Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Did Charles Darwin recant his theory of evolution?

Creation.com has an interesting article about Charles Darwin's (1809–1882) last days. Russell Grigg reviews the idea held by some that Darwin recanted his theory and became a Christian before his death. Grigg reviews Lady Elizabeth Hope's (1842–1922) recounting of her meeting with Darwin in 1881 (which was first published in 1915), and two books about the topic: Darwin and Lady Hope: The Untold Story by L. R. Croft and The Darwin Legend by James Moore.

It is a thought-provoking read. Grigg concludes that Hope's recount is honest, though the account does not necessarily say that Darwin recanted his ideas, nor can it be concluded that Darwin became a Christian—the article does not mention it, but it is useful to remember Darwin studied theology as part of his arts degree; this may be relevant in interpreting what Darwin was saying to Hope.

Grigg does not think it is likely Darwin became a Christian. He also thinks Darwin subscribed to his theory of the origin of species by natural selection and the descent of men from apes till his death.

Thus Hope's account is accurate from the conversation had, further Darwin may have vacillated in his conversations.

3 comments:

  1. It is an interesting question, especially since Darwin was considering the ministry in his younger years. He was very aware of theology, and would have been very aware of what his words meant. However, I agree with Grigg. I don't think that Lady Hope was lying, though I do think she may have remembered those conversations through rose-colored glasses.

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  2. No. She lied. Even Darwin's own family have stated as much. Especially when Darwin's daughter states that the months leading to Darwins death, lady "hope" never visited. I think this is especially powerful since both of Darwins kids where there.

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  3. SM, the article addresses this. I have no real dog in this fight. I think Darwin held to evolution and I think he is wrong. While for his sake it would be nice that he reconciled to God, whatever happened in his last days his writings had a significant impact on many people.

    So I find this interesting.

    Note however, Darwin's own family had motives to say what they did. One should be careful about automatically accepting the testimony of those you agree with. I am not saying we shouldn't (most do), just careful.

    ReplyDelete

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