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Friday, January 2, 2009

The Story—and Message—of Darwin's Marriage

"I believe there are these misconceptions, and if people would just talk about them, like Charles and Emma did, they’d find they have much more in common than not. What really upsets people is that they think Darwin was an atheist and that everybody who believes in evolution believes the same thing. If I were devout, that would horrify me as well," Deborah Heiligman, author of the new book Charles and Emma, tells the School Library Journal. The book looks at how Darwin's work on evolutionary theory affected his personal life and marriage—and how his marriage affected his scientific work.
"Darwin really didn’t know if there was a God or not. His belief fluctuated," Heiligman says. "He did not have the Creator being part of creation in the first edition of The Origin of Species, and he put God in the subsequent editions. There is such beauty in the way that Darwin and other scientists look at the world, and there is such beauty in the way religious people look at the world—and they are not mutually exclusive. That’s what I feel Charles and Emma’s marriage shows."