Darwin’s Grandfather and Evolution

13 Jul
Temple of Nature by Erasmus Darwin (image from Google Images)

Temple of Nature by Erasmus Darwin
(image from Google Images)

Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) was a key philosopher and scientist of the 18th century and was initiated into Freemasonry in Edinburgh, Scotland, attending the same Masonic Lodge as Lord Monboddo. He was the grandfather of Charles Darwin. (Charles, his father and his grandfather all studied medicine at Edinburgh University). In his book/poem published in 1803, a year after his death, Erasmus Darwin wrote:

“So erst the Sage (Pythagoras) with scientific truth In Grecian temples taught the attentive youth; With ceaseless change how restless atoms pass From life to life, a transmigration mass”[1]

Here, we are able to conclude that Erasmus Darwin understood Pythagoras’ philosophy teaching life transmigrating in a cycle of ceaseless change. This same thought concerning life would be reproduced in The Origin of Species written by his grandson, Charles about 60 years later. This philosophy of Pythagoras was considered science by the leading men of the Enlightenment, and it was still considered science some 60 years later when Charles took the ‘scientific’ world by storm.

In another book, Erasmus wrote:

From thus meditating on the great similarity of the structure of the warm-blooded animals, and at the same time of the great changes they undergo both before and after their nativity; and by considering in how minute a portion of time many of the changes of animals above described have been produced; would it be too bold to imagine, that in the great length of time, since the earth began to exist, perhaps millions of ages before the commencement of the history of mankind, would it be too bold to imagine, that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament, which THE GREAT FIRST CAUSE endued with animality, with the power of acquiring new parts, attended with new propensities, directed by irritations, sensations, volitions, and associations; and thus possessing the faculty of continuing to improve by its own inherent activity, and of delivering down those improvements by generation to its posterity, world without end![2] (bold emphasis mine)

In other words we have evidenced here in the writings of a medical doctor who might also be described as a philosopher—we have evidenced here the doctrine of evolution some 60 years before Charles Darwin wrote his Origin of Species.

How does philosophy become science? I believe what can be said is that some very influential men of the 18th century had a worldview concerning how life and the universe came to exist. It is with this worldview in mind, that Charles Darwin, Erasmus’ grandson, drew conclusions in his book, The Origin of Species, concerning his observations and experiments. His conclusions were given meaning by his previously held worldview.

We need to keep in mind that men like Erasmus Darwin drew their own **worldview** from the ancient philosophers like Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle. In previous blogs I have shown that their philosophies concerning the transmigration and ceaseless change of life came from the Brahmans of India.[3] Pythagoras brought their teachings to the West after spending 12 years under their guidance. In other words, there really is nothing new under the sun[4]—that which has been taught is that which will be taught, and that which has already been done to establish the doctrine others taught, is that which will be done to establish the doctrine we teach. Truth has absolutely no bearing on the outcome of what is taught in our schools and universities today. Neither is truth behind the zealous effort we exert to get that worldview taught.

[1] Erasmus Darwin: Temple of Nature; “Origin of Society”; Canto iv ‘Of Good and Evil’; 417-420); the Sage in the verse quoted above is Pythagoras, as can be understood from the footnote #40 of Canto iv on the website.

[2] Erasmus Darwin; 1794; Zoonomia; page 392-401;

[3] See previous blogs: Something New Under the Sun and Origin of Life

[4] Ecclesiastes 1:9


Posted by on July 13, 2013 in ideology, theory of evolution


Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “Darwin’s Grandfather and Evolution

  1. Vlad

    July 14, 2013 at 23:10

    Thank you for all this information. It fills in some blank spots. If you don’t mind, I’d like to translate this topic to my blog.

    • Eddie

      July 15, 2013 at 00:03

      Vlad, it is always a pleasure to hear from you. Of course, you may do as you please with anything you read from my blog-posts. Lord bless you and your efforts to honor him.


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