Charles Darwin clergyman | Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution by natural selection

Charles Darwin clergyman

Charles Darwin Biography

Charles Darwin as a young man

Christ Church College Cambridge

Christ's Church College today

A house on the Cam where Darwin lived during part of his time at Cambridge

Some of the beetles depicted in James Francis Stephens' Illustrations of British Entomology, perhaps the first book in which Darwin's name appeared in print.

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Alexander von Humboldt (seated), with Aimé Bonpland, exploring South America.

Alexander von Humboldt pictured with the Ecuadoran volcano Chimborazo, which he attempted to climb, in the background.

Alexander von Humboldt as a young man

Edited by Eugene M. McCarthy, PhD

Robert Darwin
Susannah Darwin
After having spent two sessions in Edinburgh, my father perceived, or he heard from my sisters, that I did not like the thought of being a physician, so he proposed that I should become a clergyman. He was very properly vehement against my turning into an idle sporting man, which then seemed my probable destination. I asked for some time to consider, as from what little I had heard or thought on the subject I had scruples about declaring my belief in all the dogmas of the Church of England [Darwin's deceased mother had been a Unitarian, but his father belonged to the Church of England]; though otherwise I liked the thought of being a country clergyman. Accordingly I read with care 'Pearson on the Creeds, ' [i.e., An Exposition of the Creed, by John Pearson] and a few other books on divinity; and as I did not then in the least doubt the strict and literal truth of every word in the Bible, I soon persuaded myself that our Creed must be fully accepted. s that I once intended to be a clergyman. Nor was this intention and my father's wish ever formally given up, but died a natural death when, on leaving Cambridge, I joined the Beagle as naturalist. If the phrenologists are to be trusted, I was well fitted in one respect to be a clergyman. A few years ago the secretaries of a German psychological society asked me earnestly by letter for a photograph of myself; and some time afterwards I received the proceedings of one of the meetings, in which it seemed that the shape of my head had been the subject of a public discussion, and one of the speakers declared that I had the bump of reverence developed enough for ten priests [at that time it was believed no one could be religious whose skull lacked this so-called "bump of reverence"].
Christ's College, Cambridge, of which Darwin was a member.
As it was decided that I should be a clergyman [in the Church of England], it was necessary that I should go to one of the English universities and take a degree; but as I had never opened a classical book since leaving school, I found to my dismay, that in the two intervening years I had actually forgotten, incredible as it may appear, almost everything which I had learnt, even to some few of the Greek letters. I did not therefore proceed to Cambridge at the usual time in October, but worked with a private tutor in Shrewsbury, and went to Cambridge after the Christmas vacation, early in 1828. I soon recovered my school standard of knowledge, and could translate easy Greek books, such as Homer and the Greek Testament, with moderate facility.

During the three years which I spent at Cambridge my time was wasted, as far as the academical studies were concerned, as completely as at Edinburgh and at school (picture of Darwin's lodgings at Cambridge →). I attempted mathematics, and even went during the summer of 1828 with a private tutor (a very dull man) to Barmouth [on the west coast of Wales], but I got on very slowly. The work was repugnant to me, chiefly from my not being able to see any meaning in the early steps in algebra. This impatience was very foolish, and in after years I have deeply regretted that I did not proceed far enough at least to understand something of the great leading principles of mathematics, for men thus endowed seem to have an extra sense. But I do not believe that I should ever have succeeded beyond a very low grade. With respect to Classics I did nothing except attend a few compulsory college lectures, and the attendance was almost nominal. In my second year I had to work for a month or two to pass the Little-Go, which I did easily. Again, in my last year I worked with some earnestness for my final degree of B.A., and brushed up my Classics, together with a little Algebra and Euclid, which latter gave me much pleasure, as it did at school.

In order to pass the B.A. examination, it was also necessary to get up William Paley's 'Evidences of Christianity, ' and his 'Moral Philosophy.' This was done in a thorough manner, and I am convinced that I could have written out the whole of the 'Evidences' with perfect correctness, but not of course in the clear language of Paley. The logic of this book and, as I may add, of his 'Natural Theology, ' gave me as much delight as did Euclid. The careful study of these works, without attempting to learn any part by rote, was the only part of the academical course which, as I then felt and as I still believe, was of the least use to me in the education of my mind. I did not at that time trouble myself about Paley's premises; and taking these on trust, I was charmed and convinced by the long line of argumentation. By answering well the examination questions in Paley, by doing Euclid well, and by not failing miserably in Classics, I gained a good place among the οi πολλοί or crowd of men who do not go in for honours. Oddly enough, I cannot remember how high I stood, and my memory fluctuates between the fifth, tenth, or twelfth, name on the list [note: he stood tenth in the list of January 1831].
Adam Sedgwick
Public lectures on several branches were given in the University, attendance being quite voluntary; but I was so sickened with lectures at Edinburgh that I did not even attend Sedgwick's eloquent and interesting lectures [one of the foremost geologists and paleontologists of his time, Adam Sedgwick was namer of the Devonian and Cambrian periods, and proposer of the geological timescale.]. Had I done so I should probably have become a geologist earlier than I did. I attended, however, [John Stevens] Henslow's lectures on botany, and liked them much for their extreme clearness, and the admirable illustrations; but I did not study botany. Henslow used to take his pupils, including several of the older members of the University, on field excursions, on foot or in coaches, to distant places, or in a barge down the river, and lectured on the rarer plants and animals which were observed. These excursions were delightful.
Christ's Church College today Illustrations of British beetles from James Francis Stephens' Illustrations of British Entomology
See also:

Vintage The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time
Book (Vintage)

But Charles Darwin was a clergyman

by Helen_Back

Of the Church of England (so he would have used what you refer to as the King James version of the Bible). He received his bachelor's degree in Theology from Christ College, in 1831. His most influential Science teachers were also clergymen.
I think Religion should be taught in public schools, but perhaps not in a way you would agree to. I would like for all children to know about all religions equally. To understand the basic tenets and philosophy of each and to have that knowledge in hand when they decide which religion they'd like to adhere to as an adult.

Hotbed of biodiversity: Fascinating images of wildlife from the Galapagos Islands  — Mother Nature Network
Located 575 miles off the coast of Ecuador, this remote volcanic archipelago is famous as the birthplace of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

Acheron Press On the Origin of Species
eBooks (Acheron Press)
(36x48) Origin of Species By Charles Darwin Single Sheet Finch Design Full Book Text Poster
Home (Poster Revolution)
  • decorate your walls with this brand new poster
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HarperCollins Publishers Ltd Fossils, Finches and Fuegians: Charles Darwin's Adventures and Discoveries on the "Beagle"
Book (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd)
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