are disputed by evolutionists and creationists alike). No disputes variability within species it’s evolution between species that’s unsubstantiated.
Darwin also wrote…
If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous successive slight modifications my theory would absolutely break down but I can find out no such case.
It must be remembered that Darwin lived in the time before microbiology. He had no idea of the complexity of a single cell. In his controversial book Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe argues that gradual evolution can’t explain the complexity seen in all life. The cell for example is what Behe calls “irreducibly complex” or for the cell to function all its components had to simultaneously appear intact and functional. It would’ve been impossible for that to occur by classical evolution.
Behe’s critics seem to admit irreducibly complexity without giving in to Behe’s point. The critics say that the cell is indeed a “black box” that’s functioning “escape understanding.” It’s another case of holding tight to a position in the face of unexplainable evidence. Not unlike what Christians have done for ages.
Darwinians, like Christians, believe there are some things we’ll just never know for certain. That’s not exactly so, if Christians are correct then everyone will someday know the truth. If Darwinians are correct, the truth doesn’t matter one bit because the only thing after death is dust.
We’ll continue our Darwin discussion in a future article. Do you know Darwin loved shoot birds?
John D. Morris, Ph.D: Did Darwin Renounce Evolution on His Deathbed?
Jerry Bergman, Ph.D : Was Charles Darwin Psychotic? A Study of His Mental Health
Brian Thomas, M.S.: 150 Years Later, Fossils Still Don’t Help Darwin
Lawton, G. 2009. “Why Darwin Was Wrong About the Tree of Life” New Scientists,. 2692: 34-39.
Frank Sherwin, M.A: No Weaknesses in the Theory of Evolution?
Darwin, Charles: On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection: or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, 6th Edition
Michael Behe Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution
John F. Haught: God After Darwin:A Theology of Evolution