(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) Continue reading