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.
For the shield may be as important for victory, as the sword or spear.
Man selects only for his own good: Nature only for that of the being which she tends.
I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious views of anyone.
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.
Great is the power of steady misrepresentation
In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.
As man advances in civilization, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races.
Besides love and sympathy, animals exhibit other qualities connected with the social instincts which in us would be called moral.
One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.
Blushing is the most peculiar and most human of all expressions.
Intelligence is based on how efficient a species became at doing the things they need to survive.
We stopped looking for monsters under our bed when we realized that they were inside us.
I am not apt to follow blindly the lead of other men
The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.
If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.
If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.
From the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of higher animals, directly follows.
A mathematician is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat which isn't there.
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.
Building a better mousetrap merely results in smarter mice.
Such simple instincts as bees making a beehive could be sufficient to overthrow my whole theory.
Nothing exists for itself alone, but only in relation to other forms of life
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.
The world will not be inherited by the strongest, it will be inherited by those most able to change.
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.
We are optimists, until we are not.
All nature is perverse & will not do as I wish it.
It is absurd to talk of one animal being higher than another...we consider those, where the intellectual faculties most developed as the highest. - A bee doubtless would [use] ... instincts as a criteria.
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.
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.
We behold the face of nature bright with gladness.
We are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with truth as far as our reason permits us to discover it.
Attention, if sudden and close, graduates into surprise; and this into astonishment; and this into stupefied amazement.
Wherever the European had trod, death seemed to pursue the aboriginal.
An agnostic would be the more correct description of my state of mind.
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.
I was a young man with uninformed ideas. I threw out queries, suggestions, wondering all the time over everything; and to my astonishment the ideas took like wildfire. People made a religion of them.
It is always advisable to perceive clearly our ignorance.
Man in his arrogance thinks himself a great work, worthy the interposition of a great deity. More humble and I believe true to consider him created from animals.