Happy Darwin Day!

Happy Darwin Day! February 12, 2013

I hope you had a Happy Darwin Day! Last Sunday was Evolution Sunday, and so my Sunday school class focused on that topic, spending time clearing up misconceptions about what evolution says, and explaining why evolution is no more incompatible with religious faith than any other area of science. I highlighted that the claim that one must choose between atheism and young-earth creationism – a false antithesis if ever there was one – is a marketing strategy used by both sides, each of whose target audience will find the alternative repugnant.

Today I learned of the MIT Survey on Science, Religion, and Origins, which breaks down data in a more helpful way than other surveys I’ve seen – and does so pictorially!

Max Tegmark, the scientist behind the survey, also has a piece in the Huffington Post featuring an interactive infographic.

P. Z. Myers rightly points out that atheists are not responsible for the existence of creationism. I do wonder, however, whether the reverse might be true – whether the existence and prominence of forms of Christianity that willfully take a stand against what the evidence supports has contributed to the significant increase in the popularity of atheism.

See also Rebecca Trotter’s post on why creationism doesn’t honor God and David Bailey’s on the origin of life.


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  • Religion is great if it helps those that believe and encourages people to care for one another. But it shouldn’t include a denial of reality, a denial of evolution, a denial of human caused climate change, or a denial of our deteriorating habitat, the biosphere. After over 150 of supporting science, evolution is reality, a fact not just a theory in the common use of the term. Let’s not subject our future generations to the reality of our neglect, our wasting the only habitat that can sustain us. Contact your policy makers and demand they take meaningful action to save us from neglect, greed, apathy, denial, and ignorance. Those that come after us should not be forced to pay for our mistakes.

    • AugustineThomas

      Secularism causes you secularists to deny reality with every waking breath!

      • Rebecca Trotter

        How loving and gracious! I bet Phillip is now questioning his rejection of religion entirely and will start a bible study and ministry post-haste. What would God ever do without his followers stepping in to defend him, the creator of heaven and earth like that? He’s sure lucky to have a witness to his infinite love such as yourself on his team!

        • AugustineThomas

          You’re just full of bitterness aren’t you?

          I’m standing up for the truth. That worked even when the pagans murdered Christians for it.

          It’s a secularist/leftist/atheist/agnostic myth that Christians should just shut up and try to make you guys feel good about yourselves.

          We’re here to speak the truth, even if we’re hypocrites, and especially even if those of you who hate God don’t want to hear it!

          • Ian

            “secularist/leftist/atheist/agnostic” – commie too, or at least socialist, surely?

          • Rebecca Trotter

            Actually, I invite you to wander over to my site where you will find nearly 600 posts 90% of which are devoted to sharing my Christian faith. I stand up for the truth and it doesn’t require tearing anyone down. Jesus had nary a word for the Romans and their evil pagan practices. The only people he ever confronted or spoke harshly to were the religious types. God doesn’t need you to defend him. He needs you to pick up your own cross and follow him. Want to point people to God? Then do what Jesus actually said to do – good works. Want to demonstrate that you are a follower of Christ? Then demonstrate it the way he said to do it – with your love. Insulting people is YOUR way, not God’s ways. It draws attention to YOU while driving people from Christ. You are making yourself and your lack of grace, incivility and judgment a stumbling block rather than Christ.

          • AugustineThomas

            Good works include sharing the truth with people who don’t want to hear it. Jesus was very clear about what happens to people who don’t repent and said he came to bring, not peace, but a sword.

  • AugustineThomas

    The Big Bang Theory was postulated by a priest.

    Darwin quoted Scripture when he was in the midst of his most important work and is buried in a churchyard.

    • Erp

      I think you can find a lot of atheists and agnostics can quote scripture; I believe Dawkins was even part of the King James anniversary events. Darwin also isn’t buried in a churchyard but actually inside a church (note the parish churchyard was where everyone was buried barring exceptional circumstances).

      • AugustineThomas

        Darwin is buried in the churchyard at Westminster.

        • Ian

          He’s buried inside Westminster cathedral, on the north aisle, next to Herschel, a short distance from Newton.

          • Erp

            Westminster Abbey is big but not a cathedral (cathedrals are the seat of a bishop and are usually but not always big) and is where Darwin is buried. A Westminster Cathedral does exist now but didn’t when Darwin died (and anyway it is Roman Catholic not Church of England).

          • AugustineThomas

            Ok so, after consulting the historical record, and not taking it from an overzealous pedant like you, I discovered that you’re technically right.

            Darwin was supposed to be buried in a smaller churchyard, but a certain bishop heard about it and thought he deserved a greater honor and so arranged for him to be buried INSIDE Westminster.

            (Of course I’m totally right about the larger point, but you guys managed to correct me on a meaningless detail, so good job!)

          • rmwilliamsjr

            to correct me on a meaningless detail

            don’t you just hate it when pesky meaningless little details like the truth get in the way of a good theory?

            inconvenient facts. best to ignore them.

          • AugustineThomas


            If he was buried inside a cathedral that’s much different than being buried in a churchyard?

            I said Darwin was conflicted about religion, but had been shaped by it and maintained some sentimentality about it until the end, not ever fighting the idea of being buried in a church. (If he were a true secularist he would not have allowed himself to be buried in a religious establishment.)
            The fact that he’s buried inside the cathedral, as I said above, only intensifies my point that ignorant, dogmatic modern atheists attempt to make Darwin more antagonistic to religion than he really was (some of his best friends were devout Christians).

            But don’t let the facts get in the way of your manboy desire to tell other people off before you even know what they’re talking about!

          • Ian

            “ignorant, dogmatic modern atheists attempt to make Darwin more antagonistic to religion than he really was”

            Who, in particular, and can we have references? Because I think you’re making this up, or else you’re referring to something that someone said on a blog once and you’re projecting it onto the world. Either way I’d like to see your evidence.

          • rmwilliamsjr

            If he was buried inside a cathedral that’s much different than being buried in a churchyard?

            i believe that truth matters, that research is important, that everyone is entitled to their opinion but no one has the right to demand i take their opinion seriously unless they have done their homework.

            you seem to care little for the truth or for kindness or even a minimum of civility. it has been pointed out several times that Westminster abbey is NOT a cathedral, yet you continue to make this error. the facts are important, listening to others is a significant task that many have not mastered. your tone and attitude as well as word choice will cause many people to ignore you, never even reading your postings. something you seem oblivious or unconcerned with. i find you a sad and rather pathetic spokesman for Roman Catholicism perhaps the user name torquemada would fit your words here better than AugustineThomas.

          • Ian

            “it has been pointed out several times that Westminster abbey is NOT a cathedral,” It might have been me it was pointed out to. I certainly made that mistake while self-righteously correcting Augustine. 🙂

            The rest I agree with, of course.

          • rmwilliamsjr

            don’t you realize that attitude and tone count in online discussions? people will listen better to what you say if you don’t sound so angry and mean. doesn’t the peacefulness of the Gospel count for anything in your speech?

          • Ian

            Thanks Erp. I’ve never been to the cathedral, but I’ve been assuming I had. I assumed they were synonyms. Cool.

          • AugustineThomas

            Great, this changes everything!

            If Darwin had been buried in a churchyard, instead of inside a cathedral, then I would have been right about modern leftists being kooks who like to inject their beliefs into the lives of famous old scientists!

            Oh wait, if anything, this just emphasizes my point even further!

          • Ian

            Amusing response. I wouldn’t have bothered if you hadn’t decided to ‘correct’ Erp with your own Google-fail.

            Darwin’s faith journey is pretty well known.

            I could quote, for example: “I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers (though themselves orthodox) for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality.”

            or maybe

            “I had gradually come … to see that the Old Testament, from its manifestly false history of the world, … & from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian.”

            Or perhaps we could talk about Emma and her Unitarianism, without whom a discussion of Darwin’s religious difficulties would be totally incomprehensible.

            I’d love to know how you think I or Erp or James are inserting our own beliefs (I’m a leftist atheist, fwiw) into his. Given the cryptic nature of your comment and your throwaway put down of Erp’s correction, laughing at your hubris just seemed more entertaining to me.

          • AugustineThomas

            I see how desperately you wanted to slam me but you didn’t seem to manage it, just made yourself look pathetic with your deep desire to put me down.

            When I was an atheist, I made much worse comments about the Roman Catholic Church and Christianity in general, and now look at me here defending the Holy Church against you fine lads.

            What’s your point?

            I hated the Church, now I see it as the only saving grace of any given society, whether its adherents make up nine percent of a country or ninety.

            Darwin loved the Church, then he hated it, then he seemed to soften and even never protested the idea of being buried in a churchyard and had close friends who were religious.

            My point stands. Darwin despised some portions of organized religion and that led him to denounce Christianity, with qualifications, for a portion of his life. Modern atheists pretend he was some kind of atheist saint who always hated the Church and crusaded against all Christendom and I only suggested that it’s a far more complicated situation than that.

            No one disputes that he was a believing Christian and quoted the bible in full belief when he was making his most important discoveries.

            But good look protecting your secular atheist religion and all its glorious myths about Darwin and other famous scientists!

            (Do you seriously believe that you’re a self creating man god who made himself forget his own self creation and came to Earth with all the theists? Or else, POOF!, you just appeared from thin air like how goop is always just falling out of the sky and frogs are evolving from it and then cheetahs from the frogs who evolved from the goop that just appeared from thin air, and we have proof of that, so we have proof of atheism and other forms of anti-theism..)

          • Ian

            So this is what you choose to respond to, rather than providing evidence to back up your outlandish claims? Figures.

            “Modern atheists pretend he was some kind of atheist saint who always hated the Church and crusaded against all Christendom” Again, who exactly and where do they claim this?

            And in answer to your parenthetical questions at the end: no. Why, do you know of anyone who does believe that? Again, with references?

            You’re making a lot of stuff up here. Perhaps you should check in with reality sometime.

          • AugustineThomas

            You’re the biggest hypocrite I’ve encountered in quite some time..

            “So this is what you choose to respond to, rather than providing evidence to back up..”
            “You’re making a lot of stuff up here.”

            So you’re going to try to call me out for not providing evidence, then tell me I’m making stuff up and not provide any evidence?

            ..Making what up hypocrite?

          • Ian

            I love it. I really hope you’re not a Poe, because this level of self-parody is simply delightful.

          • AugustineThomas

            I’m going to call it an Ian (maybe Reverse Poe is better) when a secularist makes himself look like a shmuck by citing “Poe’s Law” as if it’s a super hip and intellectually cutting edge scientific term and not what it really is: a pathetic pseudo-intellectual meme developed by brainless bitter atheists with nothing interesting or sophisticated to say, (probably using up their government funded spare time because their gender conflict theory PhDs are worthless)..

            By the way, Poe’s Law is the last refuge of a secularist who’s lost an argument. Next you’ll be trying to enlighten me on how I’ve misunderstood Christianity.

            Tell your mother I said God bless her and we’ll keep praying that Christ comes back into your life!

          • Ian

            “a pathetic pseudo-intellectual meme developed by brainless bitter atheists with nothing interesting or sophisticated to say, (probably using up their government funded spare time because their gender conflict theory PhDs are worthless” – Well done you. That was really good.

            But still not backing up anything you’ve claimed? Still replacing evidence for bombast? Oh well, at least your foamy rage is amusing.

          • AugustineThomas

            Still waiting for you to back up anything you say..

            We clearly had an informal argument. Anyone can easily Google evidence for the claims I’ve made. (God does use evil for good!)

          • Ian

            Projection too? Keep it coming. Always amusing.

          • AugustineThomas

            I love you.

          • Ian

            Nice, but you’re getting tamer. Keep the insults coming. The fruitier the better. You do yourself proud.

          • AugustineThomas

            And you’re hilarious.. All atheists do is project onto religious Christians.

            Christians do charity and are the leaven of society.
            Atheists are bloodsuckers who have nothing to do with their miserable lives but hate on Christians who actually make the world better and who actually built modernity!

          • AugustineThomas

            ..And so you’re trying to tell me that if I was insane enough to read through your recent DIsqus comments, I wouldn’t find you calling out Christians for being “unscientific” or “anti-science” and hated by all the great phantom atheist scientists who are ALWAYS represented by Darwin among common atheists?

            Give me a break! Now you guys are trying to pretend that militant atheists like yourselves haven’t been using Darwin as a saber against Christians for centuries?

            Darwin was a conflicted Christian whether he himself admitted it or not. He’s impossible without the thoroughly Christian culture he arose from.


            And either way, I’m happy to discuss whether Christians or the godless have made greater contributions to science and modernity.
            I just got done watching that movie about Dr. Ben Carson. And you’ve heard of Father Lemaitre, Norman Borlaug and Francis Collins yes? I could go name for name with you against great atheist scientists and that’s spotting you the handicap of the university system having been 90% controlled by anti-Christian bigots for the last hundred years.

            In fact, I’m happy to argue Christendom versus the rest of humanity for the whole of history!

          • Ian

            Yes, you wouldn’t find me calling Christians “unscientific” or “anti-science”. Except perhaps for specific creationist claims that are unscientific. Given that my mother is both a Christian and a scientist, it wouldn’t make much sense.

            “the great phantom atheist scientists who are ALWAYS represented by Darwin among common atheists”

            Once more, give us some examples. If it is always happening, there should be lots. You also said:

            “Modern atheists pretend he was some kind of atheist saint”

            Again, any examples? Or:

            “atheists are lying about the severity of Darwin’s agnosticism”


            “This is why you all listen to shmucks like Dawkins about theology”

            Even though I regularly write about the theological naivete of the New Atheists? How very hypocritical of me.

            Like I said above, and you ignored: how about saying something, anything, you can actually back up? Or maybe just some more self-righteous ranting and further accusations. That stuff is funny.

          • arcseconds

            This looks like projection to me.

            It might help to recall that athiests are not some kind of monolithic block who all have the same attitudes and beliefs. (Neither are Christians.)

            Maybe you were bitter and angry when you were an atheist, and I can see why someone might think atheists are bitter and angry if their only exposure to atheism was Hitchens or Sam Harris.

            And atheists are always going to sound negative when talking about their position on God, of course.

            But most atheists aren’t engaged in any kind of crusade against religion, and many (if not most) don’t really spend a lot of time thinking or talking about religion at all. why should they?

            Instead they’re just like everyone else: they go to school or work, play sports, have partners, kids, watch TV, wash the dishes… if you hear them talk about the things that they’re enthusiastic about (which probably won’t include God or religion, although in some cases it will), they’ll sound like a football fan, or a keen gardener, or a Trekkie — and they’ll sound much like Christian football fans, gardeners, or Trekkies.

          • AugustineThomas

            Every atheist I ever encounter (in print or person) is bitter.

            I have literally never met an atheist, out of the thousands I’ve known, who has had something positive to say about Christians.

            I ALWAYS encounter Christians who spend too much time trying to be nice to the godless and neglecting those who are asking for help at the church.

            I think you all should be left to your sin. It’s not helping you by continuing to do charity for you and letting you call us evil like the most pathetic hypocrites in the history of the world..

          • arcseconds

            Projection :]

            You’re about the bitterist commenter I’ve ever seen here. This remark alone:

            I think you all should be left to your sin.

            is the most bitter remark in this thread!

            Perhaps it’s not projection, though.

            Perhaps it’s your proclivity for finding what you want to find, and painting with too broad a brush — no-one here has suggested or implied that Darwin ‘hated the church and crusaded against all Christendom’, to take one example.

            Also, I’m sure you often do get negative reactions from atheists (and other people, too, no doubt) given your barrage of insults, misrepresentations, assumptions, arrogance, and general churlishness.

            I mean, if I squint and peer through my eyelashes and pretend I’m a lot less charitable than I actually am, I can see why you might think Ian is bitter. But you’re getting this kind of reaction from him because you’re being a berk. He doesn’t strike me as being bitter at all, and even in this conversation he’s still all sweetness and light compared to you.

            You might want to try some of that ‘do unto others’ stuff. One of the side-benefits is that you often end up having more positive interactions with people when you treat them with respect, as individuals, rather than treating them as a member of a class and guilty of all the crimes committed by other members of that class.

          • AugustineThomas

            It’s only bitter if you project your little pseudo psychology of the religious onto me.

            Have you ever heard of co-dependency? It’s not bitter to leave the alcoholic to his alcohol. It’s mean to keep buying him alcohol or telling him he’s just having fun, simply because you’d rather not hurt his feelings..

            And I’m not concerned with having “positive interactions” with people who just got done murdering more babies than Hitler and Stalin combined. I wouldn’t be concerned that I didn’t have “positive interactions” with Hitler or Stalin, and I won’t worry if I don’t have them with militant atheists, secularists and/or leftists.

            Lastly, I don’t go telling them that they’re evil atheists. I sit there silently and wait for them to start up with their bigotry against Christians because they think I must be just another good secularist who will zealously join in with their two minutes’ hate.

            (Also I love when an atheist is so bankrupt of arguments that he starts trying to lecture on Christianity, as if he knows something about it!)

          • rmwilliamsjr

            And I’m not concerned with having “positive interactions” with people who just got done murdering more babies than Hitler and Stalin combined. I wouldn’t be concerned that I didn’t have “positive interactions” with Hitler or Stalin, and I won’t worry if I don’t have them with militant atheists, secularists and/or leftists.

            that explains your tone and attitude. you see everyone that you talk to here that does not share your viewpoint, not as people from whom you can learn but as horrid monsters and murderers.

          • AugustineThomas

            I think people who support the state system that murders 100 million innocent babies should be made to answer for their crimes, yes.

            Think about it. I believe what you’re all doing is murder.
            You regularly demonize the Church and other institutions for less.

            I’m supposed to learn from people who think it’s ok to murder a child for their own insecurities and selfish desires just because one cannot see him or her with the naked eye?

            You guys are backward, unscientific, child sacrificing, pagan heathens masquerading as enlightened modernists. You’re the priests of the cult of death. I used to be one of you and still am affected by secularist intellectual and emotional brainwashing and conditioning, that’s how I know there’s nothing deeper to your intellectualism than insecurity about the true ramifications your de facto nihilist cosmology.

          • rmwilliamsjr

            you really ought to listen to people before demonizing them. for example, i am a Christian who thinks abortion is wrong, i have never defended abortion, nor have i demonized any Church, nor even spoken harshly towards you in any way. i think your words insulting and very unChristian. in general i find your behavior here mean spirited and downright nasty. due to the persistence of things written online, i hope you someday can come back here, read your words and repent for your misbehavior and name calling.

            the lurkers and potential audience here can read for themselves what you have written and judge whether it comes from a heart of love for people as Jesus demonstrated or from elsewhere.

            your words stand as a witness to the inner man they flow from.

          • AugustineThomas

            It isn’t mean spirited to stand up for the truth.

            It’s mean spirited to let innocent children of God die by the tens of millions so you avoid offending your secularist friends..

          • arcseconds

            It’s only bitter if you project your little pseudo psychology of the religious onto me

            Ah, the old “what you say is what you are, full stop you can’t say it back nyah nyah nyah” response! Takes me back to when I was 8.

            Look, you’ve already admitted to being bitter. You told us all atheists you’ve ever known were bitter, and you’ve told us you were an atheist. Normally a lot is conserved about people’s personalities through conversion processes. I suppose it’s possible for someone to go from bitterness to positive optimism and loveliness, but it’s a bit difficult to believe this happened to you when everything you say is negative, nasty, and usually fabricated.

            It’s also kind of interesting that you take yourself to have this huge insight into the lives of all atheists to know that they’re bitter down to the last individual, but yet suppose I haven’t the least ability to detect such things.

            It’s not bitter to leave the alcoholic to his alcohol.

            Ah, maybe the problem is that you don’t know what bitterness is. It’s an attitude, not an action. It could certainly be bitter to leave an alcoholic to his alcohol. It could also be non-bitter. If I say “oh, Jack’s fine, he just likes his bourbon — don’t worry about it. If he has a problem he’ll work it out himself” then that’s not bitter, it’s nonchalant and possibly naive. But if I say “Jack’s a stupid drunken sot who couldn’t self-control his way out of a paper bag. I wouldn’t lift a damn finger to help him, and hope he dies in his own vomit” then that’s extremely bitter.

            And I’m not concerned with having “positive interactions” with people who just got done murdering more babies than Hitler and Stalin combined.

            Well, it’s good that you recognise this. Because now you know you have a selection bias — you’re only going to have negative interactions with atheists, so you’re in no position to comment on what they’re like on other occasions, and therefore can’t offer meaningful assessments of their personalities.

            Also I love when an atheist is so bankrupt of arguments that he starts trying to lecture on Christianity, as if he knows something about it!

            What makes you think I’m an atheist?

            Presumably you know full well that many atheists were once Christian, so I’m supposing your point is not really that atheists can’t know anything about Christianity, but rather that they shouldn’t comment on a worldview they no-longer subscribe to?

            Hopefully you’ll follow your own principle on this and cease making uncharitable remarks about atheists.

            You do know the golden rule isn’t specifically a Christian principle, right?

          • rmwilliamsjr


            i wanted to thank you for the new word. i’d put it on my facebook page of words for the day, but my wife and kids watch it *grin*

  • Simon Barrow

    Well done, James. Excellent work.

  • $39802389

    I wish people would actually read the bible from genesis to revelation before making a decision. And as for Darwin if you actually read his book at the end he came to the conclusion that he was wrong. It wasn’t even his idea to begin with.

    • $895917

      You have to be a little more specific in order to be convincing. At first glance, it seems odd for Darwin to write an entire book about evolution only to come to the conclusion at the end that he was wrong. At second glance, your claim makes no sense at all. That’s why you need detail.

      • I wonder if Shawn has heard a garbled version of the old “Darwin recanted his theory on his deathbed” lie, and is thinking of that?

        • Ian

          Yeah. I’d love a page reference. I have a copy of the Origin here.

          But I suspect it is just standard creationist lying.

          • gamgokt

            So funny, evolutionary liars calling creationists liars. Why would someone who claims to be a Christian celebrate Darwin Day, a man who rejected God and was an unbeliever, in a church who worships the God who said he created all things via speaking?

            Calling the very God you supposedly worship a liar is not a smart thing to do and does nothing to help the cause of Christ

          • Ian

            I accused Shawn of lying because he did. He claimed something demonstrably untrue. If you think he was correct in saying that Darwin concludes he was wrong at the end of The Origin, please say where.

            Otherwise I really couldn’t care less what kind of frothy rage you want to work yourself up into. You appear to be getting off on frantically stroking your righteous indignation. Have fun. I have no desire to lend a hand.

          • AugustineThomas

            What does it prove for you that he died believing in evolution?

            If you’re like most militant atheists/agnostics/secularists/leftists, you’ve built these kinds of debates into some kind of fight over your religious cosmology.

            If you win the argument, you think, your religion of godless, evolutionary social Darwinism will somehow win the day.

            Of course, whether or not there was a deathbed confession, atheists are lying about the severity of Darwin’s agnosticism and are apparently ignorant of the fact that expertise in botany lends no credibility to one’s theological views. (This is why you all listen to shmucks like Dawkins about theology despite the fact that he knows less about the subject than an eight year old Sunday school student.)

            This is why I don’t ask the Pope about biology.. (But you apparently enlightened idiots don’t really care about science or any kind of objective proof like you pretend, you care only about being right and feeling smarter than religious folk–which makes you the most ignorant set of people in the world, which is perhaps why you’re all so bitter and have the highest depression and suicide rates.)

          • Ian

            It makes no difference to me nor to the truth of evolution, one way or another. But that doesn’t change the fact that Shawn lied.

            Why you feel the need to respond with such a weird tirade, complete with its own set of lies (which you’re, still, not giving any references for), is par for your engagement in this thread.

            How about saying something, anything, you can actually back up?

          • AugustineThomas

            Which lies? Do you just want to keep up that tired nonsense or actually mention a specific lie I’ve committed here?

            Why do you feel the need to hound every comment I make on this website like you’re the gatekeeper for atheistic secularists?

          • Ian

            “If you win the argument, you think, your religion of godless, evolutionary social Darwinism will somehow win the day.” – a lie, please provide evidence that is what I think.

            “atheists are lying about the severity of Darwin’s agnosticism” – a lie, please provide evidence that is what I think.

            “This is why you all listen to shmucks like Dawkins about theology” – a lie, please provide evidence I do this.

            And while you’re at it, perhaps provide evidence that I don’t care about science, that I pretend to care about objective proof, that I only care about being right, that I’m bitter or that I’m ignorant of anything of which we’ve talked.

            But honestly, I’d much rather you didn’t bother, and just sling around some more hyperbolic insults, because you parody yourself so well that way, it is much funnier.

          • Nick Gotts

            You still claim “atheists” are lying about Darwin’s religious beliefs, but you provide no evidence. I’m not saying there are no atheists who make unfounded claims that Darwin was a lifelong militant atheist, but I know it’s wrong to attribute such a claim to “atheists”, because I’m an atheist, and I know he was not: his views changed greatly over time. It’s not something I consider particularly important – Darwin’s fame is as a biologist and geologist, not a philosopher of religion – but my impression from reading Adrian Desmond and James Moore’s biography Darwin, is that he died highly sceptical of any revealed religion, but preferring the term “agnostic” to “atheist”, and shunning any confrontation with religious believers. Both his intellectual predecessors and those who championed his ideas during and after his lifetime include many religious believers, mostly Christians. These historical facts have no implications for the truth or falsity of atheism (or of Christianity).

          • Apparently you don’t know what the evidence of the creation says. It is the young-earth creationists who make God a liar.

            And apparently you do not accept the Bible’s approach to things. Its authors accept the testimony of non-Christians when that testimony is true, even from “pagans”.

            Your approach is demeaning to the Creator and antithetical to the Bible. And yet you pretend that it is Christian?

    • arcseconds

      Evolution wasn’t Darwin’s idea, no, it had been around for at least 70 years before him (and you can even find some precedence amongst the ancient greek philosophers).

      Natural selection had been proposed in some form or other by others prior to Darwin, but they didn’t do the meticulous work required to establish it as a respectable scientific theory, and they never received much attention. In science credit is given more for proving ideas than for proposing them. Fitzgerald cottoned on to some of the principles of Relativity prior to Einstein, but only historians of science remember him. Alfred Wallace did come to the same conclusions as Darwin around the same time, and before Darwin published, and he did argue for them persuasively, and he is given due credit for this.

      Anyway, as far as the merits of evolutionary science goes, the particulars as to when and what was said by Darwin and others is largely irrelevant. Darwin’s argument in the Origin of Species happens to be a good one, but if it had not been so good it would have been improved by someone else. And much has been learnt since Darwin published his book.

    • David Evans

      I have read most of the Bible at one time or another. And let me tell you, Revelation did nothing to change my mind about being an atheist. Quite the opposite.

      • AugustineThomas

        Sounds like you had your mind made up before you ever read the bible.

        This is how i feel when I read atheists though. They’re always so bitter and, ultimately intellectually bankrupt that they only reinforce the obvious choice: belief in God.

        Otherwise you’re left with loony beliefs, like that you’re a self creating man god who forgot his own self creation and came to Earth with all the theists, or else you just POOF! appeared from thin air, despite the fact that we’ve never witnessed goop just magically appearing and then evolving into intelligent organisms..

        Atheists only have power in mocking Christianity, they’re blown away in the wind like a straw castle whenever they’re forced to defend their own beliefs.
        The cosmology of Christendom, as best expressed by the One True Church, the Roman Catholic Church is far more logically consistent than anything any atheist has ever offered.

        There are a bunch of drugged out secularists who are eager to buy into your nonsense, but you have no actual proof of anything.
        You’re the priests of the new religion. Everything you accuse medieval Catholics of, you are: you’re willing to kill for your godless secularist religion, you’re willing to lie for your godless secularist religion, and you put the protection of your godless secularist religion above all else, including truth.
        It’s more important in your religion to say things that are consistent with other godless leftist/atheist/agnostic dogma, than to unflinchingly pursue the truth, even if it controverts your fantasy narrative about heroic enlightened atheist scientists versus benighted, rapacious, bloodthirsty religious people. (Despite all historical evidence that atheist regimes murdered more innocent people every decade than the Church did in two millennia.)

    • David Evans

      In the last chapter of “The Origin Of Species” Darwin writes:

      “Although I am fully convinced of the truth of the views given in this volume under the form of an abstract, I by no means expect to convince experienced naturalists whose minds are stocked with a multitude of facts all viewed, during a long course of years, from a point of view directly opposite to mine.”

      “I am fully convinced”, you note. Not “I was wrong”. I should be most interested to see your evidence to the contrary.

    • John (not McCain)

      I have read the bible from genesis to revelation. It’s boring crap.

  • Ian

    Very interesting. I wonder what the scale is. That 100% of muslims said “maybe” suggests we’re probably talking tiny numbers for the smallest sample groups.

    • Ian

      This appears to be a rather odd methodology. The sizes and hierarchy are all given by the Pew Survey. And are not part of this research. Then for each grouping, the researchers looked at the websites of each church for information on a declared position on the subject, picked out key quotes and assigned them to one of a handful of categories. And this is the color of the pie-chart.

      I’m not sure what the results actually show, scientifically, given that. But I think the HuffPo article is interesting, and — probably because it reinforces my biases on the topic — I agree with it.

  • Nick Gotts

    Following the link to the MIT survey report in the OP, the actual question asked was:

    Is there a conflict between belonging to this faith and believing in origins

    Which explains why the figure for “no conflict” is 100% for the Nones – a lot of whom might think there is a conflict between some other people’s religious faith and origins science – as, indeed, would many believers!

    One of the most interesting snippets from the report:

    Whereas Gallup reports that 46% of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form less than 10,000 years ago, we find that only 11% belong to religions openly rejecting evolution.

    This suggests that American creationist antiscience is, as its leaders claim, a movement with a broad popular base – it may be only a small minority of evangelists and politicians actively pushing the issue in state legislatures and school boards, but they are not isolated extremists: it can’t all be blamed on a few Hams and Hovinds.