Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Evolutionary trivia: Darwin started out a Creationist

Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History this week opens a temporary exhibit dedicated to the life of Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution that will always be linked to him. Amazingly almost 150 years after he first formally published On The Origin of Species, religious zealots are still attacking his theory and promoting their Creationist doctrine that dates the Earth's genesis to the 6,000 years of Biblical accounting in defiance of all scientific evidence.

Among the details revealed in the traveling exhibit is the fascinating tidbit that Darwin boarded the Beagle as a Creationist, but his worldview was forever altered by his observations of flora and fauna on the ship's tour of South America. Maybe that should give us hope that the battle is not yet lost, and the majority of Americans will come to their senses once they get past their religious misleaders' empty rhetoric and examine the scientific record.

The Chicago Tribune has a good article summarizing the exhibit and what it depicts of Charles Darwin's life and work. Here is an excerpt (the linked article may require a log-in):

New Field exhibit takes on Darwin detractors
By William Mullen

... Darwin believed in creationism as he studied for the ministry in college, though he was more attracted to scientific pursuits, including geology and beetle collecting. Those interests won him his spot on the Beagle voyage months after he graduated in 1831.

As he filled notebooks with scientific observations while traveling the coasts of South America, Darwin's religious doubts grew.

Geological formations he saw showed the world to be millions and billions of years old, not thousands. Plant and animal specimens he collected, both living and fossilized, suggested species constantly adapting to changing environments. ...

Read the full article
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