Thinking Anglicans

Evolution and the Church of England

Update – early Sunday evening

The new website (more accurately a new section of the CofE website) is now online: On the origin of Darwin.
There is an accompanying press release Church of England marks Darwin’s contribution to science as bicentenary approaches.

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There are reports in today’s papers that the Church of England will apologise to Charles Darwin for rejecting evolution in a new website to be launched tomorrow.

Jonathan Wynne-Jones in The Telegraph Charles Darwin to receive apology from the Church of England for rejecting evolution
Alexandra Frean and Lewis Smith in The Times Anglicans back Darwin over ‘noisy’ creationists
Jonathan Petre in the Mail Church makes ‘ludicrous’ apology to Charles Darwin – 126 years after his death

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The Rev'd LJ RobertsPluralistGöran Koch-SwahneBob in SW PANeil Recent comment authors
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Andrew
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Andrew

The apology to Darwin is the kind of simple but generous act that makes one proud to be an Anglican. As my wife says, this is the best religion. The dean of Grace Cathedral has said, in various ways over time, than Anglicanism (I assume the form prior to Akinolism) allows him to be a Christian. The Roman Church should issue a similar statement. While well overdue, it is certainly welcome.

Lapinbizarre
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Lapinbizarre

I can see that this presents an occasion for some within the C of E to draw a line in the sand vis-à-vis Fundamentalism on the Ape/Angel controversy, but as Darwin’s great-grandson notes in Jonathan Petre’s appropriately headlined “Mail” piece, Darwin was buried in Westminster Abbey when he died in 1882. Not only that, he was accorded one of only five non-royal, 19th century state funerals – the other four being Nelson, Wellington, Palmerston and Gladstone. Pretty odd form for persecution to take. And why give Widdecombe the opportunity to bellyache yet again from her Neanderthal lair? – though her… Read more »

orfanum
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orfanum

Science is simply not the only way to acquire knowledge. There is philosophical knowledge, and religious knowledge, etc. I am not comfortable with the rampant scientism of Dawkins, et al but at the same time, what one objects to about the theory of evolution used by that school is the strident application of the metaphor of the ape, not the fact of our being the progeny of the ape. We should not I feel simply limit the collective imagination of the species to our being just ‘talking monkeys’. Creationism is a worldview, just like Communism is a worldview, or Capitalism;… Read more »

Nom de Plume
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Nom de Plume

orfanum: “Creationism is a worldview…”

Or an ideology. But one must ask the purpose of the ideology and the baggage that it brings, such as campaigns and lawsuits demanding equal time in science class, “creation museums” depicting humans and dinosaurs co-existing, and so on. It is all part of the game of mind control being played by the leaders of the Religious Right. Put forward what appears to be a legitimate alternative “theory” and the gullible will remain so, having been taught to mistrust whatever anyone in authority other than the religious leader might advance. Then control is consolidated. Orwell anyone?

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“Creationism is a worldview, just like Communism is a worldview, or Capitalism;” Communism and Capitalism were comprehensive economic and philosophical systems which their proponents hoped would bring peace and prosperity to the world. Creationism is a very narrow consequence of reading the bible literally and closing your mind to science. It objectively is not a legitimate system for gaining knowledge about the natural world. The only place it has is in Religious Studies, and even there it should be taught alongside more mature Christian approaches to science. There is no reason to teach anything as part of a national curriculum… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“Anglican leaders fear that “noisy” advocates of a literal interpretation of the Bible…….are infecting the perception of Christianity worldwide.” YES!!!!! Apologizing to a man dead for 126 years? Well, I think St. Chad of Litchfield hears my prayers, so why wouldn’t Darwin hear an apology? He died a Christian, after all, and now he knows as he is known, so, odd though it may sound, why not? Saying that we have to understand Creation literally, imposing our understanding of reality on God has always seemed anthropomorphic to me. Thousands of years ago, who would have understood, much less believed, if… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

In his essay Dr Brown mentions a conversation with a Professor in Kansas who relates that many of his students from fundamentalist families are creationalists at home and Darwinists at College and about this duplicity says: “.. he(the professor) was also pointing to young lives which could not be lived with integrity – the very opposite of how Christians are called to live.” This is exactly what we (LGCM) has been saying for decades about the duplicity at the heart of the Church of England’s (Anglican Communion’s)approach to homosexuals and the obvious need for gay people to live openly and… Read more »

Pluralist
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The website is disingenuous. It fails to mention Charles Darwin attending Shrewsbury Unitarian church as a boy, it fails to mention Emma (his wife) and her Unitarianism, and drivels on about his exposure to the Trinity as if he should have just absorbed it as true. But that was but one influence in many. The families mixed strong Unitarian influences with Anglican. It glosses over what Victorians clearly saw as clashes between religion and science – whatever may be said later on. Emma and Charles read and were much influenced by James Martineau, John James Taylor and Francis Newman, the… Read more »

orfanum
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orfanum

I think I was being too subtle, or too wordy for my own good. In brief – if there were to be a ‘compromise’ with Creationism then I would *much* rather be in terms of having it explained (not ‘taught’ as normative) in religious studies classes, in which scientism (the limits of applying scientific method to things beyond the natural world – you know, the stuff that leads to eugenics in the human sphere, etc.) might also be discussed, rather than see it shoehorned into science classes. I think on the other hand there is a problem with science becoming… Read more »

Neil
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Neil

Thank you Pluralist for injecting some common sense into this CofE ‘official’ line re Darwin. Total nonsense and cr*p.

Bob in SW PA
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Bob in SW PA

I wonder if advocates of creationism would give up the marvels of modern medical science? They certainly wouldn’t go to a doctor who practiced medicine using only the tools and knowledge of doctor who practiced medicine when the bible was being written would they? Why then is it so hard to say just maybe Darwin was/is on to something? We like the benefits of modern science but we’re going to base other decisions on text written 2,ooo to 3,000 years ago? There are two creation stories in the bible. Which one is right? Do these good folk know this? I… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
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What Erika said! Doubly.

Göran Koch-Swahne
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So called “creationism” is mere superstition – and as intollerant as only superstition can be, e.g. the closing of Archelogical museums in East Africa.

Pluralist
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Instructive episode this, isn’t it. First of all, the press reports are rubbish. It’s not an apology. I hyped this up on my blog to something about Sunday School teaching and connected it to the controversies from Africa. I’m pleased I did that before the official thing appeared, which was different. Then the official thing is arguably worse, because it is simply a piece of propaganda written in Anglicanese, and gives no sense about who the Darwins and Wedgwoods read and mixed with, that they would face the congregation when the creed was read (what a good idea!), that they… Read more »

The Rev'd LJ Roberts
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The Rev'd LJ Roberts

Thanks Plurlaist for the very interesting information on Darwin’s Unitarian influences.