Jewish Journal


November 25, 2009

Celebrating 150 years of ‘On The Origin of Species’


The celebration of Charles Darwin’s “On The Origin of Species” began last year. Then Darwin turned 200—talk about survival of the fittest. And today marks the official anniversary of Darwin’s revolutionary theory of evolution.

Religion Dispatches carried several items today dedicated to “The Single Greatest Idea Ever.” This article included a photo of banana creation man Ray Comfort (video after the jump). Lauri Lebo writes:

Darwin’s theory of natural selection as an explanation of evolutionary processes is the foundation of all of modern biology. At its heart, the theory is elegantly simple: individual creatures with traits best suited to their environment are better able to survive and reproduce offspring.

And yet, it has been hailed as The Single Greatest Idea Ever: Darwin showed how the pieces of life’s amazing diversity fit together, and consequently, how we fit into that puzzle.

But, as Darwin clearly understood at the time of publication, Origin of Species would also challenge religious notions, not only of a 6,000-year-old world and a literal acceptance of Genesis, but about ideas of human exceptionalism.

Even though Darwin never raised the issue of human evolution in Origin (that would come 12 years later in his Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex), the underlying point was not lost on the public.

If man evolved from apes, how could we have been made in God’s image?

Lebo goes on, and she might want to be careful repeating that last line in front of Ms. Garrison. Also worth reading, this history of the debate over God and science.

Yes, creationists are the scientific community’s favorite target. There are, however, noteworthy scientist who believe in creation. Dr. Francis Collins, who I’ve written about here and there, comes to mind.

Even among evangelicals, 28 percent believe in some form of evolution—I’d include myself in that category—though I think many people who answer “yes” to this question are talking about only microevolution. I like to think of evolution as God’s creation tool.

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