Who is more important?
Well, there are certain crucial similiarities. They both were "compulsive scribblers." And they both get attacked by fools for no good reason.
Lincoln, though, was more IRREPLACEABLE. What would have happened to our country without Lincoln? Who knows, exactly? But things very likely would haven turned out very differently and much worse. But there was no urgency about Darwin’s discoveries, which would eventually have been made by someone else. In general, great STATESMEN are more important than great SCIENTISTS. And they won’t hesitate to tell you that.
Can Darwin’s theory account for Lincoln? Or Darwin? Can Lincoln’s understanding of human equality survive what’s true about Darwin’s theory? Can it correct what’s false or incomplete about that theory? According to Darwinian Larry, Lincoln and Darwin are, if properly understood, perfectly compatible.
We certainly can’t hold Darwin acccountable for those who use the evolutionary metaphor to explain political progress (like Woodrow Wilson). We can blame him for being nerdy enough to be poltically naive, to think that the human moral sense will almost inevitably continue to get stronger as the world gets more enlightened scientifically. Lincoln was pretty darn realistic when it comes to both politics and science.
Here’s another similarity: There are some people who (quite mistakenly) think Darwin explains it all. They’re not usually big NLT fans. And there are some people who think Lincoln explains it all. Although the characteristic error is to underrate Lincoln (and so he does need vindication), is it possible to overrate him?