(1809 – 1882)
WITH his book “Origin of Species,” Charles Darwin stirred up a hornet’s nest. Fundamentalists, citing the Bible and even interpreting St. Augustine literally, raged and foamed saying Darwin contradicted Genesis’ account and, with his theory, of evolution, dangerously led young people to atheism.
The author of such a controversy was born in Shrewsbury, England in 1809 to a highly educated family, his father being a medical doctor. In his early schooling the young Darwin was far from exceptional. Later, he studied to be a medical doctor like his father. However, he also entertained the dream of becoming a minister of the Church of England.
His life took a dramatic twist when invited to join an expedition to the South aboard the HMS Beagle.
After nearly five years of extensive field research in the Galapagos Islands, a thousand miles off the coast of South America, Darwin, came to formulate his theory of evolution which claims, among other things, 1) natural selection is the keystone for man’s success and 2) there is a “survival of the fittest,” but not necessarily of the strongest.
A whirlwind of objections arose among them 1) Darwin was guilty of reaching general/universal conclusions from particular observations, 2) he also assumed the illicit transition from lower forms to higher, as for example, from inert matter to life, from simple life to intelligence and 3) he avoided the questions of who caused the beginning, assured continuity, direction and goal of evolution.
Later in life, Darwin later confessed that religion is not a strategy of tribal survival, for he believed that God is the First Cause and Ultimate Lawgiver. To deny this truth is like “confessing to a murder.”
God created a good, but not a perfect world -- the best possible world, a world which had veered from the original plan which, nevertheless, in its hardly perceptible evolution, stayed its course.
Question: who is responsible for all this?