Charles Darwin Quotes & Wallpapers

Charles Darwin
Total Quotes: 427


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
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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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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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Man selects only for his own good: Nature only for that of the being which she tends. 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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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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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 feel most deeply that this whole question of Creation is too profound for human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton! Let each man hope and believe what he can. 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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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. Charles Darwin
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Man is developed from an ovule, about 125th of an inch in diameter, which differs in no respect from the ovules of other animals. Charles Darwin
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...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. Charles Darwin
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It is well-known that those who have charge of young infants, that it is difficult to feel sure when certain movements about their mouths are really expressive; that is when they really smile. Hence I carefully watched my own infants. One of them at the age of forty-five days, and being in a happy frame of mind, smiled... I observed the same thing on the following day: but on the third day the child was not quite well and there was no trace of a smile, and this renders it probable that the previous smiles were real. Charles Darwin
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I trust and believe that the time spent in this voyage ... will produce its full worth in Natural History; and it appears to me the doing what little we can to increase the general stock of knowledge is as respectable an object of life, as one can in any likelihood pursue. Charles Darwin
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Sympathy for the lowest animals is one of the noblest virtues with which man is endowed. Charles Darwin
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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. Charles Darwin
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One hand has surely worked throughout the universe. Charles Darwin
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What can be more curious than that the hand of a man, formed for grasping, that of a mole for digging, the leg of the horse, the paddle of the porpoise, and the wing of the bat, should all be constructed on the same pattern? Charles Darwin
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Many kinds of monkeys have a strong taste for tea, coffee and spirituous liqueurs. Charles Darwin
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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 gravity? No one now objects to following out the results consequent on this unknown element of attraction... Charles Darwin
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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', &c! 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. Charles Darwin
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Endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved Charles Darwin
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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. Charles Darwin
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To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact. Charles Darwin
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In my simplicity, I remember wondering why every gentleman did not become an ornithologist. Charles Darwin
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Although much remains obscure, and will long remain obscure, ... I am convinced that Natural Selection has been the main but not exclusive means of modification. Charles Darwin
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It may be doubted whether any character can be named which is distinctive of a race and is constant. Charles Darwin
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In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed. Charles Darwin
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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. Charles Darwin
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You will be astonished to find how the whole mental disposition of your children changes with advancing years. A young child and the same when nearly grown, sometimes differ almost as much as do a caterpillar and butterfly. Charles Darwin
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I fully subscribe to the judgement of those writers who maintain that of all the differences between man and the lower animal, the moral sense of conscience is by far the most important....It is the most noble of all the attributes of man. Charles Darwin
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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. Charles Darwin
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Why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms. Charles Darwin
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I am sorry to have to inform you that I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation, & therefore not in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Charles Darwin
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The moral faculties are generally and justly esteemed as of higher value than the intellectual powers. Charles Darwin
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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. Charles Darwin
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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. Charles Darwin
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The instruction at Edinburgh was altogether by lectures, and these were intolerably dull, with the exception of those on chemistry. Charles Darwin
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Our descent, then, is the origin of our evil passions!! The devil under form of Baboon is our grandfather. Charles Darwin
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It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin
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We can allow satellites, planets, suns, universe, nay whole systems of universe, to be governed by laws, but the smallest insect, we wish to be created at once by special act. Charles Darwin
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I have steadily endeavoured to keep my mind free so to give up any hypothesis, however much beloved (and I cannot resist forming one on every subject), as soon as facts are shown to be opposed to it. Charles Darwin
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The more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become, - that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost incomprehensible by us, - that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events, - that they differ in many important details, far too important as it seemed to me to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eye-witnesses; - by such reflections as these... I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation. Charles Darwin
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We must, however, acknowledge, as it seems to me, that man with all his noble qualities... still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin. Charles Darwin
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What a book a devil's chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low, and horribly cruel work of nature! Charles Darwin
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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. Charles Darwin
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The young blush much more freely than the old but not during infancy, which is remarkable, as we know that infants at a very early age redden from passion. Charles Darwin
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About thirty years ago there was much talk that geologists ought only to observe and not theorise; and I well remember some one saying that at this rate a man might as well go into a gravel-pit and count the pebbles and describe the colours. 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! Charles Darwin
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...I believe there exists, & I feel within me, an instinct for the truth, or knowledge or discovery, of something of the same nature as the instinct of virtue, & that our having such an instinct is reason enough for scientific researches without any practical results ever ensuing from them. Charles Darwin
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Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist. Charles Darwin
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Farewell Australia! You ... are too great and ambitious for affection, yet not great enough for respect. I leave your shores without sorrow or regret. Charles Darwin
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Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods, though in very different ways, but they were mere schoolboys to old Aristotle. Charles Darwin
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Daily it is forced home on the mind of the biologist that nothing, not even the wind that blows, is so unstable as the level of the crust of this earth. Charles Darwin
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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. Charles Darwin
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If I had not been so great an invalid, I should not have done so much as I have accomplished. Charles Darwin
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I am dying by inches, from not having any body to talk to about insects. Charles Darwin
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In regard to the amount of difference between the races, we must make some allowance for our nice powers of discrimination gained by a long habit of observing ourselves. Charles Darwin
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Freedom and order are not incompatible... truth is strength... free discussion is the very life of truth. Charles Darwin
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Every new body of discovery is mathematical in form, because there is no other guidance we can have. Charles Darwin
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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. Charles Darwin
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I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilization than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risk the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is! The more civilised so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world. Charles Darwin
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...for the shield may be as important for victory, as the sword or spear. Charles Darwin
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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. Charles Darwin
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I always make special notes about evidence that contridicts me: supportive evidence I can remember without trying. Charles Darwin
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... 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. Charles Darwin
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