I’ve just got round to viewing a recording of this BBC documentary, which was broadcast on 28th September.
It covers much of the same ground as the recent film ‘Creation’, although giving less attention to biographical details and more (in true BBC style) to the presentation of gorgeous images that supplement Darwin’s account of the ‘struggle for survival’ in the world of nature.
We are not surprised to be told, at some length, of a parallel struggle – the struggle between science and religion. …
Here is a Powerpoint presentation used as the basis for a sermon preached in the light of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, the 150 anniversary of the publication of his Origin of Species, and the recent release of the film ‘Creation’ which documents some of the events in Darwin’s life leading up to the publication of that book.
The habit of referring to God’s ‘two books’ – the book of Scripture and the ‘book’ of nature – goes back at least to Francis Bacon (1561-1626). Michael Faraday (1791-1867) spoke in the same terms, as did Galileo (1564-1642). Charles Darwin quoted Bacon in the preface to his Origin of Species:-
To conclude, therefore, let no man out of a weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well studied in the book of God’s work, or in the book of God’s word; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavour an endless progress of proficence in both.
If any one theory can be said to have converted the Western world to atheism, it is Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. The noted American sceptic Robert Ingersoll (1833-99) declared:-
This century will be called Darwin’s century. He was one of the greatest men who ever touched the globe. He has explained more of the phenomena of life that all of the religious teachers. Write the name of Charles Darwin on the one hand and the name of every theologian who ever lived on the other, and from that name has come more light to the world than from all of those.
The story of Charles Darwin and his discovery of evolution has become as much a part of our culture as the story of Adam and Eve before it. It has become ‘common knowledge’ that living beings have evolved over millions of years, and that we occupy no privileged place in the animal kingdom.
The story of Darwin, together with that of Galileo, marks the turning-point when science dispelled the superstitions of religion and ushered in the modern world.…
It’s not an original idea, but Andrew Marr’s thoughts about the dangers of turning Darwinism into a secular religion are of some interest. Describing himself as a ‘lapsed Presbyterian Christian’ (“I had a blinding revelation of disbelief at the age of around 15”), Marr reminds us that science in general, and Darwinism in particular, can offer some of the nourishment that religion provides.
The natural history museums of both London and Oxford are ‘temples of nature’ and mimic cathedrals in their design. …