The Life and Lies about Charles Darwin

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

Which of these statements is false?

  • Charles Lindbergh was the first to fly across the Atlantic.
  • John Glenn was the first American in space.
  • Charles Darwin discovered evolution.

They’re all false, of course. No scholar claims that any of them are true, yet there are some folks out there who somehow got their facts confused. I’ll get to that last misconception in a moment.

The Discovery Institute is always dreaming up new ways to sabotage American science education. They employ a whole staff in this endeavor. Among their Senior Fellows are Michael Behe, William Dembski, Jonathan Wells, and Benjamin Wiker. I know who those first three are, but Wiker wasn’t ringing a bell.

According to a short bio on Amazon:

He is a senior fellow at the St. Paul Center for Biblical theology and is also a senior fellow with Discovery Institute. He has written several other books, most recently Answering the New Atheism: Dismantling Dawkins’ Case Against God (co-authored with Scott Hahn) and 10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others that Didn’t Help.

OK, so he has a religious bent, which might color anything he writes.

He has a new book, The Darwin Myth: The Life and Lies of Charles Darwin. From what I’ve seen of it, it should be subtitled The Life and Lies about Charles Darwin.

The Discovery Institute has been pushing this book for the last week. A few days ago, they told us that you can get a free chapter of the book! Here’s the pitch:

Scientists aren't allowed to believe in God!

The ad makes the rather extraordinary claim that scientists are not allowed to believe in God. That probably comes as a surprise to the many scientists who do believe. Let’s see what else the ad says:

Casting aside Darwinism’s politically correct veneer, The Darwin Myth reveals:

  • The Darwin Myth: Darwin insisted that evolution must be godless to be scientific

That’s just because he knew that natural explanations were sufficient to explain all of evolution. He wasn’t out to kill God. In fact, he knew his theory would throw a lot of religious people (including his wife) into a tizzy, so he withheld publication for many years. He was hardly an atheist avenger, as this ad implies.

  • Charles Darwin didn’t “discover” evolution—he just put his name on it. (It was explored in the 17th Century, long before his time.)

Well they managed to get the first part of that statement correct. Evolution had been known for a while, because people saw the fossils. Animals were clearly changing over time. What Darwin came up with was an explanation for how the process worked. He also may have been the first to understand that evolution applied to all species throughout history and that everything evolved from a common ancestor. He was hardly just sticking his name on something that other people had discovered.

Throwing this statement into the ad is an interesting ploy. They’re trying to discredit Darwin in every way possible. If they can give you many examples of how he wasn’t credible or honest, then you’ll eventually start to doubt everything he said.

  • Although not Darwin’s intention, Darwinism provides an open rationale for eugenics, genocide and racism

Speaking of discredited, there’s that hoary old myth. Interesting how they were eager to dispel the myth of Darwin discovering evolution, but they’re eager to perpetuate this one.

  • Darwin’s own theory supported natural slavery—an institution he detested

This is a lie. Darwin’s theory showed that slavery was unnatural.

Anyway, I wanted to see what this book is all about, so I gave them one of my email addresses. There’s a little note somewhere that by giving them your address, you agree to receive their spam.

Shortly thereafter, my free chapter arrived. A day later came an email with an article by Pat Buchanan and a promise of more great articles by the likes of Ann Coulter and Newt Gingrich.

Uhh, no. Time to delete that address.

So anyway, I sat down tonight to read my prize. I must say, I’m very disappointed. This so-called “chapter” is only four pages long. I was robbed! I earned a real full-length chapter! I was exposed to a Pat Buchanan article trying to acquire it. Now I understand H.P. Lovecraft. His protagonists go insane if they see Cthulhu. I, too, have been subjected to an unspeakable horror.

The unspeakable horror.

They could be twins!

Anyway, I read the chapter, and it’s just an introduction to the book. It hints at the anti-evolution lies from the ad, setting the stage for what the rest of the book is about. That’s about all I can tell from what they sent me, but it’s enough. Don’t buy the book. You shouldn’t have to pay for lies. You can get all you want for free from the Discovery Institute.

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To answer the quiz: Charles Lindbergh was the first to fly solo across the Atlantic. John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth. Alan Shepard was the first American into space (on a sub-orbital flight).

3 Responses to “The Life and Lies about Charles Darwin”

  1. sue blue Says:

    What really jumps out at me is that line “why aren’t scientists ALLOWED to believe in God?”—these religionists just can’t get it through their rigid, blinkered, pointy little minds that dogma doesn’t rule everything. It says so much about their mindset. They literally can’t conceive of freedom of thought. Their god must tell them how to think, speak, and act—all the the time. So, if the vast majority of scientists are atheists, it MUST be because some authority forces them to be so, and also creates a vast web of conspiracy to keep the public in the dark about what’s really going on. Hmmm… sounds like religion.

  2. Michael Nietzsche Says:

    Or Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, either!

  3. Brian Says:

    Sue Blue,

    You’re right, of course. Religious people just cannot truly understand atheism, because once they do they will most likely cease to be religious.

    They are left with the pathetic prospect of shoe-horning the real world into their uninformed and deluded paradigm, a task only acheived with the aid of authoritarian dogma and willful ignorance. To conceive of another framework of thought with which to view the world is an impossibility for them.