Et In Arcadia Ego (kergillian) wrote in angry_atheist,
Et In Arcadia Ego

RantMisquoting Darwin just makes you look stupid

I've been debating with creationists over on youtube.

I can't believe how stupid some of these people are.

Case in point:

bman9089 is misquoting Darwin left and right. How many times do I need to spank these people before they realize that I can google any quote they throw at me and show it to be the deliberate distortion that it is? Don't they know that their lies only hurt them?

I'm sick of hearing about Darwin's "Deathbed Conversion." Guess what. It didn't happen.

From Wikipedia:
Lady Elizabeth Reid Hope (December 9, 1842–8 March 1922) was a British evangelist who is generally believed to be the Lady Hope who claimed in 1915 that she had visited the British naturalist Charles Darwin shortly before his death in 1882. Hope claimed that Darwin had recanted his theory of evolution on his deathbed and accepted Jesus Christ as his saviour.

Charles Darwin's family denied the story, and insisted that Lady Hope "was not present during his last illness, or any illness." The Lady Hope Story is generally recognised, even by many Creationists, to be false — or at least unverifiable — and if true, probably exaggerated. The story remains a popular urban legend, even though it stands in sharp contrast to Darwin's published and known views about Christianity.

Creationists quote Darwin, saying:
"Often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have not devoted myself to a fantasy." (Charles Darwin, Life and Letters, 1887, Vol. 2, p. 229)

However, this isn't quite the whole story:

Ilkley Wells, Yorkshire,

November 23 [1859].

My dear Lyell,

You seemed to have worked admirably on the species question; there could not have been a better plan than reading up on the opposite side. I rejoice profoundly that you intend admitting the doctrine of modification in your new edition; nothing, I am convinced, could be more important for its success. I honour you most sincerely. To have maintained in the position of a master, one side of a question for thirty years, and then deliberately give it up, is a fact to which I much doubt whether the records of science offer a parallel. For myself, also, I rejoice profoundly; for, thinking of so many cases of men pursuing an illusion for yearsand often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may not have devoted my life to a phantasy. Now I look at it as morally impossible that investigators of truth, like you and Hooker, can be wholly wrong, and therefore I rest in peace. Thank you for criticisms, which, if there be a second edition, I will attend to. I have been thinking that if I am much execrated as an atheist, etc., whether the admission of the doctrine of natural selection could injure your works; but I hope and think not, for as far as I can remember, the virulence of bigotry is expended on the first offender, and those who adopt his views are only pitied as deluded, by the wise and cheerful bigots.

I cannot help thinking that you overrate the importance of the multiple origin of dogs. The only difference is, that in the case of single origins, all difference of the races has originated since man domesticated the species. In the case of multiple origins part of the difference was produced under natural conditions. I should infinitely prefer the theory of single origin in all cases, if facts would permit its reception. But there seems to me some à priori improbability (seeing how fond savages are of taming animals), that throughout all times, and throughout all the world, that man should have domesticated one single species alone, of the widely distributed genus Canis. Besides this, the close resemblance of at least three kinds of American domestic dogs to wild species still inhabiting the countries where they are now domesticated, seem to almost compel admission that more than one wild Canis has been domesticated by man. [Page 26] I thank you cordially for all the generous zeal and interest you have shown about my book, and I remain, my dear Lyell,

Your affectionate friend and disciple,


Sir J. Herschel, to whom I sent a copy, is going to read my book. He says he leans to the side opposed to me. If you should meet him after he has read me, pray find out what he thinks, for, of course, he will not write; and I should excessively like to hear whether I produce any effect on such a mind.

Not quite the confession it first seems.

And what is probably the number one out of context quote:

Creation is will quote:

suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree. - Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, 1st Ed., p. 186.

But read the full quote:
Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself first originated; but I may remark that several facts make me suspect that any sensitive nerve may be rendered sensitive to light, and likewise to those coarser vibrations of the air which produce sound. (Darwin 1872, 143-144)

For the love of your imaginary god! PLEASE try to get your facts straight.
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