Sep 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Mr. Darwin and Sorry About the Persecution

Hat tip to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, on this juicy tidbit. It seems the Church of England has a message for the late, lamented Charles Darwin. From the Telegraph:

The Church of England will concede in a statement that it was over-defensive and over-emotional in dismissing Darwin's ideas. It will call "anti-evolutionary fervour" an "indictment" on the Church".

The bold move is certain to dismay sections of the Church that believe in creationism and regard Darwin's views as directly opposed to traditional Christian teaching.

The apology, which has been written by the Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, the Church's director of mission and public affairs, says that Christians, in their response to Darwin's theory of natural selection, repeated the mistakes they made in doubting Galileo's astronomy in the 17th century.

The apology is to coincide with Darwin's 200th birthday, which is February 12th, 2009, and the 150th anniversary of his seminal work "Origin of the Species." Rev. Brown has added a section to the C of E website to commemorate and honor Darwin's work. His introductory press release can be found here, and the new Darwin retrospective here.

This is all well and good, but from here, the story takes some strange turns. For starters, while Rev. Brown seems both passionate and sincere, it seems his church doesn't really have his back.

The remarks by Dr Brown come after the Church of England voted two years ago to apologise to descendants of the slave trade.

A Church of England spokesman said Dr Brown's piece was a "personal view" of Darwin's contribution to science and did not amount to an official apology by the Church.

He said: "I think it is fair to say that he is summarising the relationship between the Church of England and science but it is not an official apology."

So... good to know they've stepped up on the slavery thing, but on Darwin, Rev. Brown looks to be pretty well on his own. So, it's not the C of E that is apologizing, but their public affairs director.

It also seems that even if the church itself were apologizing, Darwin's family would still think it's too little, too late.

Howevetr is [sic] has cut little ice with Darwin's descendants. Andrew Darwin, a great-great grandson of the scientist, said: "Why bother? When an apology is made after 200 years, it's not so much to right a wrong, but to make the person or organisation making the apology feel better."

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