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Charles Darwin Quotes

20 of the best book quotes from Charles Darwin
  1. #1
    “Man selects only for his own good: Nature only for that of the being which she tends.”
  2. #2
    “I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious views of anyone.”
  3. #3
    “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.”
  4. #4
    “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, and should include the same bones, in the same relative positions?”
  5. #5
    “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case.”
  6. #6
    “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.”
  7. #7
    “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 wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
  8. #8
    “The crust of the earth is a vast museum.”
  9. #9
    “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.”
  10. #10
    “He who believes in the creation of each species, will have to say that this shell, for instance, was created with bright colors for a warm sea; but that this other shell became bright-colored by variation when it ranged into warmer, shallower waters. ”
  1. #11
    “Owing to this struggle for life, any variation, however slight and from whatever cause proceeding, if it be in any degree profitable to an individual of any species, in its infinitely complex relations to other organic beings and to external nature, will tend to the preservation of that individual, and will generally be inherited by its offspring.”
  2. #12
    “But natural selection, as we shall hereafter see, is a power incessantly ready for action, and is immeasurably superior to man’s feeble efforts, as the works of nature are to those of art.
  3. #13
    “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.”
  4. #14
    “Mere chance … alone would never account for so habitual and large an amount of difference as that between varieties of the same species.”
  5. #15
    “One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.”
  6. #16
    “Great is the power of steady misrepresentation; but the history of science shows that fortunately this power does not long endure.”
  7. #17
    “I believe that animals have descended from at most only four or five progenitors, and plants from an equal or lesser number.”
  8. #18
    “Whilst man, however well-behaved, at best is but a monkey shaved!
  9. #19
    “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 naturalized productions from another land.”
  10. #20
    “The shield may be as important for victory, as the sword or spear.”
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