are a few more excerpts from Origin of Species, and other
from other works of Charles Darwin:
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge:
it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively
assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense
of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best
to their environment."
"Nothing before had ever made me thoroughly realise, though
I had read various scientific books, that science consists in
grouping facts so that general laws or conclusions may be drawn
when on shore, & wandering in the sublime forests, surrounded
by views more gorgeous than even Claude ever imagined, I enjoy
a delight which none but those who have experienced it can understand
- If it is to be done, it must be by studying Humboldt"
have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if
useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection"
have no great quickness of apprehension or wit which is so remarkable
in some clever men, for instance Huxley"
"One general law, leading to the advancement
of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest
live and the
one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will
doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of
man." from The Descent of Man
will now discuss in a little more detail the Struggle for Existence."
"The expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the
Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally
for a future life, every man must judge for himself between
conflicting vague probabilities."
as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more
perfect creature than he now is, it is an intolerable thought
that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete
annihilation after such long-continued slow progress"
what little one can to increase the general stock of knowledge
is as respectable an object of life, as one can in any likelihood
can allow satellites, planets, suns, universe, nay whole systems
of universe[s,] to be governed by laws, but the smallest insect,
we wish to be created at once by special act."
cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God
have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention
of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars."
am a strong advocate for free thought on all subjects, yet it
appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments
against christianity & theism produce hardly any effect on
the public; & freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual
illumination of men's minds, which follow[s] from the advance
of science. It has, therefore, been always my object to avoid
writing on religion, & I have confined myself to science.
I may, however, have been unduly biassed by the pain which it
would give some members of my family, if I aided in any way direct
attacks on religion"
has often and confidently been asserted, that man's origin
can never be known: but ignorance more frequently begets confidence
than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those
who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem
will never be solved by science" - in The Descent of Man (1871).
suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for
adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different
amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic
aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems,
I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree. Yet reason
tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex
eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful
to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does
vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which
is certainly the case; and if variation or modification in the
organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of
life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex
eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by
our imagination, can hardly be considered real"
with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the
most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other
men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect
which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the
solar system- with all these exalted powers- Man still bears in
his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin."