Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Darwin's Childhood

I often hear people say that we should not brainwash our children with the gospel. So many people believe that this amounts to indoctrination, which they say is harmful to children.

I disagree. For one thing, everybody “brainwashes” their children, whether they realize it or not. The atheist, whether in words or actions, teaches his children there is no God; the Muslim teaches his children that there is no god but Allah, etc. Our upbringing helps shape our worldview. A person’s worldview can change over time, but what he is exposed to in his formative years will always be a part of who he becomes.

Now consider this: when a Darwinist (or anyone who believes in evolution) says that a Creationist (or anyone who believes that God created the world) should not brainwash his children and blind them to science, he is actually being hypocritical. If anyone was brainwashed into a flawed way of thinking, it was Charles Darwin.

Darwin’s paternal grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, was a popular thinker and scientist in his own right. Although he was deceased before Charles was ever born, Erasmus greatly influenced Charles’ life, and he was a direct influence for Charles’ book On the Origen of Species.

Erasmus Darwin lived in a day when virtually everyone believed in the biblical account of Creation, but he was skeptical. His skepticism and observations led to his groundbreaking book Zoonomia, or the Laws of Organic Life, which was published in 1794. This work, which gained worldwide fame and was translated into several languages, was the first case for evolution ever written.

Zoonomia classified different types of common diseases along with their prescribed ailments (Erasmus’ son—Charles’ father—would later become a doctor). Among the diseases that Erasmus listed: Superstitious Hope and Fear of Hell.

Aside from this obvious detestation of God and Scripture, Zoonomia also said, “[A]ll warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…with the power of acquiring new parts…and thus possessing the faculty of continuing to improve by its own inherent activity, and of delivering down these improvements by generation to its posterity, world without end[1].”

Fast-forward six decades, and Erasmus’ grandson is writing a book that says almost the same thing. Charles wrote in his Autobiography that he was not influenced by Zoonomia, but this is hard to believe. Charles was studying for the ministry in seminary, and had written that he felt God’s call to defend the Scriptures. It is unlikely that his trip to the Galapagos Islands led to a quick 180 in his life, without the aid of Zoonomia.

Consider that part of Charles Darwin’s life-changing discovery was the different types of beaks among the finches in Galapagos, and Erasmus had written something almost identical, noting that birds’ beaks vary by climate.

In fact, On the Origen of Species covers almost every topic addressed in Zoonomia.

Yet Charles maintained that Erasmus’ work did not influence him. But notice what Charles did concede in his autobiography:

“[H]earing rather early in life such views maintained and praised may have favoured my upholding them under a different form in my Origen of the Species[2].

So an elderly Charles had no problem admitting that it was being exposed to his grandfather’s theology at a young age that influenced him. That motivates me all the more to teach children the Bible from a young age.

And it also bursts the bubble of the evolutionist that says that it is dangerous for a child to be brainwashed by Christians. Their precious founder was brainwashed by his grandfather.

So teach your children the Bible. Why would you ground them in math, grammar, and the arts, but withhold from them that which can save their soul?

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs 22:6

[1] Darwin, Erasmus, Zoonomia, or the Laws of Organic Life, Thomas and Andrews, 2nd American Edition, volume 1, Boston, p.397
[2] Darwin, Charles, Autobiography, taken from The Darwin Compendium, p.1590

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