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Charles Darwin quotes Showing 91-120 of 327

“We stop looking for monsters under our beds when we realize they are inside us.”
Charles Darwin
“It is necessary to look forward to a harvest, however distant that may be, when some fruit will be reaped, some good effected.”
Charles Darwin, Voyage of the Beagle
“...ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge...”
Charles Darwin
“Such simple instincts as bees making a beehive could be sufficient to overthrow my whole theory.”
Charles Darwin
“Our descent, then, is the origin of our evil passions!! The devil under form of Baboon is our grandfather. ”
Charles Darwin
“I am fully convinced that species are not immutable; but that those belonging to what are called the same genera are lineal descendants of some other and generally extinct species, in the same manner as the acknowledged varieties of any one species are the descendants of that species. Furthermore, I am convinced that natural selection has been the most important, but not the exclusive, means of modification.”
Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species
“I have stated, that in the thirteen species of ground-finches, a nearly perfect gradation may be traced, from a beak extraordinarily thick, to one so fine, that it may be compared to that of a warbler.”
Charles Darwin, Voyage of the Beagle
“The only distinct meaning of the word 'natural' is STATED, FIXED or SETTLED; since what is natural as much requires and presupposes an intelligent agent to render it so, i.e., to effect it continually or at stated times, as what is supernatural or miraculous does to effect it for once."—Butler: "Analogy of Revealed Religion".”
Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species
“I do not believe, as we shall presently see, that all our dogs have descended from any one wild species; but, in the case of some other domestic races, there is presumptive, or even strong, evidence in favour of this view.”
Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species
“But with regard to the material world, we can at least go so far as this— we can perceive that events are brought about not by insulated interpositions of Divine power, exerted in each particular case, but by the establishment of general laws."—Whewell: "Bridgewater Treatise".”
Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species
“What wretched doings come from the ardor of fame; the love of truth alone would never make one man attack another bitterly.”
Charles Darwin
“The limit of man s knowledge in any subject possesses a high interest which is perhaps increased by its close neighbourhood to the realms of imagination.”
Charles Darwin
“Look at a plant in the midst of its range! Why does it not double or quadruple its numbers? We know that it can perfectly well withstand a little more heat or cold, dampness or dryness, for elsewhere it ranges into slightly hotter or colder, damper or drier districts. In this case we can clearly see that if we wish in imagination to give the plant the power of increasing in numbers, we should have to give it some advantage”
Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species
“When we compare the individuals of the same variety or sub-variety of our older cultivated plants and animals, one of the first points which strikes us is, that they generally differ more from each other than do the individuals of any one species or variety in a state of nature. And if we reflect on the vast diversity of the plants and animals which have been cultivated, and which have varied during all ages under the most different climates and treatment, we are driven to conclude that this great variability is due to our domestic productions having been raised under conditions of life not so uniform as, and somewhat different from, those to which the parent species had been exposed under nature. There is, also, some probability in the view propounded by Andrew Knight, that this variability may be partly connected with excess of food. It seems clear that organic beings must be exposed during several generations to new conditions to cause any great amount of variation; and that, when the organisation has once begun to vary, it generally continues varying for many generations. No case is on record of a variable organism ceasing to vary under cultivation. Our oldest cultivated plants, such as wheat, still yield new varieties: our oldest domesticated animals are still capable of rapid improvement or modification.”
Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species
“The great variability of all the external differences between the races of man, likewise indicates that they cannot be of much importance; for if important, they would long ago have been either fixed and preserved, or eliminated.”
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
“Man could no longer be regarded as the Lord of Creation, a being apart from the rest of nature. He was merely the representative of one among many Families of the order Primates in the class Mammalia.”
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
“I will here give a brief sketch of the progress of opinion on the Origin of Species. Until recently the great majority of naturalists believed that species were immutable productions, and had been separately created. This view has been ably maintained by many authors. Some few naturalists, on the other hand, have believed that species undergo modification, and that the existing forms of life are the descendants by true generation of pre existing forms. Passing over allusions to the subject in the classical writers (Aristotle, in his "Physicae Auscultationes" (lib.2, cap.8, s.2), after remarking that rain does not fall in order to make the corn grow, any more than it falls to spoil the farmer's corn when threshed out of doors, applies the same argument to organisation; and adds (as translated by Mr. Clair Grece, who first pointed out the passage to me), "So what hinders the different parts (of the body) from having this merely accidental relation in nature? as the teeth, for example, grow by necessity, the front ones sharp, adapted for dividing, and the grinders flat, and serviceable for masticating the food; since they were not made for the sake of this, but it was the result of accident. And in like manner as to other parts in which there appears to exist an adaptation to an end. Wheresoever, therefore, all things together (that is all the parts of one whole) happened like as if they were made for the sake of something, these were preserved, having been appropriately constituted by an internal spontaneity; and whatsoever things were not thus constituted, perished and still perish." We here see the principle of natural selection shadowed forth, but how little Aristotle fully comprehended the principle, is shown by his remarks on the formation of the teeth.), the first author who in modern times has treated it in a scientific spirit was Buffon. But as his opinions fluctuated greatly at different periods, and as he does not enter on the causes or means of the transformation of species, I need not here enter on details.”
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
“The weather is quite delicious. Yesterday, after writing to you, I strolled a little beyond the glade for an hour and a half and enjoyed myself--the fresh yet dark green of the grand Scotch firs, the brown of the catkins of the old birches, with their white stems, and a fringe of distant green from the larches, made an excessively pretty view. At last I fell asleep on the grass, and awoke with a chorus of birds singing around me, and squirrels running up the trees, and some woodpeckers laughing, and it was as pleasant and rural a scene as I ever saw, and I did not care one penny how any of the beasts or birds had been formed.”
Charles Darwin, Letters. A Selection, 1825–1859
“Youatt gives an excellent illustration of the effects of a course of selection which may be considered as unconscious, in so far that the breeders could never have expected, or even wished, to produce the result which ensued—namely, the production of the distinct strains. The two flocks of Leicester sheep kept by Mr. Buckley and Mr. Burgess, as Mr. Youatt remarks, "Have been purely bred from the original stock of Mr. Bakewell for upwards of fifty years. There is not a suspicion existing in the mind of any one at all acquainted with the subject that the owner of either of them has deviated in any one instance from the pure blood of Mr. Bakewell's flock, and yet the difference between the sheep possessed by these two gentlemen is so great that they have the appearance of being quite different varieties.”
Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species
“Origin of man now proved. Metaphysics must flourish. He who understand baboon would do more towards metaphysics than Locke.”
Charles Darwin, The Red Notebook of Charles Darwin
“In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.”
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
“My books have sold largely in England, have been translated into many languages, and passed through several editions in foreign countries. I have heard it said that the success of a work abroad is the best test of its enduring value. I doubt whether this is at all trustworthy; but judged by this standard my name ought to last for a few years.”
Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809–82
“[Reason tells me of the] extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capability of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist.”
Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809–82
“ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge:”
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
“In regard to the amount of difference between the races, we must make some allowance for our nice powers of discrimination gained by a long habit of observing ourselves.”
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, Vol 1
“Sexual selection acts in a less rigorous manner than natural selection. The latter produces its effects by the life or death at all ages of the more or less successful individuals.”
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
“Although much remains obscure, and will long remain obscure, I can entertain no doubt, after the most deliberate study and dispassionate judgment of which I am capable, that the view which most naturalists entertain, and which I formerly entertained--namely, that each species has been independently created--is erroneous. I am fully convinced that species are not immutable; but that those belonging to what are called the same genera are lineal descendants of some other and generally extinct species, in the same manner as the acknowledged varieties of any one species are the descendants of that species. Furthermore, I am convinced that Natural Selection has been the main but not exclusive means of modification.”
Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection
“ Humboldt's glorious descriptions are & will for ever be unparalleled: but even he with his dark blue skies & the rare union of poetry with science which he so strongly displays when writing on tropical scenery, with all this falls far short of the truth,he averred." The delight one experiences in such times bewilders the mind; if the eye attempts to follow the flight of a gaudy butter-fly, it is arrested by some strange tree or fruit; if watching an insect one forgets it in the stranger flower it is crawling over; if turning to admire the splendor of the scenery, the individual character of the foreground fixes the attention. The mind is a chaos of delight, out of which a world of future & more quiet pleasure will arise. I am at present fit only to read Humboldt; he like another sun illuminates everything I behold.”
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, Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol 1
“I am dying by inches, from not having any body to talk to about insects...”
Charles Darwin, Letters. A Selection, 1825–1859


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The Origin of Species The Origin of Species
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Voyage of the Beagle Voyage of the Beagle
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The Descent of Man The Descent of Man
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The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809–82 The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809–82
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