Two Scottish Ballads

One way of celebrating great national heroes is to write songs about them. But songs can also be used to defame the great and the good.

Torn Rubbers, the obscure Scottish bard, was clearly a Charles Darwin fan. It was he who penned the magnificent Charlie is my Darwin, the ballad from which the Friends of Charles Darwin take their motto. Despite containing a number of minor factual errors, the ballad clearly attempts to celebrate Britain's greatest naturalist.

The same, however, cannot be said for John Young's ill-informed diatribe, The Darwinian Theory. I came across this ballad in a turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century book inherited from my late grandfather, entitled The Scottish Students' Song Book (published by the Scottish Students' Song Book Committee, if you're interested).

Britons (such as myself) may well laugh at their quaint American cousins on the Kansas State Board of Education> for trying to poison the minds of the children in their charge against all things Darwinian, but we were doing exactly the same thing one-hundred years earlier. Mr Young's song misrepresents Darwinian theory so badly that it is not worthy of comment (but, in the words of Captain Beefheart, I'm going to do it anyway).

This article was published in 2000.

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