(I know it was a week ago, but I missed this first time round)
It seems that the Church of England has decided to apologise to Charles Darwin for heaping abuse and disbelief on him in the mid 1800’s. From the Daily Mail [Online version]:
The Church of England will tomorrow [14 Sep 08] officially apologise to Charles Darwin for misunderstanding his theory of evolution.
Wonderful. I know decisions are slow in large organisations but this is a bit weird. It has taken them almost one and a half centuries to decide to say “sorry, we were wrong.” Still, better late than never I suppose. In this instance, it is no better or worse than people apologising for the slave trade. It is just one of those things organisations need to do so they can feel better about themselves.
The Mail article continues:
In a bizarre step, the Church will address its contrition directly to the Victorian scientist himself, even though he died 126 years ago.
Now, this isn’t actually all that bizarre. Well, if you are a Christian anyway. Look at it from the truly faithful’s point of view. Darwin isn’t dead in the secular sense – he is just no longer on the Earth. He is either in Heaven or Hell so an apology to him personally is actually totally appropriate. If you really believe in an afterlife, why cant big old Charlie be reading the Church of England’s newsletter and watching their cermonies. I mean, the man was a minister after all…
As even the most dense of lifeforms could have predicted, such PR stunts dont always attact postive commentary. Take this bit of ironic waffle:
Former Conservative Minister Ann Widdecombe, who left the Church of England to become a Roman Catholic, said: ‘It’s absolutely ludicrous. Why don’t we have the Italians apologising for Pontius Pilate?‘We’ve already apologised for slavery and for the Crusades. When is it all going to stop? It’s insane and makes the Church of England look ridiculous.’
Poor old Ann, it isn’t even a good parallel but then, she is a tory minister so you cant expect too much. The thing that interested me the most, though, was why on Earth should she care? She is no longer CofE – she defected to the evil Catholicism. What makes her opinion on an organisation she spurned remotely valid? (Add to which, that is possibly the LEAST flattering photograph of a living person I have ever seen).
The only good “professional” comment comes from the National Secular Association (no suprise there, then): [Emphasis mine]
‘As well as being much too late, the message strikes me as insincere, as if there is an unspoken “but” behind the text. However, if it means that from now on the Church of England will say “No” to the teaching of creationism in school science lessons, then we would accept the apology on Darwin’s behalf.’
I couldn’t agree more. (continues below the fold)
On to the real fun – the “readers” comments. I am fairly sure these are generated by some crazy Russian programmer because I would hate to think that people so obviously able to use a computer and connect to the internet can be so insane as some comments seem to demonstrate:
No wonder that the Church of England is losing members at a rapid rate, any true believer would recognize immediately that they were no longer anything resembling a Christian church in their beliefs or doctrines.
– John, Spain, 13/9/2008 23:37
“John, Spain” (very common Spanish name, John…) I can only assume you are a Catholic…
After that trivial one comes this:
Let’s clear up one big misconception about Darwin. HE WAS NOT A SCIENTIST!!!! If you could resurrect him from the grave and give him a high school science test he could not pass it.
Charles Darwin formulated his theory a few months after graduating from Ministry School. He was trained to be a Christian Preacher and Pastor. See how the brilliant modern scientists have “evolved”? Would they believe a scientific theory formulated by a Christian Pastor in this day and age? I think not.
And the guy who conceived of the Geologic Column that these brilliant scientists use to date things was a LAWYER. He cooked up that little fairy tale about 1830 A.D.
“When your evidence no longer supports your theory it is time to rethink your theory”.
– Chuck, Santa Barbara, CA, USA, 13/9/2008 23:54
Well f**k me. What a train crash of logic here. It strikes me that “Chuck” lacks even a basic understanding of the 19th century and what made up “scientists” at the time. Darwin was as much as scientist as Newton. (Possibly less crazy as well).
I love the idea that any figure from history could pass a high school science test though. Why dont we get Newton and try it with him. Or Pythagoras. Or Kepler. Or Gallieo. Or William Thompson. Why dont we ask Sir Francis Bacon about how an electrical circuit works? Does this mean that none of these are scientists? What about Robert Boyle – could he pass a modern High School science test? I dont know about American schools, and it has been a while since I sat my Age 16 exams, however I do remember a lot of it was based on science developed AFTER these people had lived. Does that disqualify them as scientists? Even if it does, so what? Science does not rest on false authority. Being a “scientist” does not mean everything you say is right. (As an example, would you call Karl Popper a scientist?)
Chuck is also a bit confused as to Darwin’s background – and as someone who recently had the chance, but not the money, to purchase part of the estate where Darwin was born, this annoys me. He studied medicine at Edinburgh but dropped out to study theology at Cambridge. He finished his studys in 1831 and was on the HMS Beagle 1831 – 1836. It was around 1838 that Darwin put together his theory on speciation (finished 1859). Now, if that counts as a few months after graduation my calendar is broken.
Comically, the best citation “Chuck” could find was from CSI…. Says it all really.
The next comment has been reported to the grammar police:
Will Darwin’s relations apologise to the relations of Alfred Russel Wallace next ?
There is one thing , If Darwin was right he will never know but if he was wrong !!!!
– Fred, Aberdeenshire, 14/9/2008 0:00
The short answer is, no. Now we can move on to the real vitriol:
One school of thought believed that mankind descended from ape, according to evolutionists. The ego-centric far liberal left whose religion is the idea that mankind evolved billions of years. The leftist claimed that they are liberal and tolerant, yet are frightened, paranoid at the idea of permitting another school of thought that believed that God created the universe in six days,they use force, violence to perpetuate their falsehood, that is not rational,or logical.Why are they paranoid,it is because the foundation that man evolved from ape is fraudulent and despicable and illogical. Their argument and logics when put under the scrutiny of microscope, the lies, hypocrisies is apparent for all to see. They created a make belief by repeating lies while surpressing the fact of intelligent design, and creation which is far more logical, and rationale.
– Peter, Manchester Uk, 14/9/2008 0:26
Now, assuming that “peter” as in such a fury he couldn’t type properly, this is still gibberish. It is nothing even resembling an argument, just a load of hate filled phrases that say “I dont want Evolution to be true” then an empty assertion that creation is logical. Nonsense.
Equally strange is this one:
How can you even contemplate apologising to someone who NEVER propounded the theory of how life is CREATED!!! Yes, scientists can talk about how life evolves, but no-one – and I mean absolutely NO-ONE – can tell us how life is CREATED except GOD. Scientists have just embarked on an experiment that tries to recreate the environment that existed just after the world came into existence. Do you really think that a mere human can replicate GOD’S thoughts and actions ???
– Rosilee, Nottingham, England, 14/9/2008 0:54
Hmm. I think I get the gist of what this crackpot is trying to say but it is weird. Rosilee you are an uneducated idiot with the breath of a goat. Wonderfully, even if I am wrong about any of that, I do not need to apologise because you have never propounded on the theory of how life is created. (Darwin believed it was created by God, the same as you, so you are equally at fault). Isnt logic wonderful.
Rosilee obviously has no actual idea what Evolution is but felt the need to shout out about Darwin. Wonderful.
When is the church going to apologise to all of us Christians for abandoning any attempt to lead us in having faith in God’s Word as His precious guide to life and salvation?
– Des, Leics, UK, 14/9/2008 1:14
Wow. Confused me a little. Basically, Des, if you think the Church of England is guiding all Christians then I think the Pope might want to have a word with you for dissing his posse…
It took a while, but eventually, the drivel we come to associate with uneducated creationists appears:
Charles Darwin’s “theory” is just that – an unproven theory. Evolutionists have a belief as do Christians. Neither can be 100% proven scientifically. Darwin was a scientist who probably welcomed arguments against his theory as only when a theory is fully tested can it be proven. Christians do not have to apologise for believing in the Bible. I believe the biblical account of creation and there are scientists who believe it too.
The CofE seems intent on destroying any Christian faith in biblical teachings – the Bible is God’s word and should not be so readily rejected by those who say they believe in Him.
– Susan Jones, Auckland NZ, 14/9/2008 3:39
Yeah, where can I find this list of things that have been 100% proven scientifically? Shall we start with Newtonian gravitation? Ok, maybe not.
I am not sure what “only when a theory is fully tested can it be proven” means – seems like a lot of words to say nothing. What counts as “fully tested?” Why am I trying to find sense in madness?
Totally amazing to me is how a Christian church could embrace a theory that was specifically designed to explain how we got here without a Divine Creator. If the church truly has embraced the theory, then it should shut its doors. Death, as the theory goes, is not a result of sin, but part of the evolution of life. No need for a Savior there.
– Lenny Moore, Chicago, USA, 14/9/2008 4:39
Well, while I wish this were true, it isn’t. Darwin’s theory on speciation sadly allows for the existence of a creator. It (as previous comments have pointed out) passes no judgement on how life started or if there is anything “after” life. Lenny, you may want to look into the subject before you rant about it. Then again, it seems like most Christians have rarely read the bible, so why should they read “On the Origin of Species“….(let alone “The descent of man”).