The Science of Darwin’s Day

Would Darwin have developed his theory of evolution if he had all of the information available to us today concerning genetics, DNA and proteins? He treated the origin of life from non-life as a mystery to be solved later and thought that the simplest of cells were mere blobs of protoplasm.
We can get a glimpse of what the state of knowledge was during Darwin’s time by looking at Dr. Hale’s Home Remedy and Recipe Book. Certainly, much of our understanding and discoveries had their roots in the science and medicine of the day. Luminaries such as Sir Humphrey Davy and Michael Faraday were creationists who were convinced of God’s design.

If you look at the Dr. Hale book, you get a sense that most doctors merely experimented with herbs, spices, liniments, and used strong ingredients that are illegal today such as arsenic, opium, laudanum, lead acetate, turpentine, and acids. Some of his recipes were crossed off as if the remedies didn’t work.
Darwin’s theory was based on the science and philosophy of the time. It was fashionable to create a polemic against the Bible to argue against the divine right of kings to rule as America and France had their revolutions. But many such as William Paley argued that evidence from natural science proved the existence of a creator, and his watchmaker argument still stands in spite of protestations from Dawkins and other atheists.

The Science of Darwin's Day
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