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Tweefo
2007-Apr-07, 04:01 PM
The other day one of my employees tried to convince me that Darwin "came to God" on his death bed. Was Darwin publicly an atheist? I think he may have been one privately, but in public, in his day?

Sticks
2007-Apr-07, 04:38 PM
The other day one of my employees tried to convince me that Darwin "came to God" on his death bed. Was Darwin publicly an atheist? I think he may have been one privately, but in public, in his day?

The story that Darwin recanted on evolution is not true

(Link) (http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2193) Sorry for it being a religious link, but I did try and see if there was a Snopes link

My understanding is that Charles Darwin was once Anglican, but lost his faith due to the death of his favourite daughter.

Dr Nigel
2007-Apr-07, 04:48 PM
Here's what is on TalkOrigins about this particular story, along with a set of links (two of which seem not to work):
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/hope.html

Sticks
2007-Apr-07, 05:48 PM
Here's what is on TalkOrigins about this particular story, along with a set of links (two of which seem not to work):
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/hope.html


thanks for that, I thought it would be on a secular site, but the only one that came to mind was Snopes, which just warbles on about the Darwin Awards :wall:

ToSeek
2007-Apr-07, 06:19 PM
The story that Darwin recanted on evolution is not true

(Link) (http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2193) Sorry for it being a religious link, but I did try and see if there was a Snopes link

My understanding is that Charles Darwin was once Anglican, but lost his faith due to the death of his favourite daughter.

Yes, Darwin actually trained to be a minister (mostly due to lack of enthusiasm about any other profession, I think), but eventually became an agnostic.

JohnD
2007-Apr-07, 07:17 PM
Ah, Darwin's Recantation - the Lady Hope story.

She was a keen evangaliser, who declared this as fact but without confirmation. It was wholly in sympathy with her personal ethos of salvation through conversion, a red hot headline to boost her campaigns, but wholly out of sympathy with Darwin's opinions in later life, espcially after the death of his daughter.

John

Noclevername
2007-Apr-12, 12:00 AM
Darwin may or may not have recanted; he never changed his theories about evolution, and of course in years since then we've amassed a mountain of confirmable evidence far more important than the beliefs of any one individual.

mike alexander
2007-Apr-12, 01:10 AM
The impression I have taken away is that Darwin held a view something like that of Einstein. He certainly held an awe of the natural world, summed up so well at the end of The Origin


Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.


"endless forms most beautiful" What a lovely phrase.

Matherly
2007-Apr-12, 02:02 AM
Here (http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v18/i1/darwin_recant.asp) is a page from "Answers in Genesis", a fiercly creationist website debunking the 'deathbed conversion'.

Sticks
2007-Apr-12, 05:17 AM
So both the creationist camps and the evolution camps all agree on something for once.

Progress? :shifty:

Dr Nigel
2007-Apr-12, 08:14 AM
So both the creationist camps and the evolution camps all agree on something for once.

Progress? :shifty:

Progress, or direct evidence that the "deathbed recantation" story was made up.

Delvo
2007-Apr-12, 12:23 PM
...or that the AIG loonies just wanted to appear to be open-minded and honest, so they had to take the other side on something, and picked something relatively minor that they could do without.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Apr-12, 09:49 PM
Nope, it's a conspiracy and they're all in on it. Trust no one! The truth is out there. :eek: :shifty:

Gillianren
2007-Apr-12, 10:26 PM
You know, if you admit to being wrong about the things about which you're really, really obviously wrong, you might snow people into not realizing that you're also wrong about things that take a little more research to show you're wrong about. If that makes any sense.

tofu
2007-Apr-12, 11:00 PM
The other day one of my employees tried to convince me that Darwin "came to God" on his death bed.

Did you ask your employee, the "so what?" question?

I mean, really, who cares? What does this mean? Was your employee trying to make the argument that this would have some bearing on evolution? Obviously evolution can't be true - Darwin recanted on his deathbed. OK, how about this: I have a very reliable source that tells me Galileo recanted on his deathbed too. Therefore, the Sun must orbit the Earth.

I'd love to hear your employee's response to that.

But you know what, there is a bigger issue here: why would Darwin have to be an atheist? The Christian (or in Darwin's case agnostic) world-view does not *have* to be in opposition to evolution - and in Darwin's day, it was not seen as being in opposition. William Buckland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Buckland), a contemporary of Darwin, a clergyman, and the first scientist to describe dinosaurs, believed in what the wiki calls theistic evolution (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theistic_evolution), which certainly has all of the elements of evolution that creationists today refuse to believe. He wasn't kicked out of the church or anything. There was no controversy.

I'm not sure when exactly it happened that Christians just sort of decided that this was going to be their big issue. If you ask a Christian with children if they believe that god made their children, they will invariably answer "yes, of course." But then, they don't go that one step further and say that because god made my child I cannot believe in sperm.

Why do they take that step with evolution?? I think it's just a culture that has emerged - in many ways, it is a reactionary culture. Many atheists are kind of jerks. I found a very nice video about evolution on YouTube, but I can't send the link to any of the IDers that I know because the video refers to them repeatedly as IDiots. They aren't going to listen to an argument from someone who insults them, and you wouldn't listen to that either. I have many such examples, but I'll stop there for fear of skirting the rules.

My only suggestion would be that you propose something to your employee that he or she may not have even considered. Maybe, just maybe, acceptance of evolution doesn't have to mean giving up religious beliefs. I think that many creationists haven't even considered that as a possibility. They fight and argue reflexively at this point, without even thinking about it. This Darwin story is a perfect example. Someone suggests that Darwin converted and they instantly think, "ah ha!" but I say, "so what?"

tofu
2007-Apr-12, 11:08 PM
If that makes any sense.

That's really quite contorted. You are suggesting that they know they are wrong about evolution, so in order to trick you into not noticing that they are wrong, they are intentionally wrong about something else for a while, and then they admit that they were wrong.

How about this alternate theory: they really just honestly don't believe in evolution - but they aren't liars, so if the Darwin story isn't true, and they know it isn't true, they say it isn't true.

Occam's Razor tells me it's choice B.

But if you like to play the crazy conspiracy theory game, then why not go one level of complexity higher: they don't really disbelieve evolution at all. There's really no controversy. They are just saying that they disbelieve evolution so that you will think they disbelieve evolution so that later than can admit they were wrong and "snowball" you into something else. Maybe all of Christianity is actually a front organization for Scientology! So when they come out one day and say, "oops, sorry about the whole evolution thing" you'll be so snowballed and confused that you'll willingly board the Xenu's DC-3 bound for Hawaii.

If you could possibly tie George Bush into this whole thing, I think you'd have a winner theory - possibly worthy of a made-for-TV movie.

Gillianren
2007-Apr-13, 12:15 AM
I think a lot of people are quite aware that they're conciously ignoring vast amounts of evidence that oppose their religious viewpoint. I know a lot of prominent creationists continue to claim things after being shown in great detail that they're lying. Their attitude tends to be "so what?" After all, they're lying for God.

Dr Nigel
2007-Apr-13, 08:06 AM
[snip]
How about this alternate theory: they really just honestly don't believe in evolution - but they aren't liars, so if the Darwin story isn't true, and they know it isn't true, they say it isn't true.
[snip]


Oh, how I wish I could believe that. Sadly, most creationists are misled by their faith in the "creation science" literature, which has been demonstrated to be intellectually dishonest.

For example:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/wells/iconob.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/hovind/
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/bergman.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/project.html

Pretty much all of the authors of pro-ID books have failed to address criticism of their work. For example, one criticism of Dembski's "filter" to detect design is that it is an eliminative argument, i.e. you eliminate other options and if all other options are eliminated than you have design as your last hypothesis standing. However, this proposal has a huge flaw: how can you ever know that you have eliminated all other possible explanations? Quite simply, you can't. This has been pointed out several times, but he has never even addressed it.

mugaliens
2007-Apr-13, 10:39 PM
The story that Darwin recanted on evolution is not true

(Link) (http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2193) Sorry for it being a religious link, but I did try and see if there was a Snopes link

My understanding is that Charles Darwin was once Anglican, but lost his faith due to the death of his favourite daughter.

From what I heard, he never recanted on evolution in the least. However, he was raised a Christian, fell away for years, then re-embraced his faith as he approached death.

As I understand it, his religious beliefs had nothing to do with his convictions about evolution.

Dr Nigel
2007-Apr-13, 11:00 PM
From what I heard, he never recanted on evolution in the least. However, he was raised a Christian, fell away for years, then re-embraced his faith as he approached death.

Can you back that up with a reference?


As I understand it, his religious beliefs had nothing to do with his convictions about evolution.

True.