double anniversary of charles darwin

2009 is the double anniversary of Charles Darwin’s double anniversary - the 200th anniversary of his birth (darwin's birth on Feb. 12th, 1809) and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species (in 1859). the uk press like the guardian (below) and the telegraph (further below) has some write-up on this.

the publication of 'Rescuing Darwin – God and evolution in Britain today’, a new 70-page report by Nick Spencer and Denis Alexander, is already out. The 70-page report, published by Theos and containing five chapters, presents and discusses the latest quantitative survey findings by the polling company ComRes concerning the level of belief and disbelief in Darwinian evolution in the UK today. The poll was based on 2000 respondents and represents the most reliable recent data on this topic available. The report also contains chapters on Darwin’s own religious beliefs, analyses why Darwin still remains in the cross-fire in the year of his double anniversary, and discusses how theism and evolution can be held together in a coherent way. not surpisingly, half of the UK respondents do not believe in darwin's evolution!

the anglican church in uk in september 2008 announced that 2009 is the good time to apologize to darwin for misunderstanding him.

the reb says: i agree that in the past when darwin published his book, it raised a furore by the Church which unfortunately clouded many of darwin's other notable observations. the reb has met christian scientists in UK who hold on to a form of evolution i.e. they do not see evolution as entirely against the Bible. these christian scientists do not hold to a young earth theory but subscribe that the earth could be millions and millions of years old. the first 2 chapters of genesis does not mitigate against evolution per se. the reb believes one can still honestly hold to a form of evolution within the genesis chapters.

that leads to the burning question - was darwin right to argue that humans descended from apes and do these christian scientists agree? surprisingly, there are some christian scientists who hold the view that humans were descended from apes genetically. but one human species (homon sapiens or homo erectus) began to have a God consciousness and developed differently from the other homo species. now, that is something to chew about.


The Guardian

Rescuing Darwinism
by Nick Spencer

The public has been turned off evolutionary theory by its false association with reductionism, nihilism, atheism, and amorality

Twenty-three years after On the Origin of Species was published, its author was given a de facto state funeral in Westminster Abbey. Establishment opinion was no longer scandalised by his supposedly most scandalous of theories.

In his authoritative study of how in Darwinism was received in the US and UK in the 19th century, James Moore observes that "with but few exceptions the leading Christian thinkers in Great Britain and America came to terms quite readily with Darwinism and evolution."

It was a different story at the popular level. The general public never accepted the theory as readily as intellectuals did, in large part because it often encountered evolution as a social rather than scientific theory. Social Darwinism argued that might was right, and that to protect the weak and vulnerable was to defy nature. Only the fittest should survive.

Understandably, this doctrine had limited appeal for those deemed weak or unfit, and helped fuel anti-evolutionary sentiment in the early 20th century, particularly in America where Social Darwinism was more influential.

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The Telegraph

Poll reveals public doubts over Charles Darwin's theory of evolution

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent

More than half of the public believe that the theory of evolution cannot explain the full complexity of life on Earth, and a "designer" must have lent a hand, the findings suggest.

And one in three believe that God created the world within the past 10,000 years.

The survey, by respected polling firm ComRes, will fuel the debate around evolution and creationism ahead of next week's 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin.

Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist and author of The God Delusion, said the findings revealed a worrying level of scientific ignorance among Britons.

In the survey, 51 per cent of those questioned agreed with the statement that "evolution alone is not enough to explain the complex structures of some living things, so the intervention of a designer is needed at key stages"

A further 40 per cent disagreed, while the rest said they did not know.

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