Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Did Darwin recant and repent on his death bed?

The story of Darwin’s alleged ‘deathbed conversion’ continues to do the rounds, although I thought it had been decently buried many years ago. I came across it on a YouTube post recently and again today on Answers in Genesis.

See also this article on the subject of ‘Arguments Christians should not use’

People may call me uncharitable or paranoid for saying this but I wonder how often when this incorrect and illogical argument is used-particularly on line-is it not done out of mere ignorance and sloppy thinking but as a deliberate false flag/straw man stratagem. The relevant correspondence linked to above hints at this with evidence of a very aggressive questioner who refused multiple requests to answer simple questions or offer his sources for asserting the Darwin deathbed repentance story was true. It isn't and it wouldn't make any diference to us if it was.

I suspect false flag propaganda reasons behind raising the issue, especially when done anonymously.

‘Like, those CRETInists are so dumb they even go around saying that Darwin recanted on his death bed.’ I have seen that argued. To be fair, I have also heard well meaning people assert that Darwin changed his mind about (A) his evolutionary beliefs, (B) his personal relationship with God, either in the last few months of his life or on his death bed.

There are 2 very serious problems with using the assertion that Darwin recanted on his death bed’.

First, all but one unreliable shred of the evidence is the other way. An Australian Christian called Lady Hope made certain allegations concerning an undocumented visit to Darwin at Downe House (details on link). These assertions were not published at the time, never corroborated, and were specifically denied by Darwin’s close friends and relatives. As is widely known, Darwin’s wife Emma disagreed with him over religion and evolution and if he had experienced a genuine change of mind on either subject it seems likely she would have said so. But she said the opposite. Any unbiased judge would take the word of a wife over a stranger. I am not suggesting that Lady Hope deliberately lied, but her memory may have deceived her. It happens. So, the evidence for the ‘deathbed conversion’ story is very weak, the evidence against it strong.

The other, possibly even stronger reason for not using the ‘argument’ is that it is literally no argument. It’s a total non sequitur.

Let us speculate for the sake of argument that Darwin had changed his mind about evolution and made a sincere commitment to Jesus Christ at the age of 70. Let us say that he had written a book called ‘Why my theory of evolution was completely wrong and I have now changed my mind about it.’ and gone on a decade long world tour saying that he believed the Genesis account was literally true and that men ought to repent and turn to Christ, exactly what Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis preaches. Obviously this did not happen, but EVEN IF IT HAD then it would still have no bearing on whether Darwinian evolution is true, because the case must be argued on its merits.

Darwin defenders would no doubt find it much easier to mock a Christian asserting that ‘Darwin recanted on his death bed’ as if this were some kind of argument than deal with the biochemical, informational and genetic issues raised by scientists sceptical of Darwin such as Mike Behe, John Sanford and Stephen Meyer. AS I posted recently, I often find that rather than adress my arguments aginst Darwin from biology, Darwin defenders try to push me on to different ground such as the age of the earth where they imagine they have an easier battle. Even if the earth is billions of years old, that doesn't prove evolution happened, and even if Darwin later changed his mind, that wouldn't of itself prove evolution didn't happen. It shouldn't be necessary to point this out.

I find it easy to believe, given the anonymity of the web, that opponents would deliberately misrepresent Christians as taking this position in order to give an opportunity for mockery. Its just taking misrepresentation to a higher level. I have seen at least 2 clear cut instances of men posing dishonestly as Christians posting videos on YouTube that were designed to make Christians look cruel and dumb, one video was over this specific issue. Perhaps someone will post a snide retort saying its easy to make Christisns look cruel and dumb- sneer away if you choose. But I am talking about deliberate ‘false flag’ lies to create a straw man that is much easier to attack than, for example, Stephen Meyer's arguments about the origin of meaningful information.

The Darwin deathbed ‘argument’ is completely useless to the Darwin dissenter and should never be advanced again by anyone. It’s not as if there was a shortage of tough questions to put to evolutionists.

Charles Darwin as far as we know went to his Maker trusting in his own wisdom and integrity while rejecting God's free offer of forgiveness and New Life through penitent faith in Jesus Christ. If you are reading this, you don’t have to. Charles Darwin’s eternal destiny is decided but yours isn’t. God has revealed himself in his Son and ‘ …now commands all men everywhere to repent.’ Acts of the Apostles ch 17 vs 30

1 comment:

  1. Honest, intelligent, directing us to the process of science rather than 'authorities' of just exactly which science is correct.

    But...how do we know Darwin was wrong, and will burn? First we had the Burgess Shale, but now we have a chinese cache of even earlier fossils which seem to correlate and support. You're right this must be decided based on evidence but...it seems to me the evidence all says Darwin was heading in the right direction with his research. What do you see that makes you question that? At risk of a false appeal to authority, paleontologists don't seem to find reason to question the basic theory. ...?


feel free to comment, good manners and lucidity are appreciated.