From Cosmologics: On Darwin and Place

  • Articles (two)
  • 4500 words (total)
  • Level: high school and above

These are two articles related to work by David Livingstone of Queen’s University, Belfast, who gave the 2015 Dudleian Lecture at Harvard Divinity School.  They were published in Cosmologics Magazine, which is a project of the Science, Religion, and Culture program at Harvard Divinity School.

Click here to access “David Livingstone: Putting Darwinism in Its Place” from Cosmologics Magazine.  This is an excerpt from Livingstone’s book Dealing with Darwin: Place, Politics and Rhetoric in Religious Engagements with Evolution. Livingstone argues that how Darwin’s ideas were received varied widely. In some places Darwin’s ideas were rejected. He notes how some sought to cast “Darwinism and Catholicism as twin allies against the inductive truths of science and the revealed truths of scripture. It thus became possible to conflate as a single object of reproach an old enemy—popery—and a new one—evolution…. these were indeed the enemies of God.” Others welcomed Darwinism as endorsing the triumphs of white colonial settlement—that “just as the European rat, goat, and other invader species had displaced their New Zealand counterparts, so the ‘vigorous races of Europe’ were wiping out the Maori.” The extinction of a people, which were viewed as having “had accomplished so imperfectly every object of man’s being”, was just a law of nature.

Click here to access “Julia Ostmann: Dealing with Darwin Where He Wasn’t the Devil” from Cosmologics Magazine.  This article is simply an overview of Livingstone’s ideas.