Darwin – What Changed His Mind?

 


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Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary thought once considered it a wonderful notion to become a member of the clergy. In fact, Charles is quoted as saying, “As I did not then in the least doubt the strict and literal truth of every word in the Bible, I soon persuaded myself that our Creed must be fully accepted. " His studies at Cambridge University were to prepare him for the role of clergy.

However, a variety of advanced science classes led Darwin to ask questions and consider alternate points of view. In the end it was science and not the clergy that captured Darwin’s attention.

Darwin was married to Emma Wedgwood in the fall of 1839. The couple were married at St. Peter’s Anglican Church.

Prior to marriage Darwin began exhibiting symptoms for an unidentified illness that followed him throughout his life. His wife, Emma, an ardant Christian, was a constant companion to Charles. Their relationship was one in which Charles relied heavily on his wife. He often refered to her as “Mammy”.

The couple had ten children interrupted by long boubts of an illness for Charles that would go largely undiagnosed for more then fourty years.

Three of the Darwin’s children would eventually die, but perhaps non had such a dire affect on Charles than the death of Anne. Darwin scholar E. Janet Browne wrote, “Anne was . . . the apple of her proud father's eye, his favourite child, he confessed to [his friend and cousin William Darwin] Fox. More than any of the other children she treated him with a spontaneous affection that touched him deeply. ” [1]

It was after the death of Anne that Darwin spiraled to the point where he utterly rejected faith in God and began referring to himself as an agnostic. He also began fully pursuing an alternate understanding to the subject of origins.

We all wrestle with the many choices we must make. In the event of an untimely death we can become bitter and perhaps vengeful or we can grieve the loss and regain perspective on the future.

Darwin did not have an easy life. Perhaps you did not know the loss and chronic illness that were ever-present companions to the father of evolution.

The work of Charles Darwin was influenced heavily by other scientific minds of the time. Darwin’s losses may have simply renewed his interest for proving God had no direct involvement in the affairs of mankind.

While we can certainly sympathize with the losses Darwin faced, this does beg a question. If Anne had lived and if Darwin’s health remained strong would he have sought an explanation beyond what he had accepted in his youth when he only saw the role of being a clergyman?

Is it possible that the difficulties of life find us turning our backs on the idea that we were formed with precision design? In that place of denial do we also elevate ourselves to a place of supreme authority?

Perhaps you once believed the universe was designed. What changed your mind? Why?

[1] Browne, Janet (1995). Charles Darwin: Voyaging. New York: Random House. (p. 499. )

Discover truth using simple everyday logic. Learn the truth about evolution and intelligent design. Articles, debate, and more. Obvious Truths: http://www.obvioustruths.com/

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