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Charles Darwin quotes (showing 31-60 of 221)

“Freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds which follows from the advance of science.”
Charles Darwin
“To 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 confess, absurd in the highest degree...The difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection , though insuperable by our imagination, should not be considered subversive of the theory.”
Charles Darwin
“It is always advisable to perceive clearly our ignorance.”
Charles Darwin, The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals
“We are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with truth as far as our reason permits us to discover it.”
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state as we may hope, than the Caucasian and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
“...I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton.— Let each man hope & believe what he can.—”
Charles Darwin
“To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.”
Charles Darwin, More Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol 2
“The question of whether there exists a Creator and Ruler of the Universe has been answered in the affirmative by some of the highest intellects that have ever existed.”
Charles Darwin
“He who understands baboons would do more towards metaphysics than Locke.”
Charles Darwin
“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...We behold the face of nature bright with gladness...We do not see, or we forget, that the birds which are idly singing round us mostly live on insects and seeds, and are thus constantly destroying life. ”
Charles Darwin
“For my own part I would as soon be descended from that heroic little monkey, who braved his dreaded enemy in order to save the life of his keeper; or from that old baboon, who, descending from the mountains, carried away in triumph his young comrade from a crowd of astonished dogs—as from a savage who delights to torture his enemies, offers up bloody sacrifices, practices infanticide without remorse, treats his wives like slaves, knows no decency, and is haunted by the grossest superstitions.”
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
“Wherever the European had trod, death seemed to pursue the aboriginal.”
Charles Darwin
“False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for everyone takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness; and when this is done, one path towards error is closed and the road to truth is often at the same time opened.”
Charles Darwin
“Often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have not devoted myself to a fantasy.”
Charles Darwin
“The loss of these tastes [for poetry and music] is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.”
Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809–82
“There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.”
Charles Darwin
“We will now discuss in a little more detail the Struggle for Existence.”
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
“Nevertheless so profound is our ignorance, and so high our presumption, that we marvel when we hear of the extinction of an organic being; and as we do not see the cause, we invoke cataclysms to desolate the world, or invent laws on the duration of the forms of life!”
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
“But just in proportion as this process of extermination has acted on an enormous scale, so must the number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed, be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record.”
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
“I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilization than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risk the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is! The more civilised so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.”
Charles Darwin
“Natural Selection almost inevitably causes much Extinction of the less improved forms of life and induces what I have called Divergence of Character.”
Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Vol 2
“Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire, & books & music.”
Charles Darwin
“A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question." Charles Darwin”
Charles Darwin
“We cannot fathom the marvelous complexity of an organic being; but on the hypothesis here advanced this complexity is much increased. Each living creature must be looked at as a microcosm--a little universe, formed of a host of self-propagating organisms, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars in heaven.”
Charles Darwin
“To conclude, therefore, let no man out of a weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well studied in the book of God's word, or in the book of God's works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavour an endless progress or proficience in both."—Bacon: "Advancement of Learning".”
Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species
“A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, - a mere heart of stone.”
Charles Darwin
“we are always slow in admitting any great change of which we do not see the intermediate steps”
Charles Darwin, On Natural Selection
“The very essence of instinct is that it's followed independently of reason.”
Charles Darwin
“But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”
Charles Darwin
“I think it inevitably follows, that as new species in the course of time are formed through natural selection, others will become rarer and rarer, and finally extinct. The forms which stand in closest competition with those undergoing modification and improvement will naturally suffer most.”
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species


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