Sunday, February 12, 2017

And a blessed Darwin Day to ye ...

This is one of those years when international Darwin Day, sometimes described as a celebration of science, reason and humanity, falls on Sunday, a holy day observed by some who celebrate those virtues, too --- but many who do not. Charles Darwin was born on this date during 1809.

It's been a day of disappointment for me upon discovering that a favorite Darwin quote --- "It's not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change." --- isn't a Darwin quote at all, rather the recasting of similar words spoken by a Darwin scholar.

It's always a good idea to check out quotes you'd have liked a revered source to spout against what the source actually said.

There are other misunderstandings about Darwin out there, one of them the contention that he was an atheist. Actually, he was a lifelong Anglican with a good deal of the non-conformist, free-thinking spirit in his background and makeup.

There are signs that Mr. Darwin commenced theorizing with a theistic outlook, but other suggestions that his viewpoint shifted as the years progressed toward the idea of materialistic --- more or less mechanical --- evolution. Agnostic might best have described him at the end.

There is no truth at all to the tale sometimes told by those who consider  evolutionary ideas to be works of the devil that he experienced a deathbed conversion, became a born-again Baptist and recanted all that heresy.

Most mainline protestants, Jews and Roman Catholics, too, have no trouble with what generally is known as theistic evolution, seeing it as a tool of the divine source.

Protestant sects besotted with the idea that each jot and tittle of the Bible should be taken literally cling desperately to the somewhat contradictory tales of creation that appear in Genesis, however.

Atheists, agnostics and freethinkers look on, bemused.

In the interests of harmony, it seems best to just wish everyone a blessed Charles Darwin Day!

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