Charles Darwin through Christian spectacles

The spectacles are not mine, but those of my good friend Michael Roberts. For what it’s worth I think he underestimates Darwin’s attachment to religion. In his Autobiography (not intended for publication) Darwin says that when he was writing On the Origin of Species, he considered it impossible to conceive of this woderful Universe as the product of mere chance, writing “I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind to some degree analogous to that of man, and I deserve to be called a Theist.” And he attributed his later agnosticism to doubt as to whether a mind evolved through natural selection was capable of grasping such lofty matters. (A doubt shamefully misrepresented by Plantinga, as I have shown elsewhere, for his own self-serving reasons)

Peddling and Scaling God and Darwin

CHARLES DARWIN (1809-1882)

February 12th 2009 saw the bicentenary of Darwin’s birth. Along with Isaac Newton he was one of the greatest British scientists, though his science is still controversial. To some he was a great scientist and to others the devil incarnate!


He was a quiet family man, whose life was marred by illness. He was born into an affluent home in Shrewsbury and went to Cambridge to study for the Anglican ministry. In 1831 he was invited to join the Beagle to sail round the world. That changed his life and the course of science. On that voyage he was more interested in geology and only later “moved” over to biology.

Darwin learned his science at both Edinburgh and Cambridge and some of his student notes survive. His family was scientific and as a teenager he had a well-equipped chemistry lab in an outhouse at the Mount

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About Paul Braterman

Science writer, former chemistry professor; committee member British Centre for Science Education; board member and science adviser Scottish Secular Society; former member editorial board, Origins of Life, and associate, NASA Astrobiology Insitute; first popsci book, From Stars to Stalagmites 2012

Posted on December 1, 2014, in Charles Darwin, Creationism, Darwin autobiography, Religion and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Last night i flicked through the TV and came across a “documentary” film I think was called Darwin’s Doubt (that was, at least, how it was translated into Portuguese). Sweet Veles! Have you seen this load of insanity? I honestly couldn’t watch past 10 minutes, not even for curiosities sake. It was that troubling.


    • That’s the title of a book by Stephen Meyer about the Cambrian Explosion, which has been pulled to shreds by people like Nick Matzke and Don Prothero. Prothero’s review is a masterpiece of its kind, and I have blogged about how the Discovery Institute has tried to discredit it.The expression “Darwin’s Doubt” was coined by Plantinga, when shamefully misrepresenting Darwin’s tentative approach to theological speculation as a general scepticism about the ability of evolved minds to accurately picture the world.

      Liked by 1 person

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