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‘Disbelief crept over me’: Did Darwin cause everyone to lose faith after 1859?

This enquiry begins by outlining Darwin’s own religious views.

These views are very interesting because although for many years Darwin tried to reconcile his Christian faith with his scientific observations, it seems that eventually, this became too difficult. ‘Disbelief’ had come over him by the time he completed his autobiography.

Students are introduced to some of Darwin’s most controversial ideas, before examining these ideas’ reception among key figures of the day.

They work out the extent to which these thinkers were encouraged to question their religious faith, and have the opportunity of creating a physical spectrum across the classroom to illustrate the variations in belief.

Finally, students return to the big question, explaining the impact of Darwin’s ideas on different people in the nineteenth century.

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  • Lesson presentation: PowerPoint
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  • Resource 1: PDF
  • Worksheet 1: PDF

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