Darwin Faithful Aghast at Stolen Relics
It’s not enough to have millions of copies of Darwin’s writings in books and online. No; the original relics matter.
Do you know of any handwritten writings of famous people that are treated this way? Would it cause an international uproar if, say, the notebooks of Robert Burns, the original scores of Bela Bartok or scribbled memos of Thomas Young went missing from some European library? Laura Geggel at Live Science reports,
A thief may have stolen two of Charles Darwin’s notebooks, including one containing his iconic 1837 “Tree of Life” sketch, according to Cambridge University Library in England.
Any theft is surely a cause for concern, even though millions of copies of that sketch are found in biology textbooks around the world and thousands of reproductions of it can be found on an internet search adorning T-shirts, facsimiles of the sketch, and even jewelry. No; the fragment of the true cross, or tree, is the only one for pilgrims to worship.
Something must be done! The thief must be punished, and an all-out search must be taken to return the precious relics to their shrine at the cathedral, or library, at the University of Cambridge. The university is calling on the public for help.
“I am heartbroken that the location of these Darwin notebooks, including Darwin’s iconic ‘Tree of Life’ drawing, is currently unknown,” Jessica Gardner, university librarian and director of library services, said in a statement. “But we’re determined to do everything possible to discover what happened and will leave no stone unturned during this process.“
The BBC News is up in arms, too. “Notebooks worth millions lost for 20 years,” announces Rebecca Jones in her coverage. “To have such an iconic object go missing is really a tragedy,” one scientist remarked. The world is on edge. This is not just text on a page. It is fine art, holy art.
“Now if anything of this scale and significance was not found we would be going to the police.”
Cambridgeshire Police have now been informed and the disappearance of the notebooks has been recorded on the national Art Loss Register for missing cultural artefacts. The police have also added the missing notebooks to Interpol’s database of stolen artworks.
What makes these relics so precious is their theological significance. They represent the thoughts of Saint Darwin.
“These notebooks really are Darwin’s attempt to pose to himself the question about where do species come from, what is the origin of species?” explains Jim Secord, emeritus professor of history and philosophy of science at Cambridge University….
“It’s almost like being inside Darwin’s head when you’re looking at these notebooks,” says Professor Secord. “They’re jottings of all sorts of information that he’s writing down.
Why can’t the copies create the same religious experience as the old, faded original notebooks? Jones says, “Although the notebooks have been digitised, Professor Secord says the scans can never replace the real thing.” The spirit of the saint is in the originals. One cannot achieve the ecstasy any other way.
Regarding Darwin, Jones recounts the reception of his anti-creation views:
At the time it was highly controversial, as it provided evidence that certain animals had evolved from others over time, apparently best fit for their surroundings. This was at odds with the long-established religious belief that God had created all creatures, great and small.
Most importantly, Darwin had speculated that “Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.” Twelve years after the Origin, Darwin went on to elaborate on human evolution.
In his second seminal publication, 1871’s The Descent of Man, Darwin applied his theory to the evolution of humans, suggesting we share a common ancestor with the great apes.
By 1871, “the evolution of humans” had gone from a criticized speculation to an established cultural fact in the minds of many. Jones fails to mention the overt racism in that second volume (16 Sep 2020, 17 Aug 2020), and the bloody history of Social Darwinism and eugenics that grew out of it. All is forgiven.
Simple yet profound, his theory is one of the most influential scientific ideas ever conceived.
Even today, its conclusions and implications have an impact on religion, politics, economics and art, as well as our understanding of the world around us.
To all those mentioned in these articles, nothing in the Bible could match the profundity and simplicity of Darwin’s scribblings. Out of Darwin’s notebooks came the secular scriptures adored by Big Science today.
One has to ponder a horrid doubt, though, along with Darwin himself, “whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.”
From the mind of this one apostate, the profound Stuff Happens Law emerged. At the great Darwin Dagon, every knee must bow.