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Charles Darwin

 
 

Charles Robert Darwin
(12 February 1809 19 April 1882)
 was an English naturalist and geologist,
best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory.
He established that all species of life have descended
over time from common ancestors,
and in a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace
introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern
of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection,
in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect
to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding.

 

    Darwin published his theory of evolution with compelling evidence in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species, overcoming scientific rejection of earlier concepts of transmutation of species. By the 1870s, the scientific community and much of the general public had accepted evolution as a fact. However, many favoured competing explanations and it was not until the emergence of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s that a broad consensus developed in which natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution. In modified form, Darwin's scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences, explaining the diversity of life.

    Darwin's early interest in nature led him to neglect his medical education at the University of Edinburgh; instead, he helped to investigate marine invertebrates. Studies at the University of Cambridge (Christ's College) encouraged his passion for natural science. His five-year voyage on HMS Beagle established him as an eminent geologist whose observations and theories supported Charles Lyell's uniformitarian ideas, and publication of his journal of the voyage made him famous as a popular author.
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Man tends to increase at a greater rate
          than his means of subsistence.
-Charles Darwin

 

On the ordinary view of each species
having been independently created,
           we gain no scientific explanation.
-Charles Darwin

 

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence
than does knowledge:
it is those who know little, and not those who know much,
who so positively assert that this or that problem
           will never be solved by science.
-Charles Darwin

 

The mystery of the beginning of all things
is insoluble by us; and I for one must
          be content to remain an agnostic.
-Charles Darwin

 

A moral being is one
who is capable of reflecting
on his past actions and their motives -
of approving of some
          and disapproving of others.
-Charles Darwin

 

I am turned into a sort of machine for observing facts
and grinding out conclusions.
An American monkey, after getting drunk on brandy,
would never touch it again,
        and thus is much wiser than most men.
-Charles Darwin


 

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

 

We can allow satellites, planets, suns, universe,
nay whole systems of universes, to be governed by laws,
but the smallest insect, we wish to be created
          at once by special act.
-Charles Darwin

 

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

 

I cannot persuade myself that
a beneficent and omnipotent God
would have designedly created parasitic wasps
with the express intention of their feeding
            within the living bodies of Caterpillars.
-Charles Darwin


 

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


 

It is a cursed evil to any man
to become as absorbed in any subject
           as I am in mine.
-Charles Darwin

 

What a book a devil's chaplain
might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering,
      low, and horribly cruel work of nature!
-Charles Darwin
 

 

A scientific man ought to have no wishes,
no affections,
       - a mere heart of stone.
-Charles Darwin