World Views on Charles Darwin | Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution by natural selection

World Views on Charles Darwin

The Sagacity of Emma Darwin

It might be that to fully appreciate Laura Keynes's review of a new book by philosopher Roger Scruton, you'd have to know that Ms. Keynes is the great-great-great-grandaughter of Charles Darwin. Of course, writing in Britain's Standpoint Magazine, she's not identified that way, but we've noted it here before. She is also a convert to Catholicism and a critic of the materialism of her famous forbear.

Scruton's book is (Princeton University Press), arguing much the same way that George Steiner does in a wonderful video I've shown you before on the importance of introducing children to good music.

The idea is that aesthetic experience is a prod to look beyond the material world to a transcendent reality and a window through which it "shines through" (as Steiner also puts it). Laura Keynes points out that Darwin complained of a major deficit in his aesthetic senses, which his wife Emma shrewdly proposed as an explanation for his scientism:

"I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost my taste for pictures or music." So wrote Charles Darwin, conceding that his mind seemed "to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts" causing "the atrophy of that part of the brain alone on which the higher tastes depend".

Emma Darwin sagely noted that this impoverishment of aesthetic sense affected her husband's understanding of faith: "May not the habit in scientific pursuits of believing nothing till it is proved, influence your mind too much in other things which cannot be proved in the same way & which if true are likely to be above our comprehension."

Roger Scruton, drawing on all the things Darwin's limited aesthetic sense could not appreciate, makes much the same plea in The Soul of the World.

Happy belated birthday Charles!

by Cracoucass

Yesterday was Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday.

Not that many Americans would care: less than 4 in 10 accept evolution as a scientific fact!
In 2005, a similar survey showed that among the views of people from 34 countries, the U.S. ranked next to last for public acceptance of evolution. Only Turkey ranked lower. France was ranked 4th, with about 80% of the population accepting evolution. Iceland, Denmark and Sweden were ranked 1st, 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
Not surprisingly, the less educated you are, the more ignorant you are (Duh!): only 21% of those with just a high school education accept evolution, compared to 74% of those with a post-graduate degree (which is still very low!) Beliefs in imaginary beings also have a lot to do with it:...

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.

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