Thursday, May 19, 2011

on Charles Darwin and an aurgument for first causes

Charles Kingsley to Charles Darwin, C. R., 18 Nov 1859

Dear Sir

I have to thank you for the unexpected honour of your book. That the Naturalist whom, of all naturalists living, I most wish to know and to learn from, should have sent a Sciolist like me his book, encourages me at least to observe more carefully, and think more slowly.

I am so poorly (in brain) that I fear I cannot read your book just now as I ought. All I have seen of it awes me; both with the heap of facts, and the prestige of your name, and also with the clear intuition, that if you be right, I must give up much that I have believed and; written.

In that I care little. ‘Let God be true, and every man a liar’. Let us know what is, and as old Socrates has it [GREEK CHARACTERS]—follow up the villainous shifty fox of an argument, into whatsoever unexpected bogs brakes he may lead us, if we do but run into him at last.

From two common superstitions, at least, I shall be free, while judging of your book….

 …1) I have long since, from watching the crossing of domesticated animals and plants, learnt to disbelieve the dogma of the permanence of species. …

... 2). I have gradually learnt to see that it is just as noble a conception of Deity, to believe that he created primal forms capable of self development into all forms needful pro tempore and; pro loco, as to believe that He required a fresh act of intervention to supply the lacunas which he himself had made.  I question whether the former be not the loftier thought.

Be it as it may, I shall prize your book, both for itself,  as a proof that you are aware of the existence of such a person as

Your faithful servant
C Kingsley Eversley
November 18, 1859

( , May 19, 2011)

    1610s, "smatterer, pretender to knowledge," from L.L. sciolus "one who knows a little," dim. of scius "knowing," from scire "to know" (see science) + -ist.
(, may 19, 2011)