Darwin’s Relics Recovered
He is treated like a god by materialists. Someone returned
his stolen notebooks and the world rejoiced.
In September 2020, two notebooks handwritten by Charles Darwin went missing from the Cambridge University Library. One of them contained the holy relic of the True Tree of Life, a quaint and childish sketch where Charley* first illustrated his soon-to-be-famous Stuff Happens Law (aka, natural selection). The sketch was meant to convey Charley’s notion that life arose and diversified because stuff happens. Cells happened, fish happened, birds happened, and human brains happened—all without purpose or plan. They just branched off from each other for no reason at all, and now we have a world filled with plants and animals of exquisite design. They were not really designed, according to Darwin; they just look designed. Our eyes are fooling us. Design is an illusion. Like Francis Crick said in 1990, “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”
*Biographer Janet Browne mentions that he was nicknamed Charley by friends.
Because of this diagram and Charley’s writings about unguided natural and sexual selection, Darwin made it possible to become an intellectually fool-filled atheist (to satirize a homily from the current Darwin pope Richard Dawkins). The iconic sketch of the True Tree of Life has made its way into popular culture, being found in jewelry, T-shirts and in tweets attacking creationists.
Anyway, the notebooks went missing in 2002, and the world mourned. Now, they’re back, and the world rejoices. It’s not like the world has been deprived of thousands of copies of the sketch, including complete sketches and texts from these notebooks at the Cambridge website, but there was something precious and hope about the original penned by the holy father of evolution, first pope of the church of the Stuff Happens Law.
Savor the emotion of librarian Jessica Gardner who announced their return at the Cambridge University website in large, bold print:
“My sense of relief at the notebooks’ safe return is profound and almost impossible to adequately express. Along with so many others all across the world, I was heartbroken to learn of their loss and my joy at their return is immense.“
Nobody knows who stole them. They were returned in a pink envelope with a simple note, “Happy Easter. X” written on a slip of paper inside. Police found the envelope on the 4th floor of the 17-story library.
Gardner and others at Cambridge had issued a worldwide appeal for the return of the relics. The press release includes a video about the episode, and large photographs of Gardner gently holding the page of the True Tree in her hands. Dr Stephen J. Toope, cardinal of the SHL church at Cambridge, expresses the import of these relics:
“Objects such as these are crucial for our understanding of not only the history of science but the history of humankind. I’m delighted to learn that the notebooks will be going on public display this summer, giving visitors a once-in-a-lifetime chance to come face-to-face with Darwin’s Tree of Life sketch.”
Note: Professor Jim Secord in the video claims that “the most important theory in the natural sciences is probably the theory of evolution by natural selection which was discovered by Charles Darwin.” That is a twofold lie: first, because it is not the most important theory in the natural sciences in terms of its effects on human well-being (think eugenics, Darwinian racism, genocide and abortion), and secondly, because Darwin failed to acknowledge others who thought along similar lines of selectionism before him, like Edward Blyth. Darwin was pressured to add a preface to the 3rd edition of his Origin of Species acknowledging several predecessors.
Cambridge Library has been working for 40 years to digitize every one of the 15,000 letters, books and publications of Pope Charley. This “Darwin Correspondence Project” is being turned into a traveling exhibit that will first open at Cambridge in July before going on tour. Like the carefully guarded treasures of King Tut that went on tour a few years ago, these relics will delight thousands of visitors thronging to see with their own eyes the wonder that their eyes popped into existence by the Stuff Happens Law, which gave rise to its corollary, the Popeye Theory of Evolution (17 Aug 2019). Through the experience, the cups of many intellectually fool-filled atheists will be filled to overflowing.
In a post at Evolution News on April 7, literary scholar Neil Thomas put forth his own descriptions of Darwin’s theory, virtually the same as our term, the Stuff Happens Law. He dubbed it an “agentless act,” an “empty signifier,” a “notional” rather than factual proposition that amounts to an “airy nothing” in terms of trying to convey understanding. He calls it a “magical instrumentality quite outside common experience or observability” and an “empirically unattested sub-variant of chance he chose to term natural selection.” And this idea, the Cambridge don insists, is “the most important theory in the natural sciences.”
First, a couple of disclaimers: theft is wrong, no matter who did it and what was stolen. Also, the Darwin Correspondence Project has proved to be a good resource for Darwin skeptics needing to see the original words of Darwin and the corpus of his letters.
It’s hard to imagine any other scientist or naturalist being treated with such obsequious adoration. Would the world mourn the loss of Newton’s original sketches of the Principia, or of Kepler’s Rudolphine Tables? Those likely had more import into the advance of science than a childish sketch of a branching tree that says, “stuff happens.” More than any other recent story, this episode illustrates the deep spiritual nature of Darwin’s secular creation myth. What for thousands of years had been primary evidence for a Creator—the superlative fit of organisms to their environment—could be ditched by an academic elite. They would teach generations of pliable student brains that brains are remnants of their lizard past (see 22 Jan 2019).
Instead of Adam and Eve, atheists could honor their ancestors Bonzo and Koko. Instead of a habitat for humanity, Earth became planet of the apes. Instead of In the Beginning was the Word, they could hear, In the Beginning was the Stuff. Instead of the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden and in the New Jerusalem, they could eat from a false Tree of Life that was really a tree of death, because in a world red in tooth and claw, only the fittest survive. Most significantly, there was no longer any accountability to a moral Creator. Everybody could live as they please and do what is right in their own eyes. It was party time! (for a season).
But what if Darwin was wrong? Read “Time to Ditch Natural Selection?” (3 Oct 2015).