27) CHARLES DARWIN: What have LDS Church leaders taught about Charles Darwin, Darwin’s influence and his life? Who inspired the theories of organic evolution? Has Darwinism been an influence in moving us into a “post-Christian” era?

Questions Answered:What have LDS Church leaders taught about Charles Darwin, Darwin’s influence and his life? What kind of man was Charles Darwin? Who inspired the theories of organic evolution? Does the teaching of, or belief in, evolution degrade or demean mankind? Has Darwinism been an influence in moving us into a “post-Christian” era?

Commentary

Charles Darwin did not initially doubt the literal truth of the Bible. He attended a Church of England school and studied theology to become a clergyman at Cambridge. At first, Darwin was convinced of the truth that design in nature proves the existence of God. Over time, however, his ideas began to shift as he formulated his thoughts of natural selection or the survival of the fittest.

The old argument of design in nature . . . which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection has been discovered. [1]

As Darwin doubted the hand of God in nature, his faith became weaker. The more he pursued his theories, the less he believed in the scriptures and the faith of his youth. The miracles of the Bible became fantastic tales.

I had gradually come . . . to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow as a sign, etc., etc. . . . was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian. [2]

The teachings of the New Testament lost validity in his eyes as well. Accepting a position that man had advanced through the years, the historians of the past became intellectually naive. He began to feel that those of earlier ages were ignorant and superstitious, and that their words could not be trusted. There was no evidence for faith.

By further reflecting that the clearest evidence would be requisite to make any sane man believe in the miracles by which Christianity is supported,—that the more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become,—that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost incomprehensible by us,—that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events,—that they differ in many important details, far too important as it seemed to me to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eye-witnesses;—by such reflections as these . . . I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation. [3]

This change of attitude did not come suddenly, but after long reflection on and application of the ideals which he had formulated. Darwin described his loss of faith in these words:

Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct. [4]

Is faith in God weakened by a belief in Darwin’s theory of organic evolution? It is clear that the leadership of the Church in 1909 and again in 1925 publicly opposed the advancing teachings that we descended from lower forms of life. Two official First Presidency messages were published to counter Darwinism. Please see the FAQ regarding the position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Additionally, many presidents of the Church have voiced their concern over Darwin and his teachings. President Brigham Young, a contemporary with Darwin, established and endowed Brigham Young Academy because of the negative effect of Darwinism on the youth of the Church. President John Taylor, also a contemporary of Darwin, taught that Darwinism was inaccurate in its assumptions regarding all life originating from a common source rather than being placed upon the earth in their respective kinds.

Joseph F. Smith issued a First Presidency message because of his concern over celebrations for Darwin in 1909 declaring Darwinism a theory of men and contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. President Smith also removed three professors from BYU for their views on evolution with reference to the scriptures. Heber J. Grant reissued portions of the Presidency message from 1909 in 1925 during the Scopes Monkey Trial and spoke highly of William Jennings Bryan in General conference that year. President George Albert Smith spoke several times of the damage that Darwinism could cause.

In the mid century, President Joseph Fielding Smith published a large volume because of his concern in respect to Darwinism and because his colleagues among the general authorities of the Church desired it of him. Latter, President Harold B. Lee published a first Presidency Message stating there were no pre-Adamites and describing those who adhered to the philosophies of science rather than the word of God on the subject were weak in the faith. President Spencer W. Kimball taught that it did not matter if millions of learned individuals proclaimed the earth as originating by chance, the fact was that the Lord Created it and placed man thereupon. President Ezra Taft Benson warned the saints of the influence of Darwinism and Darwin by name. He taught that the Book of Mormon should be studied to avoid the deceptions in evolutionary theories. President Howard W. Hunter taught that the Church should not give in to those who desired a new interpretation of the scriptures supporting modernism and the theories of Darwinism, which change the doctrine of the Creation and the Fall. For an additional more detailed brief synopsis of the stance made by the Presidents of the Church see this FAQ or this one.

Time has and will continue to prove the fruit of these teachings. Recently, President Thomas S. Monson quoted the evolutionary advocate and famed lawyer of the Scopes Trial, Clarence Darrow, in the April 2007 General Conference:

“No life is of much value, and . . . every death is [but a] little loss.” [5]

Among the Brethren today there have also been clear and powerful statements. Can a belief that man descended from lower forms of life be linked to serious issues like abortion? Prophets of God have so testified. President Boyd K. Packer has explained the serious consequences that arise from these teachings.

Moral law regulates the behavior of human beings and sets man apart from, and above, the animal kingdom. If moral law is not an issue, then organic evolution is no problem. If moral law is an issue, then organic evolution as the explanation for the origin of man is the problem. [6]

President Packer continued:

The comprehension of man as no more than a specialized animal cannot help but affect how one behaves. A conviction that man did evolve from animals fosters the mentality that man is not responsible for moral conduct. Animals are controlled to a very large extent by physical urges. Promiscuity is a common pattern in the reproduction of animals. In many subtle ways, the perception that man is an animal and likewise controlled by urges invites that kind of behavior so apparent in society today. A self-image in which we regard ourselves as children of God sponsors one kind of behavior. A conclusion which equates man to animals fosters another kind of behavior entirely. Consequences which spring from that single false premise account for much of what society now suffers. I do not speak in theoretical terms; it matters very much in practical ways. The word abortion should suffice as an example. [7]

Darwinism has also been linked with Hitler and the actions of the German people during the holocaust. For information upon this topic please see the Expelled. Darwin made statements that have been linked with racism and the elimination of humans that seem to be less qualified to live. Note this statement by Darwin himself:

With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed. [8]

Another area that Darwinism appears to have influence on is love and beauty. Darwin himself noted that as he lost his faith in God and his faith that God had created the universe, he lost his love of nature and its beauty. Darwin expressed his experience:

I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds . . . gave me great pleasure. . . . I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great delight. But now for many years 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 any taste for pictures or music.—Music generally sets me thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on, instead of giving me pleasure. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it formerly did. [9]

As Darwin’s view changed from nature being the work of an Omniscient hand to God having no part in the Creation, he no longer saw the beauty in nature. Darwin explained that it was not a general loss of his mental functions, but only a loss of sensibility and feeling:

This curious and lamentable loss of the higher aesthetic tastes is all the odder, as books on history, biographies and travels (independently of any scientific facts which they may contain), and essays on all sorts of subjects interest me as much as ever they did. My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive. [10]

Darwin concluded the influence of his studies upon his character.

The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature. [11]

Prophetic Statements

Brigham Young

We have enough and to spare, at present in these mountains, of schools where young infidels are made because the teachers are so tender-footed that they dare not mention the principles of the gospel to their pupils, but have no hesitancy in introducing into the classroom the theories of Huxley, of Darwin, or of Mill…this course I am resolutely and uncompromisingly opposed to, and I hope to see the day when the doctrines of the gospel will be taught in all our schools, when the revelation of the Lord will be our texts, and our books will be written and manufactured by ourselves and in our own midst. [12]

John Taylor

All the works of God connected with the world which we inhabit, and with all other worlds, are strictly governed by law…the animal and vegetable creations are governed by certain laws, and are composed of certain elements peculiar to themselves. This applies to man, to the beasts, fowls, fish and creeping things, to the insects and to all animated nature; each one possessing its own distinctive features, each requiring a specific sustenance, each having an organism and faculties governed by prescribed laws to perpetuate its own kind. So accurate is the formation of the various living creatures that an intelligent student of nature can tell by any particular bone of the skeleton of an animal to what class or order it belongs.

These principles do not change, as represented by evolutionists of the Darwinian school, but the primitive organisms of all living beings exist in the same form as when they first received their impress from their Maker. There are, indeed, some very slight exceptions, as for instance, the ass may mix with the mare and produce the mule; but there it ends, the violation of the laws of procreation receives a check, and its operations can go no further. Similar compounds may possibly be made by experimentalists in the vegetable and mineral kingdoms, but the original elements remain the same. Yet this is not the normal, but an abnormal condition with them, as with animals, birds, etc.; and if we take man, he is said to have been made in the image of God, for the simple reason that he is a son of God; and being His son, he is, of course, His offspring, an emanation from God, in whose likeness, we are told, he is made. He did not originate from a chaotic mass of matter, moving or inert, but came forth possessing, in an embryotic state, all the faculties and powers of a God. And when he shall be perfected, and have progressed to maturity, he will be like his Father—a God; being indeed His offspring. As the horse, the ox, the sheep, and every living creature, including man, propagates its own species and perpetuates its own kind, so does God perpetuate His. [13]

Heber J. Grant

President Grant taught the following at the October 1925 general conference of the Church, shortly after Scopes Trial and debate about organic evolution. During that trial, a heated debate ensued between Clarence Darrow, who advocated the teaching of evolution, and William Jennings Bryan, who was a prominent public figure and a conservative Christian who staunchly opposed organic evolution. The debate lasted so long in the hot weather that Bryan passed away from heat exposure shortly thereafter. This debate caused a great deal of discussion in the country and in the Church, which prompted the second First Presidency pronouncement described above. Here is what President Grant said about William Jennings Bryan in general conference, after Bryan had already passed away:

At one of our general conferences some years ago we were honored with the presence of Senator Owen from Oklahoma and the Honorable William Jennings Bryan. These gentlemen remained until after the conference session, when an informal organ recital was given in their honor. Perhaps a hundred or a hundred and fifty people were present and, following the recital, requests came from different parts of the small audience that Senator Owen and Mr. Bryan make some remarks. They did so and from the press reports of the occasion we read the following:

Mr. Bryan said the truths he had heard expounded there that day he should endeavor to carry with him throughout life, and he believed that through him many people might hear the truth concerning Mormonism, for he would endeavor to give an exposition of what he had heard, in plain truth, to the people with whom he associated. Mr. Bryan said he had been undecided about coming to Salt Lake. He had been asked to speak in Los Angeles, Monday, but he had obeyed a whim almost and had come to Salt Lake. He did not know why, but now he said he believed it was providential. At any rate he said he had heard truths uttered that impressed him deeply, and he knows that he is better equipped to perform his work in the world for having heard Mormonism expounded. Particularly was he impressed, Mr. Bryan said, with the Mormon belief in the personality of God. It is a beautiful belief, he said, and one by which the world might profit. He referred to the application of the gospel in the lives of the Mormon people, and said such principles applied to the problems of the world would in very deed solve the difficulties with which the world is beset. He referred to the single standard of morality, as expounded by one of the speakers, and said that in very truth that is a principle that might well be applied to the lives of all men.

President Grant then continues: The publishing house of Revell & Co. have published a book containing the last address of William Jennings Bryan, which address was prepared for the celebrated [Scopes] evolution case in Tennessee, but was never delivered. I have had the privilege of reading and re-reading the book. It shows that he had perfect faith in God our Heavenly Father, and in my judgment it is a very strong defense of the divinity of Christ and of the Godhood of our Father in heaven.

I had the pleasure of visiting with Mr. Bryan after his remarks following our conference. He said that he was expected to deliver three speeches in California before leaving, but that he believed the world at large would get more benefit from what he had learned in our conference than the people would have received had he remained in California and delivered those three speeches. He promised to send me a little pamphlet containing his ideas about God. After reading it I remember saying to my family that William Jennings Bryan ought to be a Latter-day Saint, because many of his views were in perfect harmony with our faith. [14]

Joseph Fielding Smith

Darwin…lost his religion when he lost confidence in [William] Paley’s evidences. He says: “The old argument from design in Nature, as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails now that the law of natural selection has been discovered. We can no longer argue that, for instance, the beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell must have been made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a door by man.” “At the present day,” he continues, “the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep inward conviction and feeling which are experienced by most persons.” Formerly he was led by feelings such as those just referred to, to the firm conviction of the existence of God and of the immortality of the soul. The grandeur of the Brazilian forest, he says, used to inspire him with religious awe. “But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to arise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become color-blind.” In another passage he mentions the fact that his love for poetry has gradually disappeared—a proof of the withering effect which continual scientific investigation may exert upon the soul! His state was, however, evidently preconditioned by the original intellectualistic bent of his religious convictions, formed by his early instruction. He has a feeling of having been cheated by false theories and proofs, and therefore looks with distrust upon the entire church. This is an every-day occurrence. Consequently it is a vital question for the church to assume a proper attitude towards science. The mutual distrust existing between science and the church is fatal to her. [15] The quotations in relation to the loss of faith of Charles Darwin is taken from the book, Charles Darwin’s Life, by his son, Francis Darwin, page 63. One who follows the theories of Darwin, will eventually, like Darwin, lose all faith in God the Eternal Creator. A person cannot believe that bivalve shells come by chance and hinges of a door have to come by the act of an intelligent being, and be sound in his thinking. Verily, those who insistently follow the evolutionary theories, cannot at the same time accept and worship an intelligent anthropomorphic God! [16]

Mr. Charles Darwin was first trained for the ministry. He accepted belief in God. After making his research and reaching his deductions, he forsook belief in God. Sir Arthur Keith also was trained for the ministry and accepted a belief in Jesus Christ. After he joined the ranks of Darwinism, he renounced his faith and rejected the Bible. So it has been with the many scores of others. [17]

Ezra Taft Benson

As a watchman on the tower, I feel to warn you that one of the chief means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our educational institutions. There is more than one reason why the Church is advising our youth to attend colleges close to their homes where institutes of religion are available. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay close to their children, and if they become alerted and informed, these parents can help expose some of the deceptions of men like Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, John Keynes, and others. Today there are much worse things that can happen to a child than not getting a full education. In fact, some of the worst things have happened to our children while attending colleges led by administrators who wink at subversion and amorality. [18]

Gordon B. Hinckley

When I was a college student there were many discussions on the question of organic evolution. I took classes in geology and biology and heard the whole story of Darwinism as it was then taught. I wondered about it. I thought much about it. But I did not let it sway me, for I read what the scriptures said about our origins and our relationship to God. [19]

Darwinist and Neo-Darwinist Statements

Charles Darwin

I had gradually come, by this time, to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindus, or the beliefs of any barbarian… By further reflecting that the more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost incomprehensible to us… This disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted for a single second that my conclusion was correct. 1

*It was only in his autobiography that Darwin gave free expression to his religious opinions. And it was when his son prepared to publish the autobiography in the Life and Letters that Emma Darwin revealed the true measure of her conventionality. Having succeeded in maintaining a modicum of discretion in his lifetime, she objected to having the floodgates of scandal opened after his death, and solemnly warned her son that unless he deleted some of the franker passages, her life would be made unendurably miserable… The full extent of Darwin’s disbelief, therefore, can be seen neither in his published work nor even in his published autobiography, but only in the original version of that autobiography. Where the edited version stated simply that he had come to see “that the Old Testament was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos,” the original added: “or the beliefs of any barbarian.” It also specified what it was in the Old Testament that be found so objectionable: “its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow as a sign, etc., etc.”

If he found the Bible an untrustworthy source, neither could he be persuaded of the existence of God by “the deep inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons.” He himself, he confessed, had once had such feelings; in the grandeur of the Brazilian forest he had been possessed by the conviction that there must be more in man than “the mere breath of his body.” But later even the grandest scenes could not evoke such thoughts in his mind. It might be argued, he realized, that he was like a man who had become color blind and who alone among his fellow men could not see red when confronted with it. Such arguments, however, failed to move him…

For himself, Darwin preferred a morality independent of religion and untainted by the moral defects of Christianity. In an addendum to his autobiography, he spelled out the derivation and implication of a naturalistic ethics:

“A man who has no assured and no present belief in the existence of a personal God or a future existence with retribution and rewards, can have for his rule of life, as far as I can see, only to follow those impulses and instincts which are the strongest or which seem to him the best ones. A dog acts in this manner, but he does so blindly. A man, on the other hand, looks forwards and backwards, and compares his various feelings, desires, and recollections. He then finds, in accordance with the verdict of the wisest men, that the highest satisfaction is derived from following certain impulses, namely the social instincts. If he acts for the good of others he will receive the approbation of his fellow men and gain the love of those with whom he lives; and this latter gain undoubtedly is the highest pleasure on this earth. By degrees it will be more intolerable to him to obey his sensuous passions rather than his highest impulses, which when rendered habitual may be almost called instincts. His reason may occasionally tell him to act in opposition to the opinion of others, whose approbation he will then not receive; but he will still have the solid satisfaction of knowing that he has followed his innermost judge or conscience. 2

There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection than in the course which the wind blows. [20]

. . . often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may not have devoted my life to a phantasy. [22]

Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin [23]

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races. [24]

With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed. [25]

 

I had gradually come . . . to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow as a sign, etc., etc. . . . was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian. [27]

By further reflecting that the clearest evidence would be requisite to make any sane man believe in the miracles by which Christianity is supported,—that the more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become,—that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost incomprehensible by us,—that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events,—that they differ in many important details, far too important as it seemed to me to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eye-witnesses;—by such reflections as these . . . I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation. [28]

The old argument of design in nature, as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection has been discovered. We can no longer argue that, for instance, the beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell must have been made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a door by man. There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection, than in the course which the wind blows. [29]

I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds . . . gave me great pleasure. . . . I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great delight. But now for many years 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 any taste for pictures or music.—Music generally sets me thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on, instead of giving me pleasure. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it formerly did. . . .This curious and lamentable loss of the higher aesthetic tastes is all the odder, as books on history, biographies and travels [30], and essays on all sorts of subjects interest me as much as ever they did. My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive. . . .

The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature. [31]

It is only . . . arrogance which made our forefathers declare that they were descended from . . . gods. [32]

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked,16 will no doubt be exterminated. The break will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian and the gorilla. [33]

False Facts are highly injurious to the progress of science for they often endure long. [34]

…”I was born a naturalist,” Darwin asserted.  And so, perhaps, he was.  But one could not deduce this from the school‑boy’s collections of stamps, seals, or even sea shells.  It is salutary to remember that shell collectors rarely grow up to be conchologists.

…He seems to have agreed that he was an “ordinary” boy, but he balked at the idea that he was “rather below the common standard of intellect,” as he suspected his masters and father thought him.

…Neither his family nor his masters saw anything in the least praiseworthy in him.  He had already failed ‑ in all but the formal sense ‑ in two experiments in education, having shown little ambition and less perseverance in both.

…Mathematics he applied himself to with more interest, going so far as to engage a private tutor one summer; unfortunately, he bogged down in the early stages of algebra, and, although he continued to enjoy Euclid, one of the regrets of his later years was his failure to master mathematics, “for men thus endowed seem to have an extra sense.”…

When Darwin later reflected that his time was sadly wasted at Cambridge ‑ “and worse than wasted” ‑ it was the sportiness and horsiness of it that he had in mind.  With as much or more justice, the same judgment might have been applied to his studies there.  This was time truly wasted, and worse than wasted.  For not only did he not profit from what Cambridge had to offer,… so that he never remotely resembled the model of the cultured Englishman who could quote an aphorism from Homer or compose a Greek elegy as the occasion might demand; but he also failed to engage and develop his own interests.  It was not so much the waste of one kind of education that he might have deplored, as the failure to provide another.   3

Thomas Huxley

Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science as the strangled snakes beside that of Hercules. [35]

The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin. And it cannot be otherwise, for every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority, the cherishing of the keenest scepticism, the annihilation of the spirit of blind faith; and the most ardent votary of science holds his firmest convictions, not because the men he most venerates hold them; not because their verity is testified by portents and wonders; but because his experience teaches him that whenever he chooses to bring these convictions into contact with their primary source, Nature—whenever he thinks fit to test them by appealing to experiment and to observation—Nature will confirm them. The man of science has learned to believe in justification, not by faith, but by verification. [36]

I know that I am, in spite of myself, exactly what the Christian would call, and, so far as I can see, is justified in calling, atheist and infidel. [37]

Charles Lyell

Charles Lyell desired to destroy belief in the scriptural record: If we don’t irritate, which I fear that we may . . . we shall carry all with us. If you don’t triumph over them, but compliment the liberality and candor of the present age, the bishops and enlightened saints will join us in despising both the ancient and modern physico-theologians . . . I conceived the idea five or six years ago, that if ever the Mosaic geology could be set down without giving offence, it would be in an historical sketch . . . Let them feel it, and point the moral. [38]

Jane Ellen Harrison

On June 22, 1909, after two years of preparation, scholars and dignitaries met for a three-day celebration at Cambridge University to honor the centennial of the birth of Charles Robert Darwin. During these proceedings, presentations were delivered from leading delegates of prestigious universities, colleges and academies. The presentations focused on Darwin’s life, thought and rapidly growing influence in the world, both in scientific and in religious thought.

Darwin felt to the full all the ignorance that lay hidden under specious phrases like ‘The Plan of Creation.’

It is interesting to note that the very word ‘Creator’ has nowadays almost passed into the region of mythology.

. . . The Temptation . . . The confusion of tongues at the tower of Babel . . . The doctrine of Original Sin . . . The Virgin Birth . . . Vicarious Atonement, and the Resurrection . . .

It is hard for the present generation, unless their breeding has been singularly archaic, to realize that these amazing doctrines were literally held and believed . . .

It is the doctrine of evolution that has made this outlook possible and even necessary. [39]

Darwin’s work was quickly becoming a standard in biology, anthropology, geology and other branches of science. Additionally, these concepts were increasingly being applied to history, theology, philosophy and other social sciences.

Darwin’s view of nature was dark—black . . . . Where most men and women generally believed in some kind of design in nature—some kind of plan and order . . . Darwin wanted them to see all life as empty of any divine purpose. [40]

Clarence Darrow

This terrible crime was inherent in his organism, and it came from some ancestor . . . Is any blame attached because somebody took Nietzsche’s [evolutionary] philosophy seriously and fashioned his life upon it? . . . It is hardly fair to hang a 19–year–old boy for the philosophy that was taught him at the university. [41]

You insult every man of science and learning in the world because he does not believe in your fool religion. . . We have the purpose of preventing bigots and ignoramuses from controlling the education of the United States. [42]

Adolf Hitler

He who would live must fight. He who does not wish to fight in this world where permanent struggle is the law of life, has not the right to exist. [43]

http://www.answers.com/topic/darwin-darwinism-and-psychoanalysis

Sigmund Freud

In his Autobiographical Study, Freud would recall that “Darwin’s doctrine, then in vogue, was a powerful attraction, since it promised to provide an extraordinary thrust to understanding the universe” [44].

From then on Darwin joined Hannibal in Freud’s personal pantheon and he dreamed of becoming his equal. In “A Difficulty in the Path of Psycho-Analysis,” he described the three wounds inflicted on humanity’s pride: when Copernicus established that the earth was not the center of the universe, when Darwin proved that mankind developed in an unbroken line from other animal species, and when he, Freud, showed that man did not have control over the most important aspects of his own mental processes [45]. [46]

the theories of Darwin, which were then of topical interest, strongly attracted me, for they held out hope of an extraordinary advance in our understanding of the world [47]

Religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world, in which we are placed, by means of the wish-world which we have developed inside us as a result of biological and psychological necessities. […] If one attempts to assign to religion its place in man’s evolution, it seems not so much to be a lasting acquisition, as a parallel to the neurosis which the civilized individual must pass through on his way from childhood to maturity. [48]

Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires. [49]

http://www.pep-web.org/document.php?id=apa.013.0499a

Evolution Textbook

. . . faith in religious dogma has been eroded by natural explanations of its mysteries. . . [50]

Jacques Monod

The ancient covenant is in pieces; man knows at last that he is alone in the universe’s unfeeling immensity, out of which he emerged only by chance. His destiny is nowhere spelled out, nor is his duty. [51]

Pierre P. Grassé

Directed by all-powerful selection, chance becomes a sort of providence, which, under the cover of atheism, is not named but which is secretly worshipped. [52]

Will Durrant

By offering evolution in place of God as a cause of history, Darwin removed the theological basis of the moral code of Christendom. . . . That’s the condition we are in. . . . [53]

Barbara Burke

Among some animal species, then, infant killing appears to be a natural practice. Could it be natural for humans, too, a trait inherited from our primate ancestors. . . . Charles Darwin noted in The Descent of Man that infanticide has been probably the most important of all checks on population growth throughout most of human history. [54]

Julian Huxley

Darwin pointed out that no supernatural designer was needed; since natural selection could account for any known form of life, there was no room for a supernatural agency in its evolution. . . . we can dismiss entirely all idea of a supernatural overriding mind being responsible for the evolutionary process. [55]

Stephen Jay Gould

He [Darwin] knew that the primary feature distinguishing his theory from all other evolutionary doctrines was its uncompromising philosophical materialism. Other evolutionists . . . permitted a Christian God to work by evolution instead of creation. Darwin spoke only of random variation and natural selection. [56]

Friedrich Engels

Darwin, whom I am now reading, is splendid. [57]

Just as Darwin discovered the law of evolution in organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of evolution in human history. [58]

Scriptures

Matthew 7:18, 20
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit . . . Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Mosiah 23:14
And also trust no one to be your teacher . . . except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments.

Supporting Statements

Boyd K. Packer

Moral law regulates the behavior of human beings and sets man apart from, and above, the animal kingdom. If moral law is not an issue, then organic evolution is no problem. If moral law is an issue, then organic evolution as the explanation for the origin of man is the problem. [59]

The comprehension of man as no more than a specialized animal cannot help but affect how one behaves. A conviction that man did evolve from animals fosters the mentality that man is not responsible for moral conduct. Animals are controlled to a very large extent by physical urges. Promiscuity is a common pattern in the reproduction of animals. In many subtle ways, the perception that man is an animal and likewise controlled by urges invites that kind of behavior so apparent in society today. A self-image in which we regard ourselves as children of God sponsors one kind of behavior. A conclusion which equates man to animals fosters another kind of behavior entirely. Consequences which spring from that single false premise account for much of what society now suffers. I do not speak in theoretical terms; it matters very much in practical ways. The word abortion should suffice as an example. [60]


  1. Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, p. 87
  2. Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, p. 85
  3. Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, p. 86
  4. Ibid. at p.87
  5. Clarence Darrow, The Story of My Life (1932), chapter 47, paragraph 34, as quoted by President Thomas S. Monson, April 2007 General Conference, see I Know That My Redeemer Lives! Ensign, May 2007, 22–25
  6. Boyd K. Packer, The Law and the Light, Book of Mormon Symposium, BYU, October 30, 1988
  7. Boyd K. Packer, The Law and the Light, Book of Mormon Symposium, BYU, October 30, 1988
  8. Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, Chapter 5 – On the Development of the Intellectual and Moral Faculties During Primeval and Civilised Times
  9. Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, p. 138
  10. Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, p. 139
  11. Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, p. 139
  12. Brigham Young, Letters of Brigham Young to His Sons, p. 200.
  13. John Taylor, Mediation and Atonement, 163-165.
  14. Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, October 1925, 3-4
  15. Introduction to Philosophy, by Dr. Friedrich Paulsen, pp. 159-160.
  16. Joseph Fielding Smith, Man, His Origin and Destiny, p. 83.
  17. Joseph Fielding Smith, Man, His Origin and Destiny, p. 280.
  18. Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 307.
  19. Gordon B. Hinckley, Faith: The Essence of True Religion, p. 18.
  20. Charles Darwin,The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, p. 87
  21. Charles Darwin,The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, Nora Barlow, ed., NY: Norton, p. 94, 1958
  22. Darwin, Francis ed.,Charles Darwin: His Life Told in an Autobiographical Chapter, and in a Selected Series of His Published Letters, p. 213
  23. Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man p. 405
  24. Charles Darwin,The Descent of Man,p. 178
  25. Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, Chapter 5 – On the Development of the Intellectual and Moral Faculties During Primeval and Civilised Times
  26. Charles Darwin,The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, p. 87
  27. Charles Darwin,The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, p. 85
  28. Charles Darwin,The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, p. 86
  29. Charles Darwin, 1958, pp.59
  30. independently of any scientific facts which they may contain
  31. Charles Darwin,The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, p. 138-9
  32. Charles Darwin,The Descent of Man,pp. 31-32
  33. Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, M.A., F.R.S., &c p. 201
  34. Charles Darwin, Descent of Man
  35. Thomas Huxley,Darwiniana. The Origin of Species 1860
  36. Thomas Huxley,On the Advisableness of Improving Natural Knowledge1866
  37. Thomas Henry Huxley, Essays on Controversial Questions
  38. Letter written to George Poulette Scrope in1830, then published inLife, Letters and Journal of Charles Lyell, Mrs. Charles Lyell, ed. London: John Murray, 1881, pp. 270-271.
  39. Jane Ellen Harrison,The Influence of Darwinism on the Study of Religions, 1909 Darwin Commemoration at Cambridge University
  40. Browne, Janet. 1995.Charles Darwin: Voyaging, A Biography. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 542.
  41. Clarence Darrow, Leopold/Loeb Trial, 1924, seeWorld’s Greatest Court Trial, 178-79, 182, 332
  42. Clarence Darrow, Scopes Trial, 1925
  43. Adolf Hitler,Mein KampfMy Struggle, Long War Against God, p. 77
  44. 1925d
  45. 1917a
  46. FREUD
  47. Sigmond Freud
  48. Sigmond Freud, Moses and Monotheism, 1939
  49. Sigmond Freud, New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis
  50. Evolution,3rdEdition, College Textbook, Monroe W. Strickberger, University of California, Berkeley
  51. Jacques Monod, Biologist, Nobel Prize Laureate,Chance and Necessity: An Essay on the Natural Philosophy of Modern Biology, p. 167
  52. Pierre P. Grassé, Evolution of Living Organisms, Long War Against God, p. 161
  53. Will Durrant, Long War Against God, p. 149, Are We in the Last Stage of a Pagan Period?
  54. Barbara Burke, Infanticide, Science 84 May 1984: 29. Long War Against God, p. 140
  55. Julian Huxley, 1959 Darwinian Centennial, Long War Against God, p. 110
  56. Stephan Jay Gould, Long War Against God, p. 95
  57. Engels, ‘Long War Against God’ p. 83
  58. Engels, quoted in Long War Against God p. 83
  59. Boyd K. Packer, The Law and the Light, Book of Mormon Symposium, BYU, October 30, 1988
  60. Boyd K. Packer, The Law and the Light, Book of Mormon Symposium, BYU, October 30, 1988

References:

  1. Hugh Nibley, “Archaeology And Our Religion
  2. “Darwin And The Darwinian Revolution,” Gertrude Himmelfarb, 1962, pp. 383 386
  3. “Darwin And The Darwinian Revolution,” Gertrude Himmelfarb, 1962, pp. 20,25,30,35,36

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *