Re: [asa] Was Darwin a Creationist?

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Fri Oct 24 2008 - 08:45:14 EDT

The picture of Darwin and the theological aspects of his theory in the late
1830s, as painted by the summary Mike gave us, is highly accurate. Among
other factors, the influence of Paley on Darwin (who'd read Paley only a few
years before at Cambridge) was documented carefully many years ago by the
late Dov Ospovat. Ruse likes to see Darwin as a deist by this point, and I
think that's on target.

The epigrams at the front of the first edn of the "Origin" are quite
interesting choices--and very surprising even to the more positivistic
Darwin experts. I recall many years ago having a little argument with a
Darwin scholar, who disputed my statement that Darwin had used an excerpt
from Whewell's Bridgewater treatise (a classic work in natural theology)
opposite the title page: she just couldn't believe that he'd have done that,
even though he did. A case of selective memory, from which we can all fall
victim. She'd read the "Origin" often, no doubt, but the presence of that
quotation in such a prominent place had somehow never stuck in her mind.
Perhaps it was just cognitive dissonance.


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Received on Fri Oct 24 08:45:58 2008

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