Creationist Wisdom #561: The Pastor Returns

This weekend is giving us nothing but letters-to-the-editor. Our second for today appears in the Sudbury Star, a Canadian daily published in Sudbury, Ontario. The newspaper doesn’t have a comments feature.

Unless a letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. This one is a preacher. He’s Rob Weatherby, described as Pastor of the Bethel Baptist Church in Whitefish, Ontario. We wrote about one of his letters back in January of 2010, and he hasn’t learned a thing since then — see Creationist Wisdom #102: The Pastor.

The rev’s latest adventure into the cesspool of creationism is titled The evolution of Darwin’s faith. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

I was shocked. Walking through Westminster Abbey in London a few years ago, I looked at a tomb with the name “Charles Darwin” inscribed on it.

The rev wrote about that in his earlier letter, and he’s still shocked after more than five years? Darwin’s burial in Westminster Abbey must be giving him nightmares. Then he says:

How could the man whose revolutionary evolutionary theory which led to the loss of faith of so many people be buried in one of England’s historic cathedrals? This led me to a deeper study of Darwin’s life and the amazing discovery that his faith too had evolved.

The rev then spends several paragraphs describing Darwin’s life. But his “deeper study” wasn’t very deep, because he gets a few things wrong. For example:

At one point, young Darwin even considered becoming an Anglican minister. Later, studying medicine and science, Charles was attracted to a book by William Paley called Evidences of Christianity, which argued for divine design in nature.

Aaaargh!! It was after Darwin dropped out of medical school at Edinburgh that he went to Cambridge to study for the Anglican ministry. It was there that he read Paley’s book. Let’s read on:

In 1831, Darwin (age 22) began his voyage as a naturalist on the ship Beagle …

Yes, we know all that. The rev continues for a few more paragraphs, and then it gets good:

In his last days, a family friend, Lady Hope of Northfield, was asked to visit and care for him. She often found him reading the Bible. One day they were discussing his famous theory and its implications. She recorded in her diary that a look of agony came over his face as he said, “I was a young man with uninformed ideas. I threw out queries, suggestions, wondering all the time about everything. To my astonishment the ideas took like wild-fire. People made a religion of them.”

That’s a phoney event and a phoney quote. Even Ken Ham tells his drooling readers not to use the Lady Hope story — see Darwin’s Deathbed Recantation: It’s Dead! But the Rev likes Lady Hope’s fiction:

He then asked her to invite some local people to his summer house and speak. She asked him what she should speak about. He replied, “Christ Jesus and his salvation. Is that not the best theme?”

Another phoney event and phony quote. Darwin’s family said none of it happened. The rev either doesn’t know that or he doesn’t care. Here’s what he concludes:

So, did the beliefs of Charles Darwin themselves slowly evolve? From a vague, intellectual faith in his youth to a growing agnosticism in adult life and finally to a genuine, saving faith on his deathbed? Only God knows.

Translation: The rev doesn’t have a clue. And now we come to the end of his letter:

But it would explain why Darwin’s tomb lies next to that of another famous scientist, Isaac Newton, whose Christian faith inspired him to explore the mysteries of God’s creation throughout his entire life.

What can we say about this mess? The rev continues to be totally full of it, but this time he’s not as wildly creationist as he was in his last letter. To his credit, he doesn’t take the Hitler, Marxism, eugenics route that so many other creationists do. That’s a whole different set of lies.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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6 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #561: The Pastor Returns

  1. Just a couple of comments:

    Westminster Abbey is not a cathedral. I just looked it up to check, and it is not an abbey, either, although it once was, and once was a cathedral.

    What is it that gets people to think that there is something magical about reading the Bible? Why would someone change one’s mind by reading obviously exaggerated stories about warring tribes, elaborate contradictory descriptions of long obsolete rituals, etc.?

  2. Ceteris Paribus

    Rev Wetherby proclaims:

    But it [Darwin’s putative death bed conversion] would explain why Darwin’s tomb lies next to that of another famous scientist, Isaac Newton, whose Christian faith inspired him to explore the mysteries of God’s creation throughout his entire life.

    Wetherby ignores the reality that Darwin, in the days leading up to his death, fully expected to be buried in the same St Mary’s churchyard at Downe where his brother Erasmus had recently taken up residence.

    According to Darwin’s biographers Adrian Desmond and James Moore, the hasty change to a prestigious burial at Westminster was implemented by a coalition of Darwin’s friends and influential Anglicans who understood the importance of Darwin’s work in the context of rational British science.

    Probably Rev Wetherby also is unaware that the great Newton himself was not actually Christian in Wetherby’s own sense. During his lifetime, and as a fellow at Trinity College, Newton actually produced much more writing on the subject of religion than on science. But he did that while concealing his own view that the Trinity did not exist. Newton well understood that persecution by the religious Christian zealots of his time could have put an early end to his work.

  3. It’s not even Lady Hope’s account, but a further confabulation by a Baptist revivalist in 1915. Genie Scott mentioned this in her talk at Glasgow: https://paulbraterman.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/darwin-vs-todays-creationists-eugenie-scott-in-glasgow/

  4. “he hasn’t learned a thing since then”
    Peril the thought! If you hold the TRVTH there is nothing left to learn.

  5. Pretty bad when you are using lies even other fundies don’t believe.

  6. So, did the beliefs of Charles Darwin themselves slowly evolve? From a vague, intellectual faith in his youth to a growing agnosticism in adult life and finally to a genuine, saving faith on his deathbed? Only God knows. . . .

    But it would explain why Darwin’s tomb lies next to that of another famous scientist, Isaac Newton, whose Christian faith inspired him to explore the mysteries of God’s creation throughout his entire life.

    This would be the Isaac Newton whose Christian faith led him to cast horoscopes to make ends meet because “exploring the mysteries of God’s creation” didn’t put food on the table. The Bible takes a dim view of astrologers, you know.

    Darwin’s tomb lies next to that of Newton not because both were great Christians but because both were great scientists.