1. Darwin originated the idea of organic evolution
False: J. B. A P. de Monnet Lamark and Geoffrey Saint-Hillaire both argued for the transmutability of species and both pre-dated Darwin.
2. Darwin claimed we are descended from monkeys
False: he claimed we had a common ancestor.
3. Darwin coined the term ‘survival of the fittest’
False: it was Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)
4. Darwin once considered being ordained
True: he was bought up a Unitarian but after his father’s advice considered becoming an Anglican vicar. He decided against it when he realised that he couldn’t with a clear conscious answer yes to the question posed to the ordinands: ‘Do you trust that your are inwardly moved by the Holy Spirit?
5. Darwin became an atheist
False: there is no evidence to suggest that he did. He remained an agnostic, any remnants of a Christian faith were rocked by the death of his 10 year-old daughter Annie. His faith waned because he had doubts about the Bible, he didn’t like the idea of t ‘wrathful God’ of the OT and philosophical objections, he thought the laws of nature made miracles unbelievable.
6. Darwinism is atheism
Charles Hodge claimed it was; see his What is Darwinism? But Darwin wasn’t an atheist.
7. Darwin made it intellectually respectable to be an atheist
Yes, if Dawkins is to be believed!
8. Darwin made a death-bed confession of faith
False, if James Moore’s research is correct see The Darwin Legend Hodder and Stoughton, 1994.
9. Most theologians at the time were against natural selection
It depends how what is meant by most! Certainly not all were. Many Anglican clergy such as Charles Kingsley and Fredrick Temple seemed to embrace the idea proclaiming that ‘God made things to make themselves’. Another Aubrey Moore claimed that Darwin’s ideas did the ‘job of a friend under the guise of a foe’.
Many Christians were in favour including Asa Gray, James McCosh, George Wright, Alexander Wincell and James Dana.
And B. B. Warfield wrote:
‘I do not think that there is any statement in the Bible or any part of the account of creation, either as given in Genesis 1 and 2 or elsewhere alluded to, that need be opposed to evolution’. Lectures on Anthropology (1888)
10. The Oxford debate (30 June 1860) between T H Huxley and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce was convincingly won by Huxley
False: the reports seem mixed. There were no verbatim accounts so we can’t know for sure. However, it seems that one convert to Darwinism, the naturalist Henry Baker Tristram, ‘recanted’ after hearing Wilberfore’s scientific points.
Richard Dawkins The Blind Watchmaker Longmans, 1986
Charles Kingsley The Water Babies, Penguin
David Livingstone Darwin's Forgotten Defenders Eerdmans, 1987
Arthur McCalla The Creationist Debate Continuum, 2006
James Moore The Post-Darwinian Controversies CUP, 1979
James Moore The Darwin legend H&S, 1994
Fredrick Temple Religion and Science 1884