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The Darwin Legend Paperback – 18 May 1995
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Not to be confused with the Darwin Myth which should have a minus 5 star rating as a thoroughly dishonest anti-Darwinian rant.
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He wrote in the first chapter, "Whenever I lecture or broadcast about Darwin in North America I am inevitably asked about his 'deathbed conversion.' ... Is the Darwin deathbed story a similar legend---a grotesque gloss on real historical events? I now believe so. But I reached this conclusion only by the most awkward, circuituous route." (Pg. 21-23)
"(Darwin) preferred the word 'agnostic'... 'Why should you be so aggressive?' Is anything to be gained by forcing new ideas on people? Freethought is 'all very well' for the educated, but are ordinary people 'ripe for it'? Here again spoke the parish naturalist, seeking not to disturb the social equilibrium." (Pg. 51)
"Much in Lady Hope's story is certainly fictitious. Darwin was not 'almost bedridden for some months before he died.' He was not 'always studying' the Bible, and he had no particular feeling for its 'grandeur.' He would never have asked Lady Hope to speak to anyone about 'Christ Jesus... and his salvation.' The notion of him 'joining in with the singing' of gospel hymns from his bedroom window is preposterous." (Pg. 94)
"And regardless of Lady Hope's reputation as a devout temperance worker... Emma would not have tolerated anything so intrusive as personal evangelizing." (Pg. 97)
"The Darwins consistently denied the deathbed legend, and rightly so. Any claim about a deathbed scene, a recantation, or a religious conversion was indeed 'a work of imagination' (Francis Darwin), an 'absurd fiction' (Bernard Darwin), or a 'myth' (Nora Darwin)." (Pg. 143)
"...I have come to believe that an actual meeting between Darwin and Lady Hope lay at the root of the deathbed legend." (Pg. 172)