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Something Darwin Didn’t Know

Darwin's commitment to weighing the facts, even when the topic was an emotional one, would serve competing advocates of science and religion well as the world celebrates the great naturalist's 200th birthday today and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his "On the Origin of Species."

Charles Darwin was nothing if not methodical. When the time came to consider marriage, he divided a sheet of paper into two sections, "Marry" and "Not Marry." Under the first heading he noted: "a friend in old age . . . better than a dog anyhow." In the second he tallied counterarguments: "perhaps quarreling," he fretted, and "less money for books."

Darwin’s commitment to weighing the facts, even when the topic was an emotional one, would serve competing advocates of science and religion well as the world celebrates the great naturalist’s 200th birthday today and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his "On the Origin of Species," with its groundbreaking explication of evolutionary theory. While Darwin himself never took his findings as definitive evidence against the existence of God, many people of faith have read that conclusion into his work. As a result, the man who first grasped biology’s most unifying concept is today widely demonized as an enemy of the church, even as many scientists and others make a similar mistake and invoke Darwin in their rejection of everything theological.

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