Charles Darwin

(Charles Robert Darwin)

Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
  • Born: February 12, 1809
  • Died: April 19, 1882
  • Nationality: English
  • Profession: Scientist

72

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48

Citations

168

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Charles Robert Darwin, FRS FRGS FLS FZS was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution.[I] His proposition that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors is now widely accepted, and considered a foundational concept in science. In a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace, he introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding.

Quotes About
Author Quote
Louis Agassiz The world has arisen in some way or another. How it originated is the great question, and Darwin's theory, like all other attempts to explain the origin of life, is thus far merely conjectural. I believe he has not even made the best conjecture possible in the present state of our knowledge.
Charles Darwin 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.
Thomas Carlyle A good sort of man is this Darwin, and well meaning, but with very little intellect.
Gottfried Leibniz All advances by degrees in Nature, and nothing by leaps …. Although there may exist in some other world species intermediate between Man and the Apes, Nature has thought it is to remove them from us, in order to establish our superiority beyond question. I speak of intermediate species, and by no means limit myself to those leading to Man.
Erasmus Darwin All animals undergo perpetual transformations; which are in part produced by their own exertions... and many of these acquired forms or propensities are transmitted to their posterity.
Peter Louis Moreau de Maupertuis The elementary particles which form the embryo are each drawn from the corresponding structure in the parent, and conserve a sort of remembrance of their previous form, so that in the offspring they will reflect and reproduce a resemblance to the parents ... We can thus readily explain how new species are formed... by supposing that the elementary particles may not always retain the order which they present in the parents, but may fortuitously produce differences, which, multiplying and accumulating, have resulted in the infinite variety of species which we see at the present time.
Henry Adams The progress of evolution, from President Washington to President Grant, was alone evidence enough to upset Darwin.... Grant should have lived in a cave and worn skins.
Bruce Babbitt Evan Mecham proves that Darwin was wrong.
William Bateson … there is little evidence as to how it has come about, and no clear proof that the process is continuing in any considerable degree at the present time.
Friedrich Engels Just as Darwin discovered the law of evolution in organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of evolution in human history.
Peter Louis Moreau de Maupertuis The elementary particles which form the embryo are each drawn from the corresponding structure in the parent, and conserve a sort of remembrance of their previous form, so that in the offspring they will reflect and reproduce a resemblance to the parents .…We can thus readily explain how new species are formed... by supposing that the elementary particles may not always retain the order which they present in the parents, but may fortuitously produce differences, which, multiplying and accumulating, have resulted in the infinite variety of species which we see at the present time.
Theodore Dobzhansky Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution
Ernst Mayr He [Charles Darwin] had the greatest impact on the thinking of modern man, of anybody.
Malcolm Brown Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still.
Stephen King What Darwin was too polite to say, my friends, is that we came to rule the Earth not because we were the smartest, or even the meanest, but because we have always been the craziest, most murderous motherfuckers in the jungle.
Erasmus Darwin Would it be too bold to imagine that, in the great length of time since the earth began to exist, perhaps millions of ages before the commencement of the history of mankind would it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament, which the great First Cause endued with animality, with the power of acquiring new parts, attended with new propensities, directed by irritations, sensations, volitions and associations, and thus possessing the faculty of continuing to improve by its own inherent activity, and of delivering down these improvements by generation to its posterity, world without end!
Erasmus Darwin So the horns of the stag are sharp to offend his adversary, but are branched for the purpose of parrying or receiving the thrusts of horns similar to his own, and have therefore been formed for the purpose of combating other stags for the exclusive possession of the females; who are observed, like the ladies in the times of chivalry, to attend to the car of the victor... The final cause of this contest amongst the males seems to be, that the strongest and most active animal should propagate the species, which should thence become improved.
Quotes
Quote Topics Cited
… isolation, by checking immigration and consequently competition, will give time for any new variety to be slowly improved; and this may sometimes be of importance in the production of new species. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
… the enforcement of public opinion depends on our appreciation of the approbation and disapprobation of others; and this appreciation is founded on our sympathy, which it can hardly be doubted was originally developed through natural selection as one of the most important elements of the social instincts. Public Opinion & Polling
A republic cannot succeed till it contains a certain body of men imbued with the principles of justice and honor. Democracies & Republics
A republic cannot succeed till it contains a certain body of men imbued with the principles of justice and honor. Democracies & Republics
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 every one takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
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 Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I am aware that the conclusions arrived at in this work will be denounced by some as highly irreligious; but he who denounces them is bound to show why it is more irreligious to explain the origin of man as a distinct species by descent from some lower from, through the laws of variation and natural selection, than to explain the birth of the individual through the laws of ordinary reproduction. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I feel most deeply that this whole question of Creation is too profound for human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton! Let each man hope and believe what he can. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I had no intention to write atheistically, but I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. Religion & God
I have always maintained that, excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work. Human Nature
I have at least, as I hope, done good service in aiding to overthrow the dogma of separate creations. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I have watched how steadily the general feeling, as shown at elections, has been rising against Slavery. What a proud thing for England if she is the first European nation which utterly abolishes it! Public Opinion & Polling ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I never saw any of the diminutive Portuguese [slave masters], with their murderous countenances, without almost wishing for Brazil to follow the example of Haiti; and, considering the enormous healthy-looking black population, it will be wonderful if, at some future day, it does not take place. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious sensibilities of anyone. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I should premise that I use the term “Struggle for Existence” in a large and Metaphorical Sense, including dependence of one being on another, and including (which is more important) success in leaving progeny. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I thank God, I shall never again visit a slave-country. To this day, if I hear a distant scream, it recalls with painful vividness my feelings, when passing a house near Pernambuco, I heard the most pitiable moans, and could not but suspect that some poor slave was being tortured, yet knew that I was as powerless as a child even to remonstrate. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I was told before leaving England that after living in slave countries, all my opinions would be altered; the only alteration I am aware of is forming a much higher estimate of the negro character. It is impossible to see a negro and not feel kindly towards him. Minorities & Women ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge. Leaders & Leadership
In October, 1838, … I happened to read for amusement Malthus on population, and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long continuous observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favorable variations would tend to be preserved and unfavorable ones to be destroyed. The result of this would be the formation of new species. Here, then, I had at last got a theory by which to work Humor ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology ;Animals
In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
It is not the strongest of the species that survives. Nor is it the most intelligent. It is the members of the species that are most adaptive to change. Miscellaneous
It is often attempted to palliate slavery by comparing the state of slaves with our poorer countrymen: if the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin; but how this bears on slavery, I cannot see; as well might the use of the thumb-screw be defended in one land, by showing that men in another land suffered from some dreadful disease. Oratory, Discussion & Debate ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
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. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
It may be doubted whether any character can be named which is distinctive of a race and is constant. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Man is descended from a hairy, tailed quadruped, probably arboreal in its habits. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Man scans with scrupulous care the pedigree of his horses, cattle and dogs before he mates them; but when it comes to his marriage, he rarely, or never, takes such care. Families, Children & Parenting
Mathematics seems to endow one with something like a new sense. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Original First Edition: 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. Change Made for the Sixth Edition: 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 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. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Physiological experiment on animals is justifiable for real investigation, but not for mere damnable and detestable curiosity. Humor ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology ;Animals
Probably all organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Santa Fe is a quiet little town, and is kept clean and in good order. The governor, Lopez, was common soldier at the time of the revolution, but has now been seventeen years in power. This stability of government is owing to his tyrannical habits, for tyranny seems as yet better adapted to these countries than republicanism. The governor’s favorite occupation is hunting Indians … Management & Managing Government
The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
The more efficient causes of progress seem to consist of a good education during youth whilst the brain is impressible, and of a high standard of excellence, inculcated by the ablest and best men, embodied in the laws, customs and traditions of the nation, and enforced by public opinion. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
The old saying of ‘Vox populi, vox Dei’, as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Public Opinion & Polling
The presence of a body of well-instructed men...is important to a degree which cannot be overestimated. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
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 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. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
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. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
There is no fundamental difference between man and the higher animals in their mental faculties. Humor ;Human Nature ;Animals
Violent and quarrelsome men often come to a bloody end. Human Nature
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. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
When the principles of breeding and of inheritance are better understood, we shall not hear ignorant members of our legislature rejecting with scorn a plan for ascertaining by an easy method whether or not consanguineous marriages are injurious to man. Families, Children & Parenting
When the principles of breeding and of inheritance are better understood, we shall not hear ignorant members of our legislature rejecting with scorn a plan for ascertaining by an easy method whether or not consanguineous marriages are injurious to man. Families, Children & Parenting
With highly civilised nations continued progress depends in a subordinate degree on natural selection; for such nations do not supplant and exterminate one another as do savage tribes. Nevertheless the more intelligent members within the same community will succeed better in the long run than the inferior, and leave a more numerous progeny, and this is a form of natural selection. Development & Growth
With highly civilized nations, continued progress depends in a subordinate degree on natural selection; for such nations do not supplant and exterminate one another as do savage tribes. Nevertheless the more intelligent members within the same community will succeed better in the long run than the inferior, and leave a more numerous progeny, and this is a form of natural selection. Development & Growth
With respect to the theological view of the question: This is always painful to me. I am bewildered. I had no intention to write atheistically, but I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars or that a cat should play with mice... On the other hand, I cannot anyhow be contented to view this wonderful universe, and especially the nature of man, and to conclude that everything is the result of brute force. I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance. Religion & God
A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life. Life ;Time
A man's friendships are one of the best measures of his worth. Friendship
A moral being is one who is capable of reflecting on his past actions and their motives - of approving of some and disapproving of others.
A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, - a mere heart of stone.
An American monkey, after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men.
Animals, whom we have made our slaves, we do not like to consider our equal.
At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace the savage races throughout the world. Future
How paramount the future is to the present when one is surrounded by children. Future
I am turned into a sort of machine for observing facts and grinding out conclusions.
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. Religion & God
I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term of Natural Selection.
I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me.
I love fools' experiments. I am always making them. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Humor
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. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
It is a cursed evil to any man to become as absorbed in any subject as I am in mine.
Man tends to increase at a greater rate than his means of subsistence.
My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts.
On the ordinary view of each species having been independently created, we gain no scientific explanation. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic.
The very essence of instinct is that it's followed independently of reason.
To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact. Truth
We can allow satellites, planets, suns, universe, nay whole systems of universes, to be governed by laws, but the smallest insect, we wish to be created at once by special act.
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.
What a book a devil's chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low, and horribly cruel work of nature! Nature ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force