Charles Darwin Quotes

These Charles Darwin Quotes have been personally culled from Darwin's letters and from his book, On the Origin of Species. Some of these quotes are from letters between friends and acquaintances of Charles Darwin.

We should be extremely cautious in concluding that an organ could not have been formed by transitional gradations of some kind. Numerous cases could be given amongst the lower animals of the same organ performing at the same time wholly distinct functions.

On the Origin of Species. Ch. 6.

Although much remains obscure, and will long remain obscure, I can entertain no doubt, after the most deliberate study and dispassionate judgment of which I am capable, that the view which most naturalists entertain, and which I formerly entertained-namely, that each species has been independently created-is erroneous.

On the Origin of Species. Introduction.

Your leading idea will assuredly become recognised as an established truth in science, i.e. 'Natural Selection.' It has the characteristics of all great natural truths, clarifying what was obscure, simplifying what was intricate, adding greatly to previous knowledge. You are the greatest revolutionist in natural history of this century, if not of all centuries.

– H.C. Watson to Charles Darwin. 21 Nov. 1859.

To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual.

On the Origin of Species. Chapter 14.

If beautiful objects had been created solely for man's gratification, it ought to be shown that before man appeared, there was less beauty on the face of the earth … Flowers rank amongst the most beautiful productions of nature; but they have been rendered conspicuous … so that they may be easily observed by insects. I have come to this conclusion from finding it an invariable rule that when a flower is fertilized by the wind it never has a gaily-coloured corolla. … Hence we may conclude that, if insects had not been developed on the face of the earth, our plants would not have been decked with beautiful flowers.

On the Origin of Species. Chapter 6.

There is grandeur in this view of life … having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that … from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.

On the Origin of Species. Last paragraph of book.

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.

The Descent of Man. Introduction.

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