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Charles Darwin quotes (showing 1-30 of 163)

“If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.”
Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809–82
“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
Charles Darwin
tags: life
“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.”
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
Charles Darwin
“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.”
Charles Darwin
“If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.”
Charles Darwin, Voyage of the Beagle
“I am not apt to follow blindly the lead of other men”
Charles Darwin
“I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my father, brother and almost all of my friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.”
Charles Darwin
“The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic.”
Charles Darwin
“The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognise that we ought to control our thoughts.”
Charles Darwin
“I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars.”
Charles Darwin
“An American monkey, after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men.”
Charles Darwin
“We must, however, acknowledge, as it seems to me, that man with all his noble qualities... still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.”
Charles Darwin
“A mans friendships are one of the best measures of his worth.”
Charles Darwin
“Blushing is the most peculiar and most human of all expressions.”
Charles Darwin, The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals
“Intelligence is based on how efficient a species became at doing the things they need to survive.”
Charles Darwin
“Besides love and sympathy, animals exhibit other qualities connected with the social instincts which in us would be called moral.”
Charles Darwin
“As man advances in civilization, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races.”
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
“It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. . .
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.”
Charles Darwin
“Multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.”
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
“Nothing is easier than to admit in words the truth of the universal struggle for life, or more difficult--at least I have found it so--than constantly to bear this conclusion in mind.”
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
“We can allow satellites, planets, suns, universe, nay whole systems of universe, to be governed by laws, but the smallest insect, we wish to be created at once by special act.”
Charles Darwin
“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil. Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely the weaker and inferior members of society not marrying so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased, though this is more to be hoped for than expected, by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage.”
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”
Charles Darwin
“Great is the power of steady misrepresentation”
Charles Darwin
“...for the shield may be as important for victory, as the sword or spear.”
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
“I am not the least afraid to die”
Charles Darwin
“I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious views of anyone.”
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
“Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows...There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whiles this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species

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