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Darwin Myths Debunked

Posted in evolutionary news articles with tags on November 25, 2008 by egoeimi3

Darwin Myths Debunked – By Darwinist   10/28/2008    
Oct 28, 2008 — An aura of legend has enveloped the memory of Charles Darwin.  To many, the white-bearded father of evolutionary theory was like a saint on a white horse, rescuing science from an age of superstition.  The true history is much more interesting.
    Darwin Day is coming next February 12.  It marks Darwin’s 200th birthday and also the 150th anniversary of the publication of his Origin of Species.  The Darwin Exhibition, a multi-million-dollar display produced by the American Museum of Natural History (
09/22/2005), is making the rounds of major museums, culminating in the 2009 Darwin Bicentennial year.
    Hiram Caton (Griffith University, Australia) felt compelled to pen “Getting Our History Right” when he saw the “Exhibition’s devotion to the legend at the expense of fact.” Here are six mythbusting theses Caton defended in his article:

  1. Publication of the Origin was not a sudden (“revolutionary”) interruption of Victorian society’s confident belief in the traditional theological world-view.
  2. The Origin did not “revolutionize” the biological sciences by removing the creationist premise or introducing new principles.
  3. The Origin did not revolutionize Victorian public opinion.  The public considered Darwin and Spencer to be teaching the same lesson, known today as “Social Darwinism”, which, though fashionable, never achieved dominance.
  4. Many biologists expressed significant disagreements with Darwin’s principles.
  5. Darwin made little or no contribution to the renovation of theology.  His public statements on Providence were inconsistent and the liberal reform of theology was well advanced by 1850.
  6. The so-called “Darwinian revolution” was, at the public opinion level, the fashion of laissez-faire economic beliefs backed by Darwin and Spencer’s inclusion of the living world in the economic paradigm.

Where did Hiram Caton print this Darwin-deflating piece?  Not in a creationist magazine, but in Evolutionary Psychology.1  (See 06/06/2008.)  He is no creationist; he just worries that distorting publicity can backfire.  “As a cadre who bear a public trust to get the facts right,” he ended, “we are obliged to correct misrepresentations directed to schools at a time when evolution is under challenge.  Besides, science history that includes the quirks, baseless claims, cheating, and battles is more engaging than the sanitized history meant to instill unquestioning acceptance.”


1.  Hiram Caton, “Getting Our History Right: Six Errors about Darwin and His Influence,” Evolutionary Psychology, http://www.epjournal.net – 2007. 5(1): 52-69.

What, exactly, are we supposed to be celebrating next year?  Ineptitude?  The gullibility of the public?  The power of fashionable ideas to distort history?  The inability of reasonable scientists with their significant disagreements to stop bad ideas at their onset?  Darwin Day can still be a worthy holiday if we make these the lessons.  We agree with Caton; first, we have to get the facts right.
Next headline on:  Darwin and Evolutionary TheoryEducation

  Darwinists refute ID claim about irreducible complexity!  See the 10/31/2005 entry.