If variations useful to any organic being do occur, assuredly individuals thus characterized will have the best chance of being perserved in the struggle for life; and from the strong principle of inheritance they will tend to produce offsping similarly characterized. This principle of preservation, I have called, for the sake of brevity, Natural Selection.
The most important factor in survival is neither intelligence nor strength but adaptability.
I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man's power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient.
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.
Much love much trial, but what an utter desert is life without love.
A man's friendships are one of the best measures of his worth.
Even when we are quite alone, how often do we think with pleasure or pain of what others think of us -- of their imagined approbation or disapprobation.
Seeing every height crowned with its crater, and the boundaries of most of the lava-streams still distinct, we are led to believe that within a period, geologically recent, the unbroken ocean was here spread out. Hence, both in space and time, we seem to be brought somewhat near to that great fact -- that mystery of mysteries -- the first appearance of new beings on this earth.
Describing laughter: The sound is produced by a deep inspiration followed by short, interrupted, spasmodic contractions of the chest, and especially the diaphragm... the mouth is open more or less widely, with the corners drawn much backwards, as well as a little upwards; and the upper lip is somewhat raised.
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, 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.
I must begin with a good body of facts and not from a principle (in which I always suspect some fallacy) and then as much deduction as you please.
It is easy to specify the individual objects of admiration in these grand scenes; but it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, astonishment, and devotion, which fill and elevate the mind.
Natural Selection almost inevitably causes much Extinction of the less improved forms of life and induces what I have called Divergence of Character.
Man, wonderful man, must collapse, into nature's cauldron, he is no deity, he is no exception.
Freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men's minds which follows from the advance of science.
July 24th, 1833.--The Beagle sailed from Maldonado, and on August the 3rd she arrived off the mouth of the Rio Negro.
It is a truly wonderful fact -- the wonder of which we are apt to overlook from familiarity -- that all animals and all plants throughout all time and space should be related to each other in group subordinate to group.
If man had not been his own classifier, he would never have thought of founding a separate order for his own reception.
I have long discovered that geologists never read each other's works, and that the only object in writing a book is a proof of earnestness.
Now when naturalists observe a close agreement in numerous small details of habits, tastes and dispositions between two or more domestic races, or between nearly-allied natural forms, they use this fact as an argument that all are descended from a common progenitor who was thus endowed; and consequently that all should be classed under the same species. The same argument may be applied with much force to the races of man.
But a plant on the edge of a deserts is said to struggle for life against the drought, though more properly it should be said to be dependent upon the moisture.
As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form.
Sympathy beyond the confines of man, that is, humanity to the lower animals, seems to be one of the latest moral acquisitions.
When the sexes differ in beauty, in the power of singing, or in producing what I have called instrumental music, it is almost invariably the male which excels the female.
The most energetic workers I have encountered in my world travels are the vegetarian miners of Chile.
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.
Any one whose disposition leads him to attach more weight to unexplained difficulties than to the explanation of facts will certainly reject my theory.
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. The birth both of the species and of the individual are equally parts of that grand sequence of events, which our minds refuse to accept as the result of blind chance.
Whoever is led to believe that species are mutable will do good service by conscientiously expressing his conviction; for only thus can the load of prejudice by which this subject is overwhelmed be removed.
I have at least, as I hope, done good service in aiding to overthrow the dogma of separate creations.
The western nations of Europe, who now so immeasurably surpass their former savage progenitors, and stand at the summit of civilization, owe little or none of their superiority to direct inheritance from the old Greeks, though they owe much to the written works of that wonderful people.
On the ordinary view of each species having been independently created, we gain no scientific explanation.
It is often said that all the conditions for the first production of a living organism are now present, which could ever have been present. But if (and oh! what a big if!) we could conceive in some warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, light, heat, electricity, andc., present, that a proteine compound was chemically formed ready to undergo stillmore complex changes, at the present day such matter would be instantly devoured or absorbed, which would not have been the case before living creatures were formed.
I believe there exists, and I feel within me, an instinct for the truth, or knowledge or discovery, of something of the same nature as the instinct of virtue, and that our having such an instinct is reason enough for scientific researches without any practical results ever ensuing from them.
Some call it evolution, And others call it God.
If I had life to live over again, I would give my life to poetry, to music, to literature, and to art to make life richer and happier. In my youth I steeled myself against them and thought them so much waste.
It may be doubted that there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world as have these lowly organized creatures.
But we are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with the truth as far as our reason allows us to discover it. I have given the evidence to the best of my ability; and we must acknowledge , as it seems to me, that man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his godlike intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system -- with all these exalted powers -- Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.
There are several other sources of enjoyment in a long voyage, which are of a more reasonable nature. The map of the world ceases to be a blank; it becomes a picture full of the most varied and animated figures. Each part assumes its proper dimensions: continents are not looked at in the light of islands, or islands considered as mere specks, which are, in truth, larger than many kingdoms of Europe. Africa, or North and South America, are well-sounding names, and easily pronounced; but it is not until having sailed for weeks along small portions of their shores, that one is thoroughly convinced what vast spaces on our immense world these names imply.
Why is The Origin of Species such a great book? First of all, because it convincingly demonstrates the fact of evolution: it provides a vast and well-chosen body of evidence showing that existing animals and plants cannot have been separately created in their present forms, but must have evolved from earlier forms by slow transformation. And secondly, because the theory of natural selection, which the Origin so fully and so lucidly expounds, provides a mechanism by which such transformation could and would automatically be produced.
Hence if man goes on selecting, and thus augmenting, any peculiarity, he will almost certainly modify unintentionally other parts of the structure, owing to the mysterious laws of correlation.
Although I am fully convinced of the truth of the views given in this volume under the form of an abstract, I by no means expect to convince experienced naturalists whose minds are stocked with a multitude of facts all viewed, during a long course of years, from a point of view directly opposite to mine... I look with confidence to the future, to young and rising naturalists, who will be able to view both sides of the question with impartiality.
In a series of forms graduating insensibly from some apelike creature to man as he now exists, it would be impossible to fix on any definite point where the term 'man' ought to be used.
May we not suspect that the vague but very real fears of children, which are quite independent of experience, are the inherited effects of real dangers and abject superstitions during ancient savage times?
Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire, and books and music.
It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
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.
When we no longer look at an organic being as a savage looks at a ship, as at something wholly beyond his comprehension; when we regard every production of nature as one which has had a history; when we contemplate every complex structure and instinct as the summing up of many contrivances, each useful to the possessor, nearly in the same way as when we look at any great mechanical invention as the summing up of the labour, the experience, the reason, and even the blunders of numerous workmen; when we thus view each organic being, how far more interesting, I speak from experience, will the study of natural history become!
In however complex a manner this feeling may have originated, as it is one of high importance to all those animals which aid and defend one another, it will have been increased through natural selection; for those communities, which included the greatest number of the most sympathetic members, would flourish best, and rear the greatest number of offspring.
The tree of life should perhaps be called the coral of life, base of branches dead; so that passages cannot be seen-this again offers contradiction to constant succession of germs in progress.
Thus we have given to man a pedigree of prodigious length, but not, it may be said, of noble quality.
Wherever the European had trod, death seemed to pursue the aboriginal.
We thus learn that man is descended from a hairy quadruped, furnished with a tail and pointed ears, probably arboreal in its habits, and an inhabitant of the Old World.
The moral faculties are generally esteemed, and with justice, as of higher value than the intellectual powers. But we should always bear in mind that the activity of the mind in vividly recalling past impressions is one of the fundamental though secondary bases of conscience. This fact affords the strongest argument for educating and stimulating in all possible ways the intellectual faculties of every human being.
Physiological experiment on animals is justifiable for real investigation, but not for mere damnable and detestable curiosity.
Unusual degree. This family became divided eight generations.
The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an improved theory, is it then a science or faith?
On your life, underestimating the proclivities of finches is likely to lead to great internal hemorrhaging.
In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.
The school as a means of education to me was simply a blank.
If it wasn't for seasickness, all the world would be sailors!
One doubts existence of free will because every action determined by heredity, constitution, example of others or teaching of others." "This view should teach one profound humility, one deserves no credit for anything...nor ought one to blame others.
The very essence of instinct is that it's followed independently of reason.
I had gradually come, by this time 1839-01, to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow as a sign, etc., etc. 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.
But when on shore, and wandering in the sublime forests, surrounded by views more gorgeous than even Claude ever imagined, I enjoy a delight which none but those who have experienced it can understand -- If it is to be done, it must be by studying Humboldt.
Natural selection acts solely by accumulating slight successive favorable variations, it can produce no great or sudden modification; it can act only by very short steps.
I have steadily endeavored to keep my mind free so as to give up any hypothesis, however much beloved (and I cannot resist forming one on every subject), as soon as the facts are shown to be opposed to it.
It is always advisable to perceive clearly our ignorance.
Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but at last was 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.
The more one thinks, the more one feels the hopeless immensity of man's ignorance.
It appears to me, the doing what little one can to increase the general stock of knowledge is as respectable an object of life, as one can in any likelyhood pursue.
Hereafter we shall be compelled to acknowledge that the only distinction between species and well-marked varieties is, that the latter are known, or believed to be connected at the present day by intermediate gradations whereas species were formerly thus connected.
You ask about my opinion on vivisection. I quite agree that it is justifiable for real investigations on physiology; but not for mere damnable and detestable curiosity.
We stopped looking for monsters under our bed when we realized that they were inside us.
I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me.
There is a grandeur in this view of life, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful are being evolved.
Multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.
To admit that species generally become rare before they become extinct--to feel no surprise at the comparative rarity of one species with another, and yet to call in some extraordinary agent and to marvel greatly when a species ceases to exist, appears to me much the same as to admit that sickness in the individual is the prelude to death--to feel no surprise at sickness--but when the sick man dies to wonder, and to believe that he died through violence.
Every new body of discovery is mathematical in form, because there is no other guidance we can have.
I can remember the very spot in the road, whilst in my carriage, when to my joy the solution occurred to me.
Ultimately a highly complex sentiment, having its first origin in the social instincts, largely guided by the approbation of our fellow-men, ruled by reason, self-interest, and in later times by deep religious feelings, confirmed by instruction and habit, all combined, constitute our moral sense or conscience.
I would give absolutely nothing for the theory of Natural Selection, if it requires miraculous additions at any one stage of descent.
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."
The presence of a body of well-instructed men, who have not to labor for their daily bread, is important to a degree which cannot be overestimated; as all high intellectual work is carried on by them, and on such work material progress of all kinds mainly depends, not to mention other and higher advantages.
It is difficult to believe in the dreadful but quiet war lurking just below the serene facade of nature.
I have no great quickness of apprehension or wit which is so remarkable in some clever men, for instance Huxley.
Seeing this gradation and diversity of structure in one small, intimately related group of birds, one might really fancy that from an original paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends.
As some of the lowest organisms, in which nerves cannot be detected, are capable of perceiving light, it does not seem impossible that certain sensitive elements in their sarcode should become aggregated and developed into nerves, endowed with this special sensibility.
The moral sense perhaps affords the best and highest distinction between man and the lower animals.
I was a young man with uninformed ideas. I threw out queries, suggestions, wondering all the time over everything; and to my astonishment the ideas took like wildfire. People made a religion of them.
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 Ichneumonidæ with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice... 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< a>. Let each man hope and believe what he can. Charles Darwin
Who when examining in the cabinet of the entomologist the gay and exotic butterflies, and singular cicadas, will associate with these lifeless objects, the ceaseless harsh music of the latter, and the lazy flight of the former -- the sure accompaniments of the still, glowing noonday of the tropics.
I had also, during many years, followed a golden rule, namely that whenever published fact, a new observation of thought came across me, which was opposed to my general results, to make a memorandum of it without fail and at once; for I had found by experience that such facts and thoughts were far more apt to escape from the memory than favourable ones.
It is uphill work writing books.
Animals manifestly enjoy excitement, and suffer from annul and may exhibit curiosity.
The voyage of the Beagle has been by far the most important event in my life and has determined my whole career; yet it depended on so small a circumstance as my uncle offering to drive me 30 miles to Shrewsbury, which few uncles would have done, and on such a trifle as the shape of my nose.
When the views entertained in this volume on the origin of species, or when analogous views are generally admitted, we can dimly forsee that there will be a considerable revolution in natural history.
Even people who aren't geniuses can outthink the rest of mankind if they develop certain thinking habits.
Light may be shed on man and his origins.
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.
Till facts are grouped and called there can be no prediction. The only advantage of discovering laws is to foretell what will happen and to see bearing of scattered facts.
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.
The most powerful natural species are those that adapt to environmental change without losing their fundamental identity which gives them their competitive advantage.
To my deep mortification my father once said to me, "You care for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat-catching, and you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family.
I have been speculating last night what makes a man a discoverer of undiscovered things. As far as I can conjecture the art consists in habitually searching for the causes and meaning of everything which occurs.
The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognise that we ought to control our thoughts.
At last gleams of light have come, and I am almost convinced (quite contrary to opinion I started with) that species are not (it is like confessing a murder) immutable. Heaven forfend me from Lamarck nonsense of a 'tendency to progression', 'adaptations from the slow willing of animals', andc! But the conclusions I am led to are not widely different from his; though the means of change are wholly so. I think I have found out (here's presumption!) the simple way by which species become exquisitely adapted to various ends.
The love of a dog for his master is notorious; in the agony of death he has been known to caress his master, and everyone has heard of the dog suffering under vivisection, who licked the hand of the operator; this man, unless he had a heart of stone, must have felt remorse to the last hour of his life.
Two distinct elements are included under the term "inheritance"-- the transmission, and the development of characters;.
Or she may accept, as appearances would sometimes lead us to believe, not the male which is the most attractive to her, but the one which is the least distasteful.
When I view all beings not as special creations, but as the lineal descendants of some few beings which lived long before the first bed of the Cambrian system was deposited, they seem to me to become ennobled.
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.
In the survival of favoured individuals and races, during the constantly-recurring struggle for existence, we see a powerful and ever-acting form of selection.
I love fools' experiments. I am always making them.
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.
The following proposition seems to me in a high degree probable--namely, that any animal whatever, endowed with well-marked social instincts, the parental and filial affections being here included, would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience, as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well, or nearly as well developed, as in man. For, firstly, the social instincts lead an animal to take pleasure in the society of its fellows, to feel a certain amount of sympathy with them, and to perform various services for them.
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.
The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic.
It is really laughable to see what different ideas are prominent in various naturalists' minds, when they speak of 'species'; in some, resemblance is everything and descent of little weight-in some, resemblance seems to go for nothing, and Creation the reigning idea-in some, descent is the key,-in some, sterility an unfailing test, with others it is not worth a farthing. It all comes, I believe, from trying to define the undefinable.
As for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities.
I am turned into a sort of machine for observing facts and grinding out conclusions.
It's not the strongest, but the most adaptable that survive.
I believe we were all glad to leave New Zealand. It is not a pleasant place. Amongst the natives there is absent that charming simplicity .... and the greater part of the English are the very refuse of society.
But I am very poorly today and very stupid and I hate everybody and everything. One lives only to make blunders.
It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.
So great is the economy of nature, that most flowers which are fertilised by crepuscular or nocturnal insects emit their odour chiefly or exclusively in the evening.
The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.
I look at the natural geological record as a history of the world imperfectly kept and written in a changing dialect; of this history we possess the last volume alone, relating only to two or three countries. Of this volume, only here and there a short chapter has been preserved; and of each page, only here and there a few lines.
A celebrated author and divine has written to me that he has gradually learned to see that it is just as noble a conception of the Deity to believe that he created a few original forms capable of self-development into other and needful forms, as to believe that he required a fresh act of creation to supply the voids caused by the action of his laws.
Why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms.
A republic cannot succeed, till it contains a certain body of men imbued with the principles of justice and honour.
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.
Intelligence is based on how efficient a species became at doing the things they need to survive.
It strikes me that all our knowledge about the structure of our Earth is very much like what an old hen would know of the hundred-acre field in a corner of which she is scratching.
Man in his arrogance thinks himself a great work, worthy of the interposition of a deity. More humble, and I believe truer, to consider him created from animals.
Hence, a traveller should be a botanist, for in all views plants form the chief embellishment.
The instruction at Edinburgh was altogether by lectures, and these were intolerably dull, with the exception of those on chemistry.
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.
The normal food of man is vegetable.
For the shield may be as important for victory, as the sword or spear.
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!
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.
I am dying by inches, from not having any body to talk to about insects.
Our ancestor was an animal which breathed water, had a swim-bladder, a great swimming tail, an imperfect skull and undoubtedly was an hermaphrodite! Here is a pleasant genealogy for mankind.
With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated. We civilized 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. Thus the weak members of civilized 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. Hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.
The traveler may feel assured, he will meet with no difficulties or dangers, excepting in rare cases, nearly so bad as he beforehand anticipates. In a moral point of view, the effect ought to be, to teach him good-humored patience, freedom from selfishness, the habit of acting for himself, and of making the best of every occurrence.
Animals, whom we have made our slaves, we do not like to consider our equal.
That there is much suffering in the world no one disputes. Which is more likely, that pain and evil are the result of an all-powerful and good God, or the product of uncaring natural forces? The presence of much suffering agrees well with the view that all organic beings have been developed through variation and natural selection.
The earthquake, however, must be to every one a most impressive event: the earth, considered from our earliest childhood as the type of solidity, has oscillated like a thin crust beneath our feet; and in seeing the laboured works of man in a moment overthrown, we feel the insignificance of his boasted power.
We may confidently come to the conclusion, that the forces which slowly and by little starts uplift continents, and that those which at successive periods pour forth volcanic matter from open orifices, are identical.
A bad earthquake at once destroys the oldest associations: the world, the very emblem of all that is solid, has moved beneath our feet like a crust over a fluid; one second of time has conveyed to the mind a strange idea of insecurity, which hours of reflection would never have created.
I fully agree with all that you say on the advantages of H. Spencer's excellent expression of 'the survival of the fittest.' This, however, had not occurred to me till reading your letter. It is, however, a great objection to this term that it cannot be used as a substantive governing a verb; and that this is a real objection I infer from H. Spencer continually using the words, natural selection.
(Letter to A. R. Wallace July 1866).
It is certain that there may be extraordinary mental activity with an extremely small absolute mass of nervous matter: thus the wonderfully diversified instincts, mental powers, and affections of ants are notorious, yet their cerebral ganglia are not so large as the quarter of a small pin's head. Under this point of view, the brain of an ant is one of the most marvelous atoms of matter in the world, perhaps more so than the brain of a man.
How so many absurd rules of conduct, as well as so many absurd religious beliefs, have originated, we do not know; nor how it is that they have become, in all quarters of the world, so deeply impressed on the minds of men; but it is worthy of remark that a belief constantly inculcated during the early years of life, while the brain is impressionable, appears to acquire almost the nature of an instinct; and the very essence of an instinct is that it is followed independently of reason.
Nothing could have been worse for the development of my mind than Dr. Butler's school, as it was strictly classical, nothing else being taught, except a little ancient geography and history. The school as a means of education to me was simply a blank. During my whole life I have been singularly incapable of mastering any language. Especial attention was paid to versemaking, and this I could never do well. I had many friends, and got together a good collection of old verses, which by patching together, sometimes aided by other boys, I could work into any subject.
After five years' work I allowed myself to speculate on the subject, and drew up some short notes; these I enlarged in 1844 into a sketch of the conclusions, which then seemed to me probable: from that period to the present day I have steadily pursued the same object. I hope that I may be excused for entering on these personal details, as I give them to show that I have not been hasty in coming to a decision..
Man has an instinctive tendency to speak, as we see in the babble of our young children, but no child has an instinctive tendency to bake, brew, or write.
I see no good reason why the views given this volume The Origin of Species should shock the religious feelings of any one. It is satisfactory, as showing how transient such impressions are, to remember that the greatest discovery ever made by man, namely, the law of attraction of gravity, was also attacked by Leibnitz, 'as subversive of natural, and inferentially of revealed, religion.'
But then arises the doubt, can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animal, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?
Among the scenes which are deeply impressed on my mind, none exceed in sublimity the primeval forests undefaced by the hand of man; whether those of Brazil, where the powers of Life are predominant, or those of Tierra del Fuego, where Death and decay prevail. Both are temples filled with the varied productions of the God of Nature: -- no one can stand in these solitudes unmoved, and not feel that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body.
If a person asked my advice, before undertaking a long voyage, my answer would depend upon his possessing a decided taste for some branch of knowledge, which could by this means be advanced. No doubt it is a high satisfaction to behold various countries and the many races of mankind, but the pleasures gained at the time do not counterbalance the evils.
With mammals the male appears to win the female much more through the law of battle than through the display of his charms.
I often had to run very quickly to be on time, and from being a fleet runner was generally successful; but when in doubt I prayed earnestly to God to help me, and I well remember that I attributed my success to the prayers and not to my quick running, and marvelled how generally I was aided.
I always make special notes about evidence that contridicts me: supportive evidence I can remember without trying.
Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.
A language, like a species, when extinct, never reappears.
He who believes that each being has been created as we now see it, must occasionally have felt surprise when he has met with an animal having habits and structure not at all in agreement.
This preservation of favourable variations and the rejection of injurious variations, I call Natural Selection.
This preservation of favourable variations and the destruction of injurious variations, I call Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest. Variations neither useful nor injurious would not be affected by natural selection and would be left a fluctuating element.
I am not apt to follow blindly the lead of other men.
Free will is to mind what chance is to matter.
It may be conceit, but I believe the subject will interest the public, and I am sure that the views are original.
The power to charm the female has sometimes been more important than the power to conquer other males in battle. LAWS.
I have always maintained that, excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work; and I still think there is an eminently important difference.
The theory which I would offer, is simply, that as the land with the attached reefs subsides very gradually from the action of subterranean causes, the coral-building polypi soon raise again their solid masses to the level of the water: but not so with the land; each inch lost is irreclaimably gone; as the whole gradually sinks, the water gains foot by foot on the shore, till the last and highest peak is finally submerged.
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.
How fleeting are the wishes and efforts of man! How short his time! Consequently how poor will his products be, compared with those accumulated by nature during whole geological periods. Can we wonder, then, that nature's productions should be far "truer" in character than man's productions; that they should be infinitely better adapted to the most complex conditions of life, and should plainly bear the stamp of far higher workmanship?
Nothing can be more hopeless than to attempt to explain this similarity of pattern in members of the same class, by utility or by the doctrine of final causes.
Whilst Man, however well-behaved,
At best is but a monkey shaved!
Mere chance ... alone would never account for so habitual and large an amount of difference as that between varieties of the same species.
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 an overwhelming present evil..
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.
After my return to England it appeared to me that by following the example of Lyell in Geology, and by collecting all facts which bore in any way on the variation of animals and plants under domestication and nature, some light might perhaps be thrown on the whole subject.
The willing horse is always overworked.
I cannot persuade myself that a beneficient and omnipotent God would have designedly created...that a cat should play with mice.
The elder Geoffroy and Goethe propounded, at about the same time, their law of compensation or balancement of growth; or, as Goethe expressed it, "in order to spend on one side, nature is forced to economise on the other side.
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.
The more I study nature, the more I become impressed with ever-increasing force with the conclusion, that the contrivances and beautiful adaptations slowly acquired through each part occasionally varying in a slight degree but in many ways, with the preservation or natural selection of those variations which are beneficial to the organism under the complex and ever-varying conditions of life, transcend in an incomparable degree the contrivances and adaptations which the most fertile imagination of man could suggest with unlimited time at his disposal.
Mr. J.S. Mill speaks, in his celebrated work, "Utilitarianism," of the social feelings as a "powerful natural sentiment," and as "the natural basis of sentiment for utilitarian morality," but on the previous page he says, "if, as is my own belief, the moral feelings are not innate, but acquired, they are not for that reason less natural." It is with hesitation that I venture to differ from so profound a thinker, but it can hardly be disputed that the social feelings are instinctive or innate in the lower animals; and why should they not be so in man?
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! 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.
I suppose you are two fathoms deep in mathematics, and if you are, then God help you. For so am I, only with this difference: I stick fast in the mud at the bottom, and there I shall remain.
Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.
Great is the power of steady misrepresentation; but the history of science shows that fortunately this power does not long endure.
The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shown by mans attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than the woman. Whether deep thought, reason, or imagination or merely the use of the senses and hands.....We may also infer.....The average mental power in man must be above that of woman.
The man who walks with Henslow.
At no time am I a quick thinker or writer: whatever I have done in science has solely been by long pondering, patience and industry.
Englishmen rarely cry, except under the pressure of the acutest grief; whereas in some parts of the Continent the men shed tears much more readily and freely.
The impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God.
The world will not be inherited by the strongest, it will be inherited by those most able to change.
All that at present can be said with certainty, is that, as with the individual, so with the species, the hour of life has run its course, ans is spent.
I never gave up Christianity until I was forty years of age.
It is absurd to talk of one animal being higher than another...we consider those, where the intellectual faculties most developed as the highest. -- A bee doubtless would use ... instincts as a criteria.
A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.
Extinction has only separated groups: it has by no means made them; for if every form which has ever lived on this earth were suddenly to reappear, though it would be quite impossible to give definitions by which each group could be distinguished from other groups, as all would blend together by steps as fine as those between the finest existing varieties, nevertheless a natural classification, or at least a natural arrangement, would be possible.
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.
Formerly Milton's Paradise Lost had been my chief favourite, and in my excursions during the voyage of the Beagle, when I could take only a single small volume, I always chose Milton.
On seeing the marsupials in Australia for the first time and comparing them to placental mammals: An unbeliever ... might exclaim "Surely two distinct Creators must have been at work."
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.
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.
Thus, as I believe, natural selection will tend in the long run to reduce any part of the organisation, as soon as it becomes, through changed habits, superfluous, without by any means causing some other part to be largely developed in a corresponding degree. And conversely, that natural selection may perfectly well succeed in largely developing an organ without requiring as a necessary compensation the reduction of some adjoining part.
We are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with truth as far as our reason permits us to discover it.
From my early youth I have had the strongest desire to understand or explain whatever I observed. ... To group all facts under some general laws.
We have happy days, remember good dinners.
What wretched doings come from the ardor of fame; the love of truth alone would never make one man attack another bitterly.
Therefore a man should examine for himself the great piles of superimposed strata, and watch the rivulets bringing down mud, and the waves wearing away the sea-cliffs, in order to comprehend something about the duration of past time, the monuments of which we see all around us.
When a man merely speaks to, or just notices, his dog,we see the last vestige of these movements in a slight wag of the tail, without any other movement of the body, and without even the ears being lowered. Dogs also exhibit their affection by desiring to rub against their masters, and to be rubbed or patted by them.
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.
Travelling ought also to teach him distrust; but at the same time he will discover, how many trully goodnatured people there are.
Often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have not devoted myself to a fantasy.
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.
Man is descended from a hairy, tailed quadruped, probably arboreal in its habits.
Nothing exists for itself alone, but only in relation to other forms of life.
So in regard to mental qualities, their transmission is manifest in our dogs, horses and other domestic animals. Besides special tastes and habits, general intelligence, courage, bad and good tempers. etc., are certainly transmitted.
A grain in the balance will determine which individual shall live and which shall die -- which variety or species shall increase in number, and which shall decrease, or finally become extinct.
A cell is a complex structure, with its investing membrane, nucleus, and nucleolus.
Building a better mousetrap merely results in smarter mice.
It is a cursed evil to any man to become as absorbed in any subject as I am in mine.
It is no valid objection that science as yet throws no light on the far higher problem of the essence or origin of life. Who can explain the what is the essence of the attraction of gravity?
There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.
Conscience looks backwards and judges past actions, inducing that kind of dissatisfaction, which if weak we call regret, and if severe remorse.
It may be doubted whether any character can be named which is distinctive of a race and is constant.
Origin of man now proved. Metaphysics must flourish. He who understand baboon would do more towards metaphysics than Locke.
Delight itself, however, is a weak term to express the feelings of a naturalist.
I think it can be shown that there is such an unerring power at work in Natural Selection, which selects exclusively for the good of each organic being.
For I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.
The age-old and noble thought of 'I will lay down my life to save another,' is nothing more than cowardice.
As natural selection acts by competition, it adapts the inhabitants of each country only in relation to the degree of perfection of their associates; so that we need feel no surprise at the inhabitants of any one country, although on the ordinary view supposed to have been specially created and adapted for that country, being beaten and supplanted by the naturalised productions from another land.
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.
When primeval man ﬁrst used ﬂint stones for any purpose, he would have accidentally splintered them, and would then have used the sharp fragments. From this step it would be a small one to break the ﬂints on purpose and not a very wide step to fashion them rudely.
It is impossible to concieve of this immense and wonderful universe as the result of blind chance or necessity.
I conclude that the musical notes and rhythms were first acquired by the male or female progenitors of mankind for the sake of charming the opposite sex.
How odd it is that anyone should not see that all observation must be for or against some view if it is to be of any service!
It is interesting to contemplate an entangled 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 on each other and so complex a manner have all been produced by laws acting around us.
The man that created the theory of evolution by natural selection was thrown out by his Dad because he wanted him to be a doctor. GAWD, parents haven't changed much.
On the theory of natural selection we can clearly understand the full meaning of that old canon in natural history, "Natura non facit saltum." This canon, if we look only to the present inhabitants of the world, is not strictly correct, but if we include all those of past times, it must by my theory be strictly true.
Traveling ought also to teach him distrust; but at the same time he will discover, how many truly kind-hearted people there are, with whom he never before had, or ever again will have any further communication, who yet are ready to offer him the most disinterested assistance.
A man who dares to waste one hour of life has not discovered the value of life.
Probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed.
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.
It is like confessing to a murder.
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."
Man scans with scrupulous care the character and pedigree of his horses, cattle, and dogs before he matches them; but when he comes to his own marriage he rarely, or never, takes any such care.
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.
Man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system- with all these exalted powers- Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.
Attention, if sudden and close, graduates into surprise; and this into astonishment; and this into stupefied amazement.
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.
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?
To William Graham 3 July 1881.
The main conclusion arrived at in this work, namely that man is descended from some lowly-organised form, will, I regret to think, be highly distasteful to many persons. But there can hardly be a doubt that we are descended from barbarians.
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.
The plow is one of the most ancient and most valuable of man's inventions; but long before he existed the land was in fact regularly plowed, and still continues to be thus plowed by earthworms. It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly organized creatures.
Man himself cannot express love and humility by external signs so plainly as does a dog when with drooping ears, hanging lips, flexuous body, and wagging tail, he meets his beloved master.
The children of the Indians are saved, to be sold or given away as servants, or rather slaves, for as long a time as the owners can deceive them; but I believe in this respect there is little to complain of.
My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts.
My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive.
I shall always feel respect for every one who has written a book, let it be what it may, for I had no idea of the trouble which trying to write common English could cost one--And alas there yet remains the worst part of all correcting the press.
One hand has surely worked throughout the universe.
Many kinds of monkeys have a strong taste for tea, coffee and spirituous liqueurs.
Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge:.
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.
I have rarely read anything which has interested me more, though I have not read as yet more than a quarter of the book proper. From quotations which I had seen, I had a high notion of Aristotle's merits, but I had not the most remote notion what a wonderful man he was. Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods, though in very different ways, but they were mere schoolboys to old Aristotle.
If worms have the power of acquiring some notion, however rude, of the shape of an object and over their burrows, as seems the case, they deserve to be called intelligent; for they act in nearly the same manner as would man under similar circumstances.
Man tends to increase at a greater rate than his means of subsistence.
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.
Only the fittest will survive.