Charles Darwin Quotes & Wallpapers

Charles Darwin
Total Quotes: 427


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
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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. Charles Darwin
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It has sometimes been said that the success of the Origin proved "that the subject was in the air," or "that men's minds were prepared for it." I do not think that this is strictly true, for I occasionally sounded not a few naturalists, and never happened to come across a single one who seemed to doubt about the permanence of species. Charles Darwin
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I am quite conscious that my speculations run beyond the bounds of true science....It is a mere rag of an hypothesis with as many flaw[s] & holes as sound parts. Charles Darwin
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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
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Nothing can be more improving to a young naturalist, than a journey in a distant country. Charles Darwin
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It is not the biggest, the brightest or the best that will survive, but those who adapt the quickest. Charles Darwin
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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
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I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious views of anyone. Charles Darwin
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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
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My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts. Charles Darwin
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Man tends to increase at a greater rate than his means of subsistence. Charles Darwin
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The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts. Charles Darwin
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Worms have played a more important part in the history of the world than humans would at first suppose. Charles Darwin
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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
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The Times is getting more detestable (but that is too weak word) than ever. Charles Darwin
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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
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I would give absolutely nothing for the theory of Natural Selection, if it requires miraculous additions at any one stage of descent. Charles Darwin
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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
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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
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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
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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
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We are optimists, until we are not. Charles Darwin
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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
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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
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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
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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
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If every one were cast in the same mould, there would be no such thing as beauty. Charles Darwin
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Looking to future generations, there is no cause to fear that the social instincts will grow weaker... the social instincts, - the prime principle of man's moral constitution - with the aid of active intellectual powers and the effects of habit, naturally lead to the golden rule, "As ye would that men should do to you; do ye to them likewise"; and this lies at the foundation of morality. Charles Darwin
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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
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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
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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
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The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man. Charles Darwin
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I always feel as if my books came half out of Lyell's brain... & therefore that when seeing a thing never seen by Lyell, one yet saw it partially through his eyes. Charles Darwin
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It occurred to me, in 1837, that something might perhaps be made of this question (the origin of the species) by patiently accumulating and reflecting on all sorts of facts which could possibly have any bearing on it Charles Darwin
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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One day, on tearing off some old bark, I saw two rare beetles, and seized one in each hand. Then I saw a third and new kind, which I could not bear to lose, so I popped the one which I held in my right hand into my mouth. Alas! it ejected some intensely acrid fluid, which burnt my tongue so that I was forced to spit the beetle out, which was lost, as was the third one. Charles Darwin
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...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 & believe what he can.- Charles Darwin
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Great is the power of steady misrepresentation Charles Darwin
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I love fools' experiments. I am always making them. Charles Darwin
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The expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient. Charles Darwin
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One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die. Charles Darwin
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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
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Even people who aren't geniuses can outthink the rest of mankind if they develop certain thinking habits. Charles Darwin
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We have happy days, remember good dinners. Charles Darwin
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Man selects only for his own good: Nature only for that of the being which she tends. Charles Darwin
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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
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It may be conceit, but I believe the subject will interest the public, and I am sure that the views are original. Charles Darwin
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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. Charles Darwin
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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. Charles Darwin
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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. Charles Darwin
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It is so easy to hide our ignorance under such expressions as the plan of creation or unity of design, etc., and to think that we give an explanation when we only restate a fact. Charles Darwin
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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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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. Charles Darwin
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[Alexander von Humboldt was the] greatest scientific traveller who ever lived. Charles Darwin
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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
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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
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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
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