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Episode 152: Letter to Asa Gray (May 1860 & November 1860)

This week we deal with the fascinating topic of the religious beliefs of Charles Darwin. To be sure, the theory of biological evolution has significant implications for religion. Evidence is drawn from Darwin’s notebooks, diaries, letters, and books, including his most famous book outlining the theory of evolution, On the Origin of Species (1859). To the surprise of most people, the belief in Intelligent Design was a concept that consumed Darwin throughout his life. In addition, we will also discover that only a few years before his death, he firmly stated, “It seems to me absurd to doubt that a man [or woman] may be an ardent theist & an evolutionist.” In other words, Charles Darwin thought it was perfectly logical to be both a religious person and also one who accepts biological evolution. Finally, this section considers the well-known proclamation of Richard Dawkins that “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

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