people, like the rest of us, sometimes contradict themselves and
often change their minds over time. It is generally fair to conclude
what scientists say in their older age represents their true lifetime
professional opinion, rather than what they might have said when they
Human language definition often changes over historical time and words sometimes develop multiple meanings. To be fair and accurate, one must consider how words were defined when they were spoken, rather than how those same words might be defined today. Careful historians apply a discipline called "philology" to help understand human language in historical context.
Charles Darwin, in the opening sentences of his final revision of "On The Origin of Species", is humble enough to credit our Creator for being behind whatever universal processes and reality there may be. This edition was published about five years prior to Darwin's death and thus, it represents a lifetime conclusion.
Some 'scholars' today, pretending they can somehow know Darwin's intentions, claim that he only mentioned God to make his wife and family happy and to otherwise appease the religious leaders of his day. Because Darwin throughout his lifetime consistently openly debated with religious leaders and others concerning his ideas, such a claim has no historical merit. One might fairly ask, if we can't trust Darwin regarding this most fundamental of human beliefs, how can we trust anything else he said?
In a letter published two years before his death, Darwin strongly denies being an atheist, saying his mind was "mainly agnostic but not entirely". Because agnostic at that time sometimes referred to distrust in religion and human claims about God, rather than questioning God's existence, Darwin could attest to our Creator and still remain agnostic but not entirely without contradiction.
Is it fair to pretend one of human history's greatest scientists can't be trusted to be honest regarding what he fundamentally believed? Is it fair to just arbitrarily ignore various words ascribed to Jefferson, Einstein and Darwin because modern liars don't like what they actually said? Is it fair to speak for historical people, rather than allowing their own words to speak for them?
Can Charles Darwin be trusted? You decide.
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