Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It is a Mistake to Think Charles Darwin was Religious

A large part of those religious people who support the theory of evolution suggest that Charles Darwin was a believer. However, they are definitely mistaken, for during his life Darwin revealed his negative views of Allah and religion.

Darwin did believe in Allah during his youth, but his belief gradually faded and was replaced by atheism during middle age. However, he did not publicize this fact, for he did not want to attract any opposition from his devout wife in particular, as well as from his close relatives and the religious establishment. In her book Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, Darwinist historian Gertrude Himmelfarb writes: "The full extent of Darwin's disbelief, therefore, can be seen neither in his published work nor even in his published autobiography, but only in the original version of that autobiography."20 
Her book also reveals that when Darwin's son Francis was about to publish his The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Darwin's wife Emma fiercely opposed the project and did not want to give her permission, fearing that the letters might give rise to a scandal after his death. Emma warned her son to take out those sections that made open references to atheism. The entire family feared that such statements would damage Darwin's prestige.21
According to biologist Ernst Mayr, a founder of neo-Darwinism; "It is apparent that Darwin lost his faith in the years 1836-39, much of it clearly prior to the reading of Malthus. In order not to hurt the feelings of his friends and of his wife, Darwin often used deistic language in his publications, but much in his Notebooks indicates that by this time he had become a 'materialist.'"22
Darwin always bore his family's reactions in mind, and throughout his life carefully concealed his ideas on religion. He did so, in his own words, because,
Many years ago I was strongly advised by a friend never to introduce anything about religion in my works, if I wished to advance science in England; and this led me not to consider the mutual bearings of the two subjects. Had I foreseen how much more liberal the world would become, I should perhaps have acted differently.23
As we can see from the final sentence, if Darwin had felt confident he would have attracted no reaction, he might not have been so cautious. When Karl Marx (1818-83) proposed to dedicate his Das Kapital to Darwin, Darwin firmly refused the honor on the grounds that it would hurt certain members of his family if he were associated with such an atheistic book. 24
Even if We sent down angels to them, and the dead spoke to them, and We gathered together everything in front of them right before their eyes, they would still not believe unless Allah willed. The truth is that most of them are ignorant.(Surat al-An'am, 111)
However, we can still find Darwin's perverted attitude to spiritual concepts and beliefs in these words to his cousin: "I look upon all human feeling as traceable to some germ in the animals." 25
He then expressed an error concerning religion and belief in Allah:
Nor must we overlook the probability of the constant inculcation in a belief in God on the minds of children producing so strong and perhaps as inherited effect on their brains not yet fully developed, that it would be as difficult for them to throw off their belief in God, as for a monkey to throw off its instinctive fear and hatred of a snake. 26
Darwin also opposed religious instruction for children out of his belief that they should be freed from religious belief.27
This is of course one of Darwin's worst errors. Believing in Allah and living as religious moral values demand is a great virtue that will bestow peace on happiness on the individual and society and that will lead to salvation in this world and the Hereafter. It is very dangerous for people to turn aside from belief in Allah and stop living by religious moral values as Darwin espoused. Human history is full of examples of this.
These antireligious views have come down to present-day evolutionists as a kind of legacy. Just as Darwin did not want children to learn about Allah while they were being educated, modern evolutionists fiercely oppose teaching creationism in schools. They engage in active lobbying all over the world to have creation removed from the educational curriculum.

Darwin's Atheism and Efforts to Conceal it
Examination of Darwin's life shows that he was not so devoid of faith in his youth. He says this about those days in a letter:

"Formerly I was led by feelings such as those just referred to (although I do not think that the religious sentiment was ever strongly developed in me), to the firm conviction of the existence of God and the immortality of the soul." 28

In her book Darwin and Darwinian Revolution, Gertrude Himmelfarb describes this state of affairs with an example:

... neither could he be persuaded of the existence of God by "the deep inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons. He himself, he confessed, had once had such feelings; in the grandeur of the Brazilian forest he had been possessed by the conviction that there must be more in man than "the mere breath of his body." But later even the grandest scenes could not evoke such thoughts in his mind...29

"Disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete..."
Charles Darwin

As that example shows, Darwin's attitude to his surroundings was more compatible with good conscience in his youth, and he realized Allah's existence by heeding it. But he later came to ignore this evident truth. Darwin described his own lack of belief as follows in one passage:

He makes the following reference to his own lack of belief, "disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete…" 30

The same book describes how Darwin's father took him aside when he was about to get married and recommended that he conceal his religious doubt from his wife. However, Emma was aware of his ever-decreasing faith right from the first. When his Descent of Man was published, she confessed to her daughter regarding the book's anti-religious sentiments:

I shall dislike it very much as again putting God further off. 31

In another passage, Darwin states his true thoughts about religion thus:

... when I wrote the "Origin of Species"; it is since that time that it has very gradually, with many fluctuations, become weaker…32

At the same time, he found it odd that anyone else should have religious beliefs, and stated that people, who he believed had evolved from primitive animals, could not trust those beliefs:

(C)an the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animals, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?33

Here again, of course, Darwin was mistaken. As all scientific findings make perfectly clear, it is absolutely incorrect to claim, as Darwin did, that human beings evolved from animals. Man has been man ever since the moment he first came into being. He possesses reason and intelligence, and the abilities to judge and understand. Faith in Allah is the only rational and true conclusion that anyone possessed of reason and comprehension can draw from seeing all the evidence around them.
The fundamental reason why Darwin denied Allah's existence was pride. We can see this in the statements below:
In the sense that an omnipotent and omniscient Deity must order and know everything, this must be admitted; yet, in honest truth, I can hardly admit it.34
In a short hand-written appendix to the story of his life, he wrote:
I feel no remorse from having committed any great sin. 35
Darwin's statements denying Allah's existence and religion actually follow aclassical atheist logic. It is revealed in one verse of the Qur'an how those who deny Allah, actually realize that He exists but still deny Him out of arrogance:
And they repudiated them wrongly and haughtily, in spite of their own certainty about them. See the final fate of the corrupters. (Surat an-Naml, 14)
The most important point here is this: Darwin's atheism had the greatest influence on shaping his theory. He twisted facts, observations, and proofs in order to maintain his prejudice that life was not created. When one reads The Origin of Species, one clearly sees how Darwin was at pains to reject all evidence for creation (e.g., the complex structures in living things, how the fossil record points to sudden emergence, and facts pointing to the limits of how far living things can differ from each other in nature), and the way he postponed those things he could not immediately explain by saying: "Perhaps this matter will be resolved one day in the future." Had he been a neutral scientist, he would not have displayed such dogmatism. His own style and methods show that Darwin was an atheist who grounded his theory in atheism.
In fact, atheists have supported Darwin for the last 150 years and irreligious ideologies have backed Darwinism precisely because of his atheism. Thus, given the fact of Darwin's atheism, Muslims must not make the mistake of thinking that he was religious, or at least not opposed to religion, and continue to support him, his theory, and those who think like him. If they do, they place themselves alongside the atheists.

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