Tuesday, March 14, 2017

"it is like confessing a murder" -- Charles Darwin

A Charles Darwin quote from 1844: "it is like confessing a murder". When he published On the Origin of Species 15 years later in 1859 the world changed forever. The reaction from the superstitious idiots was as bad as he feared. Even today millions of people who live in backward countries (for example Idiot America) want to throw the whole thing out and replace this important science with magic.

The entire letter is here: https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-729.xml

Besides a general interest about the Southern lands, I have been now ever since my return engaged in a very presumptuous work & which I know no one individual who wd not say a very foolish one.— I was so struck with distribution of Galapagos organisms &c &c & with the character of the American fossil mammifers, &c &c that I determined to collect blindly every sort of fact, which cd bear any way on what are species.— I have read heaps of agricultural & horticultural books, & have never ceased collecting facts— At last gleams of light have come, & 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.—You will now groan, & think to yourself ‘on what a man have I been wasting my time in writing to.’— I shd, five years ago, have thought so.— I fear you will also groan at the length of this letter—excuse me, I did not begin with malice prepense.

Another quote from the year 2009:

"Darwin was the first to use data from nature to convince people that evolution is true, and his idea of natural selection was truly novel. It testifies to his genius that the concept of natural theology, accepted by most educated Westerners before 1859, was vanquished within only a few years by a single five-hundred-page book. On the Origin of Species turned the mysteries of life's diversity from mythology into genuine science."

-- Jerry Coyne, University of Chicago biologist, author of "Why Evolution Is True" and "Faith Versus Fact, Why Science And Religion Are Incompatible"

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.