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Quotes About Charles Darwin

Quotes tagged as "charles-darwin" (showing 1-30 of 62)
Christopher Hitchens
“[Said during a debate when his opponent ridiculously asserted that atheism and belief in evolution leads to Nazism:]

Atheism by itself is of course not a moral position or a political one of any kind, it simply is the refusal to believe in a supernatural dimension. For you to say of Naziism, that it was the implementation of the work of Charles Darwin is a filthy slander, undeserving of you, and an insult to this audience. Darwin’s thought was not taught in Germany; Darwinism was derided in Germany along with every other form of unbelief that all the great modern atheists, Darwin, Einstein and Freud were alike despised by the National Socialist regime.

Now, just to take the most notorious of the 20th century totalitarianisms, the most finished example, the most perfected one, the most ruthless and refined one, that of National Socialism, the one that fortunately allowed the escape of all these great atheists, thinkers and many others, to the United States, a country of separation of church and state, that gave them welcome, if it’s an atheistic regime, then how come that in the first chapter of Mein Kampf, that Hitler says that he’s doing God’s work and executing God’s will in destroying the Jewish people? How come the fuhrer oath that every officer of the Party and the Army had to take, making Hitler into a minor god, begins “I swear in the name of almighty God, my loyalty to the Fuhrer?” How come that on the belt buckle of every Nazi soldier it says Gott mit uns, God on our side? How come that the first treaty made by the Nationalist Socialist dictatorship, the very first is with the Vatican? It’s exchanging political control of Germany for Catholic control of German education. How come that the church has celebrated the birthday of the Fuhrer every year, on that day until democracy put an end to this filthy, quasi-religious, superstitious, barbarous, reactionary system. Again, this is not a difference of emphasis between us to suggest that there’s something fascistic about me and about my beliefs is something I won't hear said and you shouldn't believe.”
Christopher Hitchens

Charles Darwin
“...Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers... for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality... But I had gradually come by this time, i.e., 1836 to 1839, to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow at sign, &c., &c., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian.

...By further reflecting that the clearest evidence would be requisite to make any sane man believe in the miracles by which Christianity is supported, (and that the more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become), that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost uncomprehensible by us, that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events, that they differ in many important details, far too important, as it seemed to me, to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eyewitnesses; by such reflections as these, which I give not as having the least novelty or value, but as they influenced me, I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation. The fact that many false religions have spread over large portions of the earth like wild-fire had some weight with me. Beautiful as is the morality of the New Testament, it can be hardly denied that its perfection depends in part on the interpretation which we now put on metaphors and allegories.

But I was very unwilling to give up my belief... Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct. 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 Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809–82

Richard Dawkins
“You could give Aristotle a tutorial. And you could thrill him to the core of his being. Aristotle was an encyclopedic polymath, an all time intellect. Yet not only can you know more than him about the world. You also can have a deeper understanding of how everything works. Such is the privilege of living after Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Planck, Watson, Crick and their colleagues.

I'm not saying you're more intelligent than Aristotle, or wiser. For all I know, Aristotle's the cleverest person who ever lived. That's not the point. The point is only that science is cumulative, and we live later.”
Richard Dawkins

Thomas Henry Huxley
“It was badly received by the generation to which it was first addressed, and the outpouring of angry nonsense to which it gave rise is sad to think upon. But the present generation will probably behave just as badly if another Darwin should arise, and inflict upon them that which the generality of mankind most hate—the necessity of revising their convictions. Let them, then, be charitable to us ancients; and if they behave no better than the men of my day to some new benefactor, let them recollect that, after all, our wrath did not come to much, and vented itself chiefly in the bad language of sanctimonious scolds. Let them as speedily perform a strategic right-about-face, and follow the truth wherever it leads.”
Thomas Henry Huxley

Robert G. Ingersoll
“This century will be called Darwin's century. He was one of the greatest men who ever touched this globe. He has explained more of the phenomena of life than all of the religious teachers. Write the name of Charles Darwin on the one hand and the name of every theologian who ever lived on the other, and from that name has come more light to the world than from all of those. His doctrine of evolution, his doctrine of the survival of the fittest, his doctrine of the origin of species, has removed in every thinking mind the last vestige of orthodox Christianity. He has not only stated, but he has demonstrated, that the inspired writer knew nothing of this world, nothing of the origin of man, nothing of geology, nothing of astronomy, nothing of nature; that the Bible is a book written by ignorance--at the instigation of fear. Think of the men who replied to him. Only a few years ago there was no person too ignorant to successfully answer Charles Darwin, and the more ignorant he was the more cheerfully he undertook the task. He was held up to the ridicule, the scorn and contempt of the Christian world, and yet when he died, England was proud to put his dust with that of her noblest and her grandest. Charles Darwin conquered the intellectual world, and his doctrines are now accepted facts. His light has broken in on some of the clergy, and the greatest man who to-day occupies the pulpit of one of the orthodox churches, Henry Ward Beecher, is a believer in the theories of Charles Darwin--a man of more genius than all the clergy of that entire church put together.

...The church teaches that man was created perfect, and that for six thousand years he has degenerated. Darwin demonstrated the falsity of this dogma. He shows that man has for thousands of ages steadily advanced; that the Garden of Eden is an ignorant myth; that the doctrine of original sin has no foundation in fact; that the atonement is an absurdity; that the serpent did not tempt, and that man did not 'fall.'

Charles Darwin destroyed the foundation of orthodox Christianity. There is nothing left but faith in what we know could not and did not happen
. Religion and science are enemies. One is a superstition; the other is a fact. One rests upon the false, the other upon the true. One is the result of fear and faith, the other of investigation and reason.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, Lectures of Col. R.G. Ingersoll: Including His Letters on the Chinese God--Is Suicide a Sin?--The Right to One's Life--Etc. Etc. Etc, Volume 2

Thomas Henry Huxley
“The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land, to add something to the extent and the solidity of our possessions. And even a cursory glance at the history of the biological sciences during the last quarter of a century is sufficient to justify the assertion, that the most potent instrument for the extension of the realm of natural knowledge which has come into men's hands, since the publication of Newton's ‘Principia’, is Darwin's ‘Origin of Species.”
Thomas Henry Huxley

Jesse Ventura
“Why should I have to hide the fact that I don't believe there’s a supreme being? There’s no proof of it. There’s no harm in saying you’re an atheist. It doesn't mean you treat people any differently. I live by the Golden Rule to do unto others, as you'd want to be treated.

I just simply don't believe in religion, and I don’t believe necessarily that there’s a supreme being that watches over all of us. I follow the teachings of George Carlin. George said he worshipped the sun. He was a fellow atheist. I’m in good company … Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Charles Darwin. It’s not like I’m not with good company and intelligent people. There have been some good, intelligent atheists who have lived in the world.”
Jesse Ventura

Friedrich Engels
“The 'Manifesto' being our joint production, I consider myself bound to state that the fundamental proposition which forms its nucleus belongs to Marx. That proposition is: that in every historical epoch, the prevailing mode of economic production and exchange, and the social organization necessarily following from it, form the basis upon which is built up, and from which alone can be explained, the political and intellectual history of that epoch; that consequently the whole history of mankind (since the dissolution of primitive tribal society, holding land in common ownership) has been a history of class struggles, contests between exploiting and exploited, ruling and oppressed classes; that the history of these class struggles forms a series of evolution in which, nowadays, a stage has been reached where the exploited and the oppressed class—the proletariat—cannot attain its emancipation from the sway of the exploiting and ruling class—the bourgeoisie—without, at the same time, and once for all, emancipating society at large from all exploitation, oppression, class distinctions and class struggles.

This proposition, which, in my opinion, is destined to do for history what Darwin's theory has done for biology, we, both of us, had been gradually approaching for some years before 1845.”
Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto

Martin Luther King Jr.
“The Christians who engaged in infamous persecutions and shameful inquisitions were not evil men but misguided men. The churchmen who felt they had an edict from God to withstand the progress of science, whether in the form of a Copernican revolution or a Darwinian theory of natural selection, were not mischievous men but misinformed men.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love

Thomas Henry Huxley
“For these two years I have been gravitating towards your doctrines, and since the publication of your primula paper with accelerated velocity. By about this time next year I expect to have shot past you, and to find you pitching into me for being more Darwinian than yourself. However, you have set me going, and must just take the consequences, for I warn you I will stop at no point so long as clear reasoning will take me further.

{Letter of support to Charles Darwin on his theory of evolution}”
Thomas Henry Huxley, Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley - Volume 1

John Dos Passos
Luther Burbank was born in a brick farmhouse in Lancaster Mass,
he walked through the woods one winter
crunching through the shinycrusted snow
stumbling into a little dell where a warm spring was
and found the grass green and weeds sprouting
and skunk cabbage pushing up a potent thumb,
He went home and sat by the stove and read Darwin
Struggle for Existence Origin of Species Natural
Selection that wasn't what they taught in church,
so Luther Burbank ceased to believe moved to Lunenburg,
found a seedball in a potato plant
sowed the seed and cashed in on Darwin’s Natural Selection
on Spencer and Huxley
with the Burbank potato.

Young man go west;
Luther Burbank went to Santa Rosa
full of his dream of green grass in winter ever-
blooming flowers ever-
bearing berries; Luther Burbank
could cash in on Natural Selection Luther Burbank
carried his apocalyptic dream of green grass in winter
and seedless berries and stoneless plums and thornless roses brambles cactus—
winters were bleak in that bleak
brick farmhouse in bleak Massachusetts—
out to sunny Santa Rosa;
and he was a sunny old man
where roses bloomed all year
everblooming everbearing
hybrids.

America was hybrid
America could cash in on Natural Selection.
He was an infidel he believed in Darwin and Natural
Selection and the influence of the mighty dead
and a good firm shipper’s fruit
suitable for canning.
He was one of the grand old men until the churches
and the congregations
got wind that he was an infidel and believed
in Darwin.
Luther Burbank had never a thought of evil,
selected improved hybrids for America
those sunny years in Santa Rosa.
But he brushed down a wasp’s nest that time;
he wouldn’t give up Darwin and Natural Selection
and they stung him and he died
puzzled.
They buried him under a cedartree.
His favorite photograph
was of a little tot
standing beside a bed of hybrid
everblooming double Shasta daisies
with never a thought of evil
And Mount Shasta
in the background, used to be a volcano
but they don’t have volcanos
any more.”
John Dos Passos, The 42nd Parallel

Thomas Henry Huxley
“The publication of the Darwin and Wallace papers in 1858, and still more that of the 'Origin' in 1859, had the effect upon them of the flash of light, which to a man who has lost himself in a dark night, suddenly reveals a road which, whether it takes him straight home or not, certainly goes his way. That which we were looking for, and could not find, was a hypothesis respecting the origin of known organic forms, which assumed the operation of no causes but such as could be proved to be actually at work. We wanted, not to pin our faith to that or any other speculation, but to get hold of clear and definite conceptions which could be brought face to face with facts and have their validity tested. The 'Origin' provided us with the working hypothesis we sought.”
Thomas Henry Huxley, On the Reception of the 'Origin of Species'

Thomas Henry Huxley
“In Paley's famous illustration, the adaptation of all the parts of the watch to the function, or purpose, of showing the time, is held to be evidence that the watch was specially contrived to that end; on the ground, that the only cause we know of, competent to produce such an effect as a watch which shall keep time, is a contriving intelligence adapting the means directly to that end.

Suppose, however, that any one had been able to show that the watch had not been made directly by any person, but that it was the result of the modification of another watch which kept time but poorly; and that this again had proceeded from a structure which could hardly be called a watch at all—seeing that it had no figures on the dial and the hands were rudimentary; and that going back and back in time we came at last to a revolving barrel as the earliest traceable rudiment of the whole fabric. And imagine that it had been possible to show that all these changes had resulted, first, from a tendency of the structure to vary indefinitely; and secondly, from something in the surrounding world which helped all variations in the direction of an accurate time-keeper, and checked all those in other directions; then it is obvious that the force of Paley's argument would be gone. For it would be demonstrated that an apparatus thoroughly well adapted to a particular purpose might be the result of a method of trial and error worked by unintelligent agents, as well as of the direct application of the means appropriate to that end, by an intelligent agent.

Now it appears to us that what we have here, for illustration's sake, supposed to be done with the watch, is exactly what the establishment of Darwin's Theory will do for the organic world. For the notion that every organism has been created as it is and launched straight at a purpose, Mr. Darwin substitutes the conception of something which may fairly be termed a method of trial and error. Organisms vary incessantly; of these variations the few meet with surrounding conditions which suit them and thrive; the many are unsuited and become extinguished.”
Thomas Henry Huxley, Criticism on "The origin of species"

Thomas Henry Huxley
“That which struck the present writer most forcibly on his first perusal of the 'Origin of Species' was the conviction that Teleology, as commonly understood, had received its deathblow at Mr. Darwin's hands. For the teleological argument runs thus: an organ or organism (A) is precisely fitted to perform a function or purpose (B); therefore it was specially constructed to perform that function.”
Thomas Henry Huxley, Criticism on "The origin of species"

Thomas Henry Huxley
“Very few, even among those who have taken the keenest interest in the progress of the revolution in natural knowledge set afoot by the publication of the 'Origin of Species'; and who have watched, not without astonishment, the rapid and complete change which has been effected both inside and outside the boundaries of the scientific world in the attitude of men's minds towards the doctrines which are expounded in that great work, can have been prepared for the extraordinary manifestation of affectionate regard for the man, and of profound reverence for the philosopher, which followed the announcement, on Thursday last, of the death of Mr Darwin.”
Thomas Henry Huxley, Collected Essays Of Thomas Henry Huxley

Thomas Henry Huxley
“Cats catch mice, small birds and the like, very well. Teleology tells us that they do so because they were expressly constructed for so doing—that they are perfect mousing apparatuses, so perfect and so delicately adjusted that no one of their organs could be altered, without the change involving the alteration of all the rest. Darwinism affirms on the contrary, that there was no express construction concerned in the matter; but that among the multitudinous variations of the Feline stock, many of which died out from want of power to resist opposing influences, some, the cats, were better fitted to catch mice than others, whence they throve and persisted, in proportion to the advantage over their fellows thus offered to them.

Far from imagining that cats exist 'in order' to catch mice well, Darwinism supposes that cats exist 'because' they catch mice well—mousing being not the end, but the condition, of their existence. And if the cat type has long persisted as we know it, the interpretation of the fact upon Darwinian principles would be, not that the cats have remained invariable, but that such varieties as have incessantly occurred have been, on the whole, less fitted to get on in the world than the existing stock.”
Thomas Henry Huxley, Criticism on "The origin of species"

J. Anderson Thomson
“There is a massive, irreconcilable conflict between science and religion. Religion was humanity's original cosmology, biology and anthropology. It provided explanations for the origin of the world, life and humans. Science now gives us increasingly complete explanations for those big three. We know the origins of the universe, the physics of the big bang and how the basic chemical elements formed in supernovas. We know that life on this planet originated about 4 billion years ago, and we are all descendants of that original replicating molecule. Thanks to Darwin we know that natural selection is the only workable explanation for the design and variety of all life on this planet. Paleoanthropologists and geneticists have reconstructed much of the human tree of life. We are risen apes, not fallen angels. We are the most successful and last surviving African hominid. Every single person on this Earth, all 7 billion of us, arose 50,000 years ago from small bands of African hunter-gatherers, a total population of somewhere between 600 and 2,000 individuals.”
J. Anderson Thomson

“I expect to think that I would rather be author of your book [The Origin of Species] than of any other on Nat. Hist. Science.

[Letter to Charles Darwin 12 Dec 1859]”
Joseph Dalton Hooker, Life and Letters of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker O.M., G.C.S.I.

“Those who think 'Science is Measurement' should search Darwin's works for numbers and equations.”
David H. Hubel, The History of Neuroscience in Autobiography DVD Wiesel/Hubel

Thomas Henry Huxley
“According to Teleology, each organism is like a rifle bullet fired straight at a mark; according to Darwin, organisms are like grapeshot of which one hits something and the rest fall wide.

For the teleologist an organism exists because it was made for the conditions in which it is found; for the Darwinian an organism exists because, out of many of its kind, it is the only one which has been able to persist in the conditions in which it is found.

Teleology implies that the organs of every organism are perfect and cannot be improved; the Darwinian theory simply affirms that they work well enough to enable the organism to hold its own against such competitors as it has met with, but admits the possibility of indefinite improvement.”
Thomas Henry Huxley, Criticism on "The origin of species"

Francis Galton
“The publication in 1859 of the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin made a marked epoch in my own mental development, as it did in that of human thought generally. Its effect was to demolish a multitude of dogmatic barriers by a single stroke, and to arouse a spirit of rebellion against all ancient authorities whose positive and unauthenticated statements were contradicted by modern science.”
Francis Galton

Ernst Haeckel
“In consequence of Darwin's reformed Theory of Descent, we are now in a position to establish scientifically the groundwork of a non-miraculous history of the development of the human race. ... If any person feels the necessity of conceiving the coming into existence of this matter as the work of a supernatural creative power, of the creative force of something outside of matter, we have nothing to say against it. But we must remark, that thereby not even the smallest advantage is gained for a scientific knowledge of nature. Such a conception of an immaterial force, which as the first creates matter, is an article of faith which has nothing whatever to do with human science.”
Ernst Haeckel, The History of Creation V1: Or the Development of the Earth and Its Inhabitants by the Action of Natural Causes

Darwin was a biological evolutionist, because he was first a uniformitarian geologist. Biology is pre-eminent to-day among the natural sciences, because its younger sister, Geology, gave it the means.”
Charles Lapworth

Karl Pearson
“Medals are great encouragement to young men and lead them to feel their work is of value, I remember how keenly I felt this when in the 1890s. I received the Darwin Medal and the Huxley Medal. When one is old, one wants no encouragement and one goes on with one's work to the extent of one's power, because it has become habitual.”
Karl Pearson

Karl Pearson
“The starting point of Darwin's theory of evolution is precisely the existence of those differences between individual members of a race or species which morphologists for the most part rightly neglect. The first condition necessary, in order that any process of Natural Selection may begin among a race, or species, is the existence of differences among its members; and the first step in an enquiry into the possible effect of a selective process upon any character of a race must be an estimate of the frequency with which individuals, exhibiting any given degree of abnormality with respect to that, character, occur. The unit, with which such an enquiry must deal, is not an individual but a race, or a statistically representative sample of a race; and the result must take the form of a numerical statement, showing the relative frequency with which the various kinds of individuals composing the race occur.”
Karl Pearson

Deborah Heiligman
“There were still few rules at Down House, and Charles was not very good at enforcing the ones he and Emma did make. This was well known among his children. In 1855, when Lenny was about five, Charles walked in to find his son jumping up and down and tumbling all over a new sofa.

'Oh Lenny, Lenny,' Charles said. 'You know it is against all rules.'

'Then,' Lenny said to his papa, 'I think you'd better go out of the room.'

And so Charles did.”
Deborah Heiligman

“I am above the forest region, amongst grand rocks & such a torrent as you see in Salvator Rosa's paintings vegetation all a scrub of rhodos. with Pines below me as thick & bad to get through as our Fuegian Fagi on the hill tops, & except the towering peaks of P. S. [perpetual snow] that, here shoot up on all hands there is little difference in the mt scenery—here however the blaze of Rhod. flowers and various colored jungle proclaims a differently constituted region in a naturalist's eye & twenty species here, to one there, always are asking me the vexed question, where do we come from?

[Letter to Charles Darwin 24 Jun 1849]”
Joseph Dalton Hooker, Life and Letters of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker O.M., G.C.S.I.

Andrew Louth
“Darwin caused controversy, not merely because his ideas contradicted Genesis, but because they fell foul of the way in which Genesis had been read by those influenced by the Enlightenment, for it was the Enlightenment that conceived of the human as almost exclusively rational and intellectual, and set the human at a distance from the animal.”
Andrew Louth, Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology

“• you should improve your character, because it's belong to your destiny ♥”
Mana'hil

Lydia Millet
“We don’t want to be the conquistadors. We want to be Charles Darwin.”
Lydia Millet, Mermaids in Paradise

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