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An abused visionary: Charles Darwin’s theory was also invoked by the Nazis

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Similar to Einstein in physics, Darwin became a symbol of a scientist who revolutionized his field. But what happened to Darwin’s legacy? He wouldn’t be surprised! Among others, his theories were misused by the Nazis…

Charles Darwin was apparently more of a reserved child. He didn’t seek out team sports, he was perfectly content playing alone. When it came to physical activity, he loved swimming and, thanks to his good social status, he could afford, for example, horse riding. Otherwise, however, he devoted himself to hobbies that suit solitary bugs. He collected what he could. Not only in the field of natural science, as his future profession would suggest, but he was also filled with the accumulation of various old coins.

A nerdy scientist
It seems that in many ways he resembled the characters of scientists, such as we know for example from the series The Big Bang Theory. Example? When he grew up, he was in no rush to get married. And when he finally swung at him, it wasn’t a hot passion. On the contrary. The story about the fact that he first wrote down the reasons for and against seems almost autistic. Why not associate your life with any member of the opposite sex? For example, because a person loses his freedom and freedom by his partner’s side. That was a strong argument.

But what if, on the other hand, illnesses come and he needs someone close to him to take care of him? Who better to do than a devoted wife? It sounds selfish, but it was decided. According to Charles, the reasons for marriage prevailed, so he proposed to his cousin Emma Wedgwood.

He received a positive answer and their union produced a total of ten children, three of whom unfortunately died shortly after birth. The other offspring also suffered from various ailments, and Darwin later attributed this to the fact that he fathered them with his relative. From a genetic point of view, he quite rightly believed that it is better when hereditary characteristics are enriched, and therefore when there is no relationship between a man and a woman. Perhaps, however, the fault was only on his side, because he himself was not exactly in good health. To this day, it is not entirely clear what diagnosis he suffered from. Anyway, in many ways it was a bit of an eccentric educated person with a great inclination for systematic analytical thinking, which sometimes complicated his life quite a bit in ordinary situations. His day had a precise routine that he followed. He also kept a detailed record of all his expenses. Just a pedant.

He disappointed his father
Darwin’s father was a successful and respected physician, and he imagined that his gifted son would follow in his footsteps. He sent him to university to study medicine. But it turned out that Charles has a rather delicate nature. He could not handle the sight of blood and the suffering of patients during operations. Everyone had to understand that he was not going to be a doctor. It was then that he also began to gravitate towards the natural sciences, because it was the lectures from these fields that he enjoyed the most. But the father, understandably, also thought about his offspring having a good home. If he wasn’t a doctor, he could get financial security as a clergyman, he thought. So, at his father’s request, Charles set out to study theology.

It was supposed to have its advantages. Certain employment would allow him to devote his energy to natural research, which was not unusual for clergymen at the time. It is a paradox of history that the man, considered one of those who most deserved the defeat of religious ideas, studied as a priest. And it should be noted that despite the usual opinion, which often considers Darwin to be the prototype of an atheist, he himself did not deny the existence of God. His theory of evolution, which proclaimed the development of organisms from older forms of life and which helped to accept the view that man is related to other animals, he considered only as proof that the statements of the Old Testament about the creation of the world could not be considered true. Nothing more, nothing less.

Split in half
Much has been written about Darwin turning away from Christianity in the grief he experienced after the death of his daughter. Indeed, the helplessness he felt as an unhappy parent led him to stop attending Sunday services. But it is not true that he would turn away from the church and refuse to give her financial donations. In any case, Darwin’s relationship to faith was more complex than his opponents and admirers imagined. Both camps saw him as a great enemy of religion. Some because they couldn’t forgive him for the supposed blasphemy, others because it suited them.

In short, Darwin became so famous that he became a symbol. Few were interested in the truth, and few could really understand his theory. Especially because, upon closer inspection, we will discover that it was not only a purely naturalistic work, but a work that also had philosophical overtones.

A revolution in science
When Charles announced at home that he would like to travel around the world, his father thought it was a silly adventure worthy of only such an immature boy. But in the end he agreed. And Charles proved his father wrong. As a participant in the expedition on the Beagle, which was supposed to map the coast of South America, he did not devote himself to admiring exotic landscapes, but devoted himself to systematic scientific work. He collected an incredible amount of samples, and upon his return it took him years to process them.

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