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Darwin Teaches

Bacon and Whewell

Darwin’s preamble to the first edition of The Origin of Species includes quotations from William Whewell’s popular book entitled Bridgewater Treatise and Francis Bacon’s sentential work entitled Advancement of Learning. From different worldview, both Whewell and Bacon advocated the use of inductive reasoning—the scientific method.

 Bacon (January 1561 – April 1626) is noted as one of the founders of the Scientific Revolution that eventually lead to the establishment of the Royal Society by Charles II in 1660. Whewell, one of Darwin’s dons at Cambridge University, is credited for coining the term “scientist.” 

Taking a comprehensive approach to the study of evolution, Darwin presented the two different worldviews of Bacon and Whewell. Whewell, envisioning nature apart from a “Divine” intervention,

“But with regard to the material world, we can at least go so far as this-we can perceive that events are brought about not by insulated interpositions of Divine power, exerted in each particular case, but by the establishment of general laws.”

Bacon, by contrast, envisioned nature as part of “God’s work,”

“To conclude, therefore, let no man out of a weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well studied in the book of God’s word, or in the book of God’s works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavour an endless progress or proficience in both.”

Darwin teaches, by example, to embrace the exploration of diverse worldviews. Modern education should take Darwin’s approach and “teach the controversy.”



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Darwin, Then and Now is a journey through the most amazing story in the history of science - the history of evolution; encapsulating who Darwin was, what he said, and what scientists have discovered since the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859.

With over 1,000 references, Darwin’s life, climaxing with the search for a natural law of evolution, is investigated in the context of the scientific evidence since discovered in the fossil record, embryology, molecular biology and genetics. Darwin The and Now is a historical chronicle of the rise and fall of biological evolution.

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