Darwin’s Tangled Web
“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”
One recent biography described Charles Darwin during his childhood as “a compulsive liar”. He continued thus: “The solipsism and the dishonesty would scarcely be worth mentioning in so small a child were it not that both characteristics were carried on into grown-up life.”
It is difficult to say exactly how this inherent dishonesty was manifest in Darwin’s scientific life. However, one possibility is this: There are some who have suggested, even among those who adhere strongly to the theory of evolution, that much of Darwin’s opinions and ideas were plagiarized from one or two other sources – the most notable being Alfred Russel Wallace.
Wallace wrote, from his base in what is now Indonesia, to Charles Darwin, outlining a theory of evolution by natural selection. Darwin claims to have received Wallace’s letter after he had discussed his ideas on exactly the same issue with his friend Thomas Hooker. Yet, Wallace had mailed another letter at the same time as that to Darwin, simply giving news and information to his family. This letter, which traveled on the same package liner, reached the Wallace family several days before Darwin’s conversation with Hooker. This matter feels very like that of a detective destroying someone’s alibi. It is possible, therefore, that Darwin had received Wallace’s paper, realized that this undermined his claim to primacy, and therefore lied about the date he received the letter. Was Darwinism itself born out of deceit? It behooves scientists of faith to behave honorably and honestly with all their peers. Author: Paul F. Taylor
Prayer: Father Lord, we know that there seems to be not a person who has lived who has not lied, except Your Son, Jesus Christ. We pray that our witness might be one marked by honesty and integrity that can only be found in You. Amen.
Ref: Wilson, A.N. (2017), Charles Darwin: Victorian Wilson (Location 645). Image: Adobe Stock Images, licensed to author.