A new ship will soon be plying the turbulent waters of the evolution/creation debate: a replica of Darwin’s HMS Beagle, being built in Chile.1 The new incarnation of the famed nineteenth-century vessel will celebrate the five-year voyage that helped Charles Darwin develop his idea of evolution arising through natural selection.
Plans for the new Beagle include using it as a research vessel to study everything from biodiversity to climate change. The HMS Beagle Project states on its website that the new ship “will follow in Darwin’s footsteps, conducting modern geological research to provide insights into past and future climate and evolutionary processes.”
It is interesting to note, amid all the celebration of Charles Darwin’s voyage, that the captain of the original Beagle, who was himself a highly intelligent scholar, strongly disagreed with Darwin’s ideas. Captain Robert FitzRoy was Darwin’s friend, and they collaborated on the three-volume report of the Beagle’s surveying voyage. However, their friendship became strained in later years as FitzRoy became more convinced of the truth of the Genesis creation account and Darwin rejected it.2 He eventually became a fierce critic of Darwin’s ideas, even comparing evolution to the beast rising out of the sea to blaspheme God (in Revelation 13) and imploring the audience at an 1860 debate at Oxford to reject Darwin’s work and “believe God rather than man.”