Re: ICR's ACTS & FACTS for May, 2005

From: Michael Roberts <>
Date: Wed Apr 27 2005 - 18:10:30 EDT

My comments below.

Michael----- Original Message -----
From: "Iain Strachan" <>
To: "Michael Roberts" <>
Cc: "ASA" <>
Sent: Wednesday, April 27, 2005 10:34 PM
Subject: Re: ICR's ACTS & FACTS for May, 2005

> In IMPACT 367 Bergman wrote on "Was C Darwin psychotic?" He gave a crude
> version of D's illness as psychosomatic though Ralph Colp in the
> forthcoming
> 2ed of his book To be an Invalid will change his earlier argument and
> argue
> that Darwin's illness was physical (and will use the researches of a
> certain
> M Roberts to support this - I have walked every recorded walk Darwin did
> in
> Wales and Shropshire and it is clear that after the age of 30 his physique
> collapsed as before 30 he could walk 12-15 miles a day for a week in the
> hills as he did in Glen Roy in 1838 by 1842 he could only walk 3-4 miles
> with little climbing)

From the description of the physical symptoms in Berman's article, it
looks to me as though Darwin might have suffered from a form of
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). There is some controversy as to how
much CFS can be regarded as psychosomatic, or how much of it is
physical, as the physical causes are not well understood.
MBR in !977 Colp in To be an Invalid rejected a physical illness but now is
convinced that a physical illness is a major cuase - possibly a tropical
illness - ?Chagas? This he sees in D's sudden physical collapse at about 31
He is using my work on his major walks . From 1826 to 1831 (remember born
1809)CD knocked off long walks in N Wales 15-20 miles on rough terrain, day
after day. A good example would be his walking from Capel Curig to Barmouth
in two days, preceeded by a wlak up Moel Siabod. He must have carried a
pack. On the Beagle trip he did some whopping walks (I have them noted) In
1838 just after his first bout he went to Glen Roy nr Ft William and walked
12-15 miles each day for a week and then finished off with 25 miles. From
39 -41 he was very ill.
In March 42 he was chuffed when he did a 4 mile walk in Shrewsbury when
visiting his father. Come on a 33 year old struggling after that. In June he
was back in Snowdonia and never walked more than 4 miles or climbed more
than 1000 feet. And he always turned back just before he got to the best
geology. Contrast this to Sedgwick who climbed every mountain in Wales in
1831 at 47. One day was 18 miles with 6000ft of climbing - a massive day and
longer than going down and up the Grand Canyon. It took me over 10hours and
I looked at no rocks as opposed to 8 and half for GC in temps of 110. He
never walked far agian. Colp says this demonstrates his illness was

  I have a
friend who suffers from severe depression and chronic fatigue syndrome
and she experiences many of the symptoms described in the article
(panic attacks, severe anxiety, fainting, tinnitus etc). All these
symptoms are greatly exacerbated by stress. I don't know much about
Darwin's life (though I'd read that he had a bad stomach). Michael,
would you have said that he suffered badly from stress (possibly as a
result of the controversial nature of his theory at the time)?
MBR This is mythical in my view . He was a bit nervy but no more.

would seem to me a more reasoned picture than saying it was guilt over
"the slaying of his heavenly father" as stated in the article.

I noted that Berman moves from "psychosomatic" to "psychotic" without
any supporting quotes or evidence. Also the observations about
obsessive behaviour do little to discredit Darwin. Many of the
greatest geniuses exhibited obsessive behaviour, such as the composers
Mozart and Shostakovich. Also many of the most brilliant people
suffered from depression. A huge list of such people can be found at:

Typical examples are:

Gustav Mahler - Composer
Winston Churchill - British Prime Minister
Martin Luther - Protestant leader
Michaelangelo - Italian artist
John Milton - Poet
Leo Tolstoy - Writer

Darwin also appears on the list

Among famous scientists who committed suicide are Ludwig Boltzmann and
Alan Turing.

So if the charge of depression somehow invalidates Darwin's theories,
then it appears that none of the above worthies produced anything

MBR I dont think CD suffered from depression

If D. did indeed suffer from depression, then it should be regarded
with compassion, not as ammunition for a hatchet job, and therefore,
whatever one thinks of the theory of evolution, the ICR article has to
be regarded as being in pretty poor taste. MBR THAT IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT I
THINK IT IS A SICK ARTICLE In my work with the
Samaritans organization, I naturally get to speak to a lot of people
who suffer from depression, and a common thing they say is that they
would not wish it on their worst enemies.

Received on Wed, 27 Apr 2005 23:10:30 +0100

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