Defender's Guide to Science and Creationism

Mark Vuletic

Assertion

Karl Marx dedicated Das Kapital to Darwin.

Analysis

I. Just not true

The assertion simply is false. No edition of Das Kapital contains a dedication to Darwin.

II. A legendary letter

A letter from Darwin once was found among Marx's papers, declining to an unnamed person the honor of a dedication in an unnamed book. Since the letter was found among Marx's papers, many people have assumed that the letter was to Marx and that the honor Darwin declined was the offer of a dedication in Das Kapital. However, thanks to some amazing detective work by Margaret Fay, this too is now known to be false: the letter was addressed to another author who later became Marx's son-in-law and apparently filed the letter with Marx's papers after Marx died. The whole story is reported very clearly and concisely by Richard Carter.

III. The irrelevance of a personal inscription

It is true that Marx sent Darwin a copy of Das Kapital with a personal inscription, but it is unclear what creationists think this is supposed to prove, even if we were to assume the very worst about Marx. Consider terrorists, inquisitors, witch-hunters, and crusaders who have murdered so many in the name of God. When they dedicate their acts to God, does God thereby become responsible? No more does Marx's personal inscription to Darwin, or his abuse of evolutionary theory, indict evolution or Darwin himself, even if we hold Marx responsible for the Communists who abused his theories.

IV. Uncut pages

Finally, it is worth noting that Darwin himself never so much as cut the pages of the copy of Das Kapital sent to him by Marx, which means he never could have read it.

Last updated: 22 Feb 2016

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