Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Oshkosh Northwestern of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Wikipedia says the town was named for Menominee Chief Oshkosh, whose name meant “claw.” The letter is titled Scientific theories should stand on own. An icon below the headline will take you to the newspaper’s comments feature.
Because today’s writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. We found someone with his name who is described as Manager and Caretaker of the Plummers Cemetery in Oshkosh. That may be our man, but it’s not enough for full name treatment, so we’ll use only the writer’s first name, which is Bill. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
“That many and serious objections may be advanced against the theory of descent with modification through variation and natural selection, I do not deny.” From the Origin of Species. Charles Darwin himself had doubts regarding “evolution.”
Darwin doubted his own theory? Who knew? That’s amazing! We checked, and yes — it’s true! In Chapter 14 – Recapitulation and Conclusion, Darwin says, with the words quoted by Bill shown in red:
That many and grave objections may be advanced against the theory of descent with modification through natural selection, I do not deny. I have endeavoured to give to them their full force. Nothing at first can appear more difficult to believe than that the more complex organs and instincts should have been perfected not by means superior to, though analogous with, human reason, but by the accumulation of innumerable slight variations, each good for the individual possessor. Nevertheless, this difficulty, though appearing to our imagination insuperably great, cannot be considered real if we admit the following propositions, namely, — that gradations in the perfection of any organ or instinct, which we may consider, either do now exist or could have existed, each good of its kind, — that all organs and instincts are, in ever so slight a degree, variable, — and, lastly, that there is a struggle for existence leading to the preservation of each profitable deviation of structure or instinct. The truth of these propositions cannot, I think, be disputed.
Darwin’s style was to mention and then refute objections to his theory. Quote-miners like to quote only the objections. Okay, what else does Bill have for us? Here it comes:
However, if one advances any objections today they are labeled as heretical “creationists.” In the year 2000, Chinese paleontologist J.Y. Chen gave a lecture at the University of Washington. … A professor in the audience asked as if in warnings whether he was nervous about expressing his doubts of Darwinism so freely given China’s reputation for repressing dissenting opinions. He replied, “In China, we can criticize Darwin, but not the Government. In America you can criticize the Government, but not Darwin.” From Darwin’s Doubt by Stephen C. Meyer.
Bill gives us a quote from a Discoveroid’s book. That’s impressive! Let’s read on:
Scientific theories should stand or fall by the facts and evidence that support or refute them, not “faith” of their proponents.
Says the quote-miner, who offers us no facts. He continues:
That Darwin himself struggles with it, is evidenced by the six different editions of his book published from 1859 to 1872, as well the many years prior.
That’s an original argument. Why did Darwin go through six different editions of his book? It’s obvious that he was hopelessly befuddled.
Then Bill gives us a couple more quotes from Darwin in which he used the word “Creator.” After that he closes his letter with this devastating question:
Did Darwin believe in creation and Evolution?
Well, dear reader — did Bill’s letter convince you to abandon evolution?
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