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Prof debunks tiresome “Darwin was a believer” claims, recycled once again

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In “Did Darwin believe in God” (The American Thinker, September 18, 2011), history prof Richard Weikart (who specializes in Darwin and society) responds to the by-now tiresome claim that Darwin was in some important way, a theist (claims like thisone). According to Weikart,

We should also note that Darwin’s statement about a Creator breathing life into one or a few organisms did not really reflect his private views. We know this, because later in his correspondence he expressed regret about including this statement, explaining that he had added it to deflect criticism of his theory. Darwin also speculated in his private correspondence that life had arisen without divine intervention by purely material processes.

As Darwin explained in his autobiography, after writing Origin, his residual belief in a deistic God faded. He soon became an agnostic, which is the term he often used to describe his religious position. In his autobiography, he stated: “I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic”.

By the time Darwin wrote Descent of Man in 1871, he had clearly abandoned belief in God. He even provided a completely naturalistic explanation for the origin of religion. He claimed that religion arose because people feared unknown natural forces and wrongly ascribed life to them. Darwin thought religion was a psychological mistake.

Does anyone truly understand the pathology, rampant among Christian Darwinists, to pretend that Darwin was a Christian or theist of some kind, or that it matters?

Weikart again:

None of these points is good news for those trying to refashion Darwin into a religious believer whose evolutionary theory is no threat to religion, especially to traditional forms of Christianity.

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Newspeak thy name is Darwin!!! Enezio E. De Almeida Filho
I should prefer the part or volume not to be dedicated to me (although I thank you for the intended honour), as that would, in a certain extent, suggest my approval of the whole work, with which I am not acquainted. Although I am a keen advocate of freedom of opinion in all questions, it seems to me (rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against Christianity and Theism hardly have any effect on the public; and that freedom of thought will best be promoted by that gradual enlightening of human understanding which follows the progress of science. I have therefore always avoided writing about religion and have confined myself to science. Possibly I have been too strongly influenced by the thought of the concern it might cause some members of my family, if in any way I lent my support to direct attacks on religion. ~ Charles Darwin I have lately read Morley's Life of Voltaire and he insists strongly that direct attacks on Christianity (even when written with the wonderful force and vigor of Voltaire) produce little permanent effect: real good seems only to follow the slow and silent side attacks. ~ Charles Darwin bevets
This is a straw man. Very few people thought that Darwin was a Christian. He was too devastated by the death of his favorite daughter Anne. He never turned his back on a belief in a higher power but never accepted the Christian God. And you are right, it doesn't matter. Jimpithecus
What is the point of this thread ? Graham

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