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We all know he is dead now. But nonetheless, one clergyman thinks the Church of England shall apologize to the dead man. Maybe if we were to buy into the Hindu theory of Transmigration, Darwin might be a phytoplankton, an oak tree or bird right now, hence undergoing the processes of evolution himself. Alas, he might not make it back to his human form this time to report his findings due to global warming or nuclear war … From The Guardian:
The Church of England owes Charles Darwin an apology for misunderstanding his theory of evolution and making errors over its reaction to it, a senior clergyman said today.
In a bid to recognise its faults in the run up to next year’s 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth, the church has launched a series of articles on its website.
An essay by the Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, the church’s head of public affairs, called Good Religion Needs Good Science directly addresses Darwin. It concludes: “We try to practise the old virtues of ‘faith seeking understanding’ and hope that makes some amends. But the struggle for your reputation is not over yet, and the problem is not just your religious opponents but those who falsely claim you in support of their own interests.
Next year also marks 150 years since the publication of On the Origin of Species, in which Darwin outlined the theory of natural selection. This anniversary, the church says, presents an opportunity “to look back on the relationship between Darwin, his supporters and the Christian church”.
He writes: “People, and institutions, make mistakes and Christian people and churches are no exception. When a big new idea emerges which changes the way people look at the world, it’s easy to feel that every old idea, every certainty, is under attack and then to do battle against the new insights.
“The church made that mistake with Galileo’s astronomy, and has since realised its error. Some church people did it again in the 1860s with Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection. So it is important to think again about Darwin’s impact on religious thinking, then and now – and the bicentenary of Darwin’s birth in 1809 is a good time to do so.
A Church of England spokesman said Brown’s piece was a “personal view” of Darwin’s contribution to science and did not amount to an official apology by the church.
On this note, I came across a rather noteworthy point made in my Powerscore LSAT Logical Reading Bible (no seriously, that is the name of the review book). This was in the ‘Flaw in Reasoning Questions’ section, page 387:
Errors in use of evidence
Lack of evidence against a position is taken to prove that position is true.
Just because no evidence disproving a position has been introduced does not mean that the position is true. Here is a famous example:
“There has been no evidence given against the existence of God, so God must exist.”
I am sure my mother won’t be too amused with this one. I wonder how the rabidly religious students sit through the increasingly liberal, anti-imperial, gender-neutral, politically-correct LSAT.
Of course the trend nowadays is to formulate or conjure up hypotheses such as “intelligent design” to offer as ‘evidence’ for the existence of god.