Charles Darwin wasn’t in the room the day his first paper on what would become natural selection was presented to the Linnaean Society in London, along with a complimentary paper by rival naturalist Alfred Wallace. He was in Kent, where his family estate was located, burying his youngest son, Charles Jr., who had died of scarlet fever aged 18 months.
Darwin was by all accounts an attentive father and loving husband. His family was the joy of his life and, like many of us, the source of great anxiety; but Darwin was uniquely positioned to suffer particular fears stemming from his legacy as the father of evolutionary biology.
Darwin married his cousin, Emma Wedgewood. They were first cousins on his mother’s side. Darwin would later write about the “evils” of inbreeding in On the Origin of Species. He was convinced that his children’s illnesses - even the death of Charles Jr. - were his fault for his incestuous love. That he had made them weak by being weak himself and sleeping with his cousin.
But he loved Emma, he couldn’t bear to part from her. Darwin, as a wealthy gentleman’s son, had studied at Cambridge before a scientific era which he would in part inaugurate as an older man. So he had essentially three choices: law, medicine, or divinity. Darwin trained for the Church. This recommended him to Emma who was pious in the extreme. As his research progressed, so did the loss of his faith; eventually Darwin would describe himself as an agnostic. Emma feared for his soul, and it was source of great stress for Darwin to know that as he drifted away from God he also terrified and disappointed his wife.
Darwin’s immortal achievements, the great discoveries that have made his name synonymous with scientific greatness, also made him acutely aware of his family’s deficiencies: his children’s potential for congenital defects from inbreeding, and his wife’s vain devotion to a God for which Darwin could find no evidence in nature. He suffered from a nervous condition, prone to bouts of depression and chronic pain, even immobility, perhaps as a result of the psychological effects of his terrible knowledge.
So too, Dave and Greg. Their closet is nothing but an incestuous bed, the podcuddle their inbred children — all conducted and produced in the absence of God, beyond even His purview. Their own discourses and discoveries in filth and depravity have absented them from the divine and made them, — as Darwin said of himself —, the Devil’s chaplains. The only thing left for them is to write On the Origin of Hobotang and truly achieve the paltry immortality reserved for such scoundrels.