Charles Darwin Quotes & Wallpapers

Charles Darwin
Total Quotes: 427


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

If Mozart, instead of playing the pianoforte at three years old with wonderfully little practice, had played a tune with no practice at all, he might truly have been said to have done so instinctively. Charles Darwin

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. Charles Darwin

From the first dawn of life, all organic beings are found to resemble each other in descending degrees, so that they can be classed in groups under groups. This classification is evidently not arbitrary like the grouping of stars in constellations. Charles Darwin

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. Charles Darwin

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. Charles Darwin

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. Charles Darwin

The loss of these tastes [for poetry and music] is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature. Charles Darwin

If every one were cast in the same mould, there would be no such thing as beauty. Charles Darwin

As buds give rise by growth to fresh buds, and these, if vigorous, branch out and overtop on all sides many a feebler branch, so by generation I believe it has been with the great Tree of Life, which fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever branching and beautiful ramifications. Charles Darwin

The question of whether there exists a Creator and Ruler of the Universe has been answered in the affirmative by some of the highest intellects that have ever existed. Charles Darwin

Of all the differences between man and the lower animals, the moral sense or conscience is by far the most important . . . [I]t is summed up in that short but imperious word ought, so full of high significance. It is the most noble of all the attributes of man, leading him without a moment's hesitation to risk his life for that of a fellow-creature; or after due deliberation, impelled simply by the deep feeling of right or duty, to sacrifice it in some great cause. Charles Darwin

Nothing can be more improving to a young naturalist, than a journey in a distant country. Charles Darwin

It is not the biggest, the brightest or the best that will survive, but those who adapt the quickest. Charles Darwin

Not one great country can be named, from the polar regions in the north to New Zealand in the south, in which the aborigines do not tattoo themselves. Charles Darwin

I would give absolutely nothing for the theory of Natural Selection, if it requires miraculous additions at any one stage of descent. Charles Darwin

As the sense of smell is so intimately connected with that of taste, it is not surprising that an excessively bad odour should excite wretching or vomitting in some persons. Charles Darwin

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. Charles Darwin

Worms have played a more important part in the history of the world than humans would at first suppose. Charles Darwin

A surprising number [of novels] have been read aloud to me, and I like all if moderately good, and if they do not end unhappily-against which a law ought to be passed. Charles Darwin

The Times is getting more detestable (but that is too weak word) than ever. Charles Darwin

A novel according to my taste, does not come into the moderately good class unless it contains some person whom one can thoroughly love - and if a pretty woman, all the better. Charles Darwin

We are optimists, until we are not. Charles Darwin

The Simiadae then branched off into two great stems, the New World and Old World monkeys; and from the latter at a remote period, Man, the wonder and the glory of the universe, proceeded. Charles Darwin

The expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient. 2 Charles Darwin

I have attempted to write the following account of myself, as if I were a dead man in another world looking back at my own life. Nor have I found this difficult, for life is nearly over with me. I have taken no pains about my style of writing. Charles Darwin

Man may be excused for feeling some pride at having risen, though not through his own exertions, to the very summit of the organic scale; and the fact of his having thus risen, instead of having been aboriginally placed there, may give him hopes for a still higher destiny in the distant future. Charles Darwin

My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts. Charles Darwin

Man tends to increase at a greater rate than his means of subsistence. Charles Darwin

The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts. Charles Darwin

A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question." Charles Darwin Charles Darwin

I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious views of anyone. Charles Darwin

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? Charles Darwin

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. Charles Darwin

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. Charles Darwin

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. Charles Darwin

...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. Charles Darwin

Blushing is the most peculiar and most human of all expressions. Monkeys redden from passion but it would take an overwhelming amount of evidence to make us believe that any animal can blush. Charles Darwin

Thus we have given to man a pedigree of prodigious length, but not, it may be said, of noble quality. Charles Darwin

It is not the conscience which raises a blush, for a man may sincerely regret some slight fault committed in solitude, or he may suffer the deepest remorse for an undetected crime, but he will not blush... It is not the sense of guilt, but the thought that others think or know us to be guilty which crimsons the face. Charles Darwin

Why does man regret, even though he may endeavour to banish any such regret, that he has followed the one natural impulse, rather than the other; and why does he further feel that he ought to regret his conduct? Man in this respect differs profoundly from the lower animals. Charles Darwin

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. Charles Darwin

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 call chance. Not that this notion at all satisfies me. I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton. Let each man hope and believe what he can. Charles Darwin

Nothing before had ever made me thoroughly realise, though I had read various scientific books, that science consists in grouping facts so that general laws or conclusions may be drawn from them. Charles Darwin

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. Charles Darwin

The assumed instinctive belief in God has been used by many persons as an argument for his existence. But this is a rash argument, as we should thus be compelled to believe in the existence of many cruel and malignant spirits, only a little more powerful than man; for the belief in them is far more general than in a beneficent deity. Charles Darwin

It appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against Christianity and theism produce hardly any effect on the public; It appears to me freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men's minds which follow[s] from the advance of science. Charles Darwin

But I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and 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 that a cat should play with mice. Charles Darwin

[Alexander von Humboldt was the] greatest scientific traveller who ever lived. Charles Darwin

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. 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

It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself. Charles Darwin

Even people who aren't geniuses can outthink the rest of mankind if they develop certain thinking habits. Charles Darwin

We have happy days, remember good dinners. Charles Darwin

I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term of Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man's power of selection. Charles Darwin

The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man. Charles Darwin

Often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have not devoted myself to a fantasy. Charles Darwin

Only the fittest will survive. Charles Darwin

The survival or preservation of certain favoured words in the struggle for existence is natural selection. Charles Darwin

We feel surprise when travellers tell us of the vast dimensions of the Pyramids and other great ruins, but how utterly insignificant are the greatest of these, when compared to these mountains of stone accumulated by the agency of various minute and tender animals! Charles Darwin

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. Charles Darwin

It may be conceit, but I believe the subject will interest the public, and I am sure that the views are original. Charles Darwin

Freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men's minds which follows from the advance of science. Charles Darwin

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. Charles Darwin

The expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient. Charles Darwin

One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die. Charles Darwin

I think it inevitably follows, that as new species in the course of time are formed through natural selection, others will become rarer and rarer, and finally extinct. The forms which stand in closest competition with those undergoing modification and improvement will naturally suffer most. Charles Darwin

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state as we may hope, than the Caucasian and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian and the gorilla. Charles Darwin

Man selects only for his own good: Nature only for that of the being which she tends. Charles Darwin

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. Charles Darwin



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