Currently, over one thousand reputable scientists have subscribed to the foregoing statement. An up-to-date list of current subscribers to the statement and their affiliations is maintained by The Discovery Institute.
Many of the leading scientists during Darwin's time also strongly dissented from his theory. Among these were: 1. Louis Agassiz, a world-renowned professor of geology and biology at Harvard University who is known as “the father of the American scientific tradition”; 2. St. George Mivart, an English biologist who published On the Genesis of Species in 1871; 3. François-Jules Pictet, a Swiss zoologist and paleontologist who was professor of zoology and comparative anatomy at the University of Geneva; 4. Adam Sedgwick, a professor of geology and paleontology at Cambridge University and one of Britain’s most distinguished geologists; and 5. Karl Nageli, a Swiss professor of botany at the University of Munich who was famous for his work on plant cells. Because Darwin’s ideas were at odds with the general scientific thinking of the time, he took great care to reply to those who objected to his theory. By the time of the sixth edition of The Origin of Species, approximately a third of the book consisted of Darwin’s response to his objectors.
Darwin’s response shows very clearly that he took the objectors seriously and exerted great effort to respond to them thoughtfully. Darwin treated his objectors with respect and admitted that a number of their objections carried great weight. Thus, his response makes clear that he was interested in carrying on a civilized and rational debate with his objectors, responding to their objections not with deprecation but with evidence and logic. In this respect Darwin is an example for all to follow today.
It was Darwin’s hope that in the future young scientists would be able to carefully consider the scientific arguments both for and against his theory. He stated, “I look with confidence to the future,--to young and rising naturalists, who will be able to view both sides of the question with impartiality.” (p. 444 of The Origin of Species) Hopefully today, when young and rising naturalists are taught the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution, they will be encouraged to “view both sides of the question with impartiality.”
For further discussion of Darwin's response to his objectors, see the article "Darwin's Response to His Objectors and Its Relevance for Today."