The Ridiculous Claim of Philip Henry Gosse

Just prior to the publishing of Darwin’s theory of evolution, there occurred an event that may have actually helped make his ideas more credible even to devout Christians in England. In a desperate attempt to reconcile modern findings in geology with the teachings of the Bible, the naturalist Philip Henry Gosse published a book in 1857 titled Omphalos (Greek for naval) which was so badly received that even Gosse’s own son Edmond considered it to be an insult to his intelligence and publicly disowned it, even rejecting Christianity outright as well.

Gosse claimed that when creation occurred about 6,000 years ago, trees had been created instantly with tree rings, Adam with his naval, and birds had been made as adults even though birds today hatch from eggs as chicks, thus seeing the first birds would naturally lead someone to assume that these birds also came from eggs even though they did not. Thus even the fossil record, Goss claimed, could also be “evidence” for an ancient age for the Earth that did not really happen.

Many Christian clergy who read the book, including Rev. Charles Kingsley, thought this was blasphemous, in essence calling God a liar (which was actually part of MY motivation for attacking “scientific Creationism”). As a result, Gosse’s standing among scientists and Christians alike was destroyed forever and he retreated from the rest of society, a broken man, until his death in 1888.

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