Skip to comments.Other side of Darwin's life not often documented (wife 'saved his life')
Posted on 06/03/2009 8:42:23 PM PDT by gobucks
Charles Darwins discovery of evolution is common knowledge but Darwin the person is barely known. Even on his 200th birth anniversary this year he was born in England on Feb. 12, 1809 much has been said about his works but little about his inner life of contrasts.
Darwin loved the natural world from childhood. He roamed the wilderness to study insects while neglecting Greek and Latin, the essential subjects. He said of his schooling, I was considered by all my masters and by my Father as a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard in intellect.
Sent to medical school at age 16, he quit after seeing an operation on a child. Anesthesia was not yet introduced, and frightened patients stayed awake while surgeons sawed through their legs. His father was upset with him for leaving medicine, as fathers are when their offspring disappoint them. Charles was warned that he would be a disgrace.
He then went to Cambridge University to be a minister. There he found a mentor who would change his life, the Rev. John Henslow, a botanist. He and a geology professor taught Darwin how to observe and interpret natures ways.
After Cambridge, while Darwin was pondering entering the ministry, Henslow recommended him as a naturalist for a British survey ship, HMS Beagle, which planned an around-the-globe voyage. Darwins father was opposed, calling it a waste of time, but Charles prevailed with the help of his maternal uncle.
After four years, in 1835, the Beagle landed in the Galapagos Archipelago in the Pacific. What Darwin saw there changed our concept of biology. For millions of years, the animals and birds in these isolated islands had evolved in their unique way to survive and propagate. And they had no fear of humans. How and why did these creatures become the way they did? These questions germinated the idea of evolution in Darwins mind.
At 29, Darwin married Emma Wedgwood, his first cousin. The marriage saved his life. Emma was 30. An educated woman, she spoke French, German and Italian. And despite their differences in belief she was a devoted Christian while he turned agnostic she read Darwins papers before they were sent out. Emma, however, is not given the recognition she deserves for supporting her husbands works, and accepting the demands of his almost constant illness. Moreover, she bore 10 children; the last one, born when she was 48, had Down syndrome.
Darwins favorite child, Annie, died of tuberculosis when she was 10. His anguish expresses a fathers loss and his deep love for a child: Her face now rises before me ... her whole form radiant with the pleasure of giving pleasure ... her dear face bright all the time, with sweetest smiles. ... We have lost the joy of the household, and the solace of our old age. This loss, some say, turned him into an agnostic.
Darwins radical idea evolution of species over millions of years starkly contradicted the doctrine on creation. Fearing the churchs hostile reactions, he waited about 20 years before publishing his seminal book, The Origin of Species, in 1859. The book transformed science and human thought forever.
Though zealots impede teaching evolution in school, some churches now believe that evolution is compatible with faith. Zealotry diminishes both religion and science.
Why is Darwin universally remembered while other original minds have remained obscure? Its not just because of his big idea on evolution and change. After all, the idea was not his alone. Another naturalist, Alfred Wallace, came to the same conclusion as that of Darwin. Even philosopher Heraclitus said 2,500 years ago, There is nothing permanent except change.
What has kept Darwin alive is the power of his observations and his writings. He has integrated diverse fields of knowledge including geology, zoology, botany, marine biology, horticulture, animal husbandry and history to make compelling points for evolution.
We are part of nature, not above it. The poetic conclusion of The Origin of Species pictures our kinship to nature: Contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and ... reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other ... have all been produced by laws acting around us.
Air at sea level is compressed, relative to air at 10,000 feet.
So who does that? Or is it just in the nature of gravity, and air to produce it without the personal intervention of a personal G-d, a personal G-d who really really wants me to believe in him, but who somehow can’t be bothered to make me a phone call.
The study of fossils predated Darwin. Darwin did hundreds of experiments.
Creation requires a combination of “Special Creation” of each creature combined with “Special Deliver” of each species around the world in the niche where it is found.
Darwin produced papers for the Royal Society showing how long plants could survive or seeds could germinate after immersion in sea water. (He had 7 bathtubs in his house, and several were devoted to this study at any point in time. Pity his poor butler.)
That combined with the mapped sea currents would predict the range where the plants could migrate. After the prediction, results from returning ships would find that Darwin had correctly predicted the range of another plant species.
I do not grok a "who". I do not grok a "doing".
Gravity and pressure are not relevant to evolution and Darwin, either, except insofar as they affect creatures striving for new ecological niches.
I am opposed to materialist explanations of our origins: e.g. the notion that life came from non-life, or intelligence came from non-intelligence.
And Darwin most certainly did teach that simple life forms became complex life forms via random mutation plus survival. As such, Darwin taught that life was able to cross every taxonomic boundary, from the simplest proto-cells, all the way to mankind, and without a shred of evidence beyond minor variations within species.
And finally, shared DNA between diverse organisms is much better explained by common design than common descent. Indeed, one would think that any shared DNA between organisms that are supposedly separated by so many millions of years would have long since been obliterated if evolution was true.
“It may, however, be that “an accurate understanding of the world” is not what is desired for you and your loved ones. How could you be mindlessly led in that case?”
or 2)we actually want to live life the way it looks to people who are in deeply love— i.e. life is good, love is running the human world in the big picture, humans have a purpose beyond being a sack of chemicals, and we want to thank somebody somewhere for the life we have been given.
Anyway, I don’t think clear heads and open hearts are completely incompatible, so our family will be puttering along with a bit of both.
Why? Aren't living things made out of material, and didn't God create material? It's not like we've discovered magic pixie dust is the building block of living things.
Why did you skip the second half of my sentence? Could it be because deep down you know that life coming from non-life, and intelligence coming from non-intelligence is absurd in the extreme???
“Im a Christian, but I have no trouble thanking Darwin for his contribution to understanding our world. “
Thank you! You’re using your God-given mind to do what it’s designed to do ... to think.
Darwin, by the way, wrote his book about 150 years ago, using only observations and common sense while showing respect to religions by withholding publication while comtemplating the potential consequences of blasphemy within his book.
Now, thanks to modern instruments, technology and knowledge, Darwin’s “theory” is unquestionably known to be true and there’s a modern and well documented rewrite of Darwin’s work that covers, chapter by chapter, Darwin’s original chapters.
That book is “DARWIN’S GHOST,The Origin of Species UpdaTed” by Steve Jones; and it’s a pure delight to read it.
We find that all living things are made out of materiel, don't we?
You can dispose of Darwin's supposedly flawed theories in quick order; simply propose a better explanation.
Admittedly, life from non-life is a tough nut to explain. That's why most people, (including Darwin), don't bother trying. I haven't tried to explain it myself, except to imply that time has a tremendous multiplier effect.
Intelligence from non-intelligence is not as mysterious. You can observe living organisms, ranging from ourselves down to paramecia and bacteria, and see that each organism uses a variety of survival strategies. Reaction to stimulus and the possession of rudimentary memory skills would easily seem to be the harbingers of a developing intelligence.
But assuming that intelligence did develop on its own somehow, it certainly took a very long time in doing so, including the tremendously long period which is called the reign of the dinosaurs.
Various scenarios suggest the dinosaurs were the top of the food chain for more than 300 million years. In comparison to our supposedly having risen from proto-mammalian ancestors after the dinosaurs died sixty-five million years ago, dinosaurs clearly had ample time to develop languages and culture if it was an easy thing to do. They didn't.
But perhaps they were the "giants" on whose backs we now stand for our more lofty perspective. They "explored" every other biological manifestation they could get their scaly claws on.
Maybe it just took a long, long time.
"... that simple life forms became complex life forms via random mutation plus survival."
You leave out a lot when you simplify it so drastically. Genetic survival depends not only on the occasional random mutation, but on the shuffling and redistribution process of the genes in every generation. It isn't just mutation, it's also sex, if that isn't too distateful a way to put it.
Oftentimes, extra material is included, at no harm or relative cost to the individual. This material is as handy as a pocket on a shirt, allowing animals to develop new capabilities gradually, instead of all at once. This can be presumed to be the explanation for how some animals see color with two color receptors in their eyes, while other animals have three color receptors for an even richer world of color. Many have four!
With extra material in the genome, random mutation affecting that material would not do harm to the animal or its offspring, and may eventually prove to be beneficial. Obviously, it's a gradual process. (Equally obviously, it doesn't happen with just a single fortuitous mutation.)
"And finally, shared DNA between diverse organisms is much better explained by common design than common descent."
I don't see why either explanation is preferable over the other. What I see is that common descent would have clearly delineated markings of time on its operations. Over time, the magnificent detail and coloration of this tapestry of genetic invention would become tattered and worn, as various bits of extraneous but not lethal, or perhaps even beneficial material came to replace the original pattern.
This is what we observe with our study. From geological strata of known antiquity come shapes of ancient origin, with their unique and distinctive patterns of creation, while modern animals and people have discernible differences in shape, chemical operations, and in the pattern of their genes that specifies how they are to make themselves fit their world.
If they were all independently developed to fit their ecological niches by an "unrelated" process, then they would be as dissimilar from each other as books in a library, instead of showing the gradual modification that we see in such phenomena as languages.
When you read the Canterbury Tales, you know that you are reading "English", but you also know that something is a bit different about it. Time changes things. Time changes everything.
We have never *observed* life coming from non-life, or intelligence coming from non-intelligence...which makes sense, because both prospects are absurd on their face.
I have reviewed your posts and have the following observations:
Extreme hyperbole, arrogance, vanity.
You make a lot of personal attacks on folks for even considering the points of the collective idea known as evolution, whether they were put forth by Darwin or others. Liberals do the same thing to Christians considering creationism. It is a fact we all know, that science continues to provide us knowledge and to correct its own errors when undeterred by political motivations. As an example, I have read and followed Duesberg’s writing since his Invention of the Aids Virus work was published. It sought to correct scientific consensus and non-scientific political belief regarding Aids. But, he has been continually suppressed for purely political reasons.
Darwin is your personal bogeyman. Your Cult of Darwinism is your own creation. You’re seeing things that aren’t there. You’re putting words in other folks’ mouths. In other words, you’re selling your own religion while using your own demonized Cult of Darwinism to make yours look better. If your religion product is better, I’ll buy it based on its better value. But, I don’t see it.
From my personal reading of Darwin’s writings, I find the man had very keen observation skills. He followed what we call the scientific method today. Darwin did indeed present an enormous quantity of evidence supporting his observations, maybe not in trends and charts and graphs, but in the methods of his time. To say he never presented a ‘shred of evidence’ to support his observations is plainly not correct. His writings do not seem to be religiously or politically motivated. I haven’t observed any effort to replace religion on his part.
Inquisitive folks want to know just a little more than what the current religions of the day offer regarding the origins of life and the changes they observe. They want to know why their observations don’t fit religious beliefs rigorously rather than relying on the old saying ‘God works in mysterious ways’. That’s where intelligent design enters and attempts to answer some of these questions.
Your Cult of Darwinism agitation has stirred up discussion but not support. It’s antagonism at best to other posters.
Far from attracting the curious, your consistent anti-evolution ‘Aha! Gotcha!’ posts have turned me off to the point where I simply skip right past to the next article. No need for multiple doses of non-productive antagonism per day.
two things look alike therefor they must be related?
We observe that living things are made out of materiel, don't we?
More evidence that evolutionary biology is not taught in this country.
>>. Darwinism is a sect of materialist religion, nothing more<<
Making fun of something you can’t understand and reveling in your ignorance again I see.
Do you feel “special” like your mommy and daddy never made you feel now?
You’re special ggg — really special.
He wasn’t wrong.
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