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Claim CA114.1:

Lord Kelvin was a creationist and strong opponent of evolution.


Morris, Henry M. 1982. Bible-believing scientists of the past. Impact 103 (Jan.),


  1. Lord Kelvin believed in evolution, but with intelligent guidance:
    From the Earth stocked with such vegetation as it could receive meteorically, to the Earth teeming with all the endless variety of plants and animals which now inhabit it, the step is prodigious; yet, according to the doctrine of continuity, most ably laid before the Association by a predecessor in this Chair (Mr. Grove), all creatures now living on earth have proceeded by orderly evolution from some such origin. Darwin concludes his great work on `The Origin of Species' with the following words:- "It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us." . . . . "There is grandeur in this view of life with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms, most beautiful and most wonderful, have been and are being evolved." With the feeling expressed in these two sentences I most cordially sympathize. I have omitted two sentences which come between them, describing briefly the hypothesis of "the origin of species by natural selection," because I have always felt that this hypothesis does not contain the true theory of evolution, if evolution there has been, in biology. Sir John Herschel, in expressing a favourable judgment on the hypothesis of zoological evolution (with, however, some reservation in respect to the origin of man), objected to the doctrine of natural selection, that it was too like the Laputan method of making books, and that it did not sufficiently take into account a continually guiding and controlling intelligence. This seems to me a most valuable and instructive criticism. I feel profoundly convinced that the argument of design has been greatly too much lost sight of in recent zoological speculations. Reaction against the frivolities of teleology, such as are to be found, not rarely, in the notes of the learned commentators on Paley's `Natural Theology,' has I believe had a temporary effect in turning attention from the solid and irrefragable argument so well put forward in that excellent old book. But overpoweringly strong proofs of intelligent and benevolent design lie all around us; and if ever perplexities, whether metaphysical or scientific, turn us away from them for a time, they come back upon us with irresistible force, showing to us through Nature the influence of a free will, and teaching us that all living things depend on one ever-acting Creator and Ruler.' (Thomson 1871, ciii)


  1. Thomson, W. 1871. Address of Sir William Thomson, Knt., LL.D., F.R.S, President. Report of the Forty-First Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, lxxxiv-cv.

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