…and the tune is evolution. A few things that I happened on today that give some updates on what these groups think about Darwin and evolution, now and in the past. Even if you’re one of those people who think religion is evil and moderate religion is the worst of all, it’s worth being aware of what the dominant opinions are and how they are changing in various groups.
First up is geologist/historian/Vicar Michael Roberts giving his (very informed) opinion on creationism and evolution in the Church of England, then and now. He sees very little evidence of antievolutionism among English Anglicans for most of the last 150 years, but suggests that in the last 20 years, perhaps 5% of clergy have become YECs.
Next, we have “Vatican buries the hatchet with Charles Darwin” from the U.K. Times. Apparently the Vatican is making a substantial effort to stamp out the Discovery-Institute-originated pro-ID spin that has been promoted on various statements from the Pope:
A leading official declared yesterday that Darwin’s theory of evolution was compatible with Christian faith, and could even be traced to St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas. “In fact, what we mean by evolution is the world as created by God,” said Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture. The Vatican also dealt the final blow to speculation that Pope Benedict XVI might be prepared to endorse the theory of Intelligent Design, whose advocates credit a “higher power” for the complexities of life.
Lastly, Larry Moran is doing a series of posts on Darwin, and posts a section of Westminster Abbey’s webpage on Darwin’s burial:
The Dean of Westminster, George Granville Bradley, was away in France when he received a telegram forwarded from the President of the Royal Society in London saying “…it would be acceptable to a very large number of our fellow-countrymen of all classes and opinions that our illustrious countryman, Mr Darwin, should be buried in Westminster Abbey”. The Dean recalled “ I did not hesitate as to my answer and telegraphed direct…that my assent would be cheerfully given”. The body lay overnight in the Abbey, in the small chapel of St Faith, and on the morning of 26 April the coffin was escorted by the family and eminent mourners into the Abbey. The pall-bearers included Sir Joseph Hooker, Alfred Russel Wallace, James Russell Lowell (U.S. Ambassador), and William Spottiswoode (President of the Royal Society).
The burial service was held in the Lantern, conducted by Canon Prothero, with anthems sung by the choir. The chief mourners then followed the coffin into the north aisle of the Nave where Darwin was buried next to the eminent scientist Sir John Herschel, and a few feet away from Sir Isaac Newton. The simple inscription on his grave reads “CHARLES ROBERT DARWIN BORN 12 FEBRUARY 1809. DIED 19 APRIL 1882”. Although an agnostic, Darwin was greatly respected by his contemporaries and the Bishop of Carlisle, Harvey Goodwin, in a memorial sermon preached in the Abbey on the Sunday following the funeral, said “I think that the interment of the remains of Mr Darwin in Westminster Abbey is in accordance with the judgment of the wisest of his countrymen…It would have been unfortunate if anything had occurred to give weight and currency to the foolish notion which some have diligently propagated, but for which Mr Darwin was not responsible, that there is a necessary conflict between a knowledge of Nature and a belief in God…”.
Hey, if Larry posted this, he must agree with it! (Just kidding Larry) [ducks for cover]