There is a common misconception in contemporary society, that when Darwin published his, “Origin of Species”, it was a brilliant, complete and scientifically sound work…yet when we consider his own words we get quite a different perspective on his hypothesis as contained in that book. In his own words,

“I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question; and this cannot possibly be done here.” (Darwin 1859:2 in Bergman 2011:24) Emphasis mine.

Darwin seemed to display an honesty here that his disciples obviously felt was for him alone. The above statement does not intimate the firm convictions of a man satisfied that his theory was complete and that he had proved his hypothesis at all. Rather, it indicates to me a man who was well aware of the holes that existed within his theory and that it was more a matter of considered opinion than proven fact. He fully understood and accepted that the evidence presented could be interpreted in a way that could disprove his theory. We have to ask ourselves then how it became “a fact” so soon after its publication and why in societies around the world, Darwinian conformity is enforced, often at the point of a lawsuit, in order to maintain its hegemony in public schools and academia? Surely, if the theory, even as it itself has evolved into absurdity, was sound and explained the origins of life, it would not be doubted by so many and it would not have to be defended in courts of law to ensure its place at the biological table. If it was a proven fact and contained an iron clad explaination of the Origin of Species, not only would Darwin have said so himself but it would have been plain for everybody else to see as well. Humanity would not have to be forced by court order to believe something that they are convinced is nonsensical. Is this what passes for academic freedom and critical thinking today?

In one of his letters to a friend, Darwin states that his friend should expect to be disappointed with the Origin of Species because the book would be,

“…grievously too hypothetical. It will very likely be of no other service than collecting some facts; though I myself think I see my way approximately on the origin of species. But, alas, how frequent, how almost universal it is in an author to persuade himself of the truth of his own dogma’s…I certainly see very many difficulties of gigantic stature [in my theory].”

(Burkhardt 1990:495 in Bergman 2011:25) Emphasis mine

Again, certainly not the image of a man who was convinced of his own theory as he saw the gigantic holes that remain apparent today, holes that cannot be covered over with a dose of academic bullying, a law suit or an ad hominem attack against the critic. The holes remain, despite clever words such as “punctauted equilabrium”which takes more faith than I will ever have to accept it.

Why is this type of intellectual dishonesty tolerated, where Darwin’s own words are neglected (as they relate to the difficulties of his own theory) so that his ideas can be resucitated after dying a thousand deaths? Why is the man’s own words discarded and ignored and why was the theory sold to a public in the second half of the 19th century as a fact when he himself expressed these and so many other misgivings? Perhaps, just perhaps, it had to do with Darwin’s desire, along with so many others, to “murder God”…to get rid of the very thing that carried Europe through the Dark Ages and brought it out of that age and created from it a new and stronger version of itself that existed under a pagan Rome. That however is for another day.

1. Bergman, J., 2011, The Dark Side of Charles Darwin-A critical analysis of an icon of science, Master Books, Green Forest.

2. Darwin, C., 1859, The Origin of Species, John Murray, London.

3. Burkhardt, F. (ed.), 1990, The Correspondence of Charles Darwin-Volume 6, Cambridge University Press, New York.

 

By Rev. Mark Adriaan Bosh0ff


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