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.
Emma - maybe we need to rethink her role in all this after all....
The Prime Mover
A bit on the so-called “atheist” who was indeed a Christian who followed the facts where they led.
As opposed to some on this board, he had intellectual honesty.
Or will you damn him for using his genius? We shall all pass on and our silly posts will fade into nothingness. But 100, 500, a thousand years, 10 thousand years will continue to honor his unique and insightful discernment.
Darwin didn’t discover evolution. He observed minor variations within species, assumed without any scientific evidence whatsoever that said variations could cross every taxonomic boundary, and further assumed without evidence that this had been going on for millions of years, and further assumed without a shred of evidence that this traced all the way back to a mythical first protocell. In other words, Darwinian evolution is a materialist religion, not science.
Yes--the laws of our Creator, the Lord God, Almighty.
The first version of "Be fruitful, and multiply" is written in the genetic code of all life.
Perhaps not a "law", but a suggestion that should be given great consideration.
Newton’s First Law of Motion a/k/a Inertia: the tendency of an object in motion to remain in motion, or an object at rest to remain at rest, unless acted upon by a force.
The Law of Inertia dictates that without some outside force, all that compressed matter of the universe would still remain at rest. So, where did the force come from to cause the Big Bang at 2:17 p.m. one Tuesday afternoon 8 billion years ago?
Of course. Evolution was invented by a guy named Murphy. We call it Murphy's Law. "Anything that can happen, will happen."
"He observed minor variations within species, assumed without any scientific evidence whatsoever that said variations could cross every taxonomic boundary,"
Minor variations are what drive evolution, just as consumer choice drives economics.
There are no taxonomic boundaries. They are simply convenient demarcations within a broad spectrum of variation.
"... and further assumed without evidence that this had been going on for millions of years,"
The evidence was his own observations, which you have already acknowledged, as well as his understanding of the geological processes of the Earth, which are clearly evident to any honest observer.
"... and further assumed without a shred of evidence that this traced all the way back to a mythical first protocell."
Darwin was not promoting any kind of mythology. He was simply offering an alternative explanation for the variation between life forms that is clearly observable. This alternative explanation is analogous to Copernicus' alternative explanation for planetary orbits, which simplified our conception so radically that it soon became obvious that this clear and simple explanation was the truth.
"In other words, Darwinian evolution is a materialist religion, not science."
In your words, it is. Do you find religion offensive?
If observation, hypothesis, and verified predictions are not science, what is?
Yes, yes...indeed, just where DID all that force come from? (hey, but, lets get it correct - it was 2:17am, not pm! From an orientation perspective, the center of expansion is the other way....)
” If observation, hypothesis, and verified predictions are not science, what is?”
Now that up there looks a lot like a law too....Bacon’s Law I suspect. I dunno....laws could better explained in my view...
What observable, repeatable evidence did Darwin have for no taxonomic boundaries? What observable, repeatable evidence did Darwin have all life derives from a single common ancestor? Sorry, Darwin was practicing Evo-religion, not science.
PS I have nothing against religion. But I do object to the Temple of Darwinistic Materialism hiding the religious motivations behind their unscientific historical interpretations.
"... just where DID all that force come from?"
Well, if it were compressed, that would indicate that some force compressed it, wouldn't it?
But what has this to do with evolution, or Darwin?
I’m a Christian, but I have no trouble thanking Darwin for his contribution to understanding our world. I think evolution by natural selection works to explain many things. It also seems to have its limitations, and needs some refinements or corrections. I very much appreciate the Intelligent Design advocates for elucidating those issues. Does it have to be God or evolution? Can we open the science book and the Bible and simply see what we can learn? (Uh, I’m afraid I’m sounding like I’m ready to hold hands and sing Kumbayah...) But really, if an accurate understanding of the world is the goal then patience, humility and a willingness to accept that we do not have answers for every scientific anomaly would help more than choosing up sides for and against Darwin.
"PS I have nothing against religion. But I do object to the Temple of Darwinistic Materialism hiding the religious motivations behind their unscientific historical interpretations."
Darwin asserted nothing about taxonomic boundaries. You did, and I did.
Common ancestry is a derived concept formulated from the observance of shared DNA, a discovery that Darwin's observations predated. He was only describing how nature tends to shape animals and adjust them to better fit their ecological niches, just as flowing water softens its own bed.
If you have nothing against religion, you should refrain from attempting to insult opinions you find disfavorable by calling them religions.
"... object to the Temple of Darwinistic Materialism hiding the religious motivations ..." -- Now you're inventing mythological nonsense.
By the way, your phrase, "materialistic religion" sounds like some "focus-tested" wording designed to get people's nerves on edge.
You say you have nothing against religion. Should we conclude that you do have something against materialism?
"You some kinda Communist, boy?" (/Foghorn Leghorn character)
That's a very mature attitude. It is probably exactly the one chosen by the majority of calm and rational people.
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?
Likewise, we use materialism to explain biology. If we waited for God to poof up living things out of nothing, we'd be waiting forever. He doesn't work that way.
Or the laws are just human descriptions of the way that things are. Things that are the way they are because they can be no other way.
1707 Linnaeus born. Linnaeus founded a hierarchical system of classification.
1767 Cuvier born. Cuvier founded paleontology, thestudy of fossils.
1795 Hutton proposed geological theory of gradualism.
1798 Publication of Malthus’ Essay on the Priciple of Population.
1809 Publication of Lamarck’s theory of evolution Darwin born.
1830 Lyell proposed geological theory of uniformitarianism.
1831 Voyage of the Beagle.
1844 Darwin wrote an unpublished essay on natural selection.
1858 Wallace wrote on natural selection. Both Darwin’s and Wallace’s ideas presented to the Linnaean Society of London.
1859 Darwin published The Origin of Species.
1865 Publication of Mendel’s experiments on heredity
1871 Miescher isolated DNA
1892 Weisman demonstrated important role of nucleus in heredity
1900 Mendel’s experiments rediscovered
1903 Sutton demonstrated chromosomes carry units of Mendelian heredity
1943 Demonstration that DNA is the genetic material
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.
If you will, please provide any empirical example of a code, defined as a channel with an input alphabet A and an output alphabet B, where the origin of the code is known, that is the result of a natural (non-intelligent) process.
Yep. That's about the size of it GGG! Astutely and most concisely noted. Thank you!
My own view is the theory has a suspicious premise and is incomplete at best. And yet it seems to be the core ideology of biology today. Which puts it very much at odds with findings emerging from complexity and information sciences, and biosemiotics. At the very least, it is helpless to explain them.
Still, many cling to the faith. For as Francis Bacon, the founder of the modern scientific method, observed [Novum Organum]:
The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects and despises, or else by some distinction sets aside and rejects; in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former convictions may remain inviolate.Bacon indicates this sort of thing is an example of an "Idol of the Tribe." An "idol" is a "false notion." Bacon's classification of this one as "of the Tribe" means that it is innate or inherent "in the very nature of the intellect," thus "in human nature itself, and in the tribe or race of men." The danger it poses to human understanding is its "false mirror" quality, which, according to Bacon, "receiv[es] rays irregularly, distorts and discolors the nature of things by mingling its own nature with it."
We may think we're "objective observers." But if we can't get around that idol, we aren't justified in thinking of ourselves as truly "objective."
Bacon suggests that the only cure for this universal human phenomenon is,
...let every student of nature take this as a rule that whatever his mind seizes and dwells upon with particular satisfaction is to be held in suspicion, and that so much the more care is to be taken in dealing with such questions to keep the understanding even and clear.In sum, science ought to be about Nature, not partisanship.
Surely you're not referring to Darwin?
And despite their differences in belief she was a devoted Christian while he turned agnostic she read Darwins papers before they were sent out.
If one is a Christian, it's not likely that one would turn their back on God.
If one turned their back on God, then likely he wasn't a Christian to begin with.
How convenient indeed. That allows evos to claim anything happened.
Hey, I'm still working on the concept that if a star can collapse into a black hole which has a gravitational pull so strong that everything gets sucked into it and nothing can escape, how could the whole mass of the universe, (which is zillions of times more massive than any star) escape its own gravitational attraction, which is infinity stronger than any black hole?
I've been waiting for some scientist to give me a naturalistic, no intelligence allowed explanation.
No, it isn't.
It's merely wished to be true beyond the shadow of a doubt by the evos.
Well, why don't you just take a gander over to Darwin Central and get a lesson in extreme hyperbole, arrogance, vanity.
They've been working on it for some time now. All you have to do is look at their latest bash FR thread.
Waiting with bated breath.....
Thanks BB :o) Excellent F. Bacon quote btw. I have never run across it before, but I find him spot-on. It seems more and more “science” these days is based on opinions that are agreeable to those who place their faith in materialist/Evo-religion. What really blows my mind is that the Evos can’t see it. The actually believe their opinions are the same thing as settled science.