Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Birthday of Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln

It's that time of the year when I traditionally observe the birthday of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin, who were born on February 12, 1809.

As I have indicated in previous years, I see at least six points of similarity between Darwin and Lincoln.

(1) Both saw the universe as governed by natural laws, which included the natural laws for the evolution of life. (2) Both were accused of denying the Biblical doctrine of Creation. (3) Both spoke of God as First Cause. (4) Both appealed to the Bible as a source of moral teaching, even as they also appealed to a natural moral sense independent of Biblical religion. (5) Both abhorred slavery as immoral. (6) Both were moral realists.

I have elaborated some of these points here and here, which include links to even more posts on the Lincoln-Darwin connection.


Troy Camplin said...

The Austrian economist Eugen Bohm-Bawerk was also born this day.

Brendan Foht said...

Yesterday was also the birthday of Leon Kass, who could probably also be said to share these six points of similarity with Lincoln and Darwin.

Larry Arnhart said...


Could you elaborate?

Some of my earliest reading of Darwin was in a graduate class at Chicago taught by Kass.

Brendan said...

One of my colleagues mentioned to me yesterday that Kass, together with Darwin, Lincoln, and Ray Kurzweil all share the February 12 birthday. So I didn't really have a big point to make other than noting that little coincidence of moral philosophy and birthdate.

Although I think Kurzweil would only share about half of those six points, so I guess the coincidence only goes so far.

Anonymous said...

But Darwinism is not consistent with Lincoln's embrace of the Declaration of Independence -- there is no equality of human beings in rights or in dignity for Darwinians. Larry's wishful thinking lies in linking Darwin and Lincoln -- domination of the weak by the strong is Darwinian, not Lincolnian. If Darwin himself abhorred slavery, then he was inconsistent with his own teaching -- his moralism contradicted his naturalism. Let's be more honest here.