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Charles Darwin's use of theology in the Origin of Species

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 May 2011

Department of Philosophy, St Edward's University, Austin, TX 78704, USA. Email:


This essay examines Darwin's positiva (or positive) use of theology in the first edition of the Origin of Species in three steps. First, the essay analyses the Origin's theological language about God's accessibility, honesty, methods of creating, relationship to natural laws and lack of responsibility for natural suffering; the essay contends that Darwin utilized positiva theology in order to help justify (and inform) descent with modification and to attack special creation. Second, the essay offers critical analysis of this theology, drawing in part on Darwin's mature ruminations to suggest that, from an epistemic point of view, the Origin's positiva theology manifests several internal tensions. Finally, the essay reflects on the relative epistemic importance of positiva theology in the Origin's overall case for evolution. The essay concludes that this theology served as a handmaiden and accomplice to Darwin's science.

Research Article
Copyright © British Society for the History of Science 2011

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1 Dov Ospovat, ‘Darwin's theology’, review of Neal Gillespie's Charles Darwin and the Problem of Creation, Science (1980) 207, p. 520. An excellent analysis of Darwin's understanding and use of theology, which I draw upon in this essay, can be found in Gillespie, Neal, Charles Darwin and the Problem of Creation, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979Google Scholar.

2 See Kohn, David, ‘Darwin's ambiguity: the secularization of biological meaning’, BJHS (1989) 22, pp. 215239CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

3 A statement that provides ‘epistemic support’ to another statement is one that ‘raises the probability, however minute, of the truth of the latter statement’ or that ‘increases the justification or warrant a person has for believing the latter statement’. For the purposes of this essay, I am agnostic about whether or not the theological claims Darwin made in the Origin properly provide epistemic support to his theory. They appear to be intended to make descent with modification more plausible, and will be treated as such.

4 As such, even though this essay occasionally refers to ‘Darwin's theology’, nothing in the present argument hinges upon whether Darwin actually accepted, rather than simply used as justification, the theological claims discussed below.

5 For example: Darwin, Charles, Origin of Species, London: John Murray, 1859, pp. 5556Google Scholar, 185–186, 242–243, 275–276, 354–355, 372, 393–398, 453–454. In these passages, Darwin examined the empirically testable predictions of special creation in the context of comparing the theory's explanatory power against the explanatory power of his own theory (or against the transmutation thesis). That is, Darwin typically used reductio theology in comparative arguments. See also David Depew, ‘The rhetoric of the Origin of Species’, in Robert Richards and Michael Ruse (eds.), Cambridge Companion to the ‘Origin of Species’, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008, pp. 237–255.

6 Positiva theology is ‘independent’ in the sense that its epistemic legitimacy did not depend upon the truth (or justification) of special creation. Whereas Darwin could assume the truth of the tenets of special creation in order to perform a reductio ad absurdum on these claims, he could not do the same with his positiva theology; it required separate grounds for its truth. I should add that not every positiva claim explored in this essay properly falls under the general heading of ‘Enlightenment-style theology’, although many do.

7 John Brooke, ‘The relations between Darwin's science and his religion’, in John Durant (ed.), Darwinism and Divinity, New York: Oxford University Press, 1985, pp. 40–75, esp. 48–49. See especially the references below for Gillespie, Richards, Cornell, von Sydow, Lustig, Brooke, Nelson, Cosans, England, Ospovat, Depew and Moore.

8 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 488.

9 In the very next sentence of the passage, Darwin made explicit the comparison between special creation and his own theory, contrasting special creation with the view that ‘all beings’ are ‘lineal descendants of some few beings which lived long before the first bed of the Silurian system was deposited’. Darwin, op. cit. (5), pp. 488–489.

10 Paley, William, Natural Theology, 12th edn, London: J. Faulder, 1809 (first published 1802), pp. 7Google Scholar, 416–418.

11 Darwin, Charles, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809–1882 (ed. Barlow, Nora), New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1958, p. 86Google Scholar.

12 Darwin, op. cit. (11), p. 87, emphasis added.

13 Gavin de Beer (ed.), ‘Darwin's notebooks on transmutation of species. Part III. Third notebook [D] (July 15 to October 2nd 1838)’, Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), historical series 2, No. 4 (July 1960), pp. 119–150, esp. 132.

14 Darwin, Francis (ed.), The Foundations of the Origin of Species, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1909, p. 52Google Scholar.

15 This is not to imply that Darwin was a theist per se, but that he preferred laws to miracles, whatever his beliefs about the ultimate ontology of the laws themselves.

16 Babbage, Charles, The Ninth Bridgewater Treatise, 2nd edn, London: John Murray, 1838, p. 24Google Scholar, less directly: pp. 40, 95, 169. The Herschel and Whewell references are below.

17 Herschel, John, A Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy, London: Longman et al., 1840, p. 37Google Scholar, emphasis removed. See p. 39 as well.

18 Whewell, William, Astronomy and General Physics Considered with Reference to Natural Theology, London: W. Pickering, 1836CrossRefGoogle Scholar, p. 357. See also pp. 136, 230.

19 See Francis Bacon, ‘A confession of faith’, in The Works of Francis Bacon (ed. James Spedding et al.), vol. 7, London: Longmans and Co. etc., 1892, p. 221.

20 John Brooke, ‘Laws impressed on matter by the Creator?’, in Richards and Ruse, op. cit. (5), pp. 256–274, esp. 266–272.

21 Darwin, op. cit. (5), pp. 484, 488, 490. See also Cosans, Chris, ‘Was Darwin a creationist?Perspectives in Biology and Medicine (2005) 48, pp. 362371CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

22 Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, 2nd edn, London: John Murray, 1860, pp. 488, 490. In the fifth edition of the Origin (London: John Murray, 1869, p. 577), Darwin attenuated some of this theistic language and in private correspondence in 1863 he recanted it altogether. Darwin, Francis, The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, 3 vols., London: John Murray, 1887, vol. 3, p. 18Google Scholar. See Brooke, op. cit. (20), pp. 256–274.

23 Ruse, Michael, Darwinian Revolution, 2nd edn, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999, p. 181Google Scholar; Robert J. Richards, ‘Theological foundations of Darwin's theory of evolution’, in P.H. Theerman and K.H. Parshall (eds.), Experiencing Nature, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1997, pp. 61–79, esp. p. 64; Brooke, op. cit. (20); Gillespie, op. cit. (1), pp. 132–133; Browne, Janet, Charles Darwin: Voyaging, New York: Knopf, 1995, pp. 411, 438439Google Scholar, 513; Cornell, John, ‘God's magnificent law: the bad influence of theistic metaphysics on Darwin's estimation of natural selection’, Journal of the History of Biology (1987) 20, pp. 381412CrossRefGoogle Scholar, esp. 384–91.

24 Even though the Origin alluded to a miraculous creation of the first life, I refer to its theology as semi-deistic rather than theistic because it did not clearly endorse the notion that God ontologically sustains the world, a staple tenet of traditional theism.

25 For example, England, Richard, ‘Natural selection, teleology, and the Logos’, Osiris (2001) 16, pp. 270287CrossRefGoogle Scholar, esp. 274–75; Ospovat, Dov, ‘God and natural selection’, Journal of the History of Biology (1980) 13, pp. 169194CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed; Momme von Sydow, ‘Charles Darwin: a Christian undermining Christianity?’, in David M. Knight and Matthew D. Eddy (eds.), Science and Beliefs: From Natural Philosophy to Natural Science, 1700–1900, Burlington: Ashgate, 2005, pp. 141–156.

26 Cornell, John, ‘Newton of the grassblade? Darwin and the problem of organic teleology’, Isis (1986) 77, pp. 405421CrossRefGoogle Scholar, esp. 421. Cornell believes that Darwin's conviction about designed laws was so deep that it fundamentally shaped his understanding of the ‘vital organization’ and behaviour of biological organisms (esp. p. 414).

27 Richards, op. cit. (23), p. 65. See also idem, ‘Darwin's theory of natural selection and its moral purpose’, in Richards and Ruse, op. cit. (5), pp. 47–66.

28 Kohn, op. cit. (2), p. 238.

29 Because a semi-deistic theology also sanctioned a naturalized method, it allowed Darwin the epistemic (or rhetorical) advantage of conforming to methodological naturalism, an increasingly pervasive view of science among biologists during Darwin's era. Ronald Numbers has argued that it was Darwin's adherence to this method – even more than his extensive empirical evidence – that helped his theory win converts. If this is correct, then semi-deistic theology played an even greater (indirect) role in the effectiveness of Darwin's argument. Ronald Numbers, ‘Science without God: natural laws and Christian beliefs’, in David Lindberg and Ronald Numbers (eds.), When Science and Christianity Meet, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003, pp. 265–286; idem, Darwinism Comes to America, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998, pp. 24–48, esp. 48.

30 Michael Ruse, ‘The origin of the Origin’, in Richards and Ruse, op. cit. (5), pp. 1–13, esp. 2.

31 The claim that Darwin's (nascent) theory relied upon ‘secondary causes’ is in principle compatible with the idea that these secondary causes were progressive, so long as this progress was not due to the action of an interventionist God.

32 Darwin, Francis and Seward, A., More Letters of Charles Darwin, vol. 1, London: John Murray, 1903, p. 94Google Scholar.

33 F. Darwin, op. cit. (22), vol. 1, pp. 380–381.

34 Darwin, op. cit. (11), p. 98. While the matter is debatable, Janet Browne contends that Annie ‘was the apple of her proud father's eye’ and that this loss may have marked ‘the formal beginning of Darwin's conscious dissociation from believing in the traditional figure of God’. Browne, op. cit. (23), pp. 499, 503.

35 Brooke, John, ‘Religious belief and the content of the sciences’, Osiris (2001) 16, pp. 328CrossRefGoogle Scholar, esp. 20; James C. Livingston, review of Frank Burch Brown, The Evolution of Darwin's Religious Views, Journal of the American Academy of Religion (1987) 55, p. 819; Brooke, op. cit. (7), pp. 66–67; Nelson, Paul, ‘The role of theology in current evolutionary reasoning’, Biology and Philosophy (1996) 11, pp. 493517CrossRefGoogle Scholar; David Livingstone, ‘Re-placing Darwinism and Christianity’, in Lindberg and Numbers, op. cit. (29), pp. 183–202, esp. 185–189.

36 Darwin, op. cit. (5), pp. 243–244.

37 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 472.

38 Darwin, op. cit. (11), p. 90.

39 Brooke, John, Science and Religion, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991, p. 316Google Scholar, original emphasis.

40 Unlike the first extract on natural suffering (cited above), the second extract does not explicitly compare evolution to special creation (relative to natural suffering). However, analysis of the broader context of the second extract shows that Darwin's argument is clearly comparative. Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 472.

41 More formally, Darwin's argument could be developed or expressed using the odds form of Bayes’ theorem: P(ET/PS)/P(SC/PS) = [P(ET)/P(SC)] × [P(PS/ET)/P(PS/SC)], where PS = pain and suffering, ET = evolutionary theory and SC = special creationism.

42 Strictly speaking, the theological assumption in Darwin's argument is not that natural pain and suffering is improbable given the special-creationist conception of God, but rather that natural pain and suffering is less probable given this conception of the deity than given evolutionary theory. I have used the former claim in the main text because I think it accurately reflects the spirit of Darwin's argument. Readers who prefer the more strict interpretation of the argument should note that this strict interpretation also depends upon an assessment about what God would or would not do.

43 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 244.

44 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 244, emphasis added. In the final paragraphs of the Origin, Darwin wrote, ‘And as natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection’ (p. 489). And, ‘Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows’ (p. 490). Michael Ruse claims that Darwin actually increased his emphasis on progress over the six editions of the Origin. Ruse, op. cit. (23), epilogue. Dov Ospovat agrees and notes that theological concerns were among the moorings of Darwin's belief in progress. Ospovat, The Development of Darwin's Theory, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981, pp. 223224Google Scholar; see also Richards, op. cit. (23), pp. 47–66; von Sydow, op. cit. (25), pp. 147–150.

45 Gillespie, op. cit. (1), p. 127; Ospovat points out that Darwin may have appealed to ‘progress’ to try to vindicate himself, too, as the author of a theory that depicted nature as ‘painful and bloody’. Ospovat, op. cit. (44), p. 224.

46 Especially insightful are Nelson, op. cit. (35); and Abigail Lustig, ‘Natural atheology’, in Abigail Lustig, Robert J. Richards and Michael Ruse (eds.), Darwinian Heresies, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp. 69–83.

47 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 435.

48 Owen, Richard, On the Nature of Limbs: A Discourse, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007CrossRefGoogle Scholar (first published 1849).

49 See the discussion below.

50 Owen, op. cit. (48), pp. 9–10.

51 Owen, op. cit. (48), p. 10.

52 The language is Nelson's; see Nelson, op. cit. (35), p. 511, emphasis altered.

53 Nelson, op. cit. (35), p. 511.

54 More precisely, the God of special creation would always start from scratch, never drawing on a common pattern; or, if He did use a common pattern, He would erase any trace of having done so. For ease of exposition, I will focus upon the former assumption.

55 For example, Owen, op. cit. (48), pp. 4–40, esp. 39–40. Owen also suggested that the God of special creation would not use a common plan to create limbs designed for different purposes on the same animal. See his discussion of the forelimbs and hindlimbs of bats, for example (pp. 7, 18–19, 39). Unfortunately, space constraints restrict exploration of this variant of the de novo theological assumption.

56 Owen, op. cit. (48), pp. 39–40.

57 Compare with Lustig, op. cit. (46), pp. 74–76.

58 On a related point, see Nelson, op. cit. (35), pp. 509–510.

59 ‘Why should the brain be enclosed in a box composed of such numerous and such extraordinarily shaped pieces of bone? As Owen has remarked, the benefit derived from the yielding of the separate pieces in the act of parturition of mammals, will by no means explain the same construction in the skulls of birds’. Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 437. These statements draw from Owen's ‘simplest mode’ quote and the two sentences immediately after it. See Owen, op. cit. (48), p. 40.

60 Darwin, op. cit. (5), pp. 436–437; see Owen, op. cit. (48), pp. 7, 18–19, 36, 39–42. Not only does the content of two of the four questions come directly from On Limbs, but attentive readers will find that each question assumes one or more of the theological assumptions explored above. For example, Darwin asks, ‘Why should similar bones have been created in the formation of the wing and leg of a bat, used as they are for such totally different purposes?’ Among other things, this question presupposes a variant of the de novo assumption, that God would create new limbs directly and expressly for their respective purposes rather than modifying each of them from a common design plan.

61 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 434.

62 Darwin and Seward, op. cit. (32), p. 173.

63 See the arguments and references in Nelson, op. cit. (35), pp. 506–12; and Lustig, op. cit. (46), pp. 74–83.

64 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 167. Darwin's language is identical in parallel passages in other editions. F. Darwin, op. cit. (22), vol. 2, p. 361.

65 Gillespie makes a similar point, but less precisely. Gillespie, op. cit. (1), pp. 128–29; Gavin de Beer (ed.), ‘Darwin's notebooks on transmutation of species. Part 1. First notebook [B] (July 1837–February 1838)’, Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) (January 1960), historical series 2(2), pp. 23–73, esp. 67; F. Darwin, op. cit. (14), pp. 49, 250–251; Darwin, Charles, Descent of Man, vol. 1, London: John Murray, p. 186Google Scholar. For another example, see Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, 3rd edn, London: John Murray, 1861, pp. 517–518. Identical language appears in the fourth, fifth, and sixth editions.

66 Darwin, op. cit. (5), pp. 165–167.

67 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 167, emphasis added.

68 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 167.

69 Darwin may have also been raising a subtle criticism of Philip Gosse, a contemporary who had argued in Omphalos (1857) that God had created fossils with the appearance of great age. Gosse was roundly criticized for portraying God as a deceiver.

70 A critic might protest that Darwin's allusion to his vera causa requirements in this passage is epistemically independent of his invocation of divine honesty in the next sentence. This view is not implausible. However, because the immediate context is Darwin's discussion of special creation, the vera causa requirement for ‘real’ (as opposed to ‘unreal’ or ‘unknown’) causes applies directly to the (modified) special-creation account in which God created organisms to give false empirical evidence about their origins. To Darwin's mind, such a ‘cause’ does not pass the vera causa test because there is no independent evidence (or present experience) to corroborate this view of the divine; indeed, in the next sentence, Darwin implies that quite the opposite is true: God is not a deceiver. The truth about God's moral character is why the (modified) special-creation account fails the vera causa test.

71 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 167, emphasis added.

72 Some contemporary scholars may think Darwin made a category mistake, invoking theology at a level at which it did not belong. But the present point is to understand the text of the Origin rather than to attack it.

73 Paley, op. cit. (10), p. 18.

74 Darwin, op. cit. (11), p. 59; F. Darwin, op. cit. (22), vol. 2, p. 219.

75 Gavin de Beer (ed.), ‘Darwin's notebooks on transmutation of species. Part II. Second notebook [C] (February to July 1838)’, Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) (May 1960) historical series 2(3), pp. 75–118, esp. 103; also de Beer, op. cit. (13), p. 130.

76 A.J. Lustig, ‘Darwin's difficulties’, in Richards and Ruse, op. cit. (5), pp. 109–128, esp. 109–110; idem, op. cit. (46), pp. 72–74.

77 Lustig, op. cit. (46), p. 72; Darwin, op. cit. (5), pp. 186–194.

78 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 186.

79 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 188.

80 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 188.

81 Brooke, op. cit. (7), pp. 53–54.

82 Darwin echoes David Hume, who said, ‘it must evidently appear contrary to all rules of analogy to reason, from the projects and intentions of men, to those of a Being so different, and so much superior’. Hume, David, An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Indianapolis: Hackett, 1977 (first published 1748), p. 100Google Scholar.

83 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 187.

84 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 188, emphasis added.

85 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 191, emphasis added.

86 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 188.

87 Dear, Peter, The Intelligibility of Nature, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006, p. 100CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also Angus Campbell, John, ‘Why was Darwin believed?Configurations (2003) 11, pp. 227–30Google Scholar.

88 Darwin, op. cit. (5), pp. 188–189. Depew argues that Darwin also cleverly cast natural selection in the language of an agent who had God-like powers to ‘pick out with unerring skill each improvement’ in organisms. Depew, op. cit. (5), pp. 245–51; for a more sympathetic reconstruction of Darwin's argument see Lustig, op. cit. (76), pp. 109–128.

89 Moore, James, The Post-Darwinian Controversies, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1979, p. 318CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Moore also observes that the Origin ‘largely … dealt with theological questions’ which ‘profoundly’ concerned Darwin ‘throughout his scientific career’. James Moore, review of Charles Darwin and the Problem of Creation, BJHS (1981) 14, p. 189. Moore here summarizes Neal Gillespie's ‘outstanding achievement’ with approval.

90 Brooke, op. cit. (7), p. 65; de Beer, op. cit. (75), p. 79.

91 Cornell, op. cit. (23), pp. 399–400; see also Gillespie, op. cit. (1), pp. 132–133.

92 Letter to J.D. Hooker on 12 July 1870; Darwin and Seward, op. cit. (32), p. 321.

93 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 488.

94 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 484, also pp. 488, 490; see Cosans, op. cit. (21), pp. 362–371; and Gillespie, op. cit. (1), pp. 127–133.

95 For example: letter from W.H. Harvey to Darwin on 24 August 1860. Darwin Correspondence Project Database,–2898/, letter no. 2898, accessed 27 August 2010.

96 Arguably, Darwin needed to retain the Origin's tacit endorsement of the moral goodness of the Creator. For example, this concept apparently undergirded claims about divine honesty as well as the ‘advancement of all organic beings’ in the face of natural suffering.

97 Darwin Correspondence Project Database,–5307/, letter no. 5307, accessed 16 July 2010.

98 A bit speculatively, Darwin's preface to his initial argument about natural suffering in the Origin included a qualification very similar to the one he gave to M.E. Boole, suggesting that Darwin may have been aware in 1859 that an omniscient ‘Creator’ posed a problem for his argument. ‘[I]t may not be a logical deduction’, he wrote carefully, ‘but to my imagination it is far more satisfactory’ to accept that natural pain accords with evolution rather than with special creation. The qualification – ‘it may not be a logical deduction’ – closely resembles his concession to Boole: ‘I am aware this is not logical with reference to an omniscient Deity’. Darwin, op. cit. (5), pp. 243–244; Darwin Correspondence Project Database,–5307/, letter no. 5307, accessed 16 July 2010, emphasis added.

99 F. Darwin, op. cit. (14), p. 52.

100 Darwin, op. cit. (5), p. 188.

101 Owen, op. cit. (48), p. 40.

102 As indicated below, perhaps the one exception is the claim that humans cannot know whether God's intellectual powers are analogous to their own.

103 Darwin, op. cit. (11), pp. 92–93.

104 In a letter written in 1881, Darwin struggled with whether, given the truth of evolution, he could know that the universe was the result of purpose or of chance (to say nothing of the existence or attributes of God). F. Darwin, op. cit. (22), vol. 1, p. 316. See also England, op. cit. (25), pp. 274–275.

105 F. Darwin, op. cit. (22), vol. 2, p. 312, original emphasis. Darwin does not say in this letter that his theological muddle arose because of his theory of evolution. That connection became explicit later.

106 Some contemporary Darwinists echo the same refrain. Michael Ruse, ‘Belief in God in a Darwinian age’, in Jonathan Hodge and Gregory Radick (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Darwin, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003, pp. 368–392, esp. 350–351; Churchland, Patricia, ‘Epistemology in the age of neuroscience’, Journal of Philosophy (1987) 84, pp. 544553CrossRefGoogle Scholar, esp. 548–549.

107 Darwin, op. cit. (65), pp. 65–69.

108 Compare with von Sydow, op. cit. (25), pp. 150–156, who gives a temporal account of Darwin's loss of religious beliefs; von Sydow thinks this loss was due in large measure to the development of evolutionary theory.

109 For example, Darwin's talk of ‘laws impressed on matter’ and his response to the (modified) special-creation account of horse variability.

110 For example, Darwin's response to the (modified) special-creation account of horse variability.

111 Arguably, Darwin rejected the (modified) special-creation account of horse variability as relying on an ‘unreal’ or ‘unknown’ cause – and hence violating the vera causa requirement – because there was insufficient independent evidence (or present experience) to claim that God was a deceiver, as the creationist account implied. Instead, Darwin implied that God was not a deceiver. The (modified) special-creationist position invoked an unreal cause (rather than a true cause) because it held a mistaken notion of God's moral character. For further argument, see the section on ‘divine honesty’ as well as note 71.

112 Recall that Darwin's rebuttal did not consist of clear empirical evidence but rather of a ‘thin thought experiment’, to borrow David Depew's phrase, and two theology-laden claims about God's opacity.

113 See the sections on ‘the problem of natural suffering’ and ‘the Divine Architect’.

114 In his critique of the (modified) special-creationist view of horse variability, Darwin's appeal to God's probity helped establish the non-deceptive nature of empirical data.

115 Recall Darwin's lack of clarity about whether natural suffering was more compatible with evolution than with special creation in light of the Origin's (allegedly) omniscient Creator who would have foreseen (and allowed) natural suffering.

116 Specifically, Darwin's conflicting claims about human ignorance (à la Paley) and human knowledge (à la Owen) of God's creative ways.

117 If Darwin's mature thoughts are correct, then theological claims 2–10 are unjustified. Claim 1 may still be justified, however, given Darwin's (mature) evolutionary antirealism about theology.

118 Brooke, op. cit. (7), esp. pp. 48–49.

119 Ospovat, op. cit. (44), p. 223.

120 Lustig, op. cit. (46), p. 70. She also comments that ‘evolutionary theory’ was ‘born in theology’.

121 Von Sydow, op. cit. (25), pp. 141–156.

122 Cornell, op. cit. (23), pp. 381–412; Richards, op. cit. (23), pp. 61–79; see also Lustig, op. cit. (46), p. 75.

123 Richards, op. cit. (23), pp. 63 and 69 respectively.

124 Especially Gillespie, Ospovat, Brooke and Moore. A dated but helpful survey of scholars for and against this view can be found in Kohn, op. cit. (2), pp. 215–239, esp. 215–218.

125 Here are a dozen or so references: Coyne, Jerry, Why Evolution Is True, New York: Viking, 2009, pp. 8185Google Scholar; Collins, Francis, The Language of God, New York: The Free Press, 2006Google Scholar, esp. Chapters 3–9; Gould, Stephen Jay, The Panda's Thumb, New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1992, pp. 2021Google Scholar; Sober, Elliott, Philosophy of Biology, 2nd edn, Boulder: Westview Press, 2000, pp. 2757Google Scholar; Ayala, Francisco J., Darwin and Intelligent Design, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006, pp. 8589Google Scholar; Miller, Kenneth, Finding Darwin's God, New York: HarperCollins, 1999, pp. 80, 100103Google Scholar, 267–269; Kitcher, Philip, Abusing Science, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1982, pp. 124164Google Scholar; Shermer, Michael, Why Darwin Matters, New York: Times Books, 2006, pp. 1618Google Scholar; Futuyma, Douglas, Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution, Sunderland: Sinauer Associates, 1995, pp. 128131Google Scholar; Arthur Peacocke, ‘Welcoming the “disguised friend” – Darwinism and divinity’, in Robert Pennock (ed.), Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002, pp. 471–486; Jean Pond, ‘Independence’, in Richard Carlson (ed.), Science and Christianity: Four Views, Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2000, pp. 67–104; Howard Van Till, ‘Partnership’, in Carlson, op. cit., pp. 195–234; Barbour, Ian, When Science Meets Religion, New York: HarperCollins, 2000, pp. 111113Google Scholar; Haught, John, Deeper than Darwin, Boulder: Westview Press, 2004, pp. 5568Google Scholar. See also the multiple references cited in Nelson, op. cit. (35); and Lustig, op. cit. (46).

126 Although, of course, some of the scholars I have cited above would not fully accept this claim.

127 This is not to say that Kuhn's analysis is entirely correct, especially in its bolder constructivist and incommensurability themes. Kuhn, Thomas, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962Google Scholar. Also relevant here are contemporary discussions of the Quine–Duhem thesis about holism in testing.

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