From A. N. Wilson at Evening Standard:
Darwinism is not science as Mendelian genetics are. It is a theory whose truth is NOT universally acknowledged. But when genetics got going there was also a revival, especially in Britain, of what came to be known as neo-Darwinism, a synthesis of old Darwinian ideas with the new genetics. Why look to Darwin, who made so many mistakes, rather than to Mendel? There was a simple answer to that. Neo-Darwinism was part scientific and in part a religion, or anti-religion. Its most famous exponent alive, Richard Dawkins, said that Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually satisfied atheist. You could say that the apparently impersonal processes of genetics did the same. But the neo-Darwinians could hardly, without absurdity, make Mendel their hero since he was a Roman Catholic monk. So Darwin became the figurehead for a system of thought that (childishly) thought there was one catch-all explanation for How Things Are in nature.
The great fact of evolution was an idea that had been current for at least 50 years before Darwin began his work. His own grandfather pioneered it in England, but on the continent, Goethe, Cuvier, Lamarck and many others realised that life forms evolve through myriad mutations. Darwin wanted to be the Man Who Invented Evolution, so he tried to airbrush all the predecessors out of the story. He even pretended that Erasmus Darwin, his grandfather, had had almost no influence on him. He then brought two new ideas to the evolutionary debate, both of which are false. More.
Darwin, unwittingly, made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled union-stiff science teacher or a clergyman in a dying liberal church.
In short, his zealots are now his biggest problem.
Note: See also A. N. Wilson’s forthcoming book on Darwin as fraud
Look, his ideas weren’t all bad. But putting any human being’s ideas on a pedestal usually makes them look bad. And that’s what’s happened.
On the other hand, maybe it’s best to just let the zealots go on parading around the pedestal and plotting to make everyone else do so so. The spectacle helps more people see the problem.
There is lots of real work to be done in understanding the history of life.
See also: Teaching evolution to creationist students?: Why would anyone who was embarking on teaching evolution as a serious project try to involve a virulently anti-religious figure like Dawkins in the argument?
Modern eugenics was, from first to last, a Darwinian project